Beachin' Good Times in Daytona Beach

By: Nancy Chapman

Dining, shopping and water activities will fill your days in Daytona Beach.

Day 1

Step out onto the balcony of your two-bedroom beach-front condo, take a deep breath and relax. With an in-room Jacuzzi, five pools and a putting green, you'd never have to leave the resort for lack of activities. But, you're on vacation, after all, and this is Daytona Beach, so you do.

Breakfast at the Starlite diner, a local hangout with '50's-style decor and great eats. Afterwards, head over to the Ocean Walk Shoppes (adjacent to your resort), a fanciful, colorful array of shops, restaurants and nightspots directly on the ocean. Once you've gotten your fill of shopping and dining, visit the Daytona Lagoon Waterpark, right across the street from the Ocean Walk Shoppes.

Afterwards, back at the Ocean Walk Shoppes, take time to browse. Then it's ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery.

Wander over to the Main Street Pier and stroll down the boardwalk between palm trees, reading the granite blocks that convey the history of motor sports here. You can make motor sports history yourself and cruise down the sandy shore (slowly - the speed limit is only 10 mph); this is one of the few places left in Florida where you can still drive on the beach.

Day 2

Head south along the oceanfront to Ponce Inlet. Part of the scenery is the red brick column of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark and your next destination.

After taxing your leg muscles with a climb up its 203 steps, poke around in the historical exhibits in other buildings on the property. See how the lighthouse keepers lived or learn a bit about the history of the Life Saving Service. You could spend hours here, looking through photos of other lighthouses, or studying the remarkable Fresnel lenses up close.

Afterwards, explore the adjacent park's nature trails or swim at the beach you were spying from above earlier.

Watch healthy birds frolic while you lunch at a local waterfront restaurant. Then, if you're so inclined, climb aboard the SeaSpirit for an afternoon of deep-sea fishing.

Day 3

Pick up some breakfast, hop in the car, and head north on A1A for a scenic drive along the ocean. Stop at the Birthplace of Speed Park, where Daytona's first speed race was held in 1903, and explore the dunes.
Or, cross the bridge to the mainland and discover the old downtown, South Beach Street. Admire the architecture of the old Kress Building; explore the Halifax Historical Museum; have lunch at the Dancing Avocado Kitchen – a charming, offbeat little eatery with a menu suitable both for omnivores and vegetarians. Just down the block is the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory – maybe the best chocolate you've ever had.

Afterwards, spend your last afternoon on the beach. Play volleyball, build sandcastles or just work on your tan. The adventurous can parasail or rent jet skis and glide over the Atlantic Ocean.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners


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