This hurricane season has dramatically reduced driving on Volusia County's beaches. Cars that once traveled 16 of the county's 49 miles of beach are now only allowed on 6 miles of packed sand -- and only when tide permits. Huge volumes of sand have been wiped off the beach which has had a dramatic vertical elevation change. This hurricane season wiped the beaches flat. Driving on the beaches of New Smyrna Beach is a Volusia County tradition dating back to the early days of the automobile. For years, beachgoers have enjoyed a leisurely drive on the wide, hard-packed sands. The beach (about 1/3 since July) is open to vehicles, tide permitting, from sunrise to sunset Nov. 1 through April 30 and from 8 a.m.-7 p.m., May 1 through Oct. 31. There is a $5 per day per vehicle user fee to drive on the beach February 1 through November 30. Season beach passes are $20 for Volusia County residents and $40 for non-residents. The beach is always open and free to pedestrians and bicyclists.


Volusia's beaches are divided into three Experience Zones -- Natural, Transitional and Urban. Natural beach zones exist from 27th Avenue in New Smyrna Beach to Canaveral National Seashore in Bethune Beach. The Natural zones generally correspond to the areas where off-beach development is less intense. The dune habitats within this area largely are intact. These areas also have the highest concentration of turtle nests on Volusia beaches. Public driving and parking is not allowed in the Natural beach areas. The Transitional zones are those areas which have a mixture of natural dunes and some beach seawalls. The concentration of people in these areas generally is less intense most of the year. Sea turtle nesting in these areas is moderate. Public driving and parking is allowed in the Transitional zone 30 feet seaward of the dunes or seawall. The Urban zones are those areas where off-beach development includes hotels, high-rise condominiums and seawalls. The concentration of people is the most intense most of the year. Sea turtle nesting in these areas is minimal. Public driving and parking is allowed in the Urban beach areas 15 feet seaward of the dunes or seawall.


 
 

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