"Daytona Beach, Florida" Daytona Beach by noidiotsplease
Daytona Beach Travel Guide: 234 reviews and 488 photos
One of the most marketed destinations in Florida, Daytona Beach has tried aggressively to attract niche groups to its vacationland. In recent years I have noticed that the city seems to be making a concerted effort to lure more families and luxury travelers. To that end, I think Daytona Beach would be wise to follow Ft. Lauderdale’s lead in reinventing itself as a “family” destination, but the city’s active calendar of annual events seems to ensure that rowdy spring breakers and hardcore bikers still own this town at certain times of the year.
In recent years, developments like the massive Wyndham Oceanwalk Resort and its adjacent complex of restaurants have brought more sophistication and appeal to what has historically been the site of much spring break revelry. The Wyndham and its likewise gargantuan rival, the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, sprawl out in front of an oceanfront amphitheatre, the Boardwalk, the Main Street Pier, and assorted amusements. The Main Street Pier, which juts 1000 feet out into the Atlantic Ocean, is the signature icon of the beach. It features a skyride that I rode as a child which runs along cables high above the pier. From here, riders get a bird’s eye view of the ocean and shoreline. For those who are hungry, the pier has a restaurant perched over where the breakers meet the shore, giving diners a commanding view of the beach action while they eat. There is also a rotating skyneedle ride adjacent to the pier.
This area of Daytona Beach is also the centerpiece of a long skyline of high-rise hotels and condos that stretches from Ormond Beach, north of the city, to Daytona Beach Shores, south of the city. A giant parking garage is located across A1A from the Oceanwalk. It is connected by a covered pedestrian bridge, providing easy access to the complex for those not staying at either resort. A water park is located behind the garage, offering yet another touristy diversion. Further south along A1A, the highway is lined with hotels, motels, restaurants, biker bars, surf shops, and tacky T-shirt and souvenir stores.
Overall, as a native Floridian who has been to a lot of beaches, Daytona seems like the kind of place that people who have never before stuck their toes in the sand might enjoy most. In other words, there are better beaches elsewhere in Florida. Nevertheless, Daytona’s hard-packed sandy stretch (which is a bit overbuilt and lacking in natural appeal) will certainly bring smiles to the masses. Just be sure to watch out for cars; Daytona Beach does allow beach driving in certain stretches –an activity enjoyed by some Floridians but reviled by many others (like me).
Aside from the beach, Daytona is best known for NASCAR racing. Now, I am not a racing enthusiast, but there are NASCAR-inspired attractions that some visitors may find appealing, not to mention the Daytona International Speedway. The speed way plays host to the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400, two annual events that ironically see thousands of Floridians clog Interstates 95 and 4 with stand-still traffic so that they can witness cars racing at speeds too fast for the road. I have not attended any races, but for what it’s worth I have been to the Cracker Barrel restaurant that sits right across the parking lot from this enormous stadium. International Speedway Boulevard (US Route 92) is the primary gateway to Daytona Beach from Interstate 95. I have stopped along here on many occasions to grab a bite to eat at places like Friendly’s or Uno. This busy highway not only links the interstate to the beach but also passes by the speedway, Volusia Mall, the Daytona Beach International Airport, Bethune Cookman College, and Embry Riddle University.
Daytona Beach | Ormond Beach | New Smyrna Beach | Port Orange
Canaveral National Seashore | Blue Springs State Park
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