It’s not only petrol heads who dream of Daytona Beach, the 23-mile stretch of white sand known as the ‘World’s Most Famous Beach.’ Although car and motorcycle fans flock here for the NASCAR racing and bike events – not to mention the fact you can drive on the beach – there’s also sections of shore where vehicles are banned, and dunes and turtles take over instead. Plus there’s plenty more to Daytona than just sun and sand.
But if it’s beach you want, then Daytona Beach holidays deliver. The sand is soft, the water is warm, and you don’t even need your own vehicle to cruise the shoreline – you can rent anything from an ATV to a beach buggy to join the action (to a tightly controlled speed limit, of course.) Or, if driving isn’t your thing, you can take to the water instead, choosing from boogie boarding, surfing, banana boats, windsurfing, boating, parasailing and plenty more.
Family fun is on offer too, with Daytona’s iconic 745-foot pier and Boardwalk area lending some traditional seaside appeal, including a Ferris wheel, rides and ice cream parlours – as well as a Daytona institution: Joe’s Crab Shack. There are also beachside playgrounds and parks such as Sun Splash Park, with water fountains that dish out a soaking, and the Daytona Lagoon waterpark for rides, slides, and cooling off under the hot Florida sun.
Other ways you can enjoy your time here verge on the countless. Golf fans have over 25 quality courses to choose from within half an hour of the beach; for anglers there’s sea bass, sharks, red snapper and king mackerel to chase; while culture buffs have the Halifax Historical Museum, the Museum of Arts and Sciences and plenty of performing arts to keep them happy. Another day always means new opportunities on Daytona Beach holidays.
Speed is what Daytona Beach is all about and Speed Weeks, which include the Indy 500 in February and the Coke Zero 400 in July, draw thousands of fans. If you can’t get a ticket to a race, then you can visit the International Speedway racetrack anyway, and tour the track and pits with the Daytona 500 Experience. You can even have a go behind the wheel, or ride shotgun with an experienced hand.
Back to Nature
There are plenty of opportunities to get back to nature on Daytona Beach holidays. Tomoka State Park offers hiking, canoeing, snook fishing and gator spotting amongst breathtaking scenery. You can also take a cruise along the Halifax River in a vintage 1840s boat to admire pelicans, herons, egrets and other waterfowl; or go manatee spotting.
Ponce de León Inlet
This sleepily charming place with its distinctive red lighthouse makes for a lovely place to while away a few hours. Walk the trails and boardwalks through the dunes, then climb the 203 steps to the top of the lighthouse for a fabulous 360-degree view. The lighthouse also houses an interesting museum.
Besides NASCAR, Daytona is famous for two huge motorbike events. Biktoberfest® in October and Bike Week in March offer a whole round of motorcycle shows, races and other bike-related events keeping leather-clad enthusiasts happy from morning through to the wee small hours. Throughout the year, dozens of festivals from large to small – focused on everything from arts and culture to food, cars, music and more – dot the calendar.
The recently developed Ocean Walk Village offers an impressive mix of shops, restaurants and entertainment, in the form of the Daytona Lagoon waterpark, a state-of-the-art movie complex, and the oceanfront Bandshell, a historic Daytona landmark offering free open-air concerts under the warm Florida sky. Nearby is the popular Boardwalk Amusement Area with its arcades, Ferris Wheel and roller coaster — and the Daytona Beach Pier, home of Joe’s Crab Shack. It’s also very near the Band Shell, a historic Daytona landmark offering free open air concerts under the warm Florida sky.