From endless activities to calm, quiet days spent sunbathing and beachcombing, visitors are finding just what they’re looking for in a Florida vacation along the 23 miles of world-famous iconic shores of Daytona Beach. With area investments in progress and more hotel, attraction, dining and shopping options than ever, now is the perfect time to (re)experience all that Daytona Beach has to offer, including these new developments:
New Attractions and Renovations
- The Daytona Aquarium & Rainforest Adventure will be opening in Daytona Beach in early 2024 and will be the destination’s first aquarium offering an interactive educational experience featuring animals from both land and sea. The 55,000-square foot facility will be located on the northwest corner of International Speedway Blvd. and Nova Road in the heart of Daytona Beach. Plans for the aquarium include close to 40 separate tanks including a 110,000-gallon shark tank and a 12,000-gallon stingray touch pool. There will also be habitats for alligators and crocodiles, frogs, and lizards. The indoor rainforest will be coming in phase 2 and is planned to open within 8 to 12 months after opening. The rainforest will have animals like, sloths, armadillos, tamarins, Toucans, and other various types of birds.
- Spanning a mile of Intracoastal Waterway, the Riverfront Esplanade is a premier gathering space and botanical garden in downtown Daytona Beach. Composed of more than a mile of waterfront running trail with comfortable benches and swings overlooking the Halifax River, the Riverfront Esplanade also features a dog park with an agility course and a state-of-the-art splash pad. The northern end of the Riverfront Esplanade opened in 2022 while the southern end of the green space opened in October 2023. Visitors will discover in the southern end walkways that run through a creek with waterfalls, gardens with flowers, plants and trees and picnic tables that overlook the water.
- The Marine Science Center, located in Ponce Inlet, opened a new Raptor Education and Conservation Exhibit, which is dedicated to the permanent raptor residents of the center, who, due to injuries, cannot be returned to the wild. The carefully crafted habitat provides a safe and enriching environment for these majestic birds. Additionally, the center will soon complete a renovation of their exhibit that pays tribute to the history of the Volusia County’s Artificial Coral Reef program and educates visitors about its importance. Vital marine habitats are created by placing the remains of ships, barges, culverts, airplanes, concrete utility poles and other large items on the seafloor. The exhibit is an artificial reef modeled after a real ship – the 150-foot Lady Philomena – that began serving as a man-made habitat off county shores in June 2018.
- Pictona at Holly Hill, which opened in July 2020 and completed another multi-million expansion in 2022, is a world-class venue that is the largest pickleball facility on the east coast of Florida. The state-of-the-art campus, which was recently named one of the top 25 great places to play pickleball in the United States by Pickleball Magazine, features 49 pickleball courts, each having 8-foot sides and 10 feet behind base lines. The complex includes 13 covered courts, one of which is a Championship Court with seating up to 1,200 spectators during tournaments and 1,500 for entertainment events. A new addition to the facility is a nine-hole putting course located in the northwest corner of the venue outside the senior activity center. The putting course is free to the public and available anytime during operating hours.
- The Museum of Arts and Sciences, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, has new exhibits planned for 2024 as well as a renovation of its state-of-the-art Lowell and Nancy Lohman Planetarium. The new exhibits include Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived (Feb. 3 through July 21), which will transport guests through the world of the gigantic prehistoric shark that once commanded the world’s oceans, Planetarium 2.0: Bringing Space Down to Earth (June 29-Sept. 1), and Audubon’s Birds of Florida at the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art (Sept. 21 through March 2).
- The Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center completed significant renovations to its lobby, box office and art gallery as well as new seats in its auditorium.
Daytona International Speedway Track Tours, Welcome to Rockville
- Per a tradition that began close to 30 years ago, following the completion of the prestigious 66th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 18, Daytona International Speedway will welcome a new winning DAYTONA 500 car for display for the year, complete with the confetti, dents and scratches. The car will be on display inside the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America for the next year and visitors will be able to view the winning machine as part of the Daytona International Speedway Track Tour.
- Welcome to Rockville, one of the biggest rock music festivals in the United States, returns to Daytona International Speedway on May 9-12. The festival is expanding by adding a fifth stage and 50 bands to feature 150 bands in total over four days. The musical lineup for 2024 edition of Welcome to Rockville will include Foo Fighters, Mötley Crüe, Slipknot, Jelly Roll, Disturbed, Limp Bizkit, Queens of the Stone Age, Judas Priest, Greta Van Fleet, Evanescence, Falling In Reverse, A Day To Remember, Breaking Benjamin, Bad Omens, The Offspring, Mudvayne, Koe Wetzel, Stone Temple Pilots, Primus, Cypress Hill, Sum 41 and many others.
New Accommodations and Stunning Renovations
- Opening in 2024, the Renaissance by Marriott Daytona Beach Oceanfront on 640 North Atlantic Avenue offers modern hotel accommodations with private balconies, high-end seafood restaurant, state-of-the art design, multi-floor parking garage with valet parking services, infinity pool, oceanfront ballroom with amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, and outdoor event space.
- Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach is a 200-room beachfront resort that recently completed a multi-million renovation with a focus on the popular pool deck, refreshed guestrooms and youth club, and revamped memorabilia throughout the retreat.
- Some other recent upscale arrivals to the destination include the 12-story oceanfront Max Beach Resort, which features 72 spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom residence-style suites with an array of lifestyle features and amenities for a new generation of leisure and business travelers and the 27-floor, 456-room Daytona Grande oceanfront luxury resort that offers the only infinity pool in Daytona Beach. ONE DAYTONA, the world-class dining and entertainment complex across from the Daytona International Speedway has two properties: the 105-room Fairfield Inn & Suites Daytona Beach Speedway/Airport and The DAYTONA, an exclusive 4-Diamond 144-room Marriott Autograph Collection® hotel.
New airline service – Avelo Airlines
- Low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines has begun non-stop service twice per week between Daytona Beach International Airport and two new destinations – New Haven, CT (HVN) and Wilmington, DE (ILG). In addition, visitors can continue to fly directly into Daytona Beach International Airport via Delta (Atlanta, ATL) and American Airlines (Charlotte, CTL) year-round, with seasonal non-stop flights via American Airlines from Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). Interstate access (I-95 and I-4) also makes getting to Daytona Beach easy and convenient. While fully exploring the area could easily take weeks, many visitors find that staying in Daytona Beach provides the perfect jumping off point for visits and daytrips to nearby Kennedy Space Center, Orlando and St. Augustine, all about an hour’s drive away.
New and Renovated Dining Options in the Daytona Beach Area
- Billy’s Tap Room, located on the beachside along Granada Blvd. in Ormond Beach, is scheduled for reopening in 2024. Billy’s Tap Room is one of the original restaurants of Ormond Beach with a history dating back to 1922. Now under new ownership, this storied restaurant will reopen with a fresh atmosphere but that same historic feel that made it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Menu will include seafood and steaks along with beer and wine on tap and live entertainment.
- The 44-room Streamline Hotel, a historic beachside art deco-style boutique property that once hosted the meeting that launched NASCAR, has opened a new restaurant named Victory Lane. Enjoy a twist on some old favorites with hand-crafted cocktails and fresh-made menu items.
- The famed Brickyard Lounge & Grill in Daytona Beach completed interior renovations and unveiled an updated menu. Known widely throughout the community for their hamburgers and chicken wings, this legendary spot also features an extensive collection of racing memorabilia.
- Racing’s North Turn Beach Bar and Grille in Ponce Inlet, which sits on the exact location where racing history began in the Daytona Beach area, completed a renovation. The restaurant has an expansive deck overlooking the beach for dining and a collection of racing photos and memorabilia for visitors to enjoy.
Downtown Districts’ New Dining Options
The area’s thriving downtown districts in Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach are constantly expanding dining offerings. Here’s a look:
- Ormond Beach Main Street – Pumphouse, a fast casual barbecue restaurant specializing in Texas-style barbecue, Soraya, a Mediterranean Café, and Neighborhood Scoop, a family-owned ice cream shop that offers 24 flavors, join a long list of popular eateries in this district such as Rose Villa, 31 Supper Club, Hull’s Seafood, Grind Gastropub & Kona Tiki Bar and Ormond Garage.
- Downtown Daytona Beach – New to the list of dining options in the area include Copperline Coffee and Café, which features a full menu of coffee, pastries, and sandwiches, Madeline’s Wine Bar, which offers a curated selection of wines, champagnes and seltzers paired with a top-tier, and The Porch Kombucha, Tea & Açaí Café, which serves kombuchas, tea and coffee, acai bowls and freshly baked goods. Mama Foo Foo has craft cocktails and fresh sharable plates from around the world in an elegant environment. Located beachside along International Speedway Blvd., Beaches Entertainment brings together a restaurant, concert venue, liquor store and car wash for a one-of-a-kind experience.
- At ONE DAYTONA, new eateries include family-owned burger and chicken restaurant BurgerTen and Stoked Poke, which specializes in authentic fresh poke bowls, fresh acai bowls, and a plethora of other fresh healthy eats. In addition, Foxtail Coffee has opened its doors providing coffee, snacks and other beverages and Crumbl Cookies provides sweet treats where customers can watch their cookies mixed, balled, baked and dressed in real-time.
- At Tanger Outlets, burger and beer joints Ford Garage and Twin Peaks recently opened and Daytona Ale House relocated to this popular shopping destination.
Whether visitors choose thrilling activities or embrace the tranquility of days spent on 23 miles of world-famous white-sand beaches, they’ve weighed in with outstanding reviews. The Daytona Beach area ranked #1 in Travel Channel’s “Top 10 Attractions in Florida” and was named a Tripadvisor Best Weekend Getaway in Northeast Florida. TripAdvisor also named Daytona Beach to its “10 Most Affordable Beach Vacations on Florida’s East Coast” and Tripadvisor travelers named Ormond Beach, the northernmost Daytona Beach area beach, one of the “Top 25 Beaches in the U.S.” Visitors can enjoy experiences beyond the beach by choosing from a surprising list of outdoor adventures, family-friendly attractions, arts and cultural venues and an eclectic culinary scene.
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