From attractive beaches to an incredible art scene and baseball to world-class auto racing, there are oodles of fun things to do in Daytona Beach. This beloved beach town, nestled along Florida’s East coast, offers a perfect blend of nostalgic vibes and modern excitement.
While it may have shed its spring break hotspot status, this coastal Florida beauty now shines as an affordable and unforgettable family vacation destination.
1. Explore One Daytona
Perhaps the most considerable endeavor in Daytona Beach is the One Daytona development, the first of its type in the world. It is across from the Daytona International Speedway, in a super convenient part of town.
This premier retail, entertainment, and dining complex encompass 300,000+ square feet of fun where visitors, race fans, and residents can live, shop, play, and indulge.
Shopping includes Bass Pro Shops, IT’SUGAR, Guitar Center, and Pink Narcissus (a Lilly Pulitzer store). Dine at P.F.Chang’s, 4 Rivers BBQ, or Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, then take in a movie at Cobb Daytona Luxury Theatres.
Donnie’s Donuts gets the win for best sweet treats at One Daytona.
2. Tour Daytona International Speedway
Your trip would not be complete without a VIP tour of the Daytona International Speedway, one of, if not the top attraction in Daytona Beach. Though I am not a NASCAR fan, I loved my tour; anyone would! Driving on the speedway while watching patrons drive the circuit was pretty cool.
There is also a photo-op, film, brief history, and top-notch gift shop. NASCAR’s history is fascinating; it is hard to believe that one of the most watched sports originated right here in Daytona.
The Daytona International Speedway hosts several races annually, some bringing in 200,000 visitors. You can also find stock cars, motorcycles, rallycross, and karting events here. Daytona 500 and Rolex 24 are the most prestigious races.
Riding through the tunnel onto the track, part of the tour, feels pretty special.
3. Shop Tanger Outlets
Tanger Outlets has a massive outlet mall in Daytona Beach with attractive spaces for sitting and socializing. It is located near I-95 and LPGA Boulevard—you can see the beautiful mall stores from the interstate.
Popular shops include Vera Bradley, Columbia, and Vineyard Vines. There are a few restaurants and snack possibilities at the outdoor mall, too. We like to grab a personal pizza at Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza, and you know walking around with pretzel bites and a drink from Auntie Anne’s never hurt anyone.
Outlet hours are 10 AM to 9 PM daily except Sunday when they close at 7 PM.
Fun Fact: Older malls are being renovated, too; the Volusia Mall recently underwent a 5 million dollar upgrade.
4. Check Out Sunglow Fishing Pier
Experience primo fishing at Sunglow Fishing Pier. Cast your line and hope for a pompano, flounder, Spanish mackerel, tarpon, or trout to bite. You can also have a good meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) at Crabby Joe’s Deck and Grill and enjoy people-watching. You’ll find a bait shack, fish cleaning areas, and rentals at the pier.
Pro Tip: You can get incredible ocean and beach photos from the pier.
Did You Know? Hurricane Ian washed away a lot of this beloved pier in October 2022. It is currently closed for repair and rebuilding.
5. Eat at Racing’s North Turn
Racing’s North Turn is a historic landmark sitting on the spot where racing began in Ponce Inlet. Memorabilia from the sport’s origin until the races moved to the International Motor Speedway fill the restaurant, which is as much a museum as a dining establishment.
Dining, history, fun, and killer cocktails make Racing’s North Turn one of the hot things to do in Daytona Beach.
Though the food and drinks at Racing’s North Turn were impressive, the sunset was the most epic. Dishes I recommend are the Lobster Salad Roll or the Mahi Frangelico with a side of Bacon-Cabbage Hash, a fabulous side dish.
Pro Tip: Don’t skip the delicious Bushwhacker drinks, which can be served in a coconut.
6. Visit the Museum of Arts and Sciences
Daytona Beach is becoming a major player in the art and culture world. The Museum of Arts & Sciences is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, and a fun alternative to do besides visiting the beaches.
MOAS houses a planetarium, children’s museum, train, and railroad station exhibit, and a giant ground sloth 13 feet tall. I could spend hours browsing the glassware, train car dishes, and toy collections.
An extensive amount of Coca-Cola memorabilia from the Root Family’s collection is on display (the inventors of the Coke bottle). The Cuban collection, Chinese art, and popular Americana displays are also noteworthy. Kids will love this attraction, and visitors can enjoy free Wi-Fi.
7. Stroll the Riverfront Marketplace
The Riverfront Marketplace is fun to stroll around, shop at the near 60 offerings, or eat breakfast or lunch at Dancing Avocado Kitchen. Or all three—in a gorgeous waterfront setting.
Stop in the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory for a tour with yummy samples at the end. I am sure that your friends and family would love the chocolate flip-flops or fresh saltwater taffy as a Florida souvenir.
Sweet Marlay’s will satisfy your coffee or tea needs with homemade pastries and goodies to accompany your drinks.
A fun attraction at Riverfront Marketplace is Cinematique Theater, showing current-run indy and foreign films and many live movies highlighting the arts. There are matinee and evening shows daily, Tuesday through Sunday. Snacks, beer, and drinks are available at The Cinema Cafe.
8. Get Outside on Daytona’s Beaches
Daytona Beach is the one and only “Original American Beach”! Experience the bliss of 23 miles of pristine sand, gentle surf, and endless sunshine, all easily accessible by just hopping in your vehicle. Unlike crowded beaches, the spacious and expansive shoreline ensures that you won’t have to worry about being squished elbow to elbow with other beachgoers.
Plus, they’ve got a variety of vendors ready to provide you with exciting outdoor activities right on the beautiful beach.
9. Climb the Lighthouse
One of the best things to do in Volusia County for lighthouse fans is to visit the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. Florida’s tallest lighthouse, stretching 175 feet in the sky with its beautiful red tower, has been in operation for nearly 120 years and is a National Historic Landmark.
The lighthouse was built in 1887 on a gorgeous remote peninsula.
10. Wander Around Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art
Right around the corner from the Museum of Arts & Sciences is the Cici & Hyatt Brown Museum. This one-of-a-kind gallery offers a beautifully displayed collection of Florida-themed paintings from the Brown’s private collection.
A permanent exhibit can be found in the Main Entrance Hall, while six changing galleries lie inside the museum and upstairs. One changing gallery focuses on Florida weather. If you aren’t familiar with the Florida Highwaymen, be sure to check out this amazing collection.
11. Indulge in Daytona’s Tasty Food Scene
For breakfast, Mike’s Galley is a local’s favorite, with reasonably priced lassic breakfast dishes done right. A third option is The Cracked Egg Diner, which dishes out plates almost too beautiful to eat. Try the Country Benedict (topped with sausage gravy) or the Strawberry Waffle; both are scrumptious!
I love to eat a great lunch, so Red Bud Cafe and Oyster Pub Sports Bar & Grill get my votes as Daytona’s best lunch. Oysters are the star at Oyster Pub and maybe the freshest you’ll ever eat. I get them grilled to perfection.
Try the incredible crepe combinations at Red Bud Cafe or the Two Dips platter with toothsome grilled bread.
I love Millie’s, a hop, skip, and jump from downtown Daytona Beach for lunch or dinner. The cozy patio is fun to hang out at, plus you can bring your dog, and it was just featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive–Ins and Dives.
The Baked Goat Cheese with Fig & Bacon Jam and the Filet & Shrimp Fondue dinner both get my seal of approval.
Caribbean Jacks at Loggerhead Marina is another favorite, with great peel & eat shrimp, a beach-vibe ambiance, and live music. Who can say no to the crispy fried gator bites with creole aioli?
12. Stay at the Hard Rock Hotel
Experience the epitome of style and luxury at the breathtaking Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach. With its modern comforts and unique touches, this premier address stands out from the rest. From beautifully appointed rooms to an exceptional restaurant and live music, every aspect is designed to exceed your expectations.
But here’s the real bonus: imagine being welcomed by your favorite music, playing on the TV, as soon as you enter your room. Who wouldn’t love that personalized touch?
And that’s not all – prepare to be mesmerized by the countless photo opportunities at the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach. Whether capturing memories or looking for a place to unwind, the pool deck at the Hard Rock, with its stunning cabanas, is a perfect oasis.
13. Catch a Game at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark
Exploring downtown Daytona Beach is a must. You will find streets filled with boutique-style shops, cafes, gorgeous flowers, and the Jackie Robinson Ballpark, where the Daytona Tortugas play baseball from April to September.
The team is an affiliate of Cincinnati Reds MLB.
14. See the Iconic Daytona Beach Surfside Historic District
Another family favorite in Daytona Beach is the World Famous Beach Boardwalk, full of arcades and gift shops. Although this is the cheesy part of town, it is riddled with nostalgia for the adult crowd. It also has the iconic arch you can drive under to reach the beach, featured in many historic Daytona Beach photos.
Other noteworthy attractions include Daytona’s Drive-in Christian Church, the band shell, Daytona Lagoon, and the Daytona Beach Ale Trail, a collection of nearly 20 brewpubs and microbreweries.
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