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If you’re looking for some things to do on your family vacation, you won’t want to miss checking out the Turtle Mound National Historic Site.

Located about 9 miles south of New Smyrna Beach on State Road A1A, this is a fun and historical stop for your vacation where you’ll be able to snap plenty of great photos, learn about history, and explore the outdoors.

What is the Turtle Mound National Historic Site?

Turtle Mound National Historic Site is a prehistoric archaeological mound along the Indian River shoreline. It is the largest shell midden on the mainland of the United States. A midden is a large heap or mound of shells—hence, Turtle Mound!

Turtle Mound is 600 feet long and dozens of feet high. The large heap of shells looks just like the shell of a turtle, giving the site its peculiar name.

The site contains oysters and other items left by prehistoric inhabitants, and scientists believe they used the area as a high ground for refuge during hurricanes. Sailors and early explorers also used the mound as a navigational landmark while at sea.

The Historic Site, Today

Today, the Turtle Mound National Historic Site is owned and maintained by the Canaveral National Seashore Park and is considered to be one of the best-preserved strips of coastal land in all of Florida.

And although Turtle Mound is most well known for its rich history, there are also a lot of things to do at the park before and after visiting the ancient and mysterious site.

Bring your bikes and travel the shore of the mound, or you can even go for a run or walk to explore the interesting land mass. The Turtle Mound Trail will take you around the shell mound.

It takes about 20 minutes to walk the entirety of the trail and it winds along a beautiful boardwalk route through some of the most spectacular nature in Florida.

At the end of the trail, you’ll find yourself atop the mound with an amazing view of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Wildlife and Activities at Turtle Mound

The mound of shells also provides a great opportunity to get up close to the beautiful waters. You can sit by the water’s edge and get a good look at the dolphins, manatees, and pilot whales that are common in the nearby waters.

The beaches near Turtle Mound are quiet and undisturbed, making it an ideal relaxing getaway during your New Smyrna Beach vacation. They include Apollo Beach, Playalina Beach, and Klondike Beach.

Another thing you’ll want to watch out for as you are exploring the area is turtle nests during the turtle season of April through October.

The numbers of nests vary from year to year, but sometimes you’ll see hundreds if not thousands of eggs ready to hatch, and be careful not to disturb them!

If you’re feeling really adventurous on your afternoon visit from your New Smyrna Beach vacation rentals, you can also check out camping for a night or even taking a river tour.

Camping is allowed on Apollo Beach, and you’ll have to make some reservations and preparations. River tours happen daily Mondays through Saturdays, and you need reservations for that too. You’re likely to see manatees, dolphins, birds, and other wildlife on this boat tour.

Park entrance fees for Canaveral National Seashore Park are $10 per vehicle, and the park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s the perfect way to fill a day during your New Smyrna Beach vacation!

Interested in booking one of the available New Smyrna Beach vacation rentals to explore this fascinating site? Contact our team directly at 386-478-7863.

Discover a new place of adventure and learn about the historical richness of New Smyrna Beach at attractions like Turtle Mound National Historic Site among many others!