Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Ormond Beach, FL

  • Published 2022/03/22

Eight miles north of Daytona Beach is the quiet and rustic city of Ormond Beach, which is home to some of Florida’s most popular historical sites.

This city in Volusia County donned several identities throughout its development.

Northern industrialists were frequent visitors of the area before it became a popular destination for automobile racers with its hard-packed sand.

Today, Ormond Beach is most popular for its scenic trails and state parks that bring its visitors to a state of nostalgia.

Ormond Beach is indeed a hidden gem in Florida, with dozens of historical homes, sites, and natural wonders that captivate its tourists.

Check out 15 of the best things you can do while in Ormond Beach.

Go Birdwatching at Tomoka State Park

Clouds reflecting on Tomoka State Park's river

Jon Bilous /

Tomoka State Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise with over 160 sightings of bird species during the spring and fall migrations.

Make your way through the nature trail towards a hardwood hammock, and keep an eye out for warblers like the Black-Throated Blue and Cape May.

You can also birdwatch while on a boat and scan the waters for Wood Storks.

Kayak rack near Tomoka State Park's river

Harry B. Lamb /

But if you visit sometime in winter, you might even get a glimpse of American White Pelicans, Bald Eagles, and Common Loons passing by the waterways.

And as an added treat, you can also get rare sightings of butterfly species around the area, such as the Phaon Crescent, Great Southern White, Giant Swallowtail, and more.

Trees at Tomoka State Park

Sean Loring /

Live Life from the Great Outdoors with Ormond Outdoor Adventures

Sail boat near Ormond beach shore

Michael J. Regent /

It’s no secret that Ormond Beach is a city famed for its crystal clear waters and fine sand.

But if you think that an ordinary beach trip is the only thing to do here, then think again.

Ormond Outdoor Adventures takes your vacation to the next level with a myriad of fun activities.

Sunset reflecting on Ormond beach water

Phillip williams /

Embark on a guided or self-guided kayak and paddleboard tour along the Tomoka River, and let the current take you to the most scenic places in Ormond Beach.

Or, if you’re looking to get down and dirty, you can also go on an ATV adventure on a private ranch in North Volusia County.

A kite-boarded on Ormond beach

SandiMako /

Travel Back in Time by Visiting the Addison Blockhouse Historic State Park

Go on a hike or travel along the Tomaka river to discover the historic Addison Blockhouse.

This picturesque coquina ruin sits on what was once a 19th-century cotton and sugar cane plantation owned by John Addison before it burned down during the second Seminole wars.

After the plantation was destroyed, the Carolina Regiment of Volunteers salvaged the blockhouse’s remaining foundations as an act of defense against further Seminole attacks.

Now surrounded by moats, this roofless blockhouse was originally a kitchen with a large fireplace and a small round tower in one corner.

As you wander the area, you’ll also see an old house foundation with the remains of tabby floors and coquina rock.

Wander the Halls of The Casements

Exterior of The Casements

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Situated on Riverside Drive, The Casements is recognized as “The Jewel of Ormond Beach.”

The mansion was owned by John D. Rockefeller and served as his winter home.

Known for its hand-cut casement windows, the mansion was also a popular venue for grand celebrations hosted by Rockefeller一a tradition that has been preserved by The Casements Guild.

Get lost in the halls of this Shingle-style mansion and unravel dozens of stories behind its walls.

Interior of The Casements

Lvklock, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the mansion’s third floor, explore the Boy Scout Historical Exhibit, and learn about scouting history while taking a look at preserved patches, jamboree neckerchiefs, and uniforms, among others.

Also on the third floor is the Hungarian Folk Exhibit, which highlights Hungary’s folk art, costumes, and family heirlooms from the exhibit’s creators, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Horvath.

As you step outside the mansion, you’ll be greeted with a scenic landscape of the Rockefeller Garden.

Stroll through the promenade along the river, or you could also swing by the water pond and check out a sculpture of a silver king tarpon in the middle.

The Casements' central skylight

Lvklock, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shop for a Premium Art Piece from the Ocean Art Gallery

Nothing beats an authentic art piece for a souvenir.

So if you’re looking for a unique item to commemorate your trip to Ormond Beach, stop by the Ocean Art Gallery at the Granada Plaza Shopping Center.

This art gallery offers a wide range of affordable art pieces created by over 25 local artists.

Take your pick from a collection of products in mediums like acrylic, oil, mixed media, watercolor, wood, and more.

You’ll also find a great selection of handcrafted sterling silver jewelry in the form of earrings, bracelets and cuffs, necklaces, rings, sterling sculptures, pins, and belts.

And if you want your newly-acquired piece to stick around for a long time, you can also avail the gallery’s custom framing services.

Stroll around the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens

Exterior of Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens is a one-of-a-kind spectacle that combines the environment’s natural wonders with a dedicated space for historical pieces.

Founded by local residents in 1946, the art museum serves as a hub where local and international artists can showcase their collections and pieces.

The museum also pays homage to the efforts of war veterans by displaying plaques and sculptures around the area.

As you step outside the art museum, you’ll get to see an entirely different canvas in the form of manicured and landscaped natural wonders.

Stroll around the gardens and marvel at the sight of Ormond Beach’s own urban oasis.

Tour the tropical rainforest and check out native and exotic plants surrounding the area, and feel the cool breeze running across your skin from the Emmons Cottage and other nearby gazebos.

Traverse the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail

The Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail spans over 30 miles of roadways showcasing Ormond Beach’s natural wonders.

Going around the inland waterway on the barrier island and mainland, the trail gives visitors an amazing view of Florida’s scenic trails.

Blast music from your stereo and enjoy the ride with the wind whistling in your ears.

As you traverse the trail, don’t forget to take a short break and discover hidden barrier island dunes, rivers, creeks, and historic dwellings.

You can also take a detour from your drive and make your way towards the waters to catch a glimpse of dolphins and leatherback turtles nesting on the sand.

Discover the Wonders of The Three Chimneys

History marker of The Three Chimneys

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Along West Granada Boulevard sits The Three Chimneys, which is an old British sugar mill and rum distillery.

It was part of the 20,000 acres given to Richard Oswald by King George III in 1764.

In 1914, the site was then reconstructed as a tourist attraction called Camp Fagan, which contained a museum and alligator farm.

Site of The Three Chimneys

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The site where The Three Chimneys was constructed occupied 300 acres for a sugar cane plantation that produced sugar, molasses, and rum.

Upon arriving at the site, you’ll see the remnants of the boiling facility, which includes the old rum distillery and Fagan chimney.

Sit Back and Relax Fortunato Park

If you’re looking to get away from the busy streets of Ormond Beach, you might want to visit Fortunato Park.

This 2.6-acre park gives you an all-access pass to a panoramic view of the Halifax River.

Walk along the paved trails and make your way towards the pier to catch the golden sunset.

You can also hang by the pier to catch a couple of native fishes, or go kayaking along the river.

The park is also home to the last remaining structure of the Hotel Ormond Cupola, which is considered a historic landmark and one of the country’s oldest and largest wooden structures.

Explore the Dummett Sugar Mill Ruins

Front view of the Dummett Sugar Mill Ruins

William Silver /

As you wander around Tomoka State Park, your feet could lead you to a historical site that contained the first steam-powered cane crushing sugar mill in the area.

The Dummett Sugar Mill Ruins was once a staggering 2,000 acres of land where sugarcane was distilled into rum.

Closer view of Dummett Sugar Mill Ruins

William Silver /

The plantation was originally owned by John Bunch and John Addison before it was acquired by British Marine Office Colonel Thomas H. Dummett in 1825.

Ten years after the acquisition, local Seminoles raided the instrumental plantation that brought the Industrial Revolution to the US, causing it to burn down.

The remains of the sugar and rum processing factory still remains a sight to behold, with traces of brick and coquina infrastructures providing an authentic feel to the area.

Attend the Celtic Festival

Usually held every April, the Celtic Festival is one of the most-awaited celebrations in the city.

The two-day festival is held to celebrate Celtic culture and heritage, featuring a series of fun games, Irish dancing, and highland games, among others.

Spend your weekend in the city listening to live music as you munch on some traditional Celtic food.

You can also check out sheep herding demonstrations, axe throwing shows, dog parades, and more.

To cap off your fun-filled day, take a swig of Guinness and head down to the Halifax River for a relaxing end to the weekend festivities.

Bowl at Ormond Lanes

If you’re looking to do something fun for the whole family, you might want to consider heading down to Ormond Lanes.

Located along North US Highway 1, Ormond Lanes features 40 computerized bowling lanes perfect for game night.

Play a game of ten-pin while snacking on some chocolate bars.

You can also participate in a couple of bowling leagues and try your luck bagging the crown.

And if you’re looking for something else to do while in the area, head over to Ormond Lane’s billiard hall.

Tour the MacDonald House

Exterior of MacDonald House

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Purchased by Billy MacDonald in 1939, the MacDonald or Mac House is now Ormond Beach’s welcoming center and a home for the Ormond Historical Trust.

The Mac House was designed by renowned local architect Sumner Gove in 1903, while the construction was led by Margaret Stout.

The four-bedroom house is decorated with historical photos that commemorate the significant events in Ormond Beach.

Inside the house, you’ll see a video presentation chronicling Ormond Beach’s rich history, as well as exhibits showcasing the city’s wonders.

Nearby, you can see Billy’s Tap Room and Grill, established by the MacDonald family in 1926.

Spruce Up Your Instagram Feed at Bailey Riverbridge Gardens

Enjoy the rustic view of the old Ormond Beach life at Bailey Riverbridge Gardens in North Beach Street.

Spanning a total of 2.6 acres, Bailey Riverbridge Gardens carries Ormond Beach’s rich history through its simple architecture.

The myriad of blossoming flowers donning violet, red, and yellow colors and the perfectly landscaped garden make the perfect subject for your next photograph.

Behind the garden’s fountain is the historic Pilgrims Rest Church, the oldest building in Ormond Beach initially situated at the Tomoka settlement during the late 1870s before it was relocated in 1988.

You’ll also spot a walkway leading to the intracoastal waterway where you can go fishing.

Tour the City on a Horse’s Back with Equestrian Adventures of Florida

Ormond Beach offers a unique spin on your average city tour.

With the Equestrian Adventures of Florida, you can traverse Florida’s rich oak forests and picturesque beaches while riding on a horse.

Situated on Bridle Path Lane, Equestrian Adventures of Florida is home to over 15 horses, ranging from 9 to 21 years old, as well as a few donkeys and goats.

Feel the wind in your hair as you ride this gentle giant along winding trails and rivers.

And if you’re feeling a bit nervous, don’t worry!

Your guide will share some basic riding tips before you start and make sure that you’ll be riding on the most suitable horse for you.

Final Thoughts

Ormond Beach is indeed a culturally rich destination where travelers can learn about Florida’s history and have fun at the same time.

So if you’re planning to stay for a few days, you might want to book a longer trip because it’s not going to cover all there is to see in this rustic city.

So, what are you waiting for?

Book your trip to Ormond Beach today!

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