Wondering what activities and attractions you can’t miss in the Surf Coast? Our guide to the best things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida is just what you need!
If you’re dreaming of a sun-soaked getaway filled with fun and relaxation, then look no further than the sparkling gem of Florida’s east coast – Daytona Beach.
In this post, we’re diving headfirst into all the fantastic things to do in Daytona Beach, a destination that seamlessly blends the thrill of high-speed racing at the iconic Daytona International Speedway with the laid-back vibes of the Daytona Beach Boardwalk.
Get ready to pack your sunscreen and flip-flops because we’re about to uncover the best activities and hidden gems that make Daytona Beach a must-visit spot for any travel bucket list.
Whether you’re craving the roar of engines or the soothing sounds of ocean waves, Daytona Beach has it all, and we’re here to guide you through this sun-soaked paradise. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- The Best Things to Do in Daytona Beach
- Enjoy the Beach
- Climb to the top of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum for panoramic views of the area
- Visit the Hyatt Brown Museum of Art
- Check out the Marine Science Center
- Check the schedule for concerts and events at the Daytona Beach Bandshell
- Stroll Through the Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach
- Take a tour or attend a race at the Daytona International Speedway
- Explore art, science, and history exhibits in the Museum of Arts and Sciences
- Spend a Relaxing Day at Ormond Beach
- Take a tour and indulge in delicious handmade chocolates at Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory
- Enjoy hiking, picnicking, and bird-watching in Tomoka State Park
- Explore the outdoors through hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing at Tiger Bay State Forest
- Shop, dine, and catch a movie at the Ocean Walk Shoppes
- Visit the Daytona Boardwalk and Pier for arcade games, shops, and a scenic stroll
- Cool off at Daytona Lagoon with slides, a lazy river, and mini-golf
- Tour the Halifax Historical Museum
- Go Paddleboarding or Kayaking
- Visit Lighthouse Point Park
- Explore Blue Spring State Park
- Catch a minor league baseball game at Jackie Robinson Ballpark
- Where to Stay in Daytona Beach
- Wrapping Up
The Best Things to Do in Daytona Beach
Here’s our list of the top Daytona Beach attractions that you should not miss when planning your itinerary!
Enjoy the Beach
Daytona Beach, often dubbed the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” is an iconic coastal destination that embodies the quintessential beach experience. Stretching for miles along Florida’s eastern shore, its soft sands and inviting waters beckon travelers from around the globe.
What sets Daytona Beach apart is not only its stunning natural beauty but also the vibrant atmosphere that surrounds it. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities, from sunbathing and swimming to beachfront dining and water sports.
Adding to its allure is the iconic “World’s Most Famous Beach” sign that welcomes visitors to this sun-soaked paradise, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking the ultimate beach getaway in the Sunshine State.
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Climb to the top of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum for panoramic views of the area
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum stands as an iconic beacon of history and scenic beauty in Daytona Beach. This historic lighthouse, one of Florida’s tallest, offers visitors a chance to step back in time and explore its rich maritime heritage.
As you ascend the 203 steps to the top, breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding landscape await, making it a favorite spot for both history buffs and those seeking unparalleled vistas.
Additionally, the museum on the lighthouse grounds provides a comprehensive look into the area’s maritime history, including shipwrecks, lighthouse keepers’ lives, and the important role the lighthouse played in guiding ships safely along Florida’s coast.
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a combination of history, culture, and awe-inspiring views on their trip to Daytona Beach.
Visit the Hyatt Brown Museum of Art
The Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, nestled in the heart of Daytona Beach, is a must-visit for those seeking enriching and culturally immersive things to do in Daytona Beach. This museum stands as a testament to Florida’s artistic legacy, boasting an extensive collection of art that captures the state’s unique essence.
From vibrant landscapes to thought-provoking portraits, the museum showcases a wide array of artworks that celebrate Florida’s history, landscapes, and culture. Visitors can marvel at the masterpieces on display, gaining a deeper understanding of the Sunshine State’s rich artistic heritage and its profound influence on the region.
It’s an artistic journey that blends seamlessly with the coastal charm of Daytona Beach, offering travelers a memorable cultural experience amid the city’s sun-soaked shores.
Check out the Marine Science Center
The Marine Science Center in Daytona Beach is a fascinating destination for both nature enthusiasts and curious travelers. Situated on a picturesque stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway, this educational facility offers an immersive experience in the world of marine life.
Visitors can explore a variety of interactive exhibits, including touch tanks where they can interact with rays and sea turtles, as well as view rehabilitated and resident marine animals up close. The center’s mission to promote conservation and awareness is evident throughout, making it an excellent place to learn about the importance of protecting delicate coastal ecosystems.
Whether you’re interested in sea creatures, environmental stewardship, or simply enjoying the scenic waterfront location, the Marine Science Center promises an enriching and memorable experience for all ages.
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Check the schedule for concerts and events at the Daytona Beach Bandshell
Whether you’re attending a live music performance, a family-friendly festival, or simply lounging on the nearby beach to enjoy the tunes drifting through the salty sea breeze, the Daytona Beach Bandshell encapsulates the essence of leisure and entertainment in this sun-soaked paradise.
The Daytona Beach Bandshell, an iconic amphitheater nestled along the sandy shores of this vibrant coastal city, is a dynamic hub of entertainment and a focal point for things to do in Daytona Beach.
Hosting a diverse range of concerts, festivals, and cultural events throughout the year, the Bandshell offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the lively arts scene of the area.
Stroll Through the Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach
Beach Street is the historic heart of Daytona Beach, and the Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach add to its charm and vibrancy. This scenic stretch along the Halifax River offers a delightful mix of boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and cafes, making it a prime destination for shopping, dining, and leisurely strolls.
As you explore the Riverfront Shops, you’ll discover a diverse array of shops showcasing unique crafts, clothing, and art, perfect for finding that special souvenir or gift. The dining options are equally enticing, with restaurants serving up a variety of cuisines to suit every palate.
The picturesque riverfront setting adds to the overall appeal, creating a perfect backdrop for a leisurely day of shopping and dining along Beach Street in Daytona Beach.
Take a tour or attend a race at the Daytona International Speedway
The Daytona International Speedway, a legendary motorsports complex, is an absolute must-visit for racing aficionados and thrill-seekers alike. As the epicenter of stock car racing and home to the iconic Daytona 500, this sprawling venue offers an array of experiences.
Racing enthusiasts can embark on immersive tours that provide insights into the history and mechanics of NASCAR racing, with highlights including pit road and the prestigious Victory Lane. However, the true adrenaline rush comes from the Richard Petty Driving Experience, where visitors can climb into the driver’s seat of a real NASCAR race car and take it for a spin around the high-banked turns of the Daytona track.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feel the exhilaration of racing on the same hallowed ground where racing legends have made history, making the Daytona International Speedway an unforgettable destination for both racing enthusiasts and curious travelers.
Explore art, science, and history exhibits in the Museum of Arts and Sciences
The Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach is a cultural treasure trove that caters to a wide range of interests. This expansive museum offers a captivating blend of art, science, and history exhibitions that make it a captivating destination for visitors of all ages.
Art enthusiasts can explore diverse collections featuring both traditional and contemporary works, while science enthusiasts can delve into interactive exhibits showcasing everything from space exploration to Florida’s natural history. Additionally, history buffs can appreciate the museum’s insightful displays about the region’s heritage.
The museum’s commitment to education and engagement is evident in its hands-on activities and engaging programming, making it a dynamic and enriching experience for those looking to expand their knowledge and appreciation of art and science while visiting Daytona Beach.
Spend a Relaxing Day at Ormond Beach
Ormond Beach, located just north of Daytona Beach, offers a serene and tranquil alternative for visitors seeking a quieter coastal experience. Known for its pristine shores and a more laid-back atmosphere, Ormond Beach is the perfect retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Here, you can soak up the sun, take leisurely strolls along the sandy shores, or even try your hand at fishing or beachcombing. The absence of the bustling crowds found in some other coastal destinations creates a sense of peace and seclusion, allowing you to unwind amidst the natural beauty of the Atlantic Ocean.
Ormond Beach provides a charming escape from the livelier pace of Daytona Beach, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a more serene beachfront experience during their Florida vacation.
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Take a tour and indulge in delicious handmade chocolates at Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory
Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory in Daytona Beach is a delectable haven for anyone with a sweet tooth or an appreciation for fine chocolates. Established in 1925, this iconic chocolate factory offers visitors a delightful journey through the art of chocolate-making.
The factory’s guided tours take you behind the scenes, where you can witness the chocolate-making process firsthand, from melting and molding to cooling and packaging. The aroma of cocoa and freshly made treats fills the air as you explore the facility.
After the tour, the gift shop tempts you with an extensive array of chocolates and confections, perfect for indulging in or as souvenirs to share the sweetness of your Daytona Beach visit with friends and family. A visit to Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory is a truly scrumptious and memorable experience.
Enjoy hiking, picnicking, and bird-watching in Tomoka State Park
Tomoka State Park, nestled along the banks of the Tomoka River, is a pristine natural oasis just north of Daytona Beach. This park offers outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers a serene escape from the bustling beach scene.
With miles of hiking trails winding through diverse ecosystems, birdwatching opportunities aplenty, and scenic picnic spots, Tomoka State Park is an ideal destination for those looking to connect with Florida’s natural beauty.
One of the park’s highlights is the historic Tomoka Mounds and Middens archaeological site, where visitors can learn about the ancient Timucuan people who once inhabited the area.
Whether you’re kayaking along the river, exploring the scenic trails, or simply enjoying a peaceful day in nature, Tomoka State Park promises a tranquil and enriching experience just a stone’s throw from Daytona Beach.
Explore the outdoors through hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing at Tiger Bay State Forest
Tiger Bay State Forest, located near Daytona Beach, is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers seeking a serene escape in Florida’s wilderness. This lush forest covers over 30,000 acres and offers a wide range of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and horseback riding.
Its well-maintained trails wind through diverse ecosystems, providing opportunities to immerse oneself in the beauty of Florida’s natural landscapes, from swamps and pine flatwoods to hardwood hammocks.
With its tranquil ambiance and abundance of native flora and fauna, Tiger Bay State Forest is an excellent destination for those looking to reconnect with nature and experience the untamed side of the Sunshine State.
Shop, dine, and catch a movie at the Ocean Walk Shoppes
Ocean Walk Shoppes, located in the heart of Daytona Beach, is a vibrant entertainment complex that seamlessly combines shopping, dining, and leisure activities in one captivating destination.
Whether you’re in the mood for retail therapy, a delectable meal, or just a casual stroll, Ocean Walk Shoppes has something to offer. Its eclectic mix of shops features everything from beachwear and souvenirs to unique boutique finds, while the diverse dining options cater to a range of tastes, from fresh seafood to international cuisine.
After satisfying your shopping and dining cravings, you can catch a movie at the on-site theater or simply enjoy the scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean from the complex’s spacious oceanfront deck.
Ocean Walk Shoppes is not just a shopping center; it’s a lively and convenient gathering place that adds an extra layer of enjoyment to your Daytona Beach experience.
Visit the Daytona Boardwalk and Pier for arcade games, shops, and a scenic stroll
The Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier is a bustling hub of entertainment and seaside charm, nestled along the iconic shores of Daytona Beach, Florida. This vibrant attraction invites visitors to stroll along its wooden planks, immersing themselves in a world of arcade games, gift shops, and tantalizing eateries.
As the sun sets, the Boardwalk comes to life with a lively carnival atmosphere, offering a kaleidoscope of lights and sounds that create a memorable ambiance. At the end of the pier, fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines into the Atlantic, hoping for a catch to remember.
The Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier encapsulates the essence of a quintessential beachside experience, blending fun, nostalgia, and oceanfront beauty into one captivating destination for travelers of all ages.
Cool off at Daytona Lagoon with slides, a lazy river, and mini-golf
Daytona Lagoon is a thrilling water park and family entertainment center that promises a splashing good time for visitors of all ages. Located in the heart of Daytona Beach, this aquatic oasis offers a variety of water attractions, including exhilarating water slides, a lazy river for relaxation, and a wave pool for those seeking a taste of the beach without the sand.
Beyond the water attractions, Daytona Lagoon features an arcade with an assortment of games, go-kart racing tracks, mini-golf, and laser tag for an action-packed day of fun.
Whether you’re cooling off on a hot summer’s day or looking for indoor entertainment during less-than-ideal weather, Daytona Lagoon is a fantastic destination for families, friends, and anyone seeking an exciting blend of water-based and indoor amusements in Daytona Beach.
Tour the Halifax Historical Museum
The Halifax Historical Museum is a captivating destination that offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, making it a must-visit for those seeking enriching things to do in Daytona Beach.
Housed in a historic building in the heart of downtown Daytona Beach, the museum is a treasure trove of local history, chronicling the city’s evolution from its early Native American inhabitants to its pivotal role in the birth of stock car racing.
Visitors can explore a diverse array of exhibits, artifacts, and photographs that vividly narrate the city’s vibrant history, including its connection to the automobile industry and its iconic beach racing heritage.
Stepping inside the Halifax Historical Museum is like embarking on a time-travel journey through Daytona Beach’s rich cultural and historical tapestry, offering a deeper appreciation of the city’s legacy amid the modern-day beachfront allure.
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Go Paddleboarding or Kayaking
Renting a paddleboard or kayak in Daytona Beach is an excellent way to explore the area’s beautiful waterways and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.
Whether you choose to paddle on the serene waters of the Halifax River or venture into the picturesque Intracoastal Waterway, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the local marine life and enjoy the peacefulness of being on the water.
Paddleboarding and kayaking are not only great ways to stay active but also provide a unique perspective of Daytona Beach’s coastal landscape.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, renting a paddleboard or kayak allows you to set your own pace and create memorable moments while enjoying the natural beauty of this Florida paradise.
Visit Lighthouse Point Park
Lighthouse Point Park is a serene oasis that beckons those in search of tranquil and scenic things to do in Daytona Beach. Perched on the southern tip of the peninsula, this park offers a harmonious blend of history, nature, and stunning vistas.
The iconic Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, one of the tallest in Florida, is the centerpiece of the park, inviting visitors to climb its historic steps for awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the picturesque Halifax River.
Aside from the lighthouse, visitors can explore the park’s pristine natural surroundings, walk along the sandy shores, or have a leisurely picnic in the shade of ancient oak trees. Lighthouse Point Park provides an idyllic escape from the bustle of the city and a chance to connect with the timeless beauty of Daytona Beach’s coastal landscape.
Explore Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park is a natural wonder that should feature prominently on any list of things to do in Daytona Beach. Nestled along the serene St. Johns River, this picturesque park offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with Florida’s diverse ecosystem.
One of the park’s main draws is the chance to witness gentle manatees in their natural habitat, particularly during the winter months when they seek refuge in the warm spring waters. Aside from manatee viewing, visitors can partake in a variety of outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, and picnicking while soaking in the lush, unspoiled beauty of the surrounding forests.
For nature enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil escape from the bustling beach scene, Blue Spring State Park provides an enriching and memorable experience that encapsulates the essence of Daytona Beach’s natural treasures.
Catch a minor league baseball game at Jackie Robinson Ballpark
Jackie Robinson Ballpark is a beloved gem among the many things to do in Daytona Beach, offering both sports enthusiasts and history buffs a unique and entertaining experience.
Named after the baseball legend, Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, the stadium holds a special place in the hearts of baseball fans. Watching a minor league game here is not just about the sport; it’s also a chance to pay tribute to Robinson’s legacy and enjoy America’s favorite pastime in a historic setting.
For those with an interest in baseball history, a visit to this ballpark is a chance to explore the museum dedicated to Jackie Robinson and the rich history of the sport.
Whether you’re catching a game or soaking up the baseball heritage, Jackie Robinson Ballpark is a must-visit destination that adds depth and culture to the vibrant tapestry of things to do in Daytona Beach.
Where to Stay in Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach offers a bunch of great places to stay during your visit. Here are a few of our top recommendations.
Luxury Hotel: The Shores Resort & Spa
Located directly on the beach, The Shores Resort & Spa offers a luxurious and upscale experience in Daytona Beach. This high-end resort features elegant rooms with ocean views, a spa for ultimate relaxation, a beachfront pool, and a fine dining restaurant. Guests can also enjoy beachside cabanas and a vibrant nightlife scene at the Tiki Bar.
Mid-Range Family Accommodation: Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort
The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort is an excellent choice for families looking for a comfortable and convenient stay. With spacious rooms, multiple dining options, a large outdoor pool, and a kids’ splash zone, it caters to all family members. Its beachfront location provides easy access to the shore and a range of family-friendly activities.
Budget Hostel/Hotel: Sun Viking Lodge
The Sun Viking Lodge is a family-owned and operated hotel that offers a range of budget-friendly accommodations. Guests often praise its friendly staff, clean rooms, and a variety of amenities, including indoor and outdoor pools, a game room, and direct access to the beach. It’s a popular choice for families on a budget.
As we wrap up our journey through the best things to do in Daytona Beach, it’s clear that this vibrant coastal destination is a true gem of Florida’s east coast. From the thunderous excitement of the Daytona International Speedway to the laid-back, nostalgic charm of the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, this city has an incredible range of activities and experiences to offer every type of traveler.
Whether you’re a racing enthusiast, a beach lover, or someone who simply enjoys the fusion of culture and adventure, Daytona Beach delivers it all with a sunny smile.
Daytona Beach is more than just a vacation spot; it’s a place where memories are made, where the thrill of speed meets the tranquility of the ocean, and where the past mingles effortlessly with the present.
So, whether you’re revving up your engine at the Speedway or strolling along the Boardwalk, take a moment to soak in the sun, breathe in the salty sea air, and savor every moment of your Daytona Beach adventure. With its winning combination of iconic attractions and coastal beauty, Daytona Beach is a destination that will leave you with a lasting love for the Sunshine State.
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