Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum#2 in Best Things To Do in Daytona Beach
A National Historic Landmark since 1998, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is Florida's tallest lighthouse It's also a traveler favorite, thanks to the well-preserved structures and rich history. If you're looking for a bird's-eye view of the area, prepare to hoof it 203 steps to the top of the 175-foot-tall edifice. Travelers recommend wearing walking shoes for the long climb, but say the spectacular views are a must-see and well worth the effort. 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 Ayres Davies Lens Exhibit Building, where you can stroll through exhibits that detail the history of lighthouse evolution. Recent travelers also recommended touring the restored keepers' dwellings. Originally constructed in 1887, these residences now offer a glimpse into the history of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station, the United States 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 11 miles south of Daytona Beach. The lighthouse and museum are open daily, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m Memorial Day through Labor Day, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Admission for adults costs $6.95; children (ages 3 to 11) can enter for $1.95; admission is free for infants up to 2 years old. For more information, visit the official 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 to pedestrians, 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 $20 per day to drive on the beach from Feb. 1 through Nov. 30. The speed limit on the beach is 10 mph. Pedestrians and drivers should also be mindful of nesting sea turtles from May to October, who typically nest in marked dune areas.
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