Blake Walsh

22 Best Things to Do in DeLand, FL

  • Published 2023/01/27

You’ll never run out of things to do in DeLand, also known as the Athens of Florida, is a historic town with several well-preserved historical structures that tell the tale of the city’s past.

DeLand, Florida, has many fun things to do outside of its historic sites, including several holiday celebrations in November and the opportunity to skydive for the first time.

Central commercial districts of both Daytona Beach and Orlando are located around 34 miles (55 kilometers) to the north and west, respectively.

Stetson University, the oldest institution in Florida, is located in DeLand.

Due to its proximity to natural springs, this location has been dubbed “Persimmon Hollow” because of the abundance of wild persimmon trees.

Captain John Rich erected a log cottage there in 1874.

New York baking soda mogul Henry Addison DeLand visited the area in 1876 and dreamed of developing a citrus, agricultural, and tourism hub.

He purchased the property and established the town during that year, which he renamed in his honor.

Explore DeLand, Florida, with our best things to do in this city.

Enjoy Different Water Activities at Hontoon Island State Park

View of Hontoon Island State Park

Peter Titmuss /

This park is free to visit, but visitors must use a park ferry or boat to get there.

It’s worth the effort to explore Hontoon Island‘s Native American habitation traces once you get there because the island itself is a communal hub that has been around for generations.

Waters of Hontoon Island State Park

Peter Titmuss /

Take a canoe or a boat excursion across its waterways to enjoy its natural beauty.

A nighttime boat rental is also available at this Florida state park.

It’s one of the greatest things you can do in DeLand to spend time here.

Wetlands at Hontoon Island State Park

Peter Titmuss /

Catch a Sporting Event at Edmunds Center

Exterior of Edmunds Center

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In addition to hosting the university’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams, the Edmunds Center is a multi-purpose facility that can accommodate up to 5,000 people.

In 1974, it opened and was renamed after a former school president.

Basketball competitions have taken place at this facility since the early 1990s.

Despite its age, the facility has received various recent modifications.

Visiting college campuses is a great way to get to know a new city, so check out their websites before you go to get the most out of your time there.

Wander Through the Stetson Mansion

Outside View of Stetson Mansion

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Stetson Mansion in DeLand, Florida, was built in 1886 by John and Elizabeth Stetson and is now a National Register of Historic Places-listed property.

President Grover Cleveland and members of the Vanderbilt and Carnegie families were among those who enjoyed the home’s abundant amenities when it was initially built as Florida’s first high-end mansion.

Signage of Stetson Mansion

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visitors may take a guided tour of the three-story Victorian-style residence as part of 60 or 90-minute guided tours.

In addition to a Dali lithograph, a Tiffany stained-glass window, a 3D-patterned parquet floor, and an antique Edison light bulb, each room in residence is open to the public for tours.

It hosts a public Christmas party during the winter break when it is magnificently adorned.

Exterior of Stetson Mansion

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Bring Out Your Inner Science Buff at the Gillespie Museum

Exterior of the Gillespie Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Gillespie Museum, Stetson University’s flagship public museum, was established in 1958 to house its environmental sciences collection.

Today, the museum houses one of the greatest mineral and gemstone collections in the American Southeast, with over 15,000 specimens.

Artifacts from a variety of Florida habitats are on display in the exhibit halls and collections of volcanic rocks and fluorescent minerals.

Additionally, educational and community programs can be held outside at the Stetson Beekeeping Center, the Hatter Harvest Garden, and a Native Florida Plant Landscape.

Afternoon and evening hours are available to the general public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with extra Saturday morning hours offered as part of Science Saturdays every month.

Watch a Theatrical Production at Athens Theatre

Front View of Athens Theatre

SR Productions /

The Athens Theatre was originally constructed and built in the early 1920s by a well-known architect and is one of the city’s most well-preserved historical landmarks.

After all, Deland was founded to become a metropolis that may one day surpass Athens’ grandeur.

Close View of Athens Theatre

SR Productions /

Since it opened, the theater has held a wide range of events, from tragic plays to rowdy vaudeville acts and everything in between.

Renovated in the 1990s, it currently has an appealing blend of cutting-edge technology and historically charming details, making it genuinely distinctive in the theater industry.

Marquee of Athens Theatre

Peter Titmuss /

Buy Fresh Produce at Volusia County Farm Bureau

According to the study, the mild temperature, ample sunshine, and excellent soil in central Florida explain why there are likely more farmers’ markets in the region than there are farmers themselves.

It is Volusia County’s most popular farmers market, held on Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m, and it is the county’s largest.

Because of its convenient location near I-4, it’s an ideal place to find both flea markets and local produce.

There’s a high chance you’ll find what you’re looking for, whether you’re looking for fresh seasonal vegetables and prepared cuisine or handicraft, vintage apparel, and housewares.

Grab a Drink at Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co.

Exterior of Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co.

SR Productions /

This brewery, founded in 2014, is the dream of homebrewers Robbie Carelli and Andy Sistrunk in DeLand’s SoNY area in the trendy Artisan Alley corridor, Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company.

An innovative American and Belgian-style brew is available on tap in the brewery’s taproom or at many restaurants in the Orlando area and several wholesalers and distributors.

These include Daytona Dirty Blonde Ale, Lake Time Lager, Three Guys Wise Coffee Porter, and Beach Hippie IPA.

Facade of Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co.

SR Productions /

Its pet-friendly taproom, two available to the public seven days a week, serves up a selection of wines.

Since the taproom doesn’t serve food, guests can bring food from surrounding eateries, like Artisan Taqueria, which is next door.

Explore the City’s History at DeLand House Museum

Exterior of DeLand House Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in DeLand, Florida, the DeLand House Museum houses Henry Addison DeLand, the city’s originator, and its name.

The house was built in 1886.

Originally built in 1888 and gifted to the City of DeLand in 1988, the magnificent Victorian-style estate was converted into a living history museum by the city four years later, in 1990.

Facade of DeLand House Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The West Volusia Historical Society’s volunteer docents offer guided tours of the house every week.

It’s possible to see how Volusia County’s social and cultural history has been documented through restored interiors and regional photography displays.

As a monument to the horticulturalists renowned as the “Citrus Wizard,” Lue Gim Gong Memorial Gazebo can be seen outside the building.

Peruse Different Crafted Items at DeLand Artisan Alley Farmers Market

You may go to Deland Artisan Alley Farmers Market in sunny or wet weather.

On the other hand, it’s open late on Fridays, from 6 to 9, unlike most farmers’ markets, which only run from the morning until the early afternoon.

That makes it a great location to relax and stretch your legs after some hard day at the office.

The historic downtown is awash with fashionable restaurants and bars that serve delicious food and drink and live music.

Its offerings include baked products, honey, salsa, and pickles made with local organic ingredients.

Hike Through St. Francis Trail

The St. Francis Route, a 7.9-mile trail that winds across the floodplains of St. Johns and St. Francis Dead Rivers, offers fairly hard hiking experiences for those interested in the area’s history.

Previously inhabited by St. Francis, a ghost town built in 1887, the road travels through territory once home to a health resort and a hotel and a general store, post office, and newspaper offices.

This little town was abandoned by railways in 19th-century America, leaving behind only a few ruins.

Hikers may explore six Florida habitats while spotting a diverse range of birds, including pileated woodpeckers and red-tailed hawks.

Experience the Fusion of Cultures at the African-American Museum of Arts

Exterior of African-American Museum of Arts

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One of Central Florida’s first museums dedicated to African-American culture and art, the African American Museum of Arts, was created in 1994.

When Irene and Maxwell Johnson created the museum as a community resource for young African-Americans in the DeLand area, their goal was to help them develop positive, self-affirming artistic output and creative thinking skills.

Sign in African-American Museum of Arts

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a free admission policy from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and group visits may be scheduled in advance.

Both new and known artists are represented in the rotating exhibit gallery, while the permanent collection includes 150 objects, including African anthropological relics.

DeLand’s Little Theater of DeLand was created in 1999 and frequently stages theatrical events for the museum community.

Celebrate Deland Fall Festival of the Arts

For two days in late November in central Florida, the Deland Fall Festival of the Arts is one of the region’s most anticipated and popular arts events.

It is organized by Deland Main Street Association and features juried contests that attract artists from all around Florida and the United States.

Foods, drinks, and entertainment will be available to accompany the beautiful art on display, and the festival is a terrific chance to pick up a unique piece of art to remember your trip.

Have a Picnic at Bill Dreggors Park

In honor of William J. “Bill” Dreggors, Jr., a preservationist and historian, Bill Dreggors Park is a National Register of Historic Places-listed park located in DeLand, Florida.

The DeLand Garden Club maintains a sensory butterfly garden at the park, featuring native and exotic plants as displays for people with neurological and physical limitations.

In addition to a 7/16-mile loop of paved asphalt, the Freedom Playground is a terrific place for children to run about and play all day long!

For private gatherings, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department rents out four picnic pavilions, which it offers as part of party packages for birthdays.

Its 1920 Memorial Hospital Building has several museum exhibits highlighting the region’s cultural and economic past, including a toy museum.

Gaze at Local Masterpieces in Museum of Art – DeLand

Exterior of Museum of Art – DeLand

Lisa Habermehl, Director of Marketing, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Not-for-profit Museum of Art Deland serves the community by presenting art and cultural activities they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to attend.

As of 1951, the museum’s collection includes 700 items from artists in the United States and other countries.

The museum offers several community events throughout the year, ranging from art education classes to receptions for emerging artists and exhibitions.

Entrance to Museum of Art – DeLand

Lisa Habermehl, Director of Marketing, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Meet and Greet the Animals at the Reptile Discovery Center

This center is a terrific spot to escape the hot Florida heat if you aren’t prone to sudden fits of giggles.

With so many snakes and lizards on display, this is the only opportunity most visitors will ever get to get up close and personal.

King Cobras and Burmese Pythons, two of the world’s most poisonous snakes, are among the center’s occupants and various other exotic killers.

Live venom extraction exhibitions are held regularly, and there are also several outdoor nature paths.

Go Fishing at Highland Park Fish Camp

More than 23,000 acres of the magnificent Norris Dead River may be found at Highland Park Fish Camp, a genuine Old Florida-style fish camp situated on the banks of this river.

The old fish camp has been conserved in its original state and transformed into a fishing destination and unique overnight lodging facility.

Visitors may hire boats and purchase bait and equipment to catch largemouth bass, with fishing experts on hand to assist in catches and technique.

The campground has 50 RV and six tent camping spots and seven updated cedar cabins that provide amenities, including full kitchens, charcoal barbecues, and screened-in porches.

Check Out Different Fun Activities at Volusia County Fair

Over the first week of November since 1923, the Volusia County Fair has been Volusia County’s main annual community fair.

With a midway full of fun activities, including roller coasters for adults and kiddie rides, the Volusia County Fairgrounds and Expo Center hosts the fair.

From cheese curds and corn dogs to funnel cakes and cotton candy, a broad array of vendors offer classic fair cuisine.

A wide range of music, art, and photography competitions are held throughout the week, drawing in local 4-H clubs and farmers and entries from the general public.

Trade exhibits, live entertainment, and a regular farmer’s market all occur at the fairgrounds throughout the year.

Spend the Day Playing at Victoria Hills Golf Club

Signage of Victoria Hills Golf Club

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Renowned for being a golfer’s dream, the Victoria Hills Golf Club is tucked between Orlando and Daytona Beach.

The 18-hole world-class golf course, set on over 200 acres, will delight you with curvature and elevation varieties, unlike any other state.

The golf course is built by Ron Garl, featuring unusual Florida-style undulations, and is tricky to players of all skill levels.

Victoria Hills Golf Club is a magnificent haven encircled by trees and stunning natural landscapes.

Pond at Victoria Hills Golf Club

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Visit for the golf, but when you’re not playing the course, the onsite restaurant Sparrow’s Grille serves you fantastic cuisine and drinks.

Make your event memorable as they are well-known for offering personalized, all-inclusive deals.

They have a huge guest count and can accommodate up to 300 people in their outside tent.

Golf carts at Victoria Hills Golf Club

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Rent a Boat at St. John’s Marina & Resort

St. John’s Marina & Resort is the ideal getaway location for anyone who doesn’t want to leave their boat unattended.

On the St. Johns River, adjacent to St. John’s Marina North, is the bustling, complete-service marina known as St. John’s Marina South.

The facility has several features, including sheltered canal slips, riverside slips, on-trailer accommodation, water filling stations, and more.

Lease a boat, a kayak, or a canoe to spend the entire day on the water.

There is a comprehensive liquor bar at the onsite eatery and tiki bar, and every seat offers stunning river views.

The Ship Store has a variety of items for sale, including beer, wine, snacks, cool beverages, and keepsakes to give to friends and family back home.

Unwind and Shop at Bodhi + Sol

Bodhi + Sol is a health facility that supplies essential oils and custom-blended products.

They aim to provide services and goods that enable the general public to feel good, complete, and sincerely cared for through personalized experiences and products.

Infrared salt and sauna, massage treatments, organic facials, and yoga are all available.

It is among the best places in the neighborhood to unwind and rejuvenate!

Stop by the store for all of your health requirements, including skincare, essential oils, and candles, among other things.

Explore the Waters with Blue Heron River Tour

Your admission to the natural world is through the Blue Heron River Tour!

The “Great Blue,” a custom-made sailboat, was created expressly to cruise peaceful, steep backwater regions where animal viewing is ideal.

The Blue Heron River Tour will transport you south on the St. Johns River through the Ocala National Forest for two hours.

Your captain will pause for animal watching and photography along the journey.

Join in on conversations about the river’s historical past and human environmental influence, and experience a complete two-hour immersion in the spectacular grandeur of the St. Johns River watershed.

Blue Heron River Tours currently provides small group charters from Mondays to Sundays.

It is the ultimate chance for your small club, picture session, or family gathering to take advantage of the trip in private.

See Works of Art at Art Studio 308

Pay a visit to Art Studio 308, both an academy for arts and an art gallery, and meet the proprietor, Georgia E. Dickson, an artist and the single instructor at Art Studio 308.

Her artworks have been showcased in galleries and exhibit around Florida.

A fun fact about Art Studio 308 is that their students make the art on show in the gallery.

They help newcomers become more successful artists while improving the abilities and methods of individuals who have already mastered their craft.

Participants include first-year students, aspiring artists, recently established artists, and art professors.

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter if you’re a resident or a tourist from another country; DeLand has something to offer you.

Stunning scenery and various activities await anyone who comes here.

Do yourself a favor and pay a visit to DeLand while you have the chance.

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