It doesn’t matter if you arrive on a plane, Harley, SUV, or tricycle, Daytona Beach invites motorheads and thrill seekers of any age looking for fun in the sun in Florida.
While the rest of the country pushes through the remainder of winter, Florida’s Daytona Beach is just starting to warm up with a calendar full of fun spring, summer and fall events, starting with the annual Daytona Bike Week. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock from all over the United States to be apart of “the World’s Largest Motorcycle Event” and this year, the Daytona Beach Bike Week celebrates it’s 73rd anniversary. The event started on March 7, but with concerts, festivals, bike showcases and rallies, Bike Week is packed with activities to fill up the rest of the event through the 16th, which is when it shuts down until Biketober Fest later in 2014. The event caters to motorcycle riders and lovers, but don’t worry; if you don’t have a motorcycle, there are various locations throughout Daytona that will rent you one. A list of events for the remainder of Bike Week can be found here.
Quick sidenote: Bike Week, while safe and fun for all, is also generally known for its mature atmosphere. Women tend to wear suggestive clothing, the language can be more vulgar, and beer and alcohol are very prominent not just in the nightlife, but throughout the daytime too. If factors such as these make you uncomfortable, you’re concerned about bringing your children, or you and your family just don’t look so great in leather, Bike Week is recommended for mature participants and may not be the perfect getaway for everyone.
Outside of Bike Week, Daytona hosts countless other events and activities all through April and May, perfect for that sunny getaway or spring break adventure. Fun for every age lines Main Street in downtown Daytona: live music, festivals, bike museums, shops, as well as bike and car races at Daytona’s International Speedway. Here, dare-devils can even partake in the Richard Petty Driving Experience and cruise on the track with a real racecar driver (at safe speeds, of course). The Living Legends of Auto Racing Museum is also a great way to learn more about the history of racing in Daytona. All major attractions are open year-round.
Within walking distance of downtown, you’ll find Daytona’s famous boardwalk and pier, now featuring its very first rollercoaster, the Sandblaster. There is also a ferris wheel, go-karts, arcade games, and more indoor and outdoor activities to be found.
Daytona Beach is very unique in that it allows cars to drive right up on the beach in designated areas, and also has 24/7 beach access. This gives families endless opportunities to take advantage of everything that the beach has to offer, including free and cheap activities such as visiting Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory Tour, a number of gardens, galleries and museums.
At the Marine Science Center, no one spends over $5 for admission, and visitors can enjoy the stingray pool, the bird observation tower, and the animal rehabilitation center. For families looking to view wildlife in a less structured way, be sure to take advantage of Sea Turtle season between May and October, where turtles emerge from the ocean to lay their eggs in Daytona’s white sandy beaches. Nearby in Port Orange, join a scenic cruise or rent a hydro bike, canoe or kayak to get immered in Cracker Creek and its endangered eco-system.
Adventure seeking families will want to explore the plethora of water activities at the beach, including surfing, kayaking, and fishing. Southside Jetski rents paddleboats, jetskis, canoes, and kayaks, and if you look hard enough, it’s not uncommon to spot a dolphin or two while out on the water. Surf lessons are also available with the Daytona Beach Surf School. They provide all equipment and even run camps for ages 7 and up Monday through Friday in the summertime. For free-of-charge water play, head to the town’s Sun Splash Park on S. Atlantic Avenue, where an interactive water fountain, shaded playground and picnic areas greet locals and visitors daily till sundown. When it’s time for brunch or lunch, the Dancing Avocado Kitchen serves fresh, locally grown veggies, avocado wraps and creative snacks that kids just love.
There are quite a few number of comfortable hotels within the area, including the Shores Resort and Spa. With a kid’s club, fitness center, ocean-front firepits, and salt water pool, two bars, and a spa featuring massages, facials, and a salon, this resort is the perfect home away from home. From now through April 24, 2014, they’re offering a 50% discount on any second room purchased, perfect for that spring getaway with your kids and friends. For more hotel/bed and breakfast/camping options, check out Daytona’s website.
Photos courtesy Ricymar Photography, familymwr, keesleonardmaas, and highlander411 via Flickr Creative Commons License
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