Daytona Beach, “the world’s most famous beach,” is 23 miles of stunning Atlantic shoreline on Florida’s east coast. It is a favorite for families, as its appeal and amazing lineup of activities go well beyond the beach. There is fun any time of year, on the water and off, from a racetrack straightaway or the lighthouse lookout, immersed on a nature trail or amazed by an art exhibit. Located just an hour’s drive from Orlando, St. Augustine and the Kennedy Space Center, Daytona Beach is an easy drive destination and has excellent air service, too.
The beautiful beaches of Daytona Beach are the centerpiece of any visit. There are places to relax with the family, to ride on miles of hard-packed sand and to explore and enjoy until your heart is content. This sprawling shoreline, 500-feet-wide at low tide, allows plenty of room for adventure. The close proximity to lodging, dining and entertainment, numerous public spaces offering convenient parking, and variety of beach areas from which to choose–Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Shores and Ponce Inlet–combines for easily accessible fun for all!
Take in the sights with Daytona Speedboat Adventures (4936 South Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32118; 386-481-3050). This exhilarating tour aboard the Daytona Sea Racer travels out Ponce Inlet and along the beaches of Daytona Beach, Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna. For a different view, Ponce Inlet Watersports (4936 South Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127; 386-405-3445) offers eco-tours that cruise the back bays and Intracoastal Waterway. Paddle board and kayak rentals are also available.
Boardwalk and Pier
The Daytona Beach Pier (1200 Main Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114) is one of the most iconic landmarks here. Extending 1,000 feet, this is a favorite spot to take a stroll or cast a line. The pier is also the centerpiece of the Daytona Beach Boardwalk (12 North Ocean Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118; 386-253-0254) which features the Daytona Beach Bandshell as well as gift shops, snack bars, restaurants and a classic arcade.
Spring and summer offer an extra treat: the chance to take in a Daytona Tortugas minor league game at Jackie Robinson Ballpark (105 East Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-257-3172). Now home to the Daytona Tortugas, this is the place where Robinson broke the color barrier, playing his first professional game. The historic ballpark opened in 1914 and is one of the oldest still used in professional baseball.
The Daytona Beach area has an impressive collection of hiking and biking trails, ranging from beautiful natural areas to downtown walkways. Throughout Volusia County, trails offer a chance to enjoy and explore the beautiful Central Florida landscape. A favorite is Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve (90 Divito Drive, New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32168; 386-943-7081) and the Lyonia Preserve (2150 Eustace Avenue, Deltona, Florida 32725; 386-789-7207, ext. #21025). The county has a Parks and Trails App for details on all the options.
NASCAR fans will find there is plenty of excitement beyond race day here. The NASCAR Racing Experience (1801 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118; 800-237-3889) invites fans to drive a NASCAR race car at the “World Center of Racing!” Visitors can choose to drive a race car by themselves or take a ride along as a passenger. Speedway tours are also a fantastic way get an up-close look at the world-famous track, with its 31° banking, the infield Fan Zone and the new $400 million stadium seating.
Florida’s Tallest Lighthouse
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse (4931 South Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127; 386-761-1821) is a National Historic Landmark and Florida’s tallest lighthouse. Climbing to the top is an adventure and offers a spectacular view! Throughout the grounds, well-preserved and restored buildings and artifacts tell many fascinating stories of Florida’s culture and history.
Ocean Walk Shoppes (250 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118; 386-258-9544) is a favorite entertainment hub on the beach, and has been joined by the new One Daytona (1 Daytona Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-681-4816) lifestyle and entertainment center, just inland. Each with a mix of shopping, dining, entertainment and events, they offer something for the whole family, every season of the year.
Marine Life Up Close
At the Marine Science Center (100 Lighthouse Drive, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127; 386-304-5545) offers innovative ways to learn about the region’s rich marine life–from the ecosystems to the creatures that inhabit them. Visitors can view seabird and sea turtle rehabilitation, get hands-on in a teaching lab and explore exhibit galleries and a nature trail that illustrate the story of marine life in Volusia County.
Explore a dozen water rides at Daytona Lagoon Premier Waterpark and Family Fun Entertainment Center (601 Earl Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118; 386-254-5020). Waterslides, wave pools, lazy rivers and splash centers offer fun for both the young and the young at heart. On dry land, experience the thrill behind the wheel at Speedway Indoor Karting (2455 West International Speedway Boulevard, Suite 300, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-400-9848) where there are specialized experiences for 8- to 13-year-olds and those 14 and older. For aerial excitement, there’s Daytona Beach Zipline Adventure (1000 Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-882-8016). Those 8-years and older can choose from two courses for climbing, swinging and zipping from tree to tree.
For indoor activities, the museums and galleries of Daytona Beach offer one-of-a-kind learning experiences (in addition to rainy day fun). The Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts & Sciences (352 South Nova Road, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-255-0285) includes a state-of-the-art planetarium, Coca-Cola memorabilia and a children’s museum brimming with interactive exhibits. It is joined by the amazing collections of Florida art at the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art (352 South Nova Road, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-255-0285).
Where to Stay
Daytona Beach, with more than 200 properties, has lodging options to fit every need. Properties include a variety of accommodations on the Daytona Beach oceanfront, throughout its unique neighborhoods and near inland attractions. From beach bungalows to luxury hotels to condominiums for any size group, accommodations throughout the Daytona Beach area offer comfortable alternatives for every stay.