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Home to a picturesque stretch of white sand beach, Daytona Beach is full of family-friendly fun and world-class attractions. You can tour the state-of-the-art facilities at Daytona International Speedway, interact with local wildlife and explore some of the historic landmarks that dot the coastal city. Offering a wide array of sightseeing opportunities, read on to discover the best things to do in Daytona Beach.
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The absolute first thing to do on any visit to Daytona is head to the beach, as this 23-mile stretch of sand is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Known for its hard-packed sand that allows cars to drive in certain restricted areas of the beach, it’s a family-friendly area boasting an array of beachfront parks with picnic areas, pavilions for picnicking and a lively boardwalk. From May to October, you might even see a parade of giant sea turtles emerging from the ocean to lay their eggs on the sand.
Daytona’s most famous attraction, fans who’ve got a need for speed will want to hear the roar of the engines at Daytona International Speedway. If you can’t visit during the famous Daytona 500 event, then explore one of the most legendary auto-racing tracks in the world on a behind-the-scenes tour. Learn what makes this landmark an important piece of history, take a trip around the track and admire racing artifacts, trophies and driver memorabilia. If you want to drive a racecar, sign up for the NASCAR Driving Experience to fly around the 2.5-mile speedway.
An activity for both the young and old, the Marine Science Center features a collection of interactive exhibits, including a 5,000-gallon artificial reef aquarium, a 1,400-gallon stingray touch pool and bird observation tower. Not only is the Marine Science Center a living museum of marine life, but it’s also a research and learning center. Journey through a mangrove estuary and marvel at the size of a humpback whale skull, take a scenic walk along the nature trail, then visit the sea turtles at the turtle rehabilitation center.
Lined with bars, hotels, restaurants and shops, the Daytona Beach Boardwalk features many forms of entertainment and attractions that will appeal to the entire family. You’ll find games, amusement rides and sweet treats like cotton candy, candied apples and funnel cakes. It’s had a transformation throughout the years, but now features a collection of exciting rides that overlook the waves, from a Ferris wheel to a bungee jump and a Sandblaster roller coaster.
The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is an iconic structure in the Sunshine State, as it is a historic landmark that dates back to 1887. Standing 175 feet tall, it is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and is one of the tallest in the United States. Restored to service in 1982, the lighthouse features a museum with a collection of historic objects and an on-site gift shop with nautical themed gifts. Climb up to the top of this National Historic Landmark and capture a beautiful bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area.
Perfect for those hot Florida days, take the entire family to Daytona Lagoon for a full day of thrills. Take a plunge down the waterslides or melt your worries away in the lazy river, while those who want to stay dry can head to the mega arcade and do their best to beat the top score on over 70 games, including classics like skeeball and air hockey. It’s simply impossible to be bored here, as the attraction also features miniature golf, laser tag, go-karts and a sky maze to explore.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there’s no better place to satisfy your cravings in Daytona Beach than at Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory. Created by two women, they’ve been making delicious chocolate concoctions since 1925, moving from Michigan to Florida at the start of the World War II. The company still uses its original recipes to make its chocolates, as they’re committed to producing quality products with traditional methods. You can visit the factory for a short tour and watch the chocolate-making process, then sample some of their famous treats that come in fun shapes like alligators, conch shells and sand dollars.
Baseball fans shouldn’t pass up the chance to visit the Jackie Robinson Ballpark, as it’s a historic baseball field that was the site of the first integrated baseball game. Back in 1946, Daytona Beach was the first city in Florida to allow Robinson to play a game at the stadium, and now visitors can come and admire the statue of Jackie Robinson, browse the on-site museum and see various historic markers at the ballpark. Aside from its historical significance, it offers a fun day out with the entire family where you can watch the local Daytona Tortugas crush the competition.
A historic shopping street between Bay Street and Orange Avenue in the downtown area of Daytona Beach, Beach Street offers a picturesque riverfront location that gives it a peaceful ambiance. Browse the area to find more than 60 shops that range from antiques and art to clothing and shoes, home decor and jewelry. There are also plenty of delectable dining options that line the area, and you’ll find easy access to the city’s top local attractions. For a glimpse into the local culture, visit the Saturday Farmers’ Market for organic fruits and vegetables, baked goods and fresh seafood.
Home to more than 30,000 objects on display, the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) is considered one of the largest museums in Central Florida. Not just for art aficionados, bring the kids to this family-friendly attraction to admire exhibits that range from Cuban and Chinese art to Early American furniture and displays that detail some of Florida’s most interesting history. You’ll find plenty of Americana, from vintage automobiles to railroad cars and Florida’s largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia. Head to the planetarium for multimedia shows and unique presentations about our solar system.