Hearing "20 miles of beachfront" will tempt many vacation-seekers, but the typical Daytona beachgoer usually has something else in mind. Despite recent efforts to appeal to families (Orlando, amusement park central, is just an hour away), Daytona annually attracts thousands of visitors in search of speed and Spring Break. And although many college kids have moved to trendier locales (Miami Beach, for one), this east Florida city still remains a frequented spot. Its reputation as ... continue»
See all Top Things to Do in Daytona»
- #1 The Shores Resort & Spa
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites OCEANFRONT DAYTONA BCH SHORES
- OceanFront Inn and Suites
See the Best Hotels in Daytona»
The best time to visit Daytona is between March and May. You'll miss the crowded Speedweeks, which is four weeks of events and races before the Daytona 500. Plus, the tourism hangover from busy February will reward you with cheap rates. You will find some students partying in the area during March and April, when the weather is unbelievably nice -- 70s and 80s during the day.Best Times to Visit Daytona»
Daytona Beach is located on Florida's eastern coast and is split into east and west sides by the Halifax River.
West of the Halifax River
The Daytona International Speedway takes up the majority of the mainland part of the city to the west of the river. Neighboring the Daytona Beach Airport, the speedway hosts many NASCAR and stockcar races throughout the year. Also on the mainland side is a small collection of museums. Travelers recommend the city's Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS), which can be found just east of the airport and Speedway. East of the MOAS, the Halifax Historical Museum boasts local artifacts that date back to 5000 B.C.
East of the Halifax River
The Halifax River forms a barrier island that consists of the second half of the city. Once you cross the river via a collection of bridges, you'll come upon the Atlantic-facing beaches, where you can drive and park your car along the sand. A number of hotels and boardwalk-type shops and restaurants are also on this side of the river along Atlantic Avenue. The area's Ocean Walk Village hosts restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
In the middle of the island is Daytona Lagoon. Popular with families, the area has an amusement park, mini-golf and go-carts, as well as a wave pool.
At the very southern tip of this skinny strip of land is the sleepy town of Ponce Inlet, a great spot to fish. Book a seat on a charter boat, and cast your line in the inlet or sea. While in the area, consider visiting the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum here.
Daytona is generally safe, but sites like TripAdvisor advise cautionary actions, such as locking car and hotel doors at all times and keeping valuables in a safe location. Do not keep wallets in back pockets and avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you, since tourists make for good petty theft targets. If you're going out after dark, recent travelers recommend traveling in a small group rather than alone, especially if you're unfamiliar with the area.
Daytona is a friendly place to explore during the daytime, whether you decide to hit the beach or the motorway. However, the cooler ocean breezes can make it hard to tell when the sun is taking its toll. To avoid sunburn and dehydration, drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen regularly. Only swim when there's a lifeguard on duty, and pay attention to any warning flags that may be raised.
The best way to get around Daytona is by car, so bring your most impressive set of wheels to roll around this automobile-obsessed city. And enjoy the fact that unless it's a race day, traffic shouldn't be problem. Also, remember: you can drive on the beach. With a small daily fee, you can drive and park on the sand in designated places. Check out the Volusia County website for more details.Getting Around Daytona»