By Janet K. Keeler
Daytona Beach is mostly famous for things with wheels.
The Daytona International Speedway hosts cars races during the year, the most famous being the Daytona 500 every February. There are also other types of races held at the Speedway, including Motocross and BMX competitions.
Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts descend on Daytona Beach every spring for Bike Week, setting the Volusia County town rumbling. In October, the roar returns for Biketoberfest. Daytona’s main drag transforms into a people-watching mecca along with a geek-out fest for ‘cycle lovers. It’s the place to see and be seen, and maybe throw back a few beers.
Daytona Beach also allows drivers to cruise on the hard-packed sand, one of the few spots in the country that lets wheels get to close to the surf. It all started in 1902 with the legendary beach car races, which ended in the 1930s when more traditional asphalt venues were developed.
Tanger Outlets is just miles from all the action and a good place to shop for clothes and accessories that will take you from the NASCAR races to Bikeweek hijinks to the beach. Tanger has a sparkly new vibe, its 75 stores opening in late 2016. Early reviews gave it a thumbs-up for its size (not overwhelming on 200-plus acres) and fun features like a splash zone for kids. For those who’ve forgotten the kids’ swimsuits, Carter’s and OskKosh B’Gosh have the wee ones covered. Bring the sun block, or buy some at Bath & Body Works.
Sunglasses are important in sunny Daytona, where visitors spend hours outdoors. Sunglass Hut has two locations in the outlet mall, which emphasizes this point. Guess Factory Store and Michael Kors are also places to look for stylish shades.
Going to Bike Week? Then you’ll need leather, fringed if you’re the type who can pull it off. Check out Wilsons Leather for that coveted red leather motorcycle jacket. Or make like James Dean and go all black, collar flipped up for extra cool. First-timers might think it’s too hot in Florida to wear such heavy outwear but they will find plenty of bikers decked out this way. If you’re lucky, Wilsons might have a pair of leather chaps for a steal.
If you’ve arrived in Daytona when there’s nothing racy going on, stop into Destination Fun for NASCAR merchandise, books, toys and other pop culture kitsch. You can fool the folks back home with a T-shirt that screams “vroom-vroom.”
Even if you’ve got wheels underneath you, comfortable and activity-appropriate shoes are important. Walking the beach requires sandals and many stores stock footwear that can hold up to surf and sand, among them Clarks, Columbia and Rack Room Shoes. Boots have a certain cache at Bike Week and at the Speedway, too. Shop for them at Famous Footwear and GUESS. Flip-flops? There’s hardly a shoe store (or grocery store) in the Sunshine State that doesn’t hawk them.
A flashy (and skimpy?) swimsuit will get you noticed as you lounge on the beach or frolic in the Atlantic Ocean surf. Or perhaps you are looking for something with maximum coverage. Lots of stores in Tanger Outlets have suits for men, women and children.
Papaya sells sexy styles with peek-a-boo netting plus itty-bitty bikinis. Big, floppy hats help shield the sun. H&M, J. Crew and Old Navy also sell swimsuits in a variety of styles. The Lane Bryant outlet is a good place to look for plus-size swimwear.
Daytona Beach is one of Florida’s most popular playgrounds, and having the right clothes and accessories to enjoy the long hours in the outdoors is paramount. At Tanger Outlets, that mission is accomplished along with lunch or dinner.
Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza prepares pizzas (Hawaiian Shirt Day, My Big Fat Greek Pizza or Da Bears; add hot pepper rings if you’d like) in a 600-degree “WoodStone” oven. That’s hot, but maybe not nearly as hot as you in that new swimsuit and aviator shades. It is Daytona, after all.
When you go…
1100 Cornerstone Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32117
386-843-7459 or 866-665-8680
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