The city of Daytona Beach, Florida is always racing with excitement.
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Daytona Beach has been a destination for racing enthusiasts since the early 1900s, when “horseless carriage” races were held on the beach. Now home to The Daytona International Speedway, racing has become the most popular attraction in Daytona. The Speedway is home to the NASCAR Daytona 500, Pepsi 400, Coke Zero 400, and other motor-vehicle races, drawing crowds of thousands each year.
Not only limited to car races, Daytona is also a popular destination for motorcyclists. The annual Biketoberfest is held in The Daytona International Speedway during October, with races, shows, demonstrations, rallies, and parties for all bikers. Believing that one motorcycle event a year is not enough; Dayton also hosts Bike Week in March. Claiming to be the “World’s Largest Motorcycle Event,” Bike Week brings back the Biketoberfest crowd for another round of motorcycling fun.
While racing may be Daytona’s claim to fame, it has so much more to offer than bikes and cars. Daytona’s 23 miles of sandy beaches and family-fun boardwalk are popular destinations for family vacations. If you're not a racing or beaching family, try an eco-tourism adventure by renting a kayak or canoe, booking a river boat tour, or taking a hike through nature trails. Try visiting one of Daytona’s many museums for a historical experience. Daytona also offers plenty of shopping and recreational activities such as golf, swimming, fishing, scuba and snorkeling.
However, be sure plan your family vacations wisely, for Daytona is a favorite Spring Break trip for college students. Make sure to also stay clear of race weekends, as the beaches will be packed and the streets busy due to crowds.
What to Do:
Daytona International Speedway: A place where NASCAR fan’s dream events are held, and a must-visit attraction. Tours are offered daily, 10a-3pm every hour on the hour, tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis (daytonainternationalspeedway.com).
Halifax History Museum: Discover the history of Daytona Beach, beginning with the Native Americans and continuing through the Spanish and British colonial eras, Pioneering families, and World War II. Don’t miss the Vintage Toys exhibit, and, of course, the history of Beach Auto Racing. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday; $5 admission for adults daily; Thursday admission is by donation. Check out their website operating hours (halifaxhistorical.org).
Marine Science Center: A perfect, educational and interesting way to spend a day with the kids, come learn about the marine life of Florida. The Marine Science Center takes a special interest in sea turtle rehabilitation, as sea turtles make Daytona Beach their home from May to October. The Center offers guests the opportunity to overlook seven “turtle hospital” pools. They also offer an exhibit gallery, bird observation tower, nature trail, and a stingray touch pool. Admission is only $5 for adults and $2 for children. The Marine Science Center is located in Ponce Inlet, FL, only a half hour down the coast from Daytona (marinesciencecenter.com) .
Where to Eat:
Caribbean Jack’s: The locals’ favorite place for a Florida sunset, a unique and delicious drink, a savory seafood dinner, and a memorable evening on the water. What began in the 1920s prohibition era as a “rum-running” business (illegally smuggling rum from the Caribbean to America), John “Caribbean Jack” Gilbert, eventually turned his desire for fun and adventure and turned it into a lucrative (and legal) restaurant on Daytona’s coast. Today Caribbean Jack’s offers a wealth of food and fun, with indoor and outdoor seating, live entertainment, and dancing. Menu highlights include: Caribbean Crab Dip, Caribbean Chicken Salad, Ahi Tuna Wrap, Surf-n-turf, and the Banana Foster for dessert (caribbeanjacks.com).
The Cracked Egg Diner: Waking up late and going to grab breakfast before hitting the beach once again is one of the many hallmarks of a relaxing vacation. With all-day breakfast and a variety of soups, burgers, sandwiches, and salads, The Cracked Egg Diner is the perfect place to make part of your vacation routine. With its family-friendly and at-home atmosphere, the two Purucker brothers have succeeded in making their restaurant Daytona’s favorite diner. (thecrackedeggdiner.com)
The Oyster Pub: Looking for a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy some good food and catch the game? The Oyster Pub has over 45 television screens, and a menu full of good food with an extensive oyster and seafood selection including: Chargrilled Oysters, Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters Fitzpatrick, Asian Oysters, Fiesta Oysters, Stuffed Oysters, Casino Clams, Fried Shrimp Platter, Shrimp Scampi, Bayou Shrimp, Mahi Fish Tacos, and Alaskan Snow Crab Legs, just to name a few. If you do not like seafood, The Oyster Pub also has excellent steak, burgers, salads, and other sandwiches. The atmosphere is laid back and fun, with pool and a stocked bar, you are guaranteed a good time and satisfying meal. (oysterpub.com)