There’s always a breeze at Castle Windy, a trail that burrows through the coastal hammock on the Mosquito Lagoon side of Canaveral National Seashore, leading you out to a secluded beach along the lagoon. Deeply shaded and linear, it’s the only trail at this national seashore that leads you from the Atlantic Ocean to the lagoon, crossing the entire barrier island.
Location: New Smyrna Beach
Length: 0.8 mile
Fees / Permits: national park entrance fee
Bug factor: moderate to high
Restroom: at the park’s visitor center
From Interstate 95 exit 249A for SR 44, follow SR 44 east into New Smyrna Beach for 5.2 miles to cross the causeway to the barrier island. The road will arc to the right, becoming A1A. Drive another 7 miles south to Canaveral National Seashore. Continue down the park road about 6 miles to Castle Windy Beach, and park in the beach parking area on the left.
Starting across the road from the beach parking, the trail is essentially a straight line through the undulating terrain of the barrier island’s maritime hammock, with numbered posts keyed to an interpretive brochure available at the trailhead. The trail climbs ancient dunes now topped with red bay and marlberry, Simpson’s stopper and yaupon holly. Look for gopher tortoises and armadillos. Your walk ends at a scenic cove along the Mosquito Lagoon, where you’ll see a large oyster shell midden on the right. A picnic bench provides a place to sit and enjoy the view, which takes in the sweep of the coastline in both directions. Return the way you came to complete your walk.