Florida vacations have so much to offer visitors. Daytona Beach is a location with a wide variety of activities for all types of interests. From relaxing on the warm sand of the beach to the racing excitement of Daytona International Speedway and everything in-between there’s something for everyone.
Race Cars and Motorcycles Draw Enthusiasts
Ever since 1948, when the first NASCAR race took place on the beach, racing fans have traveled to Daytona Beach to experience the thrill of speed. Racing’s North Turn restaurant in Ponce Inlet, a few miles south of Daytona, marks the site where that original first turn existed. The the first Daytona 500 was run on the 2.5 mile track of the Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 1959 with a reported 41,000 spectators, small by comparison to today’s crowds of 200,000 or more. Open year-round, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Daytona 500 Experience offers visitors speedway tours, exhibits, and first-hand experiences such as the Richard Petty Driving Experience where fans can ride along or even drive a car on the track at Daytona.
Celebrating Bike Week in Daytona began with the first annual Daytona 200 race held in 1937. However, when the race was interrupted due to WWII, bikers still journeyed to Daytona for what was dubbed Bike Week. It has since become an early March event that coincides with the Daytona 200 AMA Superbike race attracting hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts who converge in Daytona to take part in events across the county. A smaller event, Biketoberfest, takes place in October.
Enjoy Nature and the Outdoors
Twenty-three miles long and as much as 500 feet wide at low tide, the beach at Daytona is a popular destination. Relax in the sun, swim in the ocean, surf the waves, fish from shore or area piers, these are just some of the many ways to have a good time at the beach. Driving and parking is allowed on the beach from Seabreeze Blvd. north and from International Speedway Blvd. south with a traffic free zone around the Main Street Pier area. Off beach parking is also available. To guarantee trouble-free beach fun follow these suggestions:
adhere to the posted 10mph speed limit and stay in marked traffic lanes
look for sunbathers when pulling in and out of parking spaces
don’t sunbathe between parked cars
don’t drive through soft sand, in particular red sand, to avoid getting stuck
swim near a lifeguard tower
don’t bring alcohol or glass containers to the beach
leave pets home, only dogs assisting the sight or hearing impaired are allowed
do not disturb nesting sea turtles or their nests
keep personal music at a personal volume.
Opportunities for water fun can be found at places other than the beach. For those who prefer water slides and a lazy river, Daytona Lagoon water park fulfills their desires. Only a few blocks west of the beach power boats, kayaks, canoes, jet skis and sailboats travel along the Halifax River which runs parallel to the ocean.
Play a round on one of more than two dozen championship golf courses in the area designed by Arthur Hill, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lloyd Clifton and Bill Amick. Don’t miss the Rees Jones designed LPGA International course at the home of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Tennis enthusiasts will enjoy a set at the Florida Tennis Center where the USTA Florida’s offices are located. There are 24 Hydro-clay courts of which 20 are lighted for night play.
Investigate History and Celebrate the Arts
The Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS) in Daytona hosts traveling exhibits and holds within its permanent collections the finest collection of American Art in the southeastern U.S., Cuban art, Chinese Art and numerous other pieces. In the museums natural sciences collection it houses the bones of a prehistoric Giant Ground Sloth excavated from an area in South Daytona where Reed Canal Park is situated today. MOAS Daytona has Coca-Cola entrepreneur Chapman Root’s impressive lifetime collection of Americana for viewing, as well.
The Southeast Museum of Photography at Daytona State College hosts exhibitions and public programs by the world’s most renowned artists and photojournalists. The more than 3,500 photographs housed in the permanent collection includes works by William Klein, Sally Mann, Harry Callahan, Gordon Parks, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Aaron Siskind and Robert Rauschenberg.
A short drive south of Daytona the century old Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is open to visitors. Built in 1914, City Island Ball Park (also known as Jackie Robinson Ball Park) is the home of the Daytona Cubs. History, the arts, the beach, shopping, restaurants, and amusement rides all come together in the area surrounding the Daytona Beach Bandshell built in 1936. Located on the beach near the Main Street Pier the bandshell still provides the stage for entertainment today. Daytona Beach offers fun in the sun and under the stars.