Top 10 Things to do in Daytona Beach, FLA

by GO GlobeHopper

Located on Florida‘s Atlantic Coast, Daytona Beach is widely known for auto racing due to its famous Speedway.  But it is also home to dog racing, golf, Jai Alia, museums and attractions, as well as dining and shopping.  And, of course, it’s known for its expansive beach. which is driveable in designated areas.  There’s so much more to do in this city than meets the eye.  So, for those travelers that need a little help creating their vacation itinerary, the following are our picks for the Top 10 Things to do in the region.


The Beach

Daytona Beach extends a whopping 23 miles along the Atlantic Coast.  Much of the sand is hard-packed, which made it the perfect place to race for 50 years, prior to the opening of Daytona International Speedway in 1959. To this day, the hardened sand allows for motorized vehicles in designated areas. To that end, there are several outlets for bike rentals, including e-bikes and scooters for exploring the beach.

This is a family beach – as such, thong bikinis for men and women cannot be worn here as per Florida law

Hotels line the shore, along with several waterfront parks, and a boardwalk that features amusements, shops, and restaurants. From mid-May to late October, the entertainment shifts to the sand as giant sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.


Daytona International Speedway

This racetrack is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated in the world.  Even non-fans of motorsports recognize the name – Daytona International Speedway. It is home to Bike Week and Supercross races, the IMSA race known as Rolex 24, and the BMW Endurance Race.  But most famously, it is home to NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Racing) and the Superbowl of motorsports – the Daytona 500 – a race full of pageantry that kicks off the NASCAR season and attracts upwards of 100,000 spectators.

To learn about the track, the Speedway offers an informative tram tour of the facilities with highlights that include Victory Lane, the garages, pit road, the drivers’ meeting room, and the impressive 31-degree banking of the track.

The Richard Petty Driving Experience (representing the NASCAR series) is also held here, for adrenaline junkies and racing fans that want to feel the banking and sheer speed of the track with a ride-along in a car piloted by a professional driver.  Or there’s an option to learn how to drive a stock car and test out the track for yourself.  Check the website for schedules. To watch our video of the ride-along experience, check out Go TrackHopper (our sister site) and their YouTube channel HERE.



For fun and games, venture to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, situated alongside the beach.  Travelers will find an eclectic mix of gift shops as well as restaurants and snack bars with an ocean view. There’s also a lot of fun food, such as candy and sweets found at Zeno’s World’s Most Famous Taffy.

The young and young at heart will also enjoy the amusement park atmosphere presented with an assortment of arcade games and rides, as well as go-karts. Plus, there’s a bandshell for live entertainment. Directly across the street, additional fun can be found at Daytona Lagoon waterpark.

During the peak season of May to September, visitors have extra reason to visit the Boardwalk for street performers, free bandshell concerts, and fireworks.


Main Street Pier

Main Street Pier, also known as Daytona Beach Pier, has been a landmark since it opened in 1925, originally 800 feet in length. Due to fire, it was torn down and rebuilt to 1,000 feet in length and the original pavilion was replaced with a casino and ballroom. When racing began on the beach, some of the pilings were removed to allow the cars to race underneath. Photos that were taken of the drivers with the pier as the background caused Daytona to be branded as “The World’s Most Famous Beach.”

Today, visitors will find the pier centrally located along the Boardwalk. It is open to the public seven days a week and contains a few restaurants. Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as dangerous weather, the east end of the pier is usually open for fishing from dawn to dusk. There is no cost, and a fishing license is not required.  Visitors might also want to consider the pier for viewing seabirds and marine life, such as dolphins, and hammerhead sharks.


Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

The State of Florida features several lighthouses, and the tallest is the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse with an accompanying museum. This lighthouse has guided boats along the coast for over 130 years. Located 10 miles south of Daytona, this National Historic Landmark allows visitors to climb 175 feet to the top of the structure, for a total of 203 stairs.

Guests can choose to explore the light station and museum with a self-guided tour map, opt for a private tour (advance reservations are required for this), or sign up for a special after-hours event.


Marine Science Center

The interesting and most important thing about The Marine Science Center is that it is not just an aquarium meant for tourism, it is a research and rescue facility for sea birds and marine life. This includes sea turtles, hatchlings, and various indigenous land animals such as snakes, gopher tortoises, and freshwater turtles. It is here that guests can learn about the important work done to rehabilitate these creatures and prepare them for their return to the wild.

Visitors can enjoy the inhabitants housed in the large touch-tank, such as stingrays. Other highlights offered at the Marine Science Center include a Turtle Terrace, a nature trail with boardwalks, a bird observation tower, and a variety of exhibits.


Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory, where you’ll find a vast array of sweet and salty snacks in all shapes and sizes.

Angell & Phelps began hand-making chocolate treats in 1925. Originally founded in Michigan, owners Riddell Angell and Cora Phelps relocated the company to Florida around the beginning of World War ll.  As trailblazers with a recipe for success, they inspired more female business owners. Today, the company still uses some of the original recipes to create its decadent desserts. Plus, they offer a free factory tour so visitors can watch as the chocolate is made into treats such as fudge, almond bark, mint patties, and individual chocolates, as well as chocolate-covered chips, pretzels, and popcorn.  Free samples are also provided.


Tomoka State Park

Just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the city and beaches sits Tomoka State Park, a 2,000-acre facility that hugs the Tomoka River.  This was once home to Native Americans who lived off the land and fish-filled waters.  Today, it is an excellent place for tourists to appreciate nature.

Open 365 days a year from 8:00 AM until sundown, visitors can stroll a half-mile nature trail, indulge in bird watching with over 160 species seen in the region, or enjoy wildlife sightings that potentially can include the West Indian manatee. A boat ramp gives boaters and canoeists access to the river. The park store offers snacks, camping supplies, and canoe rentals.


Museum of Arts and Sciences

With the prestigious honor of being a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, MOAS (Museum of Arts and Sciences) uniquely houses distinct pieces that blend the concept of a museum with an art gallery. This 100,000-square-foot space is located on a 90-acre Florida nature preserve and boasts more than 30,000 objects of interest, making MOAS among the largest museum in Florida.

Displays include American art and African artifacts.  It is home to the Cuban Foundation Museum with the most substantial collection of Cuban paintings in the US.  The Prehistory of Florida gallery is wildly popular and includes Florida’s Giant Ground Sloth skeleton, and the Root Family Museum displays restored railroad cars, antique automobiles, and the largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia in Florida. For young children, the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum is also on-site and provides interactive experiences and a planetarium. And finally, also on the MOAS campus is The Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, featuring the world’s largest assembly of Florida-based art.


Jackie Robinson Ballpark

Originally called The Daytona City Island Ballpark, this historic sports facility opened in June 1914.  On March 17, 1946, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in a professional baseball game at the stadium, in a spring training game for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Triple-A farm team, the Montreal Royals. The following year, Robinson was called up by the Dodgers. And today, the stadium boasts his name – an honor that was bestowed in 1989.

Currently home to the Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati Reds’ farm team), Jackie Robinson Ballpark has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and is available for tours.  Visitors will discover a commemorative bronze statue of Robinson near the ballpark’s entrance along with a variety of unique features and amenities.


⦿ If you’re looking for more attractions and places of interest, you’ll find Orlando only one hour from Daytona Beach, with an easy drive along Interstate 4.  To check out what there is to do in the region, watch our Top 10 Things to do in Orlando video HERE



Photo Credits:

Beach – by Paul Brennan on Pixabay
Daytona Speedway – by Mathewboy1 on Pixabay
Boardwalk – by MissVicki on Pixabay
Main Street Pier – by Paul Brennan on Pixabay
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum – by Truck That Beach on Unsplash
Marine Science Center – by Sophia Muller on Unsplash
Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory – by cgdsro on Pixabay
Tomoka State Park – Wikimedia Licence Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Jackie Robinson Ballpark – Wikimedia by Recury Licence  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Museum of Arts and Sciences – courtesy of MOAS

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