Daytona Beach, Florida, is a legendary coastal destination. It’s known for its 23 miles of Atlantic shoreline and for beautiful beaches, suitable for sunbathing, biking or even a bit of (very slow, careful) driving. It’s also known for its racing history and as home to Daytona International Speedway (1801 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 800-748-7467). And it’s known as a place for celebration, to gather with friends and enjoy a host of attractions, restaurants and activities. But here on Florida’s east coast, just an hour’s drive away from Orlando, St. Augustine and the Kennedy Space Center, the list of reasons to visit Daytona Beach is ever-expanding. Many may be surprised by what they don’t know about Daytona Beach.

Museums and Galleries

The museums and galleries of Daytona Beach are a celebration of art, history and culture. This is home to the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts & Sciences (352 South Nova Road, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-255-0285). Here at Central Florida’s premier museum, visitors can experience the beauty of art, the wonder of science and stories of history. It is joined by the amazing collections of Florida art and Coca-Cola memorabilia at the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art (352 South Nova Road, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-255-0285) and by Florida’s only museum dedicated to photography, the Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona State College, 1200 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-506-3894). 

Downtown Doings

A stroll along the Sweetheart Trail is the perfect introduction to Downtown Daytona Beach. It runs along the western shore of the Halifax River, adjacent to restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, breweries, galleries, boutiques and more that dot this vibrant downtown district. For a glimpse into the unique history of this city, visit the Halifax Historical Museum (252 South Beach Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-255-6976). And if the timing is right, take in a Daytona Tortugas minor league game at Jackie Robinson Ballpark (105 East Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-257-3172). This is the place where Robinson broke the color barrier, playing his first professional game. The historic ballpark (opened in 1914) is one of the oldest still used in professional baseball.

Hiking and Biking Trails

The Daytona Beach area has an impressive collection of hiking and biking trails in settings ranging from naturally beautiful rural areas to urban walkways with waterfront views. Throughout Volusia County, trails offer a chance to enjoy and explore the flora and fauna of the beautiful Central Florida landscape. A favorite is Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve (90 Divito Drive, New Smyrna Beach, Florida 32168; 386-943-7081). This scenic preserve is on 2,479 acres in Port Orange. A 536-foot boardwalk leads to more than three miles of nature trails and a 15-foot observation tower and continues to Rose Bay. The county has a Parks and Trails App, for details on all the options.

Beyond Race Day

NASCAR fans will find there is plenty of excitement beyond race day here. The NASCAR Racing Experience (1801 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32118;

800-237-3889) invites fans to drive a NASCAR race car at the “World Center of Racing!” Visitors can choose to drive a race car by themselves or take a ride along as a passenger. Speedway tours are also a great way get an up-close look at the world-famous track, with its 31-degree bank, the infield Fan Zone and the new $400 million stadium seating. Just across the street, the new One Daytona (1 Daytona Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 386-681-4816) lifestyle and entertainment center has a mix of dining, shopping and special events for all seasons. For a look back at how it all began, visit Racing’s North Turn (4511 South Atlantic Avenue, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127; 386-322-3258). This historic beach bar and grill sits on the exact location where racing history began in Daytona Beach and is filled with memorabilia, accompanying a tasty, casual menu.

Where to Stay

Daytona Beach, with more than 200 properties, has lodging options to fit every need. New properties include a variety of additions, both on the Daytona Beach oceanfront and near inland attractions.

If You Go

To take in even more of Daytona Beach’s surprising experiences, the Ultimate Daytona Beach Trail Guide is the perfect introduction to the all the adventure along these unique trails: Ale TrailMotorsports TrailIconic TrailAfrican American Heritage Trail and the Monuments and Statues Trail

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