Daytona Beach is Filled with Family Attractions

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach is an iconic destination on Florida’s Atlantic Coast and its beautiful beaches are known worldwide. For families looking for a vacation filled with fun and variety, the options in Daytona Beach go well beyond those shores.

Midway between St. Augustine and the Kennedy Space Center, Daytona Beach is just an hour east of Orlando. Access is easy, by car or air, with Interstate 95 and Interstate 4 intersecting here and the Daytona Beach International Airport (700 Catalina Drive, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-248-8030) offering non-stop flights from select cities. When families arrive, they have a host of activities from which to choose:

  1. The beach, of course, is a natural and is the number one attraction here. The Daytona Beach boardwalk (12 South Ocean Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118; 386-253-0254) and pier (1200 Main Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114) are a part of this destination’s perennial appeal to visitors of all ages. Taking in a concert at the beachfront Daytona Beach Bandshell (70 Boardwalk Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118; 386-671-8250) adds excitement to any visit.
  2. The Marine Science Center (100 Lighthouse Drive, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127; 386-304-5545) is filled with aquaria and interactive exhibits. A new Raptor Education and Conservation Exhibit features the region’s ecosystems and rich marine life. Visitors can also view sea turtle and shore bird rehabilitation areas and bird boardwalk and get hands-on fun in the teaching lab. The carefully crafted habitat provides a safe and enriching environment for the majestic birds that, because of injuries, are permanent residents of the center. A renovation of the exhibit which pays tribute to the history of the Volusia County’s Artificial Coral Reef program is coming soon.
  3. The Daytona Aquarium & Rainforest Adventure (1008 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach Florida, 32114; 386-241-3144) is one of the newest area attractions and features animals from both land and sea. The facility houses nearly 40 exhibits. Among them are a 100,000-gallon shark exhibit and two touch pools, including a chance to encounter stingrays in a 12,000-gallon pool. There are also alligators, frogs and lizards in their own, specially created habitats. An indoor rainforest will open in 2025 and will feature primates, sloths and tropical birds.
  4. The Riverfront Esplanade (Magnolia Avenue & Beach Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114) is a mile-long promenade along historic Beach Street and offers scenic waterfront views of the Intracoastal Waterway. Along with shops and restaurants, this is also home to the Jackie Robinson Ballpark (105 East Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-257-3172) where visitors can take in a Daytona Tortugas game and also learn about an amazing chapter in Daytona Beach history.
  5. Ponce Inlet Lighthouse (4931 South Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127; 386-761-1821) is the tallest lighthouse in Florida. At 175 feet high, the 360-degree view from atop takes in the ocean and river. The historic landmark was completed in 1887 and today the lighthouse, grounds and museum engage visitors through fascinating stories of Florida’s history. Keeper’s quarters, a Woodshed Theatre and amazing lens exhibit are favorite stops, as is a trip to the top of the lighthouse itself.
  6. Daytona International Speedway (1801 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 800-748-7467) is an iconic attraction here. Fans can enjoy a fast-paced race day or a more personal speedway tour and visit to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. The museum showcases spectacular displays chronicling achievements in all forms of motorsports. Admission is included with a speedway tour and additional admissions options are available.
  7. The Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts & Sciences (352 South Nova Road, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-255-0285), (MOAS) is considered Central Florida’s premier museum and visitors are invited to experience the beauty of art, the wonder of science and stories of history as well as view an amazing display of Coca-Cola memorabilia. MOAS includes the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum. This hands-on science center is home to interactive exhibits featuring a race track, tennis ball launcher, video light microscope, make-believe pizza parlor and more, to demonstrate principles of science.
  8. Daytona Lagoon (601 Earl Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118; 386-254-5020) is a water park and family entertainment center filled with more than a million gallons of rushing water. There are thrilling slides, chilling pools, a challenging ropes course and a 70-foot-high zipline. A fast-paced arcade adds to the options for fun. Twelve water rides, wave pools and the Castaway Children’s Play Area offer fun for both the young and the young at heart.

Coming soon, the highly anticipated PopStroke will join the list of family activities to enjoy. This miniature golf family entertainment center is currently under construction at the Tomoka Town Center (1401 Cornerstone Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114) and is expected to open in late 2024. Co-owned by Tigers Woods, PopStroke plans include a scaled-down golf course, outdoor dining and games, sports car, ice cream parlor and playground.

For a themed adventure, many choose to follow one of these amazing trails for additional Daytona Beach area adventures: Motorsports TrailIconic TrailAfrican American Heritage Trail and the Statues and Monuments Trail.

All that fun can surely create an appetite. There are plenty family-friendly dining spots to enjoy, many with outstanding waterfront views. Joe’s Crab Shack Daytona Beach (1200 Main Street, Daytona Beach, FL 32118; 386-238-4050) and Crabby Joe’s Deck & Grill (3701 South Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118; 386-756-4219) are over-the-water eateries on Daytona Beach’s ocean piers, each offering casual, family-friendly dining. Down the Hatch Seafood Company (4894 Front Street, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127; 386-761-4831) is a favorite spot for casual waterfront dining and overlooks the scenic waters of Ponce de Leon Inlet. Racing’s North Turn (4511 South Atlantic Avenue, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127; 386-322-3258), the place where beach racing history is recounted, offers a fun atmosphere and oceanfront view.

Where to stay

Daytona Beach, with more than 200 properties, has lodging options to fit every need, including a variety of oceanfront options. Other lodging choices include staying in unique neighborhoods or near inland attractions. From beach bungalows to luxury hotels to condos for any size group, accommodations throughout the Daytona Beach area offer comfortable alternatives for every stay.

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