Setting: New Smyrna Beach sits between the protected dunesof Canaveral National Seashore and the Ponce de Leon Inlet, againstboth the Atlantic and the Intracoastal Waterway. It's about anhour's drive to Orlando, 40 minutes to Cape Canaveral, and 20minutes to the Daytona Speedway.
Attractions: The town offers an abundance of recreationalactivities, including golf, surfing, and fishing. New Smyrna Beachalso boasts an interesting colonial history, a lively artscommunity, and great antiques shops.
Drawbacks: Limited job market. Homes go quickly, and pricesare rising. Dining options are few, but Norwood's Restaurant andWine Shop offers fine food at good prices.
Housing Options: Historic 100-year-old houses on themainland, either renovated or waiting to be. On the beach side,concrete-block single-family houses are a short walk to the water;luxury condos and multistory residences face the ocean.
What It Costs: Two- and three-bedroom homes away from thewater go for $165,000 to $225,000. The same house facing theAtlantic can sell for as much as $2 million. A teardown house cancost $750,000 just because of its location. Two- and three-bedroomcondos run from $165,000 to $250,000 off the water, to $2 millionfor a 4,000-square-foot oceanfront penthouse. The northern,riverfront side of the beach has some spectacular multilevel homesin the $1 million range. Mainland properties run about half that onthe Intracoastal Waterway.
Your Next-door Neighbors: More than 400 artists, includingphotographer Jack Mitchell; orthodontists, dentists, and doctors;professionals who commute to work in Orlando; along with NASAengineers and project managers.
How You'd Spend Free Time: Golfing, surfing, sportfishing,shelling, antiquing on Canal Street. Ecotours and birding are big:At Bird Island, says guide Bruce Jaildagian, "the Audubon Societyonce counted 2,500 birds, of 11 species, leaving their nighttimeroosts in the first 10 minutes after dawn." The Atlantic Center forthe Arts, an internationally renowned artists' residency program,sits amid the palmettos and pines on the outskirts of town.