Along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the prominent feature of Turtle Mound has been a navigational aid for generations. It is an oyster shell midden rising 35 feet above the Mosquito Lagoon, an archeological site dating back to 800 A.D. The view from the top is unsurpassed in the Central Atlantic region of Florida, and the short Turtle Mound Trail at Canaveral National Seashore leads you there.
Location: New Smyrna Beach
Length: 0.5 mile
Fees / Permits: national park entrance fee
Bug factor: moderate to annoying
Restroom: at the visitor center, a little farther down the road
Canaveral National Seashore website
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 the Canaveral National Seashore park entrance. Continue down the park road about a half mile and park on the right.
To summit this peak, take a hike up the Turtle Mound Trail. This interpretive boardwalk trail is not wheelchair accessible beyond where it overlooks the Mosquito Lagoon, as it ascends at a very steep pitch while entering the fragrant shade of a coastal hammock that has formed around and atop the 1.5 million bushels of oyster shells that the Timucua dropped on this spot. Turn right at the top to walk out on a deck overlooking both the Mosquito Lagoon and the bright blue of the Atlantic Ocean, all the way north past Bethune Beach. Mounds of morning glory cover the sand atop the promontory. Off to the left is another viewing deck with different views of the lagoon and the ocean. Return via the steeply sloped boardwalk, and use the handrails if it is slippery. Add another 0.2 mile walk on an exploration of the lower side of Turtle Mound by following a delineated path from the interpretive sign nearest the water to a promontory below the mound.