Walk around the largest shell mound in the entire country, The Green Mound, and discover the history of Ponce Inlet.
View of Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Ponce Inlet offers its visitors a variety of activities and restaurants to enjoy in addition to the beautiful beach. One of the top attractions of this beautiful city is The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Florida’s tallest lighthouse. It is open for visits and hosts special events throughout the year. While spending some time in the area, tourists can also visit the Marine Science Center to learn about the wonders of the marine life or join Ponce Inlet Watersports for an aquatic experience. Plus, they should make time during their trip to the Daytona Beach region to explore all that the districts have to offer in terms of cuisine, entertainment, and great bargains. With all these enchanting activities and attractions, tourists forget about the hidden gems of Ponce Inlet and may not be aware that it boasts the largest shell mound in the entire country, The Green Mound. Here’s an overview of it.
Discover the makers of the green hill when you visit Ponce Inlet
Ponce Inlet’s Green Mound is the largest shell mound of its kind in the United States, made entirely of discarded organic material. Native American tribes in the area created it as a place to deposit oyster and shellfish and other debris. It grew to 50 feet (15.24 meters) tall between the years 800 and 1600 AD. Because of its composition, many pre-Columbian items were preserved in the shell mound’s material, and the excavation of the mound reveals a vertical chronology of the Native Americans who lived there. The mere creation of the midden, made from the shellfish diet that allowed the inhabitants to thrive in the region for hundreds of years, represents the transition from a nomadic to a sedentary existence.
Archaeologists were also able to learn how the tribes’ way of life evolved over time because of the vertical chronology. In the various layers of preserved molluscs, archaeologists discovered signs of houses, including ashes from fire pits, clay floors and simple buildings. In addition, scientists concluded that the highest tribesmen, such as the chieftains or the spiritual authorities, lived at the top of the hill. The hill is now 30 feet (9.14 meters) high, having lost 20 feet (6 meters) due to erosion and the mistake of using the material to build a road in 1922. The Green Hill is the highest peak in the community and is located in the Ponce Preserve Park in Ponce Inlet. Wild coffee, snowberry and marlberry are just a few of the strange plants that still grow around the hill due to its unusual habitat. At the foot of the center grows a live oak with wild twisted branches, 350 years old.
Currently, the City of Ponce Inlet is in charge of Green Mound, which is owned by the State of Florida. One can take an easy walk around the hill, which is located in the beautiful Ponce Preserve park. Fortunately, the city is aiming to make Green Mound even more accessible in the coming years by adding informative signs and new trails to the top. The first archaeologist to work on the site, John W. Griffin, would be delighted to learn that the Green Mound has been properly erected as a monument and that people are recognizing its importance. Visitors will find that the location tells a very interesting story about the Florida Indians, their way of life and how it evolved. The location where it happened will be where this story is shared.
- Entrance fee: Free
- Opening schedule: Daily from 05:00 to 20:00
How to get to the beautiful green hill, Ponce Inlet
The Green Mound is located in Ponce Inlet on Peninsula Drive. Visitors take Dunlawton Avenue (SR 421) over the Intracoastal waterway from US 1 (South Ridgeway Avenue) in Port Orange to A1A (Atlantic Avenue). Then they drive 2.5 miles south on A1A to Old Carriage Road in Ponce Inlet. Later they should take Old Carriage Road to Peninsula Drive and turn left (south) on Peninsula. Finally, after 2 miles (3.21 km) (east), they should look for the hill on the left.
Don’t forget to stop by the iconic Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
At the Ponce Inlet Light Station and Museum, visitors take a step back in time and climb 175 feet (53.34 meters) soaking up the Florida sunshine! Built in 1887, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse has been illuminating the Florida coast for over 130 years. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998, this well-known lighthouse museum is conveniently located 10 miles south of Daytona on the world’s most famous beach and offers a wealth of activities for young and old. A trip to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is a must-do experience that will upgrade tourists’ Florida vacations to a new level of adventure. Experiences at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
Visitors have three options: they can sign up for a private tour before they arrive, explore the light station independently using a self-guided tour map, or participate in one of the museum’s exclusive after-hours activities. Teachers can also request educational sessions and site visits for their students.
- Entrance fee: $6.95 per visitor over 11 years old and $1.95 per child between 3 and 11 years old
- Opening schedule: Daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM