Planning Your Trip to Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach's Main Street Pier and Boardwalk Entrance

Daytona Beach CVB 

Daytona Beach's 23-miles of sparkling white sandy beaches and beautiful blue-green waters make it an irresistible playground for kids of all ages. The popular family vacation spot offers a large heaping of fun with a side of ocean views. And, if you and your family can manage to tear yourselves away from the beach, you'll discover the Daytona Beach area is full of fun activities and attractions to keep you busy all vacation long.

While Daytona Beach is trying to shed its wild spring break reputation for a more family-friendly image, if you're vacationing with impressionable children, you will want to avoid the weeks around spring break, Bike Week, and Biketoberfest. These events tend toward unruly crowds that drink heavily and push the envelope in behavior and dress. Traffic also tends to be heaviest during these events, as well as around the major races at Daytona International Speedway.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best Time to Visit: While Daytona Beach is trying to shed its wild spring break reputation for a more family-friendly image, if you're vacationing with impressionable children, you will want to avoid the weeks around spring break, Bike Week, and Biketoberfest. The weather in Daytona Beach is warm enough to hit the beach all year long, but summer is muggy and with frequent thunderstorms.
  • Getting Around: Unless you plan to stay at the hotel and boardwalk area the entire time, you'll need a car to see more of the beach or make any day trips.
  • Travel Tip: The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30, with the highest storm probability is from August through October.

Things to Do

Today, Daytona Beach stretches 23 miles to Ormond Beach on the north and New Smyrna Beach on the south. Beach days and boardwalk nights are a given, so consider punching up your trip with a mix of activities that are fun, exciting, and even educational.

  • Daytona International Speedway: Whether or not the Daytona 500 is happening, any trip to Daytona is a great chance to visit the Speedway and see NASCAR in person.
  • Driving on the Beach: One of the most popular things for visitors to Daytona Beach is driving on the beach's hard-packed sand. While visitors may no longer drive on the entire length of the beach, 16 miles of beach are open for vehicles (all of the beach is open for pedestrians and cyclists).
  • Sun Splash Park: The four-acre waterfront park features an interactive fountain, decorative walkways, and a shaded playground; as well as restroom facilities and pavilions.
  • Daytona Boardwalk: The expansive boardwalk provides beach-goers a respite from the sand with amusement rides, restaurants, and gift shops just steps away from the beach.
  • Fishing Off the Pier: The Daytona Beach Pier is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Daytona Beach, and it's one of the most popular spots for fishing. Fishing is allowed seven days a week off the east end of the pier throughout the year.
  • Daytona Bandshell: Visit during the summer and enjoy free seaside concerts at this public music venue. The scenic amphitheater also hosts other entertainment throughout the year.

Getting Around

Daytona Beach is conveniently located on Florida's Central East Coast, about 50 miles and an hour's drive from many popular theme parks and other favorite tourist destinations. It's easily accessible via I-4 from the west or I-95 from the north or south. Other major roads leading into the area include U.S. Highway 1; U.S. Highway 92; and, Highway A1A, which runs north and south along the Atlantic coastline. Daytona International Airport is served by several major airlines and is just 5 miles away from the beach and 2 miles from the Daytona International Speedway.

There is a bus system that runs through Daytona Beach, but having your own vehicle is the most convenient way to get around. Parking may be limited during the high season around the beach, but traffic is generally light around the city—unless it's a race day at the Speedway or spring break.

Where to Eat and Drink

Daytona Beach is sure to be able to satisfy your taste for whatever you're craving — from seafood to sweet treats or filet mignon to vegetarian. Of course, there are a few classic eateries that will always be popular because of their uniqueness. Make a pit stop at the Cruisin' Café, where you eat in a race car and every table in the restaurant is dedicated to a Daytona 500 race winner; or, stroll into Joe's Crab Shack, located on the Daytona Beach Pier, serving seafood and American cuisines in a casual beach-themed atmosphere.

Also, there are a wide variety of eateries both beach-side and inland that cater to various cuisines. Some are nationally-recognized restaurants serving up the familiar, but many independent restaurants serving fresh and flavorful fare too. Several new microbreweries and wine bars are also joining the local scene offering amazing pairings and tastings.

If you love the crab at Joe's, you may want to research the other best places in Florida for Stone Crab.

Where to Stay

With more than 200 properties and 12,000 guest rooms in the Daytona Beach area, there are plenty of choices when it comes to overnight accommodations. Whether you are looking for a hotel, motel, condo rental, beach cottage, or campground, there is something for every style and budget. On the more affordable end, the Hawaiian Inn offers a lot of bang for your buck with spacious rooms and beachside location, but luxury travelers may consider indulging at The Shores Resort & Spa, where the rooms are decked out in Italian Marble.

Compare the best hotels on Daytona Beach to find the one that best suits your travel style.

Tips for Visiting

  • When booking your stay in Daytona Beach, it pays to check whether the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport and beach.
  • Take advantage of free activities like the guided tour at Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory or the gardens attached to the Ormond Memorial Art Museum.
  • With events planned throughout the year, Daytona doesn't have a defined off-season, but you may be able to find lower rates in months like January after the holidays are over or September once the kids go back to school.

Learn more about the cheapest ways to have fun in Florida by exploring other budget-friendly destinations for families.