Florida, known as the Sunshine State, draws much from the city of Daytona Beach and its luster as a travel destination.
Founded in 1870, this city in northeastern Volusia County is home to the world-famous stock car auto race Daytona 500.
Often simply called Daytona, the city emerged from the early 1800s plantation of British loyalist Samuel Adams.
Adams’ plantation grew out of a land grant from the Spanish Crown when Spain regained Florida from Britain after the 1776 American Revolutionary War.
Mathias Day Jr. of Mansfield, Ohio, next gained ownership of the property, and the hotel he built on became the nucleus of a new town.
The town’s residents named it Daytona in honor of Mathias, some consolation after he lost the title to the property.
The current Daytona Beach Historical District was once the plantation that Samuel Adams established and Mathias Day Jr. later purchased.
Its deep history and affinity with an iconic auto race unlock plenty of things to do in Daytona Beach.
Sample some of these exciting activities on the following list.
Tour the Daytona International Speedway
The popular car races at the Daytona International Speedway are held in February each year.
The roots of Daytona as a motorsports hub date back to the early 1900s.
In those years, the pioneers of automobile manufacturing found the city’s wide beach of smooth, compacted sand ideal for testing their car models.
Eventually, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) also established its headquarters in Daytona Beach.
Visitors can experience the thrill of the Daytona races even during the Speedway’s off-season.
The race track on West International Speedway Boulevard hosts tours year-round.
A tour of the Speedway will take you to Pit Road, where NASCAR's ace drivers prep up for the races.
The tour ends at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, where you can also have a close look at the champion car of the Daytona 500.
The tour’s ticket also includes a digital photo package to ensure a memorable visit to the Speedway.
Enjoy Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier
Daytona Beach shares 23 miles of the Atlantic coastline, a stretch offering several beach parks plus the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier.
The pier extends 1,000 feet into the Atlantic and has been a popular fishing spot since its establishment in 1925.
Anglers cast their lines here for a wide variety of fish, like bluefish, snook, cobia, tarpon, trout, kingfish, and pompano, with sailfish a prized catch.
Visitors can drive their cars and park on the sand just a short walk from the pier.
Here, you’ll be able to reminisce about the days when the compact beach was a testing ground for pioneer automakers.
Access to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier is from the eastern terminus of Main Street.
This area also teems with gift shops, restaurants, and snack bars, particularly in the Ocean Walk Shoppes on North Atlantic Avenue.
Pick a Fun Game or Ride on the Boardwalk
The North Ocean Avenue side of the Daytona Beach Boardwalk features many family-oriented fun centers offering games and amusement rides.
One of these is Joyland with Skee-Ball, video games, and thrill rides in its two arcades.
The Mardi Gras Fun Center is another Ocean Avenue option, featuring old-school arcade games.
Visitors can also shift to Screamer's Park on South Atlantic Avenue, just a short distance southeast of the Main Street fishing pier.
This park’s centerpiece attraction is the Daytona Sling Shot, sending its riders up to over 360 feet into the air at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.
Watch a Show at the Peabody Auditorium
The Peabody Auditorium is a historic performing arts venue founded in 1919 by Simon J. Peabody, a prominent Daytona businessman.
Razed by a fire, the auditorium was rebuilt in 1947 with a total capacity of about 2,500 seats in its orchestra, loge, and balcony levels, still in use today.
Located on Auditorium Boulevard, this facility is the home of the Daytona Beach Symphony Society.
It has also served as the summer home of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Besides orchestra concerts, the Peabody Auditorium serves as a stage for operas, band performances, and premiere entertainment shows.
Have Family Fun at Daytona Lagoon
Daytona Lagoon is primarily a water-based recreational facility on Earl Street next to a parking facility in Volusia County.
Visiting families with kids will enjoy most of Daytona Lagoon’s waterpark featuring its Treasure Lagoon Wave Pool and the Castaway Children’s Play Area.
Families can enjoy thrilling slides on the waterpark’s Poseidon Pass, Adventure Mountain, Shaka Halfpipe, Kraken’s Revenge, and the twisting Pirate’s Revenge.
Out of the water, visitors can go for a round of mini-golf or rev it up in a multi-level go-kart track with options on either single or double riders.
Daytona Lagoon also offers high-flying excitement in its Sky Maze Ropes Course with zip lines and obstacles.
Its other attractions include a Mega Arcade, Bumper Cars, Laser Tag, and the Island Hopper.
Enjoy the Outdoors at Riverfront Esplanade
You can access the Riverfront Esplanade from North Beach Street, which stretches a mile off the Intracoastal Waterway’s shoreline.
You can enjoy running on its mile-long paved track lined with tropical Florida palms, shrubs, and trees.
Swings and comfortable benches are available along the picturesque esplanade.
Some visitors even take the liberty of rigging hammocks to lounge in the quiet parts of the Esplanade.
Other features of the Esplanade include a splash pad, a dog park with an agility course, and a public gathering space.
Explore the Museum of Arts and Sciences
The Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS), located on South Nova Road, is one of the largest in Florida.
As the primary cultural repository of Daytona Beach and Volusia County, MOAS boasts more than 30,000 objects collected.
Several thematic museums and galleries comprise MOAS, which also incorporates the 90-acre Tuscawilla Preserve.
The Klancke Environmental Education Complex in MOAS provides greater appreciation and accessibility to this preserve.
The complex has a sensory garden and elevated boardwalks with discovery stations featuring informative and interactive signage.
MOAS is also home to the Cuban Museum and the Root Family Museum, where visitors will find the world’s largest Coca-Cola collection.
Interesting décor and furniture draw visitors to the Dow American Gallery and the Bouchelle Center for Decorative Arts in MOAS.
Other points of interest in MOAS include the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum, Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, and the historic Gamble Place.
Find Ways to Swing at Tuscawilla Park
Sprawling over nearly 30 acres off north of Orange Avenue, Tuscawilla Park visitors can choose from several treetop games and courses, including wooden bridges, tight rope cables, zip lines, and ladders.
Typically, it will take about two and a half hours to tackle the most challenging course here, which features 24 treetop adventure elements.
It is also host to the Daytona Beach Zipline Adventure.
The park’s woodlands provide a perfect setting for the eight zip lines of this adventure-themed facility of TreeTop Trekking.
Swinging to another challenge, Tuscawilla Park offers an 18-hole/basket disc golf course providing play over 5,305–7,244 feet.
Players on this tight layout will throw discs across six water holes, numerous ditches, hazards, and bunkers.
Play North or South at Daytona Beach Golf Course
A 36-hole municipal link, the Daytona Beach Golf Course offers two layouts—North and South—of varying vintage.
The older South course opened in 1923 and is among the designated stops of the Florida Historic Golf Trail.
Play on the South’s 18 holes is at par 71, with choices on three tee placements for a course tour of 5,100 to 6,200 yards.
Towering pines and Florida oaks line this course's fairways with minimal water hazards.
The North course, built in 1946 and completely revamped in 1997, is the more challenging alternative.
It plays at par 72 over 6,338 yards from the longest tees, with the layout meandering through dense woodlands across plenty of water hazards, then onward undulating greens.
The Daytona Beach Golf Course offers its Sandtrap Bar and Grill for post-game meals and drinks.
Feel the Championship Vibe at LPGA International
LPGA International is the home course of the prestigious LPGA Tour, a series of golf tournaments for elite lady golfers.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), the organization that runs this tour, has its headquarters in Daytona Beach.
Located on Champions Drive, LPGA International offers two top-rated 18-hole courses: Hills and Jones.
The Jones layout opened in 1994 and plays par 72 over 7,088 yards from the longest tees.
The Hills course, which opened in 1997, also plays at par 72 over 6,984 yards from the farthest tee mounds.
World-class practice facilities are available at LPGA International, including a double-ended driving range and putting greens.
Dining for golfers and guests is accessible at Malcolm’s Bar & Grill in the LPGA Clubhouse.
Watch the Tortugas at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark
A historic sports arena, the Jackie Robinson Ballpark is the home turf of the Daytona Tortugas (formerly Daytona Cubs).
This ball field on East Orange Avenue opened in 1914 and has emerged as one of the best venues of Minor League Baseball.
Its Tortugas home team has notched six championships and became an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds in 2015.
Though the Jackie Robinson Ballpark is the fourth oldest ball field for pro baseball, this arena boasts many modern amenities.
These upgrades include a new high-definition video board set up on the ballpark’s left field.
Take a Stroll on Halifax Harbor Park & Marina
Accessible via South Beach Street, Halifax Harbor Park & Marina spreads over 60 acres featuring walking paths with views of the scenic Halifax River.
The marina provides 550 boat slips, and its boat launch ramp is accessible free to the public.
The marina’s amenities include a fuel deck, fishing pier, picnic tables, and boaters’ lounge.
Boaters using the marina can access free Wi-Fi, self-service laundry, showers, and concierge-style dock service.
The Halifax Park & Marina is within walking distance of the shops and restaurants in Daytona’s downtown riverfront.
Visit the Halifax Historical Museum
A 1910 building formerly occupied by Merchant's Bank and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places houses the Halifax Historical Museum.
With its building’s Greek revival architecture, the museum stands out on South Beach Street at the west bank of Halifax River.
The timeline of the museum’s exhibits begins with artifacts dating back to 2500 to 5000 B.C.E.
The permanent exhibits in the museum present the history of the greater Daytona Beach area.
A complete tour of this museum takes one and a half hours, which can segue to a stroll around its South Beach Street Historic District featuring154 historic buildings.
Explore City Island Park
Located on East Magnolia Avenue north of Silver Beach Bridge, City Island Park spreads on the west bank of Halifax River.
The park’s amenities include pavilions, grills, a boat ramp, and a fishing dock.
It also features a well-equipped playground, restrooms, and a volleyball court.
The park’s riverfront provides a sizeable recreational field that serves as a venue for many special events.
These include seasonal music concerts and the weekly Downtown Daytona Beach Farmers Market.
The park’s immediate vicinity likewise features the City Island Recreation Center, the Daytona Beach Regional Library, and the City Island Tennis Center.
Visit Manatee Island Park
This park was developed as a wildlife sanctuary on a tiny island of about 12 acres in the Intracoastal Waterway.
A small bridge links Manatee Island Park to North Beach Street, opening access to several facilities.
These park features include picnic pavilions, a kids’ playground, a water splash zone for children, and a stage where children’s concerts are held each summer.
This island is also popular as a dog park and venue for Daytona Beach seafood festivals.
Canoe and kayaks for rent are available at Marine Island Park, where a boardwalk and a fishing pier are likewise provided.
While Daytona itself evokes images of the beach and the speedway, two things that are synonymous with it, Daytona Beach itself offers more than just being a summer paradise.
The points of interest and things to do in Daytona Beach are a varied lot that can easily rank tops in the itinerary of a visit to the Sunshine State.
The superb coastal location of Daytona Beach and its well-developed tourism facilities surely elevate this city among Florida’s top travel destinations.