Daytona Beach is an oceanfront community on the Atlantic Coast of Florida about an hour northeast of Orlando. Ranked #1 in TRAVEL CHANNEL’S 2017 “Top 10 Attractions in Florida,” Daytona Beach is different (but good) from places like Panama City Beach where sand is soft and sugar-white. It’s hard-packed in some areas as driving is allowed (in restricted areas) on Daytona beaches. There are so many things to do in Daytona Beach where NASCAR rules and attractions are plentiful. This list will give you a great jumpstart on planning a trip to The Original American Beach!
One of my favorite attractions in Daytona Beach is the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory located on Daytona’s happening Beach Street. Making fine chocolates and candies since 1925, Angell & Phelps offers a FREE factory tour that is only 20-30 minutes long and ends with FREE samples! You can see the candy makers working away through the cottage-like windows making the yummy candies the old-fashioned way! (Note: Factory tours are wheelchair and stroller accessible, and parking is FREE.)
Basilica of Saint Paul, a Mission Revival architectural masterpiece, is a Minor Basilica of the Catholic Church. Go by for prayer, reflection or a church tour. See web site for times and other information.
Beach Street is Daytona’s place to be! The Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach are located in the historic downtown Beach Street area (between Bay Street and Orange Avenue). Here vacationers and locals alike can shop, dine and enjoy various forms of entertainment. Beach Street houses museums, exhibits, festivals, cafes, Florida’s oldest Farmer’s Market and the historic Jackie Robinson Ballpark right on the waterfront.
Bethune Point Skateboard Park is located at Bethune Point Park along the Halifax River and is accessible from South Beach Street. Opened in November 2009, this is Daytona’s first skate park and offers premier facilities for skateboarders. (Note: Parental consent forms can be downloaded and printed out online for youth under 17 years old.)
Daytona Beach Bandshell is a wonderful concert venue for residents and visitors to enjoy live entertainment. Built in the 1930s, this coquina rock structure is a gem that seats some 4,000 folks and is sustained by Friends of the Bandshell, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation. FREE concerts are made possible by sponsors, grants, donations and volunteers.
Daytona Boardwalk & Pier is an entertainment and amusement center right on the beach! Enjoy an arcade, indoor and outdoor rides, the Sandblaster Roller Coaster, the Slingshot, go-karts and so much more! There are food venues and lots of family attractions. Enjoy FREE summer concerts at the Daytona Bandshell and street performers, plus on Saturday nights at 9:45 (Memorial Day – Labor Day) fireworks light up the Daytona Beach skies. Check the web site for concert listings and more information.
The Daytona Flea and Farmer’s Market sits on 40 acres and offers far more than your typical flea market finds. There are once-a-month classic car shows, watermelon eating contests, holiday events and tons of vendors. Get your fresh produce plus so much more! Also, check out the Downtown Farmer’s Market at Riverfront for fresh fruits and veggies, homemade baked goods, seafood and local flavors.
Daytona Helicopter Services offer tours for many varying reasons from transit service to photography or simply to see nature’s beauty from above. Tours are outlined on the web site so be sure and look them over if this is appealing to you.
Daytona Lagoon is a waterpark and entertainment center featuring laser tag, a MEGA arcade and plunging water rides. Of course, you can always just spend your day floating down the lazy river (my kind of fun)! There are good food options available at the facility and plenty of parking. This park earned a 2015 TripAdvisor Award of Excellence for consistent great reviews!
Frank Rendon Park is a great family venue with picnic areas, grills, a playground, restrooms and outdoor showers. Enjoy the beach walkway and an observation deck. (Note: Open sunrise to sunset daily.)
Another MUST SEE attraction in Daytona Beach is the Jackie Robinson Ballpark and Statue. Jackie Robinson led the movement for inclusion of African-American baseball players and this minor league ballpark is where history was made. He played here in the first integrated Major League Baseball spring training game in 1946. A statue of Robinson stands as a reminder of his legend and there are historical markers as well as a museum. If you have a group, you can make an appointment for a group tour. (Note: Open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Mini Golf is a crowd-pleaser from youngest to oldest and vacation always seems to be a good place to give it a whirl. Daytona Beach has several for your choosing including: Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf and Congo River Adventure Golf.
Ocean Walk Village is a mecca of sorts providing accommodations, meeting space, entertainment, shopping and dining right in the heart of the Atlantic shoreline over six square blocks. The village is comprised of The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, Wyndham Ocean Walk, Ocean Walk Shoppes and the Ocean Center. A destination in and of itself, Ocean Walk Village is a lovely place to spend the day.
Ponce Inlet is a remote escape just south of Daytona Beach with the first sight of it being the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. As a fan of lighthouses, this is a lovely place to relax and take some photographs. Climb the 203 steps to the top of the tower which juts 175 feet into the sky offering amazing views of the beach, the surrounding lush grounds and inlet waterways. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, the Ponce Inlet Light Station is visited by some 170,000 folks each year. Don’t miss the museum filled with artifacts, shipwrecks, and the gift shop! (Note: Open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. but extended during summertime.) Other amenities in this small coastal community include a children’s playground, boat ramps, restaurants, the Marine Science Center and more.
Sun Glow Fishing Pier is a great place to spend the morning (or day) hanging out and fishing. Around since 1960, the pier has all the amenities needed for a day of fishing – cleaning stations, a bait shop, bench seats and pole rentals. Also home to Crabby Joe’s, you don’t have to venture far for a fine meal. See web site for pricing and other information.
Tanger Outlet Center in Daytona Beach provides a great opportunity for shopping with many popular, name-brand outlet stores. Check the web site for coupons and specials.
Tuscawilla Preserve is an inviting, lush 90-acre Florida coastal hydric hammock and habitat for endangered species of flora and fauna. Opened in 2005, the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) Klancke Environmental Education Complex is a unique oasis in the middle of Daytona Beach. The boardwalks and covered canopies allow for beautiful walks admiring the beauty of Tuscawilla Preserve. The Sensory Garden is a lovely welcome to the preserve with various senses being tickled upon entrance. This is a don’t miss in Daytona Beach as the MOAS is Smithsonian affiliated.
The CiCi and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art is home to the largest collection of Florida art in the world containing some 2,600 state-themed oil and watercolor paintings in a new attraction built with a $13 million gift announced in 2012. The grand facility exquisitely displays the collection’s signature pieces while smaller galleries play home to rotating exhibits. Enjoy the gift shop and on-site café to facilitate a full day of browsing the museum. The CiCi and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art is part of Daytona’s Museum of Arts and Sciences, a Smithsonian affiliate.
History lovers will enjoy a trip to Halifax Historical Museum where local history is displayed. The museum itself is located in the old Merchants Bank Building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A popular home tour is Lilian Place, the oldest house on Daytona’s beachside complete with a fully-furnished museum! Built in 1884 by Laurence Thompson (one of the city’s pioneers), this Italianate Victorian sat abandoned until 2009. Thanks to a grant, the Heritage Preservation Trust was able to acquire this site. When you finish at Lilian Place, check out neighboring Hotchkiss House. This grand Victorian turreted mansion overlooking the Halifax River was built at the request of Eliphalet Hubbell Hotchkiss in 1905. Like Lilian Place, the property has been neglected and much repair needs to be done as funds are available. Check the web site for tour times.
Museum of Arts and Sciences Planetarium allows the fun exploration of the unverse. Also take time for the kids to go thru the interactive, hands-on Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum. Here kids can use their imaginations to demonstrate various principles of science, build things and discover! See Melissa’s fun video at the Planetarium above and check out her top 10 things to do in Daytona Beach!
Southeast Museum of Photography is Florida’s only museum dedicated specifically to photography. The museum houses a permanent display as well as rotating exhibits. Please check the web site for museum hours and current exhibits. FREE admission.
Daytona International Speedway is a Daytona Beach icon and home to the world-famous Daytona 500 NASCAR event. No trip to Daytona Beach is complete without a visit to the Speedway! Visitors start with a view of the track and its high-banked turns from the grandstand. Test your racing skills or meander through the expansive gift shop. (Note: The facility is open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) DAYTONA Rising, a $400 million re-imagining of the Speedway, has recently completed. The project created over 100,000 permanent, wider and more comfy seats, double the restrooms and three times the concession stands. There are more than 60 luxury suites with track-side views and expanded entrances which lead fans to escalators and elevators. This won’t affect your tour, but will provide for a more enjoyable experience if you are at a race.
Daytona 500 is the granddaddy of NASCAR races and with the DAYTONA Rising project complete at the Daytona International Speedway, there’s not a better time for fans to enjoy pre-race entertainment and racing at its best! Get your tickets early because this event is usually in front of a sold-out crowd.
On February 18, 2001, NASCAR lost one of its greats in a crash during the final lap of the Daytona 500. Almost a year later, a 9 foot tall statue of Dale Earnhardt Sr. was unveiled at Daytona International Speedway. The statue of Earnhardt depicts the driver standing on top of a bronze #3. The statue serves as a memorial of sorts where fans come and snap selfies with one of their NASCAR favorites.
Today’s ticket to tour the Daytona International Speedway comes with an opportunity to also visit the Motorsports Hall of Fame. Honoring all forms of motorsports (stock cars, sports cars, open-wheel, motorcycles, drag racing, land speed records, powerboating and aviation), you’ll see 10,000-square-feet proudly displaying bronze plaques featuring sculpted images of more than 200 inductees to the Hall of Fame.
The Richard Petty Driving Experience has something for all levels of experience and adventure. Perhaps you just want to experience the high banks of the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway by riding alongside a professional instructor in a NASCAR stock car – then the Ride Along is perfect for you. Maybe, though, you are looking for a Rookie or King’s Experience…or even the Experience of a Lifetime where you drive three eight-lap segments, increasing your speed with each one. You’ll go through extensive safety and instructional training both in-car and on-track and you’ll receive one-on-one feedback from the pit road and on-track driving instructors. End the event with your time sheet and a graduation packet! See web site for driving dates and prices.
Atlantic Scuba Guide & Services is a full-service outfitter and PADI training facility in Daytona Beach. Take your certification classes here, schedule a dive trip, and you can purchase or rent equipment.
Daytona Beach Jet Ski offers two locations (Daytona Beach and Ponce Inlet) with rentals in almost every type of water equipment you could need. Here are some options: paddleboards, waverunners, deck boats, speed boats, kayaks, canoe, wakeboards, kneeboards and water skis.
Daytona Beach Parasail located in Ponce Inlet is the place for U.S. Coast Guard certified parasailing experiences. Take in views of Daytona Beach, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, New Smyrna Beach and waterways.
Daytona Fun Rentals provides all the water toys you need for vacation. Scooters, bicycles, jet skis, paddleboards, pontoon boats and canoes are just a few of the options. They also offer Sunset Dolphin Cruises.
Driving on the beach is a novelty that brings many folks to Daytona Beach every year. The tradition dates back to the early 1900s, and is still enjoyed today! Make sure you check out access points and other factors like beach driving fees and safety information. This might be one of the most fun things to do in Daytona Beach!
Lady Dolphin of Daytona offers two-hour dinner and river cruises! Affordable and fun, check out the web site where you can reserve your trip and choose your meal!
Eco tours are available from St. Johns River Eco Tours about 40 minutes away from Daytona, but worth the trip for avid fans of the water. Do your sightseeing from a daily boat tour with looks at birds, alligators, and much more. They launch from Highbanks Marina & Camp Resort in Debary. Check the web site for tours and times.
The Manatee Scenic Boat Tours offers many types of tours on the Intracoastal Waterway and boarding at Ponce Inlet. Two hour tours include wetlands, wildlife, waterfront homes and the Ponce De Leon Lighthouse – choose your pleasure! Bring your camera, but first make a reservation because that’s the only way they roll!
Ponce Inlet Watersports offers so much family fun with parasailing, fishing, eco tours, sailing, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards!
Pure Life Surf School operates from Frank Rendon Park and offers summer surf school along with private or group lessons on the beach behind the park.
When in Ponce Inlet, check out Short Money Jet Ski Rentals for personal watercraft rentals. You can rent wave runners and jet skis as well as purchase things like goggles, t-shirts and water-proof cameras.
Three Brothers Paddleboards offers stand up paddleboard tours in the Halifax River. Make some memories with knowledgeable experts!
Blue Coast Shop has all your gear including surfboards, bicycle rentals, sunglasses, sandals, beach clothing, etc. They also offer scenic river paddleboard tours and surf lessons!
Daytona Board Store is an outfitter with lots of choices! Pick out a surfboard, paddleboard, body board to purchase or a rental. Also available are clothing, accessories and lessons! Check out their SURF CAMP as well!
Events and Festivals Worth the Trip
Bike Week is a yearly event in Daytona Beach where motorcycle enthusiasts come together for a week-long rally. Specific events include racing, concerts, parties, street festivals and more! Held the first full week in March, around 500,000 people make their way to Daytona Beach for this annual event!
Biketoberfest, held in October each year, is the perfect opportunity for those who love to watch the pros compete in Daytona International Speedway’s Motorcycle Races. Enjoy cooler beach temperatures and lots of Daytona Beach fun!
Country 500 Music Festival takes place Memorial Day weekend with some of Country Music’s biggest names (performers have included the likes of Blake Shelton, Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Martina McBride and Miranda Lambert) performing over a three-day (and night) weekend. The festival lures visitors and locals with the event taking place on the sacred grounds of the Daytona International Speedway infield.
The Daytona Blues Festival is held annually at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark. The event takes place in October from 1 – 10 p.m. over three days with a great lineup of talented musicians and entertainment.
The Halifax Art Festival is the second oldest continual art festival in Florida attracting nearly 45,000 visitors annually. See more than 250 artist spaces with fine art displays and craft artisans from all over the United States! There will be live entertainment, a student art competition, activities for children and more, and it benefits the Museum of Arts and Sciences.
The Daytona Turkey Run is a combination Car Show and Swap Meet – in fact, the largest in the United States! Car enthusiasts make their way to the famous racing town to be part of this event at the Daytona International Speedway. Held twice a year (Thanksgiving weekend and the last weekend in March), expect to see vintage, classic, muscle and race cars for show and sale! Also enjoy Artisan Alley, food and entertainment. Proceeds from this event go to different charities along with local programs.
Golf courses are plentiful in Daytona Beach with great weather and world-class facilities. The area is full of famous fairways designed by top names in the golf world (Golf Digest recently ranked Daytona Beach among top 15 places to play in the nation). If golf is your game, you should definitely take the time to play a few rounds. Here are some great places to look to plan a golf vacation in Daytona Beach.
Angelic Gardens located on Ormond Beach is a full-service salon offering a myriad of treatments from massage and facials to body treatments and waxing.
As far as spas go, this one at Hilton Daytona Beach Resort – Ocean Walk Village is so good! Pamper yourself choosing services from a full menu of treatments and upscale Pevonia products.
Plaza Resort and Spa is another excellent choice for spa services in the resort’s Ocean Waters Spa, a 15,000-square-foot full-service European spa facility. Leave feeling revitalized after having one or more of some 30 spa treatments. Enjoy a glass of wine or champagne in the Utopia room followed by the Jacuzzi or a trip to the Eucalyptus Steam room. Have a couples massage, a facial or a hydrotherapy tub. They also do hair, makeup, manis and pedis.
Remedy Spa was voted one of Daytona Beach’s premiere spas so it’s definitely worth a visit! Located at Pelican Bay, Remedy offers a wide variety of spa treatments (massages, waxes and more) and specializes on your overall well-being.
Located in downtown Daytona, Salon 230 is a full-service salon and spa with a full complement of luxury spa treatments. They also offer skincare, waxing, manis and pedis in addition to hair services.
The Shores Resort & Spa indulges the whole body as you are pampered head to toe in this elite boutique hotel spa. Choose from many individual spa treatments or just get a package! It is so hard to decide on just one.
Daytona Beach Dining and Libations
31 Supper Club is a divine choice for dining in downtown Ormond Beach. They serve fabulous American fare and have live music. It’s a little more upscale so dress accordingly. Questions? Visit the web site.
Aunt Catfish’s on the River is such a fun dining venue with tasty Southern seafood traditions. Waterfront dining gives it a special ambiance and the food is SO good! While lunch is less expensive and full of great pickings, dinner is my favorite time to dine while the sun is setting. I always choose a fresh local catch, but the ribs look pretty good, too! Plenty for the kids to choose from as well!
Azure, a fine-dining restaurant located at The Shores Resort & Spa, is chef-driven with a lovely ocean-inspired cuisine and perfect use of local flavors. The outside dining at sunset is just beautiful. (Note: Azure serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.)
Crabby Joe’s Deck & Grill at the Sun Glow Pier, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is the perfect blend of casual dining with spectacular views! Take the kids and enjoy hearty portions of your favorite seafood. I love the Coconut Shrimp appetizer and the White Fish entrée…you can’t go wrong with either if you are a seafood fan!
Pick up a brew tour on the Daytona Beach Ale Trail and enjoy Daytona’s best in craft beers in unique settings. A fun experience for ale lovers!
Daytona Beach Brewing Company offers a variety of beer tasting in the taproom with summer ales, IPAs and many more flavors. Open Tuesday – Saturday, the brewery has 11 beers on tap!
Pizza King at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk is a fun, family-friendly eatery overlooking the beach. Pizza King serves not only pizza, but also grilled burgers and hot dogs, Greek salads, shrimp, fried clams and more!
Oceanfront dining is at its best at Racing’s North Turn in Ponce Inlet. Taking a nod from the area’s NASCAR appreciation, the restaurant sits on the exact location where Daytona’s racing history began. Fuel your engine with a frozen concoction and rev it up with a starter of Clam Chowder. The choices are interesting and delicious!
Everyone needs a good coffee shop no matter what the trip. Daytona’s is Sweet Marlay’s Coffee Shop. Fun named brews start your day with a kick, so grab a breakfast sandwich or a bagel and a cup of joe!
Wine Me is the sassiest little wine bar located in Daytona’s downtown historic district. Perfect for a break in shopping or touring, stop in for a glass and take home a bottle! Check the web site for daily specials!
Bahama House is a Caribbean-themed property located right on the shores of the Atlantic. Amenities include deluxe continental breakfast, evening cocktail reception and FREE parking. Affordable rates and beautiful views will win you over!
Bed and Breakfast properties are often a good decision for lodging. Daytona Beach has a handful that look like fun! The award-winning August Seven Inn B&B is a beautiful Victorian house with eight rentable rooms. It is four minutes (by foot) from the beach and is lovely appointed. Coquina Inn Bed & Breakfast is a cozy four rentable room inn with tons of amenities including embroidered robes, a five-course breakfast, home-baked goodies and evening turndown service. River Lily Inn B&B is a AAA 3-diamond rated property overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. The riverfront estate is five stories tall and has a heart-shaped pool. Guest room amenities vary but may include jetted tubs, skylights, verandas and a handicap-accessible room. Each room comes with a private bath, flat screen television, DVD player and WIFI. They also serve a hearty breakfast. The Villa Bed & Breakfast has four luxury bedrooms in a historic Spanish mansion in a gated estate with lovely formal public rooms. Enjoy the pool/spa and walled garden area. Private baths come with each room. Enjoy continental breakfast and WIFI. Ask about honeymoon packages.
The Cove on Ormond Beach features your choice of a studio or a one- or two-bedroom condo. Condos will have a private balcony. They have an oceanfront deck, direct beach access and indoor pool facilities.
Daytona Beach Campgrounds and RV Parks are plentiful in the area and a complete listing can be found on the aforementioned web site.
Hampton Inn Daytona Shores – Oceanfront is right on the beach and guest rooms feature the Hampton Bed ®, 37” flat screen television, mini refrigerator, coffeemaker and great views! The property has a heated pool, FREE WIFI, a business center, fitness room and a FREE hot breakfast each morning.
Hilton Daytona Beach Resort – Ocean Walk Village sprawling across Daytona Beach’s only traffic-free beach in the heart of Ocean Walk Village, this Hilton features 744 rooms (sunset view rooms and oceanfront, suites and cabanas). They have a spa, seven restaurants and lounges, plus a sports bar. Also, check out the new Hilton Garden Inn Daytona Beach Oceanfront with deluxe accommodations, FREE WIFI and meeting space.
Holiday Inn Resort Daytona Beach is a waterfront resort with an oceanfront pool deck granting direct beach access, a relaxing hot tub, lounge chairs, a kid’s splash park and fire pits. Eat on-site at H20 Oceanfront Bar & Grille – open for all three meals or order room service. Enjoy roomy accommodations with great views of the ocean from every room. Other amenities include granite countertops, private balconies, mini refrigerators, microwaves and FREE WIFI! Also, check out this Holiday Inn & Suites on the Ocean location!
Hyatt Place Daytona Beach – Oceanfront is a brand new hotel offering 143 rooms with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Directly on the beach and close to Daytona International Speedway, this property is ideal for families. Hyatt Place is perfect for the business or family traveler.
Oceanside 99 offers two-bedroom two-bath units right on the beach with washer/dryer, fully-appointed kitchen and balcony.
Perry’s Ocean-Edge Resort has a long-standing tradition of serving families who return year after year to Daytona Beach. The property boasts 213 efficiencies and suites, more than 1,000 feet of oceanfront lawn, two outdoor pools, an indoor heated pool and hot tub, mini golf, basketball, volleyball and shuffleboard. A recent makeover included new bedding, carpet, pool upgrades and more. Homemade donuts are served fresh every morning in the South Tower lounge with coffee and juice.
The Plaza Resort & Spa is a nice property with tons of amenities, a beachfront pool deck, on-site restaurants and a full-service spa. Rooms are well-appointed and many feature balconies with lovely views.
Roomba Inn & Suites is a good location being close to Main Street Pier and the boardwalk, and also close proximity to Ocean Walk for shopping, dining and so forth. All rooms have microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, cable/HBO and more! Complimentary breakfast and WIFI are included with each stay.
The Shores Resort & Spa is one of my favorite resorts in the area with a gorgeous pool area, the most perfect views of the water, a luxury spa, and Azure, their award-winning restaurant where you can dine outside watching a fabulous sunset. Rooms are modern and beds are luxurious. Amenities include hi-speed internet, room service, nightly turn-down service, in-room DVD player, a heated oceanfront pool, kid’s’club activities, a fitness center and anything else you’d expect from a AAA Four Diamond resort!
The non-smoking Silver Beach Club property offers fully-equipped studios or one- and two-bedroom condos with dishwasher. Amenities include an oversized pool, a whirlpool and a restaurant which serves breakfast and lunch. Close proximity to Beach Street and Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
Tropical Manor on the Ocean is an oceanfront property with one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, studios and cottages nestled among tropical gardens with handpainted murals. Balconies and private patios, heated pool and a kiddie pool are available in this AAA approved superior small lodging property. Affordable and family-friendly.
Westin Daytona Beach Resort & Spa is a brand new four-star resort (opening summer 2017) with luxury-appointed rooms, a full-service spa and an impressive oceanfront pool deck! There is also oceanfront dining in a great resort-style restaurant.
Wyndham Ocean Walk is an awesome oceanfront resort on a family-friendly beach. Art Deco design is the flare and they offer roomy one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with upscale amenities such as a lazy river and mini golf. Wyndham is adjacent to the Ocean Walk Village entertainment complex and just steps from the pier.
When you visit “The World’s Most Famous Beach” you will find your own treasures and hopefully this list of things to do in Daytona Beach will be helpful! What is your favorite attraction or restaurant? Leave us a comment below!
I toured Daytona Beach as a guest of the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. I did not personally experience every single thing on this list, so some items may have information obtained from them either by phone or web site. While my trip was complimentary, I was not compensated for this review in any way. Opinions are 100% my own. Photos are all my own as well.