DescriptionDaytona Beach has been a popular family vacation destination for more than a century. But it was more speedway than beach in the early days of the automobile. Between 1903 and 1935 some 15 speed records were set on the beach racecourse by Barney Oldfield, Sir Henry Segrave and Sir Malcolm Campbell. The racing tradition continues at Daytona International Speedway.
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Inspector 49 / AAA
Diana Beyer / AAA
A scenic portion of SR A1A extends along the ocean from Ormond Beach north to Fernandina Beach, a distance of 110 miles.
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Mary McLeod Bethune founded Bethune-Cookman University for the training of African-American women in 1904; it later became an accredited coed college. The campus, off International Speedway Boulevard, includes Bethune's home and gravesite, early buildings and the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center.
Visitor InfoDaytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau 126 E. Orange Ave. DAYTONA BEACH, FL 32114. Phone:(386)255-0415 or (800)854-1234
ShoppingVisitors who need a break from the sun and sand will discover several unique shopping areas beyond the expected. You can easily find tourist trinkets like a hanging mobile made of hundreds of tiny seashells, a souvenir T-shirt and beach gear galore, but Daytona Beach's trendy clothing boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, flea and farmers markets and a shopping mall will satisfy any of your other shopping needs.
For a taste of old Florida, park your car on the palm tree-lined Beach Street, where you can window shop and pop in and out of quaint shops and cafés at Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach. Follow the cobblestone sidewalks into such wonderful little emporiums as Arlequin Antiques and Art Work, 122 S. Beach St., where the French-accented proprietress cheerfully explains the stories behind such beautiful pieces as one-of-a-kind Art Deco jewelry, Vargas paintings, religious statuettes and European antiques; phone (386) 252-5498. Viva la France! Take a tour at Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory, 154 S. Beach St.; the shop sells preservative-free chocolate made on the premises. The chocolate-covered potato chips and pecan brittle should not be missed; (386) 252-6531.
On Saturday mornings from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., stop at the Farmers Market off Magnolia Avenue on downtown’s City Island to stock a picnic basket for your day at the beach. Choose from fresh fruits, vegetables, breads and desserts as well as herbs, seafood and plants.
Join the flip-flop and shorts-clad crowds on North Atlantic Avenue (SR A1A), where a smattering of shops sells every type of souvenir imaginable, including silk-screened T-shirts and the aforementioned seashell mobiles.
Maui Nix Surf Shop is Daytona’s quintessential beach shop, carrying a wide selection of all types of apparel necessary for the beach, including surfboards, bathing suits, sandals, hats, tote bags, sunglasses and T-shirts. If you’ve forgotten to pack any beach attire, you can buy it here. Maui Nix has three locations: at 635 N. Atlantic Ave.; in the Volusia Mall, 1700 W. International Speedway Blvd.; and in the Ocean Walk Shoppes, 250 N. Atlantic Ave.
Motorcycle aficionados who were born to be wild flock to the portion of Main Street between Halifax and Ocean avenues, not only for the biker bars, but also for the retailers dealing in motorcycle parts and leather apparel. If the latest biker fashions are on your shopping list, try Hot Leathers, 801 Main St., for such items as leather jackets and chaps or rhinestone-studded tank tops.
Make a pit stop at The Pit Shop, THE place in town for diehard NASCAR fans, located at Daytona International Speedway. Fervent devotees of stock car racing will find plenty of merchandise to get their motors runnin’, including driver medallions, limited edition souvenir programs, die-cast collectible cars and children’s onesies emblazoned with the names of their favorite drivers.
Daytona Flea & Farmers Market , 1 mile west of Daytona International Speedway at the junction of I-95 and US 92 at 1425 Tomoka Farms Rd., is a great place to spend a rainy day, as most of the vendors are indoors or under covered booths. Open Friday through Sunday, the market contains more than 1,000 vendors hawking traditional flea market wares; about 100 merchants offer antiques and collectibles for sale. Bring home unconventional souvenirs such as hand-carved tikis, tropical art or golf clubs.
Get your mall fix at the Volusia Mall, 1700 W. International Speedway Blvd. The bright, modern interior includes anchors Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s and Sears as well as more than 120 specialty shops such as American Eagle Outfitters, Buckle, Gymboree, Sunglass Hut and Victoria’s Secret. If you prefer scouting for bargains at outlet malls, try the more than 60 stores at Tanger Outlets, 1100 Cornerstone Blvd., which features favorites like J. Crew, Kay Jewelers, New Balance, Toys R Us Express and Under Armour; phone (386) 843-7459.
NightlifeReady to turn your day at the beach into a night on the town? Daytona Beach has a lot to offer, and you might be surprised to learn that there are more than just beachside bars where you can walk in wearing little more than flip-flops and cutoffs. There are beachside bars aplenty, but you’ll also find pubs, clubs, discos and other venues offering a selection of music from rock to reggae, blues to jazz, and country to classical. No matter what your musical taste is, you’re sure to find a spot in Daytona Beach to satisfy it and keep the beach party spirit going well into the night.
If your idea of beach music is the Beach Boys, pay no attention to this paragraph. However, if Led Zeppelin and AC/DC cover bands are more your style, then join the party at one of the many biker bars that call Main Street home. Daytona is world-renowned for its annual celebration of motorcycles; bikers gather in March for Bike Week and in October for Biketoberfest. Main Street is where they rally for raucous partying both night and day. Sandwiched between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean, the area could be considered biker heaven; bars are tucked in among shops selling leather attire, motorcycles and bike parts. The Bank & Blues Club, 701 Main St., hosts live blues and rock bands in a 1920s bank and has the original brick walls and stained glass; the vault now keeps the beer and wine safe. Across the street from a cemetery, Boot Hill Saloon, 310 Main St., is quasi-legendary among the biker set; its slogan is “You’re better off here than across the street.” Be careful, though; the live rock music is loud enough to wake the dead. Memorabilia covers every surface, and bras hang from the ceiling; it’s a tradition for women to leave one behind. For more ice-cold brews, deafening rock music and good times, check out Dirty Harry’s, 705 Main St.; Froggy’s Saloon, 800 Main St.; and Full Moon Saloon, 700 Main St.
For those who like to dance more than they like to rock, there’s plenty of room on the huge dance floor at Razzle’s, 611 Seabreeze Blvd., along with 11 bars, pool tables, an upscale dress code and décor, and the Ultra Lounge, featuring VIP booths and bottle service. DJs spin techno, house, trance and hip-hop.
You’ll pick up more mellow vibes at oceanfront watering holes. A favorite of locals and out-of-towners alike, The Ocean Deck Restaurant and Beach Club, 127 S. Ocean Ave., faces the Atlantic and is decked out in sea shanty décor with colorful marlins hanging from the ceiling and restrooms marked Gulls and Buoys. Sip a margarita and sway to live reggae music on the outdoor deck on sultry summer evenings.
Every town has at least one Irish pub, and Daytona Beach is no different. Tir Na Nog Irish Pub, 612 E. International Speedway Blvd., draws local artists, whose works hang on the wall, and local musicians, whom you can listen to nightly. Jovial bartenders will happily draw you a pint from the extensive beer list, as befits any Irish pub worth its shamrocks.
The restored Daytona Beach Bandshell, built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration, presents live music ranging from country, classical, blues and big band to rock, jazz and even military bands. Concerts are offered Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., May through September. Friday concerts are $3; Saturday concerts are free and conclude with fireworks. Bring the kids, a picnic basket (no alcohol is allowed) and some folding chairs (chair rentals are available on site) for an old-fashioned, hand-clapping good time. The band shell is on the beach near Ocean Walk Shoppes, 250 N. Atlantic Ave., between Ora and Earl streets.
Daytona Beach is the last place you might expect to find live classical music, but orchestras from all over the world perform in this beachside town, thanks to the Daytona Beach Symphony Society. Its chief venue is the Peabody Auditorium, 600 Auditorium Blvd., which has played host to the Boston Pops, the Czech Philharmonic and Itzhak Perlman; the season runs November through February.
Things to SeeAngell & Phelps Chocolate Factory Tour