Florida boasts more than 1,300 miles of coastline, making it second only to Alaska in terms of the seaside access it provides. Across all those miles, you’ll find plenty of beach destinations to entice you, but only one offers both beautiful beaches and tons of inland entertainment within a small-town setting. Daytona Beach truly has it all, and it’s a must-visit destination for your next vacation.
Easy Access to Everything Entertaining
Daytona Beach is nestled right on Florida’s eastern Atlantic coast, giving visitors prime access to white sand and ample sun. There are plenty of classic Florida activities and adventures to be had if you’d like to just stay by the beach during your stay; fishing, stand-up paddle-boarding, parasailing and sunbathing keep you close to Daytona’s warm Atlantic waters. But if you want to do something else during your trip, or if one of Florida’s predictably brief rain showers makes you head for cover, you have plenty of options.
Manatees and Dolphins
Thanks to its location on the Florida Intracoastal Waterway and its proximity to natural hot springs, Daytona is an ideal location for spotting manatees and dolphins in their natural habitats. Manatee season is at its peak during colder seasons, meaning you’ll likely see them if you travel from November through March. Blue Spring State Park offers a lovely observation deck where you can see these gentle giants drifting around.
Dolphins are attracted to the calm waters and fish-trapping inlets of the Intracoastal Waterway, and they also like to play and hunt in the Atlantic waters beyond. You’re likely to see dolphins from the beach, but there are plenty of boat and paddleboard tours that’ll take you to some of these animals’ best-known hangouts. Plus, many of these tours focus on manatees as well, so you’ll be able to see both on your trip.
Racetracks and Amusement Parks
The Daytona International Speedway is a major destination for NASCAR and other racing fans, and if you’re interested in experiencing this colorful side of Florida culture, you visit the speedway to take in a racing event or do a racecar ride-along with a professional driver. This is a great way to spend a rainy day in Daytona, especially if you have kids who love cars.
You can also get your adrenaline pumping by visiting one of the several amusement parks at Daytona Beach. Waterparks and the outdoor Beach at Daytona Beach complex offer a variety of different rollercoasters and waterslides if you’re looking for a thrill.
Museums and History
Don’t ignore the historical and cultural opportunities offered by Daytona Beach’s more off-the-beaten-path inland entertainments. Institutions and landmarks, such as the Surfside Historic District and the home of civil rights leader Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, offer a glimpse into the area’s past. Museums, such as the kid-friendly Museum of Art and Science (MOAS) and the Southeast Museum of Photography, provide an indoor refuge with a side of intellectual stimulation.