Tomoka State Park#7 in Best Things To Do in Daytona Beach
Some are drawn to Tomoka State Park to behold the 40-foot statue of the mythical Chief Tomokie and walk the lands where Native Americans once lived. Others seek a break from the sun and sand of the nearby beaches in a place where live oaks and palm trees provide a shady sanctuary, and the Florida wildlife – from birds of all kinds to the endangered West Indian manatee – are on full display in their natural habitat.
While the park may not appeal to those desiring a long hike (the Tomoka Trail is just a half-mile), recent visitors found it to be an ideal spot for a picnic lunch. A centerpiece of the park is also the Tomoka River, where you can reel in your next big catch or rent a canoe to explore the peaceful waterways. If you're considering staying the night, recent campers noted that the campsites are fairly close together, but appreciated the shady environment, well-kept grounds and the convenience of the Tomoka Outpost.
You'll find Tomoka State Park about 10 miles north of downtown Daytona; admission fees range from $2 to $5, depending on your mode of transportation. Campers will pay $24 a night, plus taxes and a reservation fee. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown every day of the year. For more information on the area and to reserve a campsite, visit the Florida State Parks 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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