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Welcome to “World’s Most Famous Beach!”
Located on the East Coast of Florida by the Atlantic Ocean, this Florida vacation destination is visited by millions of people for lazy days by the beach, lively entertainment, oceanfront accommodation, and fast-paced motorsports.
Our guide to fun things to do in Daytona Beach reveals what to do, where to eat, and when to visit for special events.
As with all of our Florida articles, we have grouped activities together so you can plan an itinerary with ease.
Fun Things to Do at Daytona Beach
Get a Pic of the Welcome Sign
Tell your friends that you’ve arrived and you are now on beach time with a shot of the colorful Welcome to Daytona Beach sign.
You’ll find it close to the Pier, Boardwalk, and souvenir shops.
Can you see the sand peeping through?
It’s time to get those grains between your toes.
The most obvious thing to do at Daytona Beach is to strip off the day clothes, bake in the East Coast sunshine then cool off in the Atlantic.
You can either pack your own or rent chairs and umbrellas from the tables dotted along the 23 miles of beach.
Lifeguards are located at points along the beach, too, and you’ll find information like water temperature, tide times, and surf conditions advertised on their stands.
Like many of Florida’s beaches, you cannot drink alcohol at Daytona, but there is a bar on the Pier.
Leave your furry friends at home unless they are guide dogs.
Since Daytona Beach is made up of hard-packed sand, it is ideal for beach driving.
However, beach drivers must adhere to the specified driving areas set out in the app to keep beachgoers safe and sand dunes intact.
If you’ve got a need for speed, head to Daytona International Speedway, as the driving limit is only ten mph on the beach!
While you can’t drive along the 23 miles of pristine beach at speed anymore, you can still cycle!
This 3.5 bike tour features e-bikes, so you don’t have to do too much work – handy considering the weather.
The guide directs you along the beach and to the Ponce Inlet peninsula, where you can see the famous lighthouse and enjoy lunch with views over the river.
This may be one of the best Daytona Beach activities for those who like to get some light exercise in while doing excursions.
Turtle Nesting Season
A magical part of ocean life in the Sunshine State is during turtle nesting season when mom turtles lay eggs in nests (clutches).
The season runs from May 1 through October 31, and during this time, lights at night are prohibited as the turtles lay their eggs in the dark, and hatchlings are often confused by bright lights.
Play your part by staying away from the nests on the dunes, and report injured or dead sea turtles to a Volusia County Beach Services employee.
The Pier, a Daytona Beach Landmark
The city’s Pier was instrumental in coining Daytona Beach as “The World’s Most Famous Beach,” as this is where many celebrity motorsports drivers raced and got their photos taken.
The first pier, which fell victim to fire, was built in the late 1800s, with a second version being erected in 1925.
The pier was 1000 feet long and kept good company with an attractive Victorian-style building that hosted a luxury ballroom for entertaining.
Close your eyes – can you hear the music from the big band flowing through the ocean breeze?
The city began to manage the Pier in 2004, refurbishing it between 2009 and 2012, with the addition of Joe’s Crab Shack.
Like Cocoa Beach, Daytona Pier has a popular restaurant for hungry beachgoers situated on its Pier.
Joe’s is a super casual US chain that serves lunch, dinner, and happy hour specials.
It is mostly known for its steam pots and giant cocktails.
Joe’s at Daytona offers indoor and outdoor dining on the pier with views over the water.
Surf fishing is popular at Daytona Beach, which means you may be swimming among anglers casting their line.
Jokes aside, there are 23 miles of beach to contend with, so it is unlikely you will be in conflict for space.
Plus, it means if you have a keen fisher in the family, they can do their thing while you tan and relax!
All they need to do is apply for a quick temporary fishing license.
Popular types of fish that make the catch of the day are whiting, pompano, flounder, and blue fish, similar to the types found at Flagler Beach.
Alternatively, book a spot on this half-day fishing trip and let a professional captain navigate the area’s backwaters primed with black drum, sea trout, and redfin.
SUP and Manatee Tour
This 3-hour paddle board tour takes small groups out on calm canal waters in search of seasonal manatees and dolphins.
The trip includes a professional guide, paddle board equipment, and training for new SUP users.
Magical manatees use Florida’s warmer waters as a winter home from November through to March; the best time to see them is the morning.
The tour typically lasts 2-3 hours, depending on sightings.
If visiting Florida in winter to see the sea cows, check out our guide to swimming with manatees at Crystal River.
Hit the Child-Friendly Slots
Since dry weather isn’t always guaranteed, and the sun gets too intense for wee ones midday, you’ll want a few Daytona Beach indoor activities up your sleeve, under your swimsuit, wherever you fancy!
Next to the Pier sits the Mardi Gras Fun Center (12 Ocean Ave), packed with games for kids of all ages.
Get lost among the flashing lights of the machines that have slots, games that spin, sports-themed challenges, and retro consoles.
There’s also a fast food and ice cream shop attached to this late-night family-friendly attraction.
If working out the credit cards is more your speed, behind the games’ center, there are a handful of souvenir stores selling the typical beach gear and vacation slogan tees.
These stores are also great if you forget to pack shades or cover-ups or if there is a sandal breakage disaster.
Drink with a View at The Streamline
Miami Beach is not the only Florida city with Art Deco!
The Streamline Hotel and Bar (140 S. Atlantic) is located in a 1940s Art Deco-style building, and it has a rooftop open to the public, so even if you’re not staying in the hotel, you can enjoy the view.
The sky bar puts on events such as drag shows, themed nights, and live music; check out its schedule during your stay – a lively Daytona nightlife spot offering lots of variety.
The Streamline is also featured in the Gaytona Guide.
Wander Along the Famous Daytona Boardwalk
One of our favorite things about the East Coast’s bigger beach towns is the vintage boardwalk concept.
Built in the late 1920s, the concrete promenade has always been a flat stretch for visitors to mooch along, stopping at the Daytona Beach attractions that pique their interest.
Today, the Boardwalk, lined with shiny hotels, is less than 2km and takes around 20 minutes to walk along.
It connects the Pier with the famous Bandshell.
What delights will you discover along “The Greatest Board Walk on the Greatest Beach in the World”?
See History Tick at the Coquina Clock Tower
A lasting part of the Oceanfront Park complex is the gorgeous Clock Tower (62 N Atlantic Ave) which was built in 1937 and is made from small native coquina rocks which give it a golden glow.
Take a closer look at the clock face and tell us what time it is…
Is it A o’clock yet?
Edward H Armstrong Monument
Just off the Boardwalk is a large coquina rock sitting atop a pedestal, built in honor of the mayor who steered Daytona Beach through The Great Depression.
Armstrong pushed through the installation of the Boardwalk Clock Tower and Bandshell, then passed away in 1938.
During his five stints in office, he was overwhelmingly supported by Black voters in the area, and his team ensured that their vote was counted, overcoming discriminatory moves by others.
He was also accused of corruption.
For more than eight decades, the monument had no plaque until the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors lobbied to have Armstrong’s story assigned.
Play Ball at Breakers Oceanfront Park
Another attraction found along the Boardwalk is the volleyball court.
The net is pitched above the sand, which is a more comfortable landing than grass, and evening games seem to be popular as they avoid the heat!
Playing ball is just one of the many free things to do in Daytona Beach for sports enthusiasts.
Entertainment at Daytona Beach Bandshell
For an evening of live music, check out the events schedule of the historic Bandshell.
This 48-foot landmark was built in 1937 using — you guessed it — natural coquina rock; it is part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Its main purpose is still the same as it was decades ago: to provide a stage for live music and open-air concerts that locals and visitors alike can jam to!
If you’re looking for one of the top things to do in Daytona Beach at night in summer, look no further than Ritchey Plaza (70 Boardwalk) for its summer sessions every Friday and Saturday evening.
By day, the Plaza simply acts as a thoroughfare connecting people from its bars and restaurants to the Boardwalk.
However, by dusk, this is where audiences show appreciation to live bands performing on the Bandshell stage with the ocean as the backdrop.
It is also where the huge July 4th celebrations take place.
Ocean Walk Shoppes for Food & Drinks
Ocean Walk Shoppes (250 N Atlantic Ave) isn’t just a kooky-colored Picassoesque building!
Here, revelers will find Daytona Beach nightlife overlooking the lively Ritchie Plaza.
Dine at family-favorite American restaurants or pick up your travel essentials at the stores.
Cool Down with Daiquiris
For an independently owned Daytona Beach business, grab a coffee or cocktail at The Beach Hut Cantina (250 N Atlantic Ave Ste. 206) at the top of the Ocean Walk Shoppes.
Get ready of quesadillas, homemade chips with queso, and street tacos!
Make a Splash at Daytona Lagoon
Tucked behind the huge central parking lot, Daytona Lagoon (601 Earl St) has giant water slides, a thrilling wave pool, and a lazy river for those who prefer a more chilled water adventure!
Families can take shade from the hot Florida sun at the park’s cabanas and dine at one of the park’s restaurants which serves kid faves like pizza and fries, and the adult preferred choice – alcohol!
If you prefer to stay dry, you might want to pot some balls at the 18-hole mini golf course or challenge friends to a game of laser tag instead.
Find Serenity on the Sea
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the beach during this 90-minute cruise on a catamaran.
The trip sails along the Halifax River, with the opportunity to see dolphins if they are around.
Soft drinks are included so you can cool off while sunbathing on the boat – how lux!
Date Day at Madeline’s Wine Bar
Oenophile and casual wine drinkers will want to make a date at Madeline’s Wine Bar (200 N Beach St).
The bar has an industrial feel to it but still with classy decor.
Pair wine with impressive charcuterie boards for the perfect date day or lunch with the girls.
If you really appreciate wine, consider this wine trail tour of Daytona Beach, which features Madeline’s.
Dive Bar Crawl
If a wine bar sounds a little too upmarket for your style of boozing, consider this organized dive bar crawl instead!
Hop from haunts with a lot of history in Daytona such as the women-owned Chris’ Lounge and biker favorite Townline Lounge & Package.
There’s no need for a designated driver as guests are carted between bars by an air-conditioned bus and expert guide.
Arguably, one of the most fun things to do in Daytona Beach for adults!
A Hot Dinner Event
You don’t have to travel to Orlando to experience a dinner and dance night when Daytona has its own Polynesian Fire and Dinner Show (180 N Beach St)!
Dinner consists of an extensive buffet featuring Polynesian chicken, kalua pork panko tilapia, salad, steamed vegetables, fruit, and desserts.
Drinks such as tea, water, and Coca-Cola are included, and there is a cash bar for other drinks.
Watch as entertainers whisk you away to the Polynesian Isles through song and dance at the “hottest show in Daytona Beach”.
The night closes with a performance by a world champion Samoan fire knife team.
This 2-3 hour dinner event is sure to keep all of the family engaged!
Bargain Sales at Tangler
If the boardwalk souvenir shops don’t quite scratch that commercial itch, take a ride out to Tanger Outlets Daytona Beach (1100 Cornerstone Blvd) for recognizable stores such as Nike, Bath & Body, and Sketchers.
The outlet is outdoors, so walking between stores is required, which might not be ideal for rainy days in Daytona Beach.
Fill up on some Fat Boi Gourmet Potatoes after your shopping spree!
Daytona International Speedway
The first two things that come to most people’s mind when they hear the word “Daytona Beach” are boardwalk and racing.
That’s because the city is also known as “The Birthplace of Speed” and for claiming excellent taglines!
It all began in 1903 with two friends racing their horses and carriages, then Daytona became the racing car driving destination of choice thanks to its beach races and State Road A1A stock car challenges.
In 1959, the Daytona International Speedway officially opened, where today it hosts the Daytona 500 aka The Great American Race.
Join one of the daily tours around the stadium or see a race during the season!
Things to do Near Daytona Beach
Once you’ve ticked off all of the best things to do in Daytona Beach that match your travel style, consider the following day trip ideas.
Ponce de Leon Lighthouse
Head south of Daytona Beach, and you can’t miss the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse Inlet (4931 S Peninsula Dr) taking up the skyline.
Constructed in 1887, the light towers at 175 feet, making it the tallest in Florida.
Visitors can either do a self-guided tour, a group tour, or a private tour to learn more about the National Historic Landmark that is named after the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who “found” Florida.
The lighthouse is one of the most popular attractions near Daytona Beach, giving a bit of a New England vibe to the coast.
Down the Hatch
After a tour of Ponce de Leon Lighthouse, take a breather at Down the Hatch (4894 Front St), which specializes in fresh seafood.
While the restaurant has been open since 1975, there has been some form of activity on the grounds since the 1940s.
The menu consists of seafood, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and pasta.
Bob Ross Art Workshop
Did you know that the famous artist and host of The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross, was born in Daytona Beach?
He opened a studio and gallery in New Smyrna Beach in 1993, and visitors can still learn how to paint in the workshop or browse the gallery today.
The gallery showcases a collection of Bob’s original oil paintings, and classes teach the Bob Ross Wet-On-Wet® style of oil painting.
Truly a unique thing to do in Daytona Beach for budding creatives.
Flagler Beach For Golden Sand
Flagler Beach is a little different from the white sandy shores you’ll find on the A1A, as coquina sand makes up the basis of the beach.
Coquina sand is a little rougher as it is made from shell fragments, and it can be a bit of a nightmare to rub off, but it sure is pretty!
Locals love this beach as in comparison to Daytona, it is crowd-free.
The beach is the main attraction at Flagler, and other things to consider are the numerous oceanfront view bars and the Flagler Beach Museum.
Read all about this retro town in our guide, things to do in Flagler Beach.
Cocoa and Cocoa Beach
We honestly can’t get enough of the beaches in Florida, so yes, here is another sandy day trip recommendation!
This time, we’re heading south to Cocoa Beach on the Space Coast.
The island has a number of beaches depending on your needs; Cocoa Beach is the most built up with a pier and restaurants, whereas the likes of Alan Shepard Park has no entertainment; well, you make your own!
The City of Cocoa has a Historic District with a theater, vintage shops, and restaurants.
There’s also a handful of bars and craft beer tap rooms!
Find out more in our guide to Cocoa and Cocoa Beach.
Where to Stay in Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach Hotels
There’s lots of choice for beachfront accommodation such as the Daytona Grande Oceanfront Resort, which also features an outside swimming pool.
Alternatively, you can stay downtown at The Daytona Autograph Collection and make use of their free bikes for guests.
Daytona Beach Apartments
Daytona Beach Travel Information
Daytona Beach International Airport is located 5 miles from the popular boardwalk and pier area and takes around 15 minutes to drive between, traffic depending.