Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum#2 in Best Things To Do in Daytona
A National Historic Landmark since 1998, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is one of the tallest lighthouses in the United States. It's also a traveler favorite, thanks to the well-preserved structures and rich history. If you're looking for a birds-eye view of the area, prepare to hoof it 203 steps to the top of the 175-foot-tall edifice. "Wear walking shoes — especially if you plan to climb the lighthouse," one TripAdvisor user offers. "The long climb is worth it as the views were spectacular! A must see if you are in the area." Once you've reached the top, you'll see Daytona Beach and the north bank of the Ponce Inlet, where the Halifax and Indian Rivers meet.
After surveying the Florida coast below, stop by the Lens Museum, where you can stroll through exhibits that detail the history of lighthouse evolution. Recent travelers also recommend touring the restored keepers' dwellings. Originially constructed in 1887, these residences now offer a glimpse into the history of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station, the US Lighthouse Service and the town itself. Should you get hungry (and who wouldn't work up an appetite after a climb like that?), the inlet offers plenty of spots to grab some grub.
You'll find the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum about 12 miles south of Daytona Beach. The lighthouse and museum are open daily, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 27 to Sept. 2, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 3 to May 25. Admission for adults costs $5; children (ages 11 and younger) can enter for $1.50.
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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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