Have you ever traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida? If lots of activities wrapped in a small town feel is what you’re after, Daytona Beach is the place for you. “Snowbird season” is here, which means Northerners flock to to the Sunshine State for a respite from the bitter cold. Daytona Beach is not only a perfect fall beach escape; it should be kept in mind for a vacation any time of the year.
Ritchey Plaza, aka The Daytona Beach Bandshell, is a scenic amphitheater located on the north end of the Boardwalk and looks over the Atlantic Ocean. The view is breath-taking! In April through October the plaza hosts concerts that feature jazz, Dixieland, big band, folk, rhythm and blues, tribute bands and more. It can hold up to 5,000 people! I was fortunate enough to stumble upon it in the early morning before the crowds came. Disclosure: I love photographing places when there aren’t a lot of people around because I want to remember the venues and landmarks (not the tourists) so don’t be surprised if you don’t see many people in the following pictures.
The Pier has a wonderful view of Daytona Beach. Beachgoers can come fish, people-watch, enjoy the ocean breeze, or have their fill at Joe’s Crab Shack. There also is a small amusement park with a rollercoaster, go-karts racetrack, and an arcade, that’s sure to provide you and your family loads of fun during their Fall Beach Escape!
Daytona Beach enjoys temperatures from the mid-50s to the 90s (and higher!) in the summer. As luck would have it, I happened to visit Daytona Beach during one of the coldest days of the year. However, there were still people swimming and sunbathing, so if you’re used to colder temperatures you will LOVE how warm 60 degrees feels at Daytona Beach! Knowing Florida, next week it will be warm (or even hot!) again and sunbathers will come from all over to lay on the white sandy beach.
Just a stone’s throw from the beach, Mardi Gras Fun Center & Snackbar is a part of the Daytona Beach Boardwalk where you and your family can enjoy classic arcade games, ride the ferris wheel, go-karts or even the brand new Sand Blaster Roller Coaster. Check out the Weekday Getaway Deals for ways to have fun and save money at the same time.
Pizza King is a Daytona Beach staple that’s been around for over 50 years. Open til 4AM, seven days a week, I knew it was a place I had to grab a slice at…diet or no diet. It didn’t disappoint, and it reminded me a bit of going to pizza places in NYC as a kid.
This little shop near the Baskin Robbins had tons of Daytona Beach souvenirs. I immediately grabbed the hot pink Daytona Beach hat on the right as a memento of my trip. You’ll see me wear it in this post :)
One of the activities I wanted to do while I was in Daytona Beach was visit the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Museum. On my way there, I passed the famous “Daytona Beach | World’s Most Famous Beach” sign.
A National History Landmark, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse has been around since 1887. The Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is open to the public seven days a week, only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I have never been inside a lighthouse before, so I knew that the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse was definitely on my itinerary. The museum greeter told me about a few things I might see from the top of the lighthouse. I was on the lookout for the super long jetty, next to the Lighthouse Point Park where dogs are welcome on the beach, jet ski rentals, parasail rentals, kayakers, and possibly even manatees! There is a Manatee Scenic Boat tour if you’re interested in seeing these amazing animals in their natural habitat!
Right near the jetty is the dog park. Less than a mile’s walk from the lighthouse. Next time I’m bringing Chip + Daisy!
Also at the lighthouse museum you can see older lighthouse technology, ancient oil storage, ancient anchors and more. It’s a neat little place that will keep your family entertained for at least an hour!
Of COURSE you cannot come to Daytona Beach and not visit the Daytona International Speedway!
I highly suggest taking the Speedway Tour, where you ride a tram into the heart of the track and see firsthand where all the action takes place.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you should look into the Richard Petty Driving Experience. This activity allows you to ride inside a race car on the 2.5 mile oval Daytona Speedway track. While I was on the Speedway Tour, at least 5 race cars zoomed past us, all with fans riding insde the race car. Next time, when I build a little more courage, I’ll ride shotgun with their experienced drivers. I was just a little too shy this time around.
What many people don’t know about Daytona Beach is that there are tons and tons of fall festivals! In fact, Daytona Beach is known as the Festival Capital of Florida. In just one weekend, the Greek Festival, DeLand Craft Show, and a cook-off festival all took place in Daytona Beach. If you’re looking for Warm Holiday Fun, there are plenty of year-round attractions and special holiday events including the annual “December to Remember” month-long festivities at The Bandshell, Halifax River Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade and more. Use the Daytona Beach Trip Builder to plan your stay the easy way.
So, what will you do when you visit Daytona Beach?