Palm trees line the horizon as the salty air combines with exhaust fumes and the hum of city life. Whether the birthplace of speed or a bucket list vacation, Daytona Beach is known for its gorgeous beaches, vibrant nightlife, and tourism appeal. To some it’s just another destination, but for me it’s home.
Although there are many popular attractions, I want to share the local perspective of all Daytona Beach has to offer. Depending on family tastes and preferences, there are three main areas of town to soak up; or if you’re like me, you’ll combine a bit of all three! Thrill seekers and sports fans won’t be able to miss the action on International Speedway.
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This tourism hot spot is home to the Daytona Speedway and a plethora of dining and shopping venues. The first and largest NASCAR race of the season, the Daytona 500, is held annually in February. For those of you who are a bit more hands on, the Richard Petty Driving Experience is a fantastic option. There’s nothing like the thrill of driving on the speedway for yourself. Although International Speedway is full of fun activities, it barley scratches the surface of Daytona Beach life.
The group looking for a relaxing retreat or a romantic getaway will find all they are looking for at Daytona’s beach. Whether renting a beach chair to tan or grabbing a tandem bicycle, there are endless activities. Although simply soaking up the rays is relaxing and entertaining enough, you can’t miss the Ocean Walk. Directly off the beach, this entertainment complex houses shopping, a movie theatre, and coastal dining favorites such as Bubba Gumps and Sloppy Joe’s. Here you can experience the joy of eating that melting ice cream cone on the sand, while relishing the ocean views. Adjacent to OceanWalk is the Band Shell, which hosts live entertainment year round. Honestly, you could spend your entire trip in this area of town. A quarter mile down the beach from all the excitement is the Boardwalk and Daytona Beach Pier. The Boardwalk has a carnival feel and sports a Ferris wheel, a giant slingshot, and a miniature roller coaster.
How about dinner? Forget eating on land, you’re in Daytona Beach, we eat on the open sea. Okay, this may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the newly completed Joe’s Crab Shack sits over the water at the end of the Daytona Beach Pier. It harbors the most awe inspiring views of the coast. Lastly, travelers who want to see the hometown side of Daytona and a little local flair should visit Beach Street. On the western side of the Halifax River, this street is filled with the best local restaurants and go-to places. Sports fans will adore the Jackie Robinson Stadium, which is home to the Daytona Cubs. If you want a local favorite for dining, look no further than the Dancing Avocado Kitchen. It’s organic, green atmosphere and eclectic style makes for a great dining experience. The perfect ending to any meal is just a short walk down the strip at Angel and Phelps Chocolate Factory. Originating in Daytona Beach, this chocolate haven is full of rich history. They offer tours and free samples every half hour. As you can see, Daytona Beach is not only a destination, but a way of life. Sun, sand, and all becomes a part of who you are. Once you visit, you will be immersed in this lifestyle and culture. My hope and prayer is that you will be able to take a little piece of my home, home with you.
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