The "world's most famous beach" has come a long way from its days as MTV's college spring break party town. These days Daytona Beach is all about family-friendly fun that won't break the bank. (See Daytona Beach on a map.)
Have a Perfect Beach Day
Looking for the ideal spot to spread out your beach towels? At four-acre Sun Splash Park (611 S. Atlantic Avenue), you'll find an interactive water fountain, splashpad with water jets, covered picnic tables, shaded playground, restrooms, and free parking. Just down the steps is a beautiful stretch of beach with multiple lifeguard towers that's perfect for building sandcastles.
Take the Kids Out to a Ball Game
One of the most storied minor league ballparks in the country, Jackie Robinson Ballpark, also known as "the Jack," was the first stadium to host a racially integrated ballgame when it allowed Jackie Robinson to play during a 1946 spring training exhibition game. Today the historic ballpark is home to the Daytona Cubs, whose season runs April through August. Inexpensive tickets and a kid-friendly atmosphere makes this an excellent and affordable evening activity. Expect fireworks displays after each Saturday home game and on other select dates.
Climb Florida's Tallest Lighthouse
About 20 miles south of Daytona Beach, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is a striking historic landmark that makes for a wonderful excursion with kids. The grounds are beautifully kept and there is a nice shaded playground out front.
Quench Your Need for Speed
Love NASCAR? Learn all about the Daytona International Speedway on your choice of behind-the-scenes tour, with options from 30 minutes to three hours. Want a more hands-on experience? Adults age 18 and older can get behind the wheel with the Richard Petty Driving Experience; adults and teens age 14 and up can ride along with a professional driver for a simulated three-lap NASCAR qualifying run at speeds exceeding 160 mph. There is a junior ride-along experience for kids ages 6-13.
Pet a Stingray
AddressPonce Inlet, FL 32127, USA
At the Marine Science Center in nearby Ponce Inlet, the stingray touch pool is a kid pleaser. You can also check out the skull of a humpback whale, a tank full of freshwater turtles, toothy moray eel, and many kinds of fish. Don't miss a visit to the sea turtle hospital, where staff take care of injured loggerheads and green sea turtles.
Cool Off at a Water Park
Looking for a place with a lot of fun in one place? The Daytona Lagoon water park features multiple water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, and a splash area with a climbing fort, interactive spray guns and tipping buckets. When you feel like drying off, there is also laser tag, mini golf, a climbing wall, go-karts, high ropes, and an arcade.
Stroll on the Boardwalk
AddressBoardwalk, Daytona Beach, FL 32118, USA
Visit the Daytona Beach Boardwalk for a classic beach experience. Amusement park rides include a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and slingshot ride, and there are also bumper cars and arcade games. You can see fireworks every Saturday night all summer long, and catch free summer concerts in the bandshell. Be sure to stop in Zeno's, makers of saltwater taffy since 1948.
Visit Daytona's Art Campus
For younger kids age 10 and under, the west wing of the Museum of Arts & Sciences is devoted to the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum, whose interactive exhibits include a raceway where kids can build their own vehicles, tennis ball launcher, video light microscope, make-believe pizza parlor and more.
Families could spend the best part of a day on the MOAS campus, which also includes an art museum, planetarium, and nature trail, as well as an on-site eatery and picnic areas.
Touch the Treetops
In Tuscawilla Park, ZoomAir Treetop Adventure Park offers three challenging courses that combine high ropes and zip lines through the tree canopy and high over grass and lagoons. Wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes. Minimum height is 54 inches; best for kids age 10 and up who have no fear of heights.
Go Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Get out on the water with Three Brothers Boards, which offers two-hour SUP tours on the Halifax River and Daytona Beach area. Lessons are available for all ability levels.
Get Your Chocolate Fix
For a sweet treat, stop by Angell & Phelps (154 S. Beach Street), whose gourmet chocolates have been made winning fans since 1925. Kids will love the chocolates shaped like dolphins, turtles, starfish, and even flip flops.