Sitting on the Atlantic Coast in Florida is the iconic city of Daytona, famous for its speedway track as much as its white sandy beaches of the Atlantic ocean. Visitors can enjoy great outdoor activities like hiking on nature trails or biking on numerous trails.
There are some challenging golf links courses and some wonderful parks too. Then, of course, are the 23 miles of beautiful and idyllic beaches – if you are into outdoor activities, then Daytona Beach will be the perfect place for you and the entire family.
Read on to discover the myriad of options that Daytona has to offer.
WHERE IS DAYTONA BEACH?
Daytona Beach is on Florida’s Atlantic Coast and is known as being a Resort-City in Eastern Central Florida. Daytona Beach is one of the world’s most famous beach for its smooth, hard-packed sand and is a super wide beach.
If you are flying in, the nearest airport to Daytona Beach is Daytona Beach International Airport. It is only minutes from oceanfront hotels making it super convenient and easy to access even without a car.
Orlando airport, which is 60 minutes away as has more flight options and is typically cheaper too, as it is the major airport hub for the state of Florida.
HOW FAR IS DAYTONA BEACH FROM ORLANDO?
Daytona is a fantastic day trip option from Orlando as it is a short drive and is one of the best beaches near Disney World.
Daytona Beach is a popular destination for Spring Break in Florida, and many students fly from across the United States to visit. It’s just an hour’s drive to Disney from Daytona Beach.
1. DAYTONA BEACH
The famous, breathtaking beaches are a major attraction for people coming to Daytona – from energy-inducing sunrises to awe-inspiring sunsets and everything in between. For lovers of watersports, there are obvious options, such as surfing. Alongside parasailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing, the more active beachgoers have plenty of choices.
Of course, Daytona Beach area is a great spot if you’re a lover of sunbathing and kicking back too. With over 23 miles of shoreline, you will be able to find something or somewhere for you.
2. SUNGLOW FISHING PIER
If fishing is your thing, then Daytona’s Sunglow Fishing Pier will inspire you. Fishing is permitted without a license or fee at the pier’s eastern end. The pier is accessible seven days a week from dawn to dusk, depending on the weather.
Daytona Beach Pier has been open to the fishing public since 1960. Anglers have enjoyed its charms for many years, and it is one of their favorite places to fish. Don’t worry if you forgot to bring your fishing gear – rod and reel rental is available, along with frozen bait.
In addition, there is also a useful bait shack and handy fish cleaning areas. Extra amenities are on hand, like well-lit restrooms and comfortable benches – these are especially useful if you are planning to be fishing all day!
- Address: 3701 S Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach
3. DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Since its inauguration in 1959, the Daytona speedway has been home to the Daytona 500, considered to be the most prestigious race in the NASCAR race series. The season’s opening event is always held here, and the track hosts other races such as ARCA, Motocross, and AMA superbikes. Nascar races are held here. They have many stock cars on display that you can view before checking out the large track that is known as the World Center of Racing and is sure to amaze any Nascar Fan!
Fans of racing should check the event calendar and book tickets ahead – this is definitely one for the petrolhead’s bucket list! Remember, though, if you are in the area for a race weekend, it can get very busy in the summer months.
- Address: 1801 West International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach
4. CUTE RIVERFRONT SHOPS
With more than 60 shops, restaurants, services, and attractions, the Riverfront awaits. The historic retail district can be found on Beach Street in downtown Daytona. Located between Orange Avenue and Bay Street, it is easy to find the Riverfront Park.
Try some waterfront dining or go window shopping around the many boutiques. There is also a movie theater, museums, a performance theater, and a marina. The Riverfront Esplanade is a botanical garden with benches and swings, which is great for running and other activities – there’s even a splash and dog park too!
However, the Ocean walk shoppes are what makes the Riverfront what it is. There are art galleries, antiques, live music, and bookshops to peruse. Furniture and home decor stores offer nuanced and unusual items including Cuban art, while the quirky clothing and jewelry boutiques take things to another level. You’re sure to find just about anything you’re looking for here, and there is ample parking with six free parking lots behind the shops and two along the Daytona Beach shores waterfront.
- Address: Beach St South to Beach St North, Daytona Beach
5. DAYTONA LAGOON
This leisure facility boasts a huge array of attractions for kids of all ages, with a waterpark, mini-golf course, zipline, go-karts, laser tag, and a climbing wall – not to mention an enormous arcade with bumper cars and prize stalls the whole family will be entertained all day long.
Families with children can spend an entire day here without running out of things to do. Lifeguards and young staff members are there to help guests, while food and drinks concessions serve customers when hungry, but picnics are allowed.
There are the usual high slides and water tubes, a good old lazy river, and a wave pool that is fun for all ages. The best value tickets are the “All You Can Do,” which permits access to everything. With so many cool things on offer, if you want a day away from the beach, then try Daytona Lagoon as it is one of the most popular things to do with kids in Daytona Beach.
- Address: 601 Earl St, Daytona Beach
6. TOMOKA STATE PARK AND PADDLE DOWN THE TOMOKA RIVER
Once home to the Timucua Natives, the Tomoka State Park covers 900 acres. In 1955, in honor of Chief Tomokie, a statue was erected of him – it still stands to this day on the site of the now non-existent Nocoroco village.
Open 365 days of the year. It opens from 8 am until sundown. The park store offers kayak rentals and basic supplies like firewood and bait. It also has picnic facilities, a playground, restrooms, hiking, fishing, and boat ramps. The wildlife includes alligators, manatees, otters, and over 160 different species of birds, while the hardwood hammock can be explored on a half-mile nature trail.
With numerous canoe rentals, visitors can opt to paddle the Tomoka River. Downstream, the waterway widens as it approaches the coastal marsh of the Halifax River. Upstream, the paddling trail narrows and becomes more shaded and secluded. Paddlers can enjoy many hours of canoeing with many islets and places of natural interest.
- Address: 2099 N. Beach St, Ormond Beach
7. MARINE SCIENCE CENTER
Just south of Daytona and located in Ponce Inlet is the Marine Science Center. Perfect for marine life, sitting between the Halifax River and the ocean, the center is always open for injured animals that need rescue and healing. However, it is closed to visitors on Mondays (opens at 10 am normally).
In its remit, sick turtles, marine animals, and seabirds are nursed back to health. The center is also an educative hub for the many water ecosystems that abound. Its innovative teaching experiences help visitors learn about the area’s diverse marine life.
The center teaches about dangerous subjects like feeding stingrays using’ virtual’ visits. Actual guests can see the rehabilitation facilities and get hands-on with recovering animals.
Parking is available on Lighthouse Drive, and admission is $8 per adult. The center aims to educate people about the conservation and protection of marine environments. A visit is guaranteed to be a wonderful learning experience for all.
- 100 Lighthouse Dr, Ponce Inlet
8. CLIMB THE PONCE INLET LIGHTHOUSE
Named the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse, this is the tallest lighthouse in Florida. Built in 1887, the lighthouse has guided mariners along the Florida coast for over 140 years. It is privately funded, maintained, and operated by the Preservation Association.
Visitors who wish to climb the lighthouse will find it accessible to all. The only exception to this rule is the lantern room which houses its Fresnel lens. With 203 steps and at 176 feet tall, reaching the top is a challenge for most. The museum is also open to all, and guided tours can be arranged – a great activity and educational experience for young and old alike.
- Address: 4931 South Peninsula Dr, Ponce Inlet
9. ANGELL AND PHELPS CHOCOLATE FACTORY
This great artisan chocolate-making shop is every chocolate lover’s dream. Pop in and see the chocolate being lovingly tempered by hand – you can even try a few samples and enjoy the luxurious feel of the different fudges and sponge chocolates.
Indulge your senses and buy a mixed box for your friends or just yourself. This is a great place for anyone who is looking for a tasty souvenir!
- Address: 154 South Beach St, Daytona Beach
10. SMYRNA DUNES PARK
Boasting 73 acres, this is a large inlet park located on Ponce de Leon inlet. It features an elevated boardwalk on the southern shore of the inlet. Its generous width and durability make it comfortably wheelchair accessible.
Enjoy the views out over the Atlantic from the tip of the peninsula. The park features five ecosystems: saltwater marsh, scrub zone, dunes, river, and ocean. Great for environmental ecologists to families, Smyrna Dunes Park offers something for everyone.
- 2995 North Peninsula Dr, New Smyrna Beach
11. DAYTONA BEACH BOARDWALK AND MAIN STREET PIER
Main Street Pier is stretching into the ocean for a quarter of a mile. Tourists and locals alike can enjoy the heritage of the old-fashioned arcade. With beachfront shops and amusements, guests can enjoy the history of the area.
- Address: 1200 Main St, Daytona Beach
12. DAYTONA BEACH BANDSHELL
What is more sophisticated and relaxing than listening to classical music during summer nights? If this sounds good, Daytona Beach Bandshell is a must.
Between the months of May and September, there are nightly concerts every Friday and Saturday night. On Saturdays, there are fireworks displays after the musical performances have finished. Free for the public to attend, there are paid VIP tickets available. With parking and easy access, there are no excuses for visitors to miss out.
- Address: Oceanfront Park, Daytona Beach
- Address: For ticketing options – 70 Boardwalk, Daytona Beach
13. SCREAMERS PARK
Featuring two thrilling rides, Screamers Park is located south of Main Street Pier. The newest ride, called the Vomatron, was supposedly too much for some astronauts. Riders are strapped into a double seat and then swung around in a huge arc! The Slingshot is better known for its gravity-defying fun for daring thrillseekers.
- Address: 25 South Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach
14. MOAS MUSEUM OF ARTS AND SCIENCE
A large museum with an eclectic mix of exhibits and art displays, the MOAS has over 30,000 examples of different American art, and guests will not be disappointed. The permanent Coco-Cola exhibition and hourly planetarium shows are the standouts. This is a great place to lose yourself and with your family for a day.
- Address: 352 S Nova Rd, Daytona Beach
15. ORMOND BEACH ARTS DISTRICT
The Arts District is made up of local, national, and international artists. Here, visitors will find numerous galleries, studios, and performance art venues.
Set up as a non-profit organization in 2011. The District has supported artistic talent. Discover some amazing artworks and maybe even find a piece to take home.
- Address: 44 W. Granada Blvd, Ormond Beach
16. JACKIE ROBINSON BALLPARK AND STATUE
Opened in 1914, this baseball park is one of the historical sites for baseball as it is the 4th oldest still in professional use. Named after the famous African-American ball player who first played in 1946, Jackie Robinson. The ballpark features a museum, historical markers, and a statue of Jackie Robinson – a must-see for baseball fans and sports history buffs visiting the area.
- Address: 105 East Orange Ave, Daytona Beach
17. CONGO RIVER GOLF
This award-winning miniature golf course allows travel to a world of adventure. Located two miles south of the Pier and featuring 18 holes, this African-themed attraction has gemstone mines, a zebra plane, and live alligators! Its well-maintained facilities and very friendly staff make this an enjoyable activity for all.
- Address: 2100 South Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach
18. DUNLAWTON SUGAR MILL GARDENS
This 19th Century plantation and sugar mill have been converted into a botanical garden. With gorgeous displays of Bromeliads, ginger plants, and cacti visitors have lots to enjoy. A butterfly garden is also nestled amongst the tropical trees, a beautiful place to spend an afternoon with loved ones and family.
- Address: 950 Old Sugar Mill Rd, Port Orange
19. SUN SPLASH PARK
This state-of-the-art splash pad has 42 jets of water for refreshing fun. With water shooting up to six feet in the air, kids love the experience. Other facilities include restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and a covered playground. Open from 8 am, parking is available, and there are also beach access ramps.
- Address: 611 South Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach
20. DAYTONA FLEA AND FARMER’S MARKET
Come and sample locally grown and sourced produce at the Daytona Farmer’s Market. Inaugurated in 1981, the market offers over three miles of shopping, two restaurants, and two malls. There are also nine concession stands and monthly special events like Spin Wheel Saturday.
This is a shopper’s delight, open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9 am to 5 pm.
- Address: 1425 Tomoka Farms Rd, Daytona Beach
21. RICHARD PETTY DRIVING EXPERIENCE
This activity is for race car enthusiasts, speed demons, and petrolheads. You can even take total control of a NASCAR race car on the famous Daytona oval. Solo drives are available as well as passenger ride-alongs for the less courageous – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an experience that should not be missed.
- Address: 1801 West International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach