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Why Go to Daytona

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 the "it" party place has welcomed a different type of celebratory atmosphere the ever-expanding NASCAR empire. Best known for the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona draws travelers who hope to see their favorite race car drivers up close.

Residents and visitors alike share a passion for all motor vehicles. Daytona Bike Week and Biketoberfest are regular events that bring thousands to the shore. In addition, supercross and kart racing take place regularly. People love their cars so much that vehicles are actually allowed on the beach. So gather your family or your friends, pile into your car and motor down to the sand. It's sure to be a high-octane vacation.

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The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

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Daytona Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

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 typically in the 70s and 80s during the day and when spring break is in full swing.

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What You Need to Know

  • Motor mouths NASCAR races and motorcycle weeks bring a fun and, at times, rougher crowd. Keep your kids close if you don't want them to learn some colorful language.
  • Prohibition on the beach Daytona may be a party town, but bringing alcohol or glass bottles to the beach will earn you a not-so-fun fine.
  • Year-round rush hour The events at Daytona (including college breaks) pack the calendar all year. If you're looking for a low-key stay, find one of the weeks when nothing is scheduled.

How to Save Money in Daytona

  • Proximity pricing Hotel rates will climb as you get closer to the beach or the speedway. Look between the two for cheaper options.
  • Avoid NASCAR Fanatic fans will pay just about anything to get what they want. Don't get lumped into their escalated hotel rates by visiting during a race.
  • Advanced ticket sales If you are coming to Daytona for a specific event, buy your tickets well in advance because thousands of others will be in line before you.

Culture & Customs

Daytona residents love their cars, so you can expect to see some tricked-out automobiles on the road, at the Speedway and even on the beach.

Even if you're not a car aficionado, the laid-back atmosphere offers a great setting for a quick getaway. While it's generally not appropriate to wear beachwear around town, you won't need to get fancy with your wardrobe; you'll have no problem blending in wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

Safety

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 easy 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.

Getting Around Daytona

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. Consult the Volusia County website for more details.

If you're flying, you should look to fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is about 70 miles south of Daytona. MCO has a larger terminal with more commercial and low-fare flights, and the Daytona-Orlando Transit Service shuttles tourists back and forth. If you're lucky, you might find a flight into tiny Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB). The Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) is another option, about 40 miles south of Daytona.

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