Daytona International Speedway#3 in Best Things To Do in Daytona
More than the miles of shoreline, Daytona is probably best known for the Daytona International Speedway. Since opening in 1959, the complex has been the city's claim to fame, as host to the biggest racing competitions (like February's Daytona 500) and other smaller events throughout the year. On non-event days, you can walk onto the race track (for free) or take a guided tour via tram.
During the half-hour Speedway Tour, you'll take a spin through Daytona International Speedway's infield, pass through NASCAR garages and drive along Pit Road all while hearing about the speedway's history. Tickets for adults cost $16; tickets for kids ages 6 to 12 are $10 and children ages 5 and younger ride for free. If you're hoping to delve deeper into the speedway's historical sites, consider taking an All Access Tour. You'll have to fork over a bit more coin ($23 for adults; $17 for kids ages 6 to 12), but you'll have the opportunity to check out the Drivers Meeting room, Gatorade Victory Lane and get an up-close look at the $400 million renovation project currently underway. Even if you're not much of a racing aficionado, previous visitors say it's still worth a visit. "Although we do not watch NASCAR we still found it interesting to drive around part of the track, have our photo taken on the victory lane stage and learn about it all," one TripAdvisor reviewer said.
Hoping to get behind the wheel? You can do that here, too. Sign up for the Richard Petty Driving Experience and tear around the 2½-mile-long superspeedway. If you'd rather ride shotgun, you can ask an instructor to take you for a few laps around the track — just be prepared to ride at speeds up to 165 mph. To learn more about available dates and times, check the Richard Petty Driving Experience website, and for more information on the Daytona International Speedway, visit its website.
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#1 Daytona Beach
Stretching for more than 23 miles, the "World's Most Famous Beach" is a must-see if you're in Daytona. Situated near the middle of the peninsula, the beach is famous for its large crowds, bustling pier and hard-packed sand. In fact, it's thanks to the sand's firm composition that drivers are allowed to park their cars right on the beach. Though some see this privilege as a major convenience, parents lament the fact the cars create another safety hazard for young children. However, there is a mile-long pedestrian-only zone that surrounds the pier. Beyond the pier you'll also find a variety of shops, bars and restaurants.
The beach is open 24 hours a day, but driving hours are limited to sunrise to sunset (permitting tidal conditions) between Nov. 1 and April 30, and between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. May 1 through Oct. 31. Access to the beach is free, but you will have to shell out $5 per day to drive on the beach from Feb. 1 through Nov. 30.
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