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(2016 - Winter/Spring Issue)


For a long time, the Daytona Beach area has been known for auto racing and beautiful beaches. And rightly so. In recent years, however, the area has transformed into a multi-faceted family getaway. 

There’s a vibrant cultural life here featuring a ton of colourful open-air festivals; excellent dining; great golf; water recreation—both in the ocean and on the Halifax River—everywhere you look; interesting historical spots; and a wealth of family attractions.

“A long time ago we were known as a college Spring Break destination,” says Tom Caradonio, executive director of the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “These days, families enjoy festivals and youth athletic competitions during our Spring Family Beach Break. It’s an amazing time of year.”

Catch the Action 

For a peaceful getaway, 37 kilometres of oceanside beaches are a great place to start. For a sheer adrenalin rush, few things are as exciting as a race at Daytona International Speedway, which recently underwent a US$400-million upgrade.   However, these two long-time favourites are just the beginning.

At the Marine Science Center, you can observe creatures from the sea and the sky rehabbing from injuries. You can climb the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse—Florida’s tallest! Adjacent to the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts & Sciences, the recently opened Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art showcases the most comprehensive collection of Florida art on Earth.

In addition to the Riverfront Shops and a lively town centre, Daytona Beach’s downtown is filled with historic structures such as Jackie Robinson Ballpark, where Robinson first played professional baseball (and where the Minor League Daytona Tortugas play baseball today).

The 1938 Boardwalk Amusement Area is the epicentre of Daytona Beach life. The new “Sand Blaster” rollercoaster is a must-try experience, surrounded by a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions, such as arcade games, the shops and restaurants of Ocean Walk Village, the historic bandshell, and—my personal favourite—a landmark taffy factory, from which you’ll still be lickin’ your fingers an hour later. 

The region has transformed itself in recent years into “The Festival Capital of Florida,” with events like the Native American Festival; Daytona Beach Film Festival; Daytona Beach Blues Festival; Spring Turkey Run (classic cars); Art in the Park; Festa Italiana; Celtic Festival; Sweet Corn Festival; HippieFest; and the Reggae & Island Music Festival in New Smyrna Beach. This year will see the Country 500 Music Festival with a lineup of top country superstars performing at the Speedway, May 27–29.

Daytona Beach is also an emerging “foodie” destination. On the newly launched Daytona Beach Ale Trail, sample innovative craft beers at a dozen small-batch breweries run by local entrepreneurs. And Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach is like a walkable foodie nirvana, due to the independent restaurants located downtown (and the old-time black-and-white movies projected onto the sides of buildings).

The “new” Daytona Beach is full of surprises. And discovering them is incredibly fun!

Travel Planner

To plan your exciting Daytona Beach getaway, visit daytonabeach.com.

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