Edgewater is a waterfront city offering a charming stop while visiting Volusia County in east-central Florida.
This city of 24-plus square miles was founded in 1871 along the east bank of the Indian River and adjacent to the famed Mosquito Lagoon.
Like New Smyrna Beach and Oak Hill, other fabulous Florida destinations immediately flank Edgewater.
Edgewater boasts the development of more than 150 acres of parks, plus an extensive river walk meandering along the Intracoastal Waterway.
The city’s unique waterfront environment offers a rich mix of outdoor activities, including hiking and birdwatching, boating, and fishing.
You can also enjoy many urban delights in Edgewater since it is one of the principal cities in southeast Volusia County.
The city takes pride in its solid economic base founded on boat-building, construction, and garments.
In Edgewater, you can find Volusia County’s largest industrial park, ParkTowne Industrial Center.
Here’s a list of the best things to do in Edgewater, Florida:
Learn about a Great Floridian at Edgewater City Hall
Drop by the Edgewater City Hall for a glimpse of the accomplishments of Dr. John Milton Hawks, city founder.
Located on South Riverside Drive, the city hall displays the “Great Floridian 2000” plaque awarded to Dr. Hawks for his significant contributions to Florida.
The doctor not only founded the city in the early 1870s, initially named Hawks Park.
Dr. Hawks was also a staunch abolitionist, physician, author, teacher, historian, newspaper publisher, orange grower, and army officer.
Join the Fun at Hawks Park Recreation Complex
A visit to this facility on South Ridgewood Avenue offers many exciting recreational activities.
The complex provides sports opportunities in its four lighted ball fields and three lighted soccer fields.
Admission is free at the Hawks Park Recreation Complex, which hosts youth baseball, softball, and soccer.
It also provides playground equipment, a conservation area, an outdoor amphitheater, and a handicap-accessible nature trail.
The complex, in addition, is the hub for many special events in Edgewater, such as a city car show and laser light festival.
Go Swimming at YMCA or Aqua Park
Edgewater provides recreational pools, one of which is the zero-entry outdoor pool with a water slide at the Southeast Volusia Family YMCA on West Turgot Avenue.
This local YMCA facility also features soccer fields, a playground, and a nature trail for biking, walking, and running.
It also provides an indoor basketball court, fitness center, gymnasium, aerobics room, child care, plus locker rooms with restrooms and showers.
Edgewater is also home to Aqua Park on Eaton Road, a volunteer-run community swimming pool.
It features indoor and outdoor pools offering swimming lessons and water aerobics.
It also hosts sports meets and is available as well for pool parties.
Cast for Tarpon and Snook at Mosquito Lagoon
The Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River are two of Florida's richest water bodies for nearshore fishing.
Edgewater’s Veterans Park, precisely at the eastern terminus of Indian River Boulevard, provides ready access to the great fishing spots.
This park along South Riverside Drive provides not only a fishing pier but also launches for fishing boats venturing out to the river and the lagoon.
The biodiverse waters of Mosquito Lagoon offer excellent opportunities to catch snook and tarpon.
Other fish species in the lagoon's mangroves and the river you can target are tripletail, snappers, redfish, speckled trout, black drum, and even shark.
Many of these fish species are here all year long, so expect to catch some no matter when you visit.
Launch a Kayak at Menard-May Park
This park on Riverside Drive is a convenient jumping-off point for paddlers to access the kayak trails of the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon.
Aside from its beach launch point, the Menard-May Park provides parking, restrooms, and a fishing pier.
It is also walking distance to restaurants and a hardware shop for last-minute items needed in a kayaking adventure.
Paddling around the mangrove trails of the river and the lagoon promises an exciting experience.
Along the kayak trails, you'll spot several species of water birds, like snowy egrets, blue herons, white and brown pelicans, and ospreys.
Expect extraordinary encounters with other marine creatures, such as manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, crabs, and rays.
Bike or Hike the Edgewater Trails
The city of Edgewater offers more than 31 trails.
Many of these city pathways connect to extensive east-central Florida trails running through the city.
These regional trails include the St. John's River to Sea Loop, the Lehigh Greenway Rail Trail, and the Ponce Inlet Trail.
Edgewater’s Rotary Park on West Park Avenue has pathways that link to the nearby stretch of the river-to-sea-loop trail and the rails to trails.
The Whistle Stop Park on Roberts Road is a hike with a twist as its walking trail features exercise stations.
Try Frog Legs and Gator Tail at JC's Riptides
The family-owned and operated JC's Riptides is a restaurant and lounge where you can find fresh swordfish and golden tile offerings on its roadside marquee.
But there’s more to this seafood and steak restaurant next to a mobile home and RV supply depot on US Highway 1.
This restaurant's menu also offers a special meal called Cracker Bonanza.
JC’s Riptides kitchen offers a delicious Southern heritage consisting of frog legs, gator tail, catfish filet, deviled crab, and clam strips.
Order drinks from JC’s fully stocked bar for more conventional items to pair with the restaurant’s Black & Blue Prime Rib.
This steak is rubbed in with the restaurant’s blackening, seared on an iron skillet, and topped with melted blue cheese crumbles.
Try the Specials of 30th Street Station
Located on India Palm Drive, 30th Street Station is a friendly neighborhood bar and grill where you can grab a cold beer and some delicious eats.
Drop by any time to partake of the daily specials in this restaurant.
On Magic Mondays, the menu choices include filet mignon with fried shrimp and appetizers at half price.
For Taco Tuesdays, the restaurant’s menu offers shrimp, beef, chicken, and fish tacos.
Jump onward to JC’s Fryday, and you can sample discounted open face prime rib or a choice of fish and chips with two side dishes.
Go Crabbing at the Indian River
Florida allows recreational trapping of shrimps and crabs, with the Indian River next to Edgewater offering spots to catch them.
You can quickly go crabbing from the George R. Kennedy Memorial Park on South Riverside Drive, just across the road from Edgewater's City Hall.
This park features boat-launching ramps leading directly to the Indian River, and a boat charter service is also nearby.
Besides this ramp, the park also provides parking, pavilions, picnic tables, and a fishing pier.
Dine at Elliott’s Steakhouse
This restaurant is on US Highway 1, near the manufacturing facility of Edgewater’s renowned boat builder Boston Whaler.
The service at Elliott’s Steakhouse is also reputed to be ship-shape, prompt, and friendly.
Moreover, you can expect incredibly tender steaks, slightly charred, with the sauce just right.
Feast on your steak with sides of sweet potato casserole and creamed spinach for a dining experience akin to Thanksgiving.
Besides choices on prime rib steak dinners, you’ll also have options on deep-fried shrimp with drawn butter or chicken and steak teriyaki with red onion and zucchini over rice with one side.
Visit the Roadside Gallery of the Creator of the Whispering Giants
Hungarian-born sculptor Peter Wolf Toth, best known for his “Trail of the Whispering Giants” sculptures across all states of the US, has an art gallery in Edgewater.
His artworks are in an outdoor roadside gallery on Arthur Avenue and South Ridgewood Avenue.
The Peter Wolf Toth Art Gallery & Museum in Edgewater shows the artist’s mastery in carving driftwood, among other media.
Toth maintains his Edgewater studio to produce small pieces to raise funds for future statues.
Many of his pieces on Whispering Giants, mostly honoring Native Americans, have become state landmarks and popular subjects of postcards.
Have a Good Time at Tailgatorz Sports Bar & Grill
This sports bar on South Ridgewood Avenue has become one of Edgewater’s best places to unwind since it opened in 2018.
Tailgatorz Sports Bar & Grill invites you to its patio bar for some great music you can join during Karaoke Night.
Watch out for the little people starring in the family-friendly edition of the action-packed Micro Wrestlers.
This sports bar hosts cornhole tournaments, but its centerpieces are a tempting food and drinks menu.
On Wine Wednesday, you can enjoy choices ranging from Chardonnay to Sauvignon Blanc.
These enticing picks are replicated on the sports bar’s editions of Margarita Monday and Fish Fry Friday.
Join a Boston Whaler Factory Tour
See how the famed boat builder Boston Whaler makes unsinkable water vessels at its factory on South Ridgewood Avenue (US Highway 1), backing up to the Indian River.
Founded in 1958, this boat maker used to operate in Massachusetts and moved to Edgewater in 1987 to expand its operations.
Tour the factory to see the unique foam core construction that goes into each Boston Whaler boat.
The foam keeps the Boston Whaler boat builds afloat even when a vessel is split in half and takes on water.
During a factory visit, you may even get the chance to come aboard one of the boat builder’s vessels for fishing and cruising.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Take a Side Trip to New Smyrna Beach
A visit to Edgewater can easily lead to a side trip to its next-door neighbor, the city of New Smyrna Beach, which also has many points of interest.
The coastal stretch of New Smyrna Beach provides the city’s main attractions, including the nearby Canaveral National Seashore.
Another local attraction, Smyrna Dunes Park, provides marvelous views of the town of Ponce Inlet and its historic lighthouse.
The Canal Street Historic District offers myriad shops, restaurants, and art galleries in the city's palm-lined downtown, plus the New Smyrna Museum of History on Sams Avenue.
Historical artifacts are also displayed at the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum, housed in an 1899 church on North Duss Street at New Smyrna Beach.
Camp or Lodge at Sugar Mill Ruins Travel Park
This vacation facility is on Old Mission Road in New Smyrna Beach, about three miles northwest Edgewater.
Sugar Mill Ruins Travel Park flaunts more than 100 acres of lush woodlands, lakes, ponds, and streams.
This park offers over 200 RV campsites nestled amid large century trees and accessible via groomed shell roads.
The park provides campers free Wi-Fi, picnic tables, fire pits, and a kids’ playground and game room with two pool tables.
The park also offers a large pool shaped like the Florida Panhandle, a three-acre lake for fishing, and a pavilion for games and events.
Sugar Mill Ruins Travel Park guests can also stay in 12x20 cabins featuring twin bunk beds, a full-size fold-out futon, a mini-fridge, a microwave, a full bathroom, a fold-out table and chairs, and a porch with chairs.
Other amenities in this park include a nature trail and a poolside Tiki Bar for drinks and ice cream.
Edgewater has earned its place among the best travel destinations in Florida, even though major urban hubs of the Sunshine State completely dwarf it.
The small-town charm that Edgewater has retained may even be an advantage for this city since many people prefer visiting a laid-back destination free of crowds.