Beach Vacations to Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach (courtesy, Visit Florida)

Daytona Beach Travel Tips

  • From May 15 through October 31, endangered green sea turtles come to nest on Daytona's shores. Respect the warning signs on the beach and stay back at least 30 feet.
  • Watch the tides when driving (or even parking) along the beaches designated for car use. Driving hours are from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset.
  • Old-fashioned beach trolleys run up and down Atlantic Avenue from mid-January to Labor Day (noon to 7 P.M., Monday through Saturday) and cost just $1.25.
  • Summer (and sometimes autumn) is hot and humid, with highs in the 90s. Thunderstorms are frequent during summer afternoons, and 'tis the season for hurricanes, too.

Yes, Daytona is the land of fast cars, motorcycle rallies, and spring breakers, but did you know that it's also "The World's Most Famous Beach?" That's the local motto anyway, and town hall seems determined to prove it. The city has spent millions redeveloping the somewhat seedy beachfront area around the Main Street Pier—a.k.a. the Daytona Beach Pier—which is one of the longest wooden quays on the East Coast and marks the buzzing hub of town (note the outdoor mall and entertainment center called Ocean Walk Village). Keep the kids away from the Main Street and Seabreeze Boulevard area if you can (rowdy bars, pole dancers) and explore the Boardwalk instead, which begins at the pier and is lined with family-friendly rides, video arcades, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

Of course, you can't go to Daytona without reveling in its motor-sports culture. The city is world famous for its speedway, which hosts the Daytona 500 every February plus a slew of other major races throughout the year. Daytona Beach is also known for having one of the few U.S. beaches to permit cars (stick to the designated areas and don't top 18 miles per hour). Spring break is not as wild as it once was, but thousands of high-energy visitors come in for Bike Week (March) and Biketoberfest (October).

Logistically speaking, Daytona Beach is a fairly easy trip. As the tourist center of Florida's northeastern Fun Coast, the city sits roughly halfway between St. Augustine and Cape Canaveral, and is convenient to both the Jacksonville and Orlando airports. Reams of beachside hotels and motels line Atlantic Avenue (many of them housed in funky, circa-1950 buildings). The Daytona Beach area has more than 15,000 individual rooms and condos—a good number for a city of only 65,000 residents. Just make sure you book your accommodations well ahead of time. Nearly eight million visitors vacation in the area each year, and rooms go fast.

One more thing: Daytona Beach is not all flash and trash. The city is proud of its cultural institutions, which include concerts at the Art Deco-style Oceanfront Bandshell, frequent summer appearances by the London Symphony Orchestra, and a handful of museums. There's also nearby Ponce Inlet, a tranquil and scenic fishing village, and a number of spacious state parks within striking distance. So, don't worry: You'll find at least one respectable thing to write home about.

Published: 23 Dec 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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