Ocean Sands Beach Club
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
We bought this condo site unseen and this was our first trip to visit. We loved the place and are very pleased with our purchase.
Complex: The complex is very small, consisting of around 24 units in three small buildings. The small size of the complex is appropriate for the area. The complex sits between Atlantic Ave and the beach. The complex is definitely oceanfront - you can't get any closer to the Atlantic than this.
All of the buildings are two stories. First floor units have direct access from the sidewalk into the unit. Second floor units are accessible only by a dedicated staircase. There is a separate staircase for each unit that goes only to that unit. There is no horizontal connection between second story units.
The largest of the buildings contains around 12 units, 6 on each floor. The building is situated perpendicular to the beach, so only the two end units (one upstairs and one downstairs) has a direct view of the ocean. I'd refer to these are "oceanfront" units. The remaining 10 units, in general, have views of the ocean from the unit's private balcony. In some cases, you may be able to see the ocean from within the units themselves. These 10 units, I'd refer to as ocean view units.
The second building contains 6 units total, 3 on each floor. It sits parallel to the 12 unit building. It is not as long as the 12 unit building because at the end of the 6 unit building you find the pool, hot tub and gazebo. More on this later. The layout of this 6 unit building is the same as the 12 unit, with the 2 end units being "oceanfront." However, these 2 end units are not as close to the ocean as the 2 end units in the 12 unit building because they overlook the pool first, then the ocean beyond that.
At the end of each of thoese two buildings is a small parking lot. We never had any trouble finding a parking spot all week (June) in these two lots. Again, this is a very small complex. These parking lots are literally steps to the buildings, making luggage and grocery hauling very easy.
In this part of Florida, Atlantic Ave is not the closest road to the Atlantic Ocean. There are very small, often one lane sand roads running parallel to Atlantic Ave, between Atlantic Ave and the ocean. In this case, there is a small sand road called Hill St. Hill St runs parallel to Atlantic Ave between the first 2 buildings and the 3rd building. This is not a road in any conventional sense of the word. Think of it as an extra wide sand sidewalk that just happens to have a car or two drive on it every once in awhile.
The 3rd building is definitely not "on the ocean"; though again the small size of the complex keeps you within a hundred yards or so of the ocean no matter where you are. You just won't be sitting on your deck viewing the ocean if you are in this 3rd building. The 3rd building contains around 6 units, again on two floors. It has the same layout as the other two buildings, though this building sits parallel to the ocean and Atlantic Ave, not perpendicular to it. The lower level of this building in the end unit is a registration / office and the laundry. At the other end of this 3rd building there are some nicely screened vending machines. We found the laundry to be readily available whenever we needed it. We never had to wait. A wash is $1 and a dry is $1. They are commercial vending laundry machines.
The complex is very well maintained and landscaped nicely. Between the first and second buildings, there is a single sidewalk running from the parking lots to the sea wall, past the pool. Each upper unit's staircase "dumps" into this sidewalk. There are a series of palm trees in the middle of this sidewalk. In front of each unit on each side of the sidewalk is grass and planted materials. All was well maintained. We enjoyed opening our sliding glass door and listening to the ocean breeze through the palm trees.
The area around Hill St and the 3rd building is equally well landscaped and maintained. "Behind" the 3rd building (between the 3rd building and Atlantic Ave) there is planted material that provides a little buffer from Atlantic Avenue. I never noticed noise from Atlantic Ave during our stay.
The pool was a decent L-shaped pool, heated and comfortable. It contains a shallow end (though still 3' deep or so) and a deeper end (maybe 5' deep). There were plenty of lounge chairs around the pool. The entire pool is fenced with low, white vinyl fencing. At the corner of the pool area nearest the ocean is a large gazebo with table and chairs. At the opposite corner of the pool nearest the units was the hot tub. Being such a small complex, none of these areas were ever crowded the entire time we were there. We also were never disturbed by any noise from these areas during our stay. There were also several grills at the pool for grilling food.
The complex now has a sea wall between the complex and the beach/ocean. However, this was not a problem at all because the beach is "lower" than the entire complex. The top of the sea wall actually is the ground level of the complex. So when you walk out to the boundary fence on the sidewalk, and stand at the fence to view the ocean, you are actually standing on the top of the sea wall. The sea wall, luckily, does not extend above ground level, thus it does not provide any sort of visual barrier to the ocean whether walking, sitting, swimming, etc. The sea wall cant be more than about 2 high. The only thing that the sea wall does is prevent you from walking right out to the beach from the sidewalk running through the complex. From "inside" the complex, all you can do is see the ocean, not walk to it. Because this area of Florida has a small depth of natural "dunes" between the complex and the beach, you have to access the beach using a wooden walkway that is built over the top of the dunes. The sidewalk for this access is directly behind the 12 unit building. It is actually a public access point but was never, ever busy.
At the end of the 12 unit building there is a shower and foot rinse built on the side of a palm tree, allowing you to rinse off after leaving the beach and walking over the wood walkway. Also on the beach access side (back side) of the 12 unit building is the fenced in dumpster and recycling bin area.
There are two free towel exchanges during the week. This is done at your unit. You don't have to take them anywhere. We were provided with a welcome kit upon arrive that had dishwasher soap, dish soap and other incidentals that we found to be adequate for the week.
The management company that operates the complex also operates several others in the area. I found any employees I interacted with to be very nice. They provided me with a list of units for sale at check-in, but there were no calls, sales presentations or anything else at all. None.
There is an activities desk in the neighboring complex (one house down) that we did not use. They apparently have some games and things that can be checked out. There were also at least a couple activities every day of the week available. We did not partake. We wont find any major recreation here (no playgrounds, no swings, no tennis, no basketball, etc.).
Area: This was our first visit to the New Smyrna Beach area. It is very "residential" in feel, not touristy at all. It is very laid back and quite. This is where you want to be if you want to relax. It is basically 100% opposite of the feel of Daytona Beach. In the immediate area of the complex, Atlantic Ave has some local (non-chain) restaurants, some small strip mall type retail, and a couple grocery stores. The rest is condos and residential houses. Within 5 minutes you have Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, souvenir / surf shops and most of the restaurants and retail in town. There are not a lot of chain restaurants in the immediate town. Within 5 minutes, you are also at Flagler Ave, which is the "spot" in town and is a strip of restaurants, stores, bars, etc.
There is very little high rise condo construction in the area. There is also a fair amount of single family housing right on the ocean in this area. All of these results in a very laid back feel. The beaches in this area were never crowded. At dusk, walking the beach, you could be hundreds of yards from the nearest person at times. Even during the middle of a hot June day, there was plentiful space to plop down our family of 4 right outside the complex. There are NO beach "attractions" like in Daytona. Like I said, this is the polar opposite of Daytona. Yet, if you are in the mood for that, Daytona is within 20 minutes.
This is a drive-on beach, including the area immediately in front of the complex. This was not an issue for us; again because of the low amount of people in this area, it was just never a problem at all. This area of the ocean is patrolled by life guards and beach patrol throughout the day.
The beach in this area is incredibly flat. Because it is a drive-on beach the sand is packed very hard making it extremely easy to walk on, bike on, etc. There is a huge difference between high and low tide. During high tide, you can walk a good 75 yards or more into the ocean and still be waist to chest deep. This gives people a false sense of security though, as the waves are 3 to 4 feet high out that far and it is easy to get in trouble. The week before we arrived, the paper said that the lifeguards had something like 300 interventions in a 4 hour period. At night, the low tide goes out a LONG way. The beach area is easily 50 yards wide or more to walk on. It is a beautiful sight and provides a great environment to walk on at night.
Within 10 minutes is the town of Port Orange. This is your typical city and where you go to find Wal-Mart, Target, all the chain stores, etc. Through Port Orange another 10 minutes is Daytona Beach.
Of interest is that A1A does not run through this particular section of the barrier islands. About 7 miles to the south of the complex on Atlantic Ave, you basically "dead end" in a state park. You can not get to the next barrier island to the south. Likewise, you can't get to Daytona directly to the north either. To get north or south to the next barrier islands, you have to return to the mainland. That is the reason that this is such a laid back area. It is local traffic only. To come here, you have to want to come here because you cant pass through to anything.
Unit: We occupied unit 231, a 2-bedroom unit at the Hill St end of the 6 unit building nearest the ocean. So our unit was the furthest from the ocean. We still had a great view of the ocean while sitting on our unit's deck. The unit's decks are completely covered with the ceiling structure of the building. While this is great to get out of the sun (and rain), it does create a "heat pocket" of dead air in a way, and feels somewhat like sitting in a little cave.
The unit is accessed by a private stairway from the sidewalk. The deck is not accessible from the stairway or landing. The deck is accessed from inside the unit only.
The unit is in good condition and was nicely decorated. We never had any need for maintenance services. Everything was in working order. The décor is typical of Florida / tropical decor. Likely not what you would do in your own house, but typical of what you'll find in the area and almost what you "want" and expect when you come to Florida. The entire unit is ceramic tile, including the deck. Carpet wouldn't last a year in this environment so I can see why they do that. Just be prepared that you will never really get that "sand on my feet" feeling off you the entire time. The sand finds its way into the unit despite your best attempts to keep it out, and you will feel it on your bare feet inside your unit all week. Again, no big deal, ocean/sand is why I went to Florida. There is a broom and a vacuum in the unit so you can try and improve this yourself without needing cleaning service.
The unit's door opens into the dining area, kitchen area and living room area. When you enter the unit, to the left is a round 4-person kitchen table and chair. There is a window at the dining table looking outside. To the right of the front door is the living room. It contains a 3 person coach (pull out sofa) and a 2 person love seat. There is a coffee table and small end table also. The end table has a table lamp. There is an entertainment stand adjacent to the front door (on the outside wall). This stand contains the TV and a combination DVD/VCR. All windows have window treatments to control light / sun from the outside. In addition, the windows have exterior screening devices meant to reduce direct sunlight from hitting the glass. There is no ceiling fan in the living room.
The TV was newer and contained a digital tuner for receiving high-definition TV. There must be an antenna for reception somewhere in the unit / complex, because the TV received some over-the-air HD stations. There was also a full compliment of cable TV channels available. There is wireless Internet available at the complex for $10 per week (yes per week, not per day). I did not use it. My Sprint and Verizon signals were always available at the complex.
In the living room, is the sliding door out to the deck. The deck had chairs and a very small round table. It was a nice sized deck.
Between the dining table and the kitchen appliances is the bar/counter that contains the sink and dishwasher. There are two bar stools for sitting there. The "aisle" in the kitchen between the oven and the sink is very narrow, but not a big deal. If you are "cookers" this might be a concern, but we aren't, so it didn't matter. For example, if the refrigerator door or dishwasher door is open, no one else can move into or out of the kitchen.
The entire kitchen, dining area and living room is basically one room. It was adequately sized for our family of 4. Personally, I think these units would feel cramped with 6 in them. A hallway leads to the 2 bedrooms. There is a full bath off the hallway. This was nice to have a full tub available outside the master bedroom. It was a basic bathroom. There is little to no storage in this bathroom.
The second bedroom contains two twin beds with a nightstand table in between. The table has a table lamp. There is some clothes storage in this table. The bedroom has a ceiling fan with light. There is a closet in the room, along with a TV on a TV stand. The TV stand has drawer storage for clothes. There is no DVD or VCR in this room.
The master bedroom contains a queen bed. The bed is Sleep Number airbed with dual chambers, so each of us could have our own setting. There is an adequate closet in the bedroom (not a walk-in). The bedroom has two bedside tables, each with a table lamp. There is a ceiling fan with light in the bedroom. Inside the master, is a master bath. It contains a very large shower (no tub). There is a large counter in the bathroom, but only a single sink. There is a lot of drawer space in the bathroom. We found ourselves storing the kids bathroom supplies in our bathroom because the hallway bath has no storage. This kept the hallway bath less cluttered.
We found there to be adequate hot water the entire stay. We also were able to control the temperature of the unit to our liking.
All in all, we loved our first exposure to our purchase at this condo. It was a nice, quiet, laid back, Atlantic Ocean stay.
Just returned from a week in the sun...Ocean Sands was clean,comforitable, and relaxing...Everyone who worked there was friendly and helpful...
.New Smyrna Beach is just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Daytona.(you can easily drive over for the evening/day) We loved it...!!!
There were activities daily by the pool..The kids had a blast....the beach was great with wonderful lifeguards nearby....and...it was only a little over an hours drive to Disney....
Would definitely return there if we had the opportunity....
As of 2004 - Now rated a RID (Resort of International Disctinction) with RCI!! Beautiful oceanfront complex. Secluded and private. Units have just been remodeled (2003) with tile flooring, painting, appliances and furniture. All units have private entrances with new awnings (no buildings to walk through or elevators to wait for). Complex is managed by RPM which manages several other complexes, so activities are available (gives you a chance to see and use other facilities). New Smyrna Beach is one of the safest beaches in the world and is convient to Disney, Daytona Raceway, St. Augistine and the Kennedy Space Center.
Nice, Nice, Nice !! It's great to walk to the
beach with NO worries of crowds !! The area
dining is excellant and the fishing and water
sports abound. Great stay this summer !!
Close to all Disney attractions !
Excellent resort for all ages children and adults right on the beach with many things to do in New Smyrna area.