Located just 9 miles past beach town known as New Smyrna lies an archeological wonder called Turtle Mound. Made from seashells by the pre-historic Timucuan tribe, it is believed that this shell mound was constructed to provide high land during hurricanes and was later used by passing Spanish explorers as a landmark. Today the land is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Canaveral National Seashore, and the site was added to the U.S. Register of Historic Places.
The mound is located on the narrow peninsular piece of land that runs along the Atlantic and the Indian River. This means that views from the top of the mound are spectacular 360-degree views from river to ocean. Reaching the top is made convenient and easy with a wooden boardwalk raised up over the seashell surface. Multiple rest areas and scenic overviews dot the walkway, making it an experience that anyone can enjoy!
At the base of the mound, a palm-tree-lined picnic area is available for visitors right next to the Indian River. Manatees and dolphins frequent the area, along with an abundance of wading birds. Fishing is allowed here, but make sure to clean up all fishing line! This area is also pet friendly, and many families bring their furry friends to splash around by the shore.
Around the base of the mound, visitors who aren't afraid to get their feet a bit wet may enjoy hiking the narrow trail between the river and the mound. This area is lined with a variety of tropical plants, and it is often crawling with hermit and horseshoe crabs! Make sure to note the river levels when heading out on the walk, however, as the trail is covered in water when the river levels are high.
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