Daytona Beach is well-known for its white sandy beaches and international speedway, but it has a lot more to offer. Visitors have a wide range of attractions and activities to choose from. You can discover all of the family-friendly activities available along the 23 miles of Atlantic coastline.
Take scenic drives, rent bicycles, visit historic buildings, reach new heights at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, enjoy the Boardwalk & Pier, check out the Daytona International Speedway, and more!
Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, a significant other, or on your own, you won’t get bored. There is a trove of arts, culture, and history to be discovered, as well as shopping, golfing, and sporting events.
Start planning your vacation today with our list of eight things to do in Daytona Beach.
Learn While Having Fun at Ponce Inlet’s Marine Science Center
A few miles south of Daytona Beach, a little rescue group is making a major difference for conservation! At the Marine Science Center, visitors can witness firsthand how sea turtles and seabirds are rescued and rehabilitated before being released back into their natural habitat.
All ages are welcome at the center, which features interactive exhibits and knowledgeable staff as well as a variety of live animal programs that demonstrate the natural habits of the non-releasable animals.
The cost of admission is just $8, and you’ll leave with a wealth of information about how to maintain the local marine ecosystem.
Visit the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Take In the View From the Top
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is one of the country’s best-preserved lighthouses. You’ll need to climb 203 steps, but it will be worth it because once you reach the top, you’ll be able to enjoy some breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Halifax River.
After your ascent, pay a visit to the Ayres Davies Lens Building, which houses one of the world’s greatest collections of Fresnel lenses.
You can also find out what life was like for lighthouse keepers back in the day by exploring their original living quarters, as well as a number of other historical artifacts.
Explore the Lighthouse Point Park
Lighthouse Point Park is just a short distance from the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. This area has been left untouched, so it’s ideal for those of you looking for a wild coastal adventure.
This 52-acre park is a popular spot for residents to fish or surf, while many visitors like to relax on the beach, have a picnic, or walk the trails. Travel out along the jetty and you’ll find some of the most spectacular vistas of the Daytona Beach shoreline.
Drive Up and Down the Beach
Driving on the beach is probably the most well-known Daytona Beach activity. That’s in part because it has always been a hot topic and will probably remain so. Pioneers used horses and buggies while stock car racers used roaring engines.
These days there are only a few dozen miles of beaches where you can still drive. The practice has become so restricted because of safety concerns. You can still enjoy it, but make sure you understand the legal ramifications by consulting sites such as AccidentFirm.com to avoid getting into trouble.
You’ll have to pay $20 for the privilege of cruising gently on sand that’s generously wide and packed as firm as many roads. Every year, tens of thousands of people continue to drive on the beach. It’s tradition and the ultimate scenic drive.
Take a Drive along Ormond Beach’s Scenic Loop & Trail
Take a trip north of Daytona Beach along the Ormond Beach Scenic Loop & Trail for some stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. And if you want to get a more untamed glimpse of the ocean, stop at any of the beach access points along this route. You’ll find an untouched shoreline and an abundance of wildlife. As you gaze out over the Atlantic, keep an eye out for Right Whales, which are plentiful in this area at certain times of the year.
Take a detour inland and you’ll find yourself driving through one of Florida’s most gorgeous state parks, passing by tall ancient oak trees coated in moss.
Visit the Daytona International Speedway
The DAYTONA 500, held annually at Daytona International Speedway, is one of Daytona Beach’s most popular events. Racing fans from around the world visit the Speedway not only for NASCAR events but also to learn about the history of the sport.
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is also a must-see since it displays memorabilia from events dating back to the days of beach racing. You’ll get to see the winning car from the most recent DAYTONA 500, complete with confetti.
And when the speedway isn’t used for racing, it becomes a venue for special events such as the annual holiday celebration.
Rediscover the Beauty of Nature in Bulow State Park
Bulow Creek State Park is a great spot to get a taste of Florida’s wild side, with more than seven miles of trails snaking through tall pine and oak trees. This area is home to many different species, including deer, bobcats, and bald eagles.
Make sure you take a photo with the park’s famed Fairchild Oaktree while you’re there. This magnificent 600-year-old oak is one of the largest living oaks in the south.
Then you can take a trip back in time to Florida’s old sugar plantations by visiting the Bulow Plantation Ruins near the park’s northern edge. Interpretive signs recount the tale of this historic site as you wander amid the old ruins on scenic trails.
Experience the Serenity of Paddling at Tomoka State Park
Of course, no trip to Daytona Beach would be complete without a paddle along the calm Tomoka River, which runs through the Tomoka State Park. You can either rent a boat from Tomoka Outpost or bring your own. Either way, you should still visit the Outpost because it’s run by a lovely bunch of people who are quite knowledgeable about the area and can give you some valuable advice on paddling routes.
After your paddle, unwind on the patio with chilled drinks and a beautiful view. If you want to disconnect for a few days, Tomoka State Park also provides a campsite.
And after your adventures at Tomoka State Park, you may want to stop for a bite to eat at the nearby Tomoka Grille and Bar – a riverside restaurant with stunning views, local brews, and a delectable menu.