21 FUN Things to Do in Daytona Beach, FL ✔️ by a Local!

Things to do in Daytona Beach

When most people think of Daytona Beach, NASCAR is the first thing that comes to mind. There’s no denying that Daytona Beach is world-famous for the Daytona International Speedway, and fans come from all over the globe to see this iconic racetrack.

But Daytona Beach is a whole lot more than just racing – you can take it from this Florida local that this coastal city in Central Florida is rich in history, beauty, culture, and excitement!

In this article, we’ll chat about 21 unique, fun things to do in Daytona Beach, whether you’re a NASCAR fan, beachgoer, or looking to party it up with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean! The best way to find out why Daytona Beach was given the moniker “The World’s Most Famous Beach” is to visit for yourself.

For those who stick with me to the end of the post, I’ve rounded up the best day trips from Daytona Beach, so you can make the most of your time in Central Florida.

Let’s get into it!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Daytona Beach is a wildly popular vacation destination, especially when an event is being hosted at the Daytona International Speedway, so you’ll want to book your hotel and activities ASAP.

Here’s what you want to book first:

1. Spend a day at the world’s most famous beach

worlds famous beach entrance in daytona beach

Of course, you’ve gotta spend a day at the world’s most famous beach! Daytona Beach, nicknamed “The World’s Most Famous Beach,” gained worldwide recognition for its smooth sand and wide beaches, all while making a name for itself in racing.

Daytona Beach is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, and tons of attractions, making it a super popular destination for tourists. It’s known as a party beach, boasting the largest number of spring break tourists in the United States. You can expect big crowds and plenty of excitement, but there is no shortage of family-friendly things to do in Daytona Beach either, and we’ll cover those in this article as well!

PRO TIP: Arrive as early as possible to set up in the sand, as this beach gets crowded quickly!

2. Tour the iconic Daytona International Speedway

image from a race at Daytona International Speedway

No visit to Daytona Beach, Florida, is complete without a stop at the Daytona International Speedway, known as the “World Center of Racing”! This 500-acre (205 hectares) motorsports complex hosts the prestigious Daytona 500 annually and is a bucket list destination for racing fans all year long.

If you’re not in town during one of their many races and events, I highly recommend taking a tour of the Daytona International Speedway!

The Daytona International Speedway offers a 60-minute tour of the speedway, as well as a 2.5-hour VIP tour experience that includes an additional, exclusive visit to the NASCAR Archives & Research Center and Press Box.

Because of how popular the Daytona International Speedway is, these tours are in high demand and fill up quickly. You’ll definitely want to book this experience in advance! It’s one of the best things to do in Daytona Beach, and you don’t want to miss it!

3. Explore the beautiful Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail

aerial view over Ormond beach

Just a 20-minute drive north of Daytona Beach is the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, 30+ miles (50+ km) of tree-canopied roads that take you through breathtaking Old Florida landscapes. It’s incredibly popular among motorcyclists, but there is a lot to see and do there for those who prefer to explore by car or on foot.

Ormond Scenic Loop has 2 sides, each boasting unique beauty. On one side is the beach – you can catch some really gorgeous views here. The other side is a sprawling, stunning forest!

Along Ormond Scenic Loop, there are multiple beach access points, historic sights, museums, and both state and city parks, like Tomoka State Park and North Peninsula State Park. Visitors can easily spend a day exploring all there is to experience on the loop, in addition to soaking up some sun on the sand.

4. Visit the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art at MOAS

Discover the largest collection of Florida art in the world at the Cici & Hyatt Brown Museum of Arts, right here in Daytona Beach, Florida. This art museum is part of the Museum of Arts and Sciences, a Smithsonian affiliate and Central Florida’s premier destination for arts, sciences, and history.

There is a ton to explore at this sprawling center, and the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum is a particular favorite of mine! It’s home to 2,600 Florida-themed watercolor and oil paintings, including both rotational and permanent displays for all to enjoy.

Grab lunch at the café, and of course, don’t forget to pick up something to remember your time here at the gift shop!

PRICE: US$13 for adults, US$7 for children

5. See dolphins and manatees from a stand-up paddleboard

people stand-up paddleboarding

I love experiences that get me up close and personal with Florida’s local wildlife! By taking a stand-up paddle board tour, you’ll explore off the coast of Daytona Beach in waters dolphins, and manatees call home.

This 2-hour adventure takes you through waterways, under seven bridges, and around an island as you spot the area’s wildlife. It’s very beginner-friendly as well, as each tour begins with a lesson to ensure everyone is comfortable and confident!

PRO TIP: Manatees and dolphins are most active in the morning, so I recommend booking ASAP to secure either the 8:30 AM or 10:30 AM tour times.

PRICE: US$65 for adults, US$33 for children

Book Paddleboard Tour

6. Go back in time at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum

image of  the  Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

Whenever I visit somewhere with a historic lighthouse nearby, it’s automatically at the top of my to-do list. There’s just something so enchanting about these beacons of bygone days.

The Ponce de Leon Lighthouse has stood for over 130 years. It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and the third tallest in the United States! Most importantly, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is close to Daytona Beach – only a 20-minute car ride away, and well worth the journey to Ponce Inlet, Florida.

Explore the various exhibits at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum that take you back in time! And if you’re up to the challenge, climb the 203 steps to the top of the 175 ft (55m) Ponce de Leon Lighthouse. The view is phenomenal!

If you’re looking for a relaxing, laid-back beach day, check out Lighthouse Point Park, located on Atlantic Ave near the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. This is a great place to spend the day on the sand (or in the water) without all the hustle and bustle of the world-famous Daytona Beach.

PRICE: US$7 for adults, US$2 for children

7. Have fun at Daytona Beach Boardwalk & Pier

Daytona beach pier and boardwalk entrance

One of the most fun things to do in Daytona Beach with kids is to head over to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk & Main Street Pier, where you’ll find shopping, dining, attractions, and entertainment for the entire family!

Grab a bite and do some shopping at the Ocean Walk Shoppes, overlooking the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Kids especially will love the 2 amusement parks: Mardi Gras Fun Center and Joyride Amusement Center. Plan to visit Daytona Beach during the summer? Catch a concert at the Daytona Beach Bandshell – they’re free for the public!

If you’re looking for a hub of excitement, you’ll definitely want to check out the Daytona Beach Boardwalk & Main Street Pier on your next trip to Daytona Beach, Florida. There is no charge for admission.

8. Learn and explore at the Marine Science Center

The Central Florida east coast is teeming with incredible marine wildlife, and getting to know more about this area’s unique ecosystem and the creatures who call the Atlantic Ocean home is one of the coolest things to do in Daytona Beach.

The Marine Science Center is just a 20-minute drive down South Atlantic Avenue and the perfect place to learn and explore!

Stroll through 5,000 square feet (465m2) of aquariums, habitats, and fascinating exhibits. Then go behind the scenes at the Marine Science Center rehabilitation hospital, where sea turtles and seabirds are nursed back to health, then released back into the wild! The Marine Center offers a variety of hands-on, interactive daily presentations as well, like fish feeding and Turtle Talks.

PRICE: US$8 for adults, US$5 for children

9. Go on a zipline adventure through Tuscawilla Park

Calling all adventure seekers! This zipline adventure through Tuscawilla Park is a must-do the next time you visit Daytona Beach. I always loved climbing trees as a kid, so that may be why I think ziplining is so cool. If you’re the same way, you’ve gotta try this.

Explore 2 aerial obstacle courses with hanging logs, swinging bridges, and, you guessed it, ziplines! This is definitely one of the best things to do in Daytona Beach for families, especially if you’re traveling with kids who need to get a bit of energy out.

Before you embark on your adventure, there is a safety lesson and demo, so no previous zipline experience is required!

PRICE: US$53 per person

Book Zipline Adventure

10. Find fun for the whole family at Daytona Lagoon

aerial view over the Daytona Lagoon Waterpark

If you’re searching for family-friendly things to do in Daytona Beach, you’ve got to check out Daytona Lagoon. This massive water park and entertainment complex in Daytona Beach is packed with activities in and out of the water for visitors of all ages!

Littles ones will love the Castaway Children’s Play Area and the giant wave pool, while thrill-seekers should take a ride down Poseidon’s Pass, Blackbeard’s Revenge, or any of Daytona Lagoons’ other heart-pumping attractions. There’s also Pelican’s Drift lazy river for those of us who want to float our worries away. That’s where you’ll find me! 😉

There’s also the Fun Park, Daytona Lagoon’s hub for indoor and outdoor entertainment. Race go-karts, games in the massive arcade, play laser tag, go on the miniature golf course, climb the rock wall, and so much more!

PRO TIP: Daytona Lagoon offers a variety of different ticket packages. The best value is buying an all-inclusive day pass – this includes admission to the water park and access to all the attractions at the Fun Park.

PRICE: US$68 per person

11. Get behind the wheel at the Richard Petty Driving Experience

image of a race car

For NASCAR fans, the Richard Petty Driving Experience is an absolute must-do in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Get behind the wheel of an actual NASCAR race car and make your way around the legendary track at Daytona International Speedway! No lead car, no one in the passenger seat – just you and the iconic road ahead!

The Richard Petty Driving Experience offers a variety of different options for fans. Want to feel the speed of a race car from the passenger seat without worrying about steering? You can do that too! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity no NASCAR fan should pass up.

PRICE: Solo driving starts at US$419

12. Tour Florida’s most historic home, the Stetson Mansion

image of  Stetson Mansion historic home

One of the 10 top-rated attractions in the entire USA is located just 40 minutes away from Daytona Beach by car! See Florida’s only Gilded Age mansion, first luxury estate, and most historic house: Stetson Mansion.

Built-in 1886 for hatmaker John B. Stetson, Stetson Mansion is a National Historic Landmark and a stunning piece of Florida history. The private estate is open for tours seasonally. Visitors come from all over to marvel at the opulent home, which boasts 16 different mosaic parquet wood floor patterns, 10,000 panes of antique glass, and handmade embellishments.

Stetson Mansion’s Christmas Spectacular is its most popular event, which takes place from November to January. The home is decadently decorated for Christmas! Visiting Stetson Mansion during this time is a holiday tradition for many local Central Florida families.

Since Stetson Mansion is not a museum, but a private home, there is limited availability for tours, and they fill up quickly. Check the tour schedule and book as soon as possible to ensure a spot!

PRICE: US$34 for adults, US$22 for children

13. Have a blast (and BYOB) at the Daytona Beach Paddle Pub

Adults traveling without children can take their sightseeing to new levels of fun on the Daytona Beach Paddle Pub, a unique BYOB adventure departing from the Halifax Harbor Marina! Set out on the Halifax River aboard a pontoon with pedal stations and party lights! You and your friends can sip and pedal while your host guides your tour through the beautiful waters of Daytona Beach. Learn about the local sights, like #17 on our list, and keep an eye out for the amazing native wildlife. You may even catch a glimpse of dolphins at play!

PRICE: US$45 per person

Book Paddle Pub Tour

14. Explore the history of Tomoka State Park

image of the Tomoka statue from Tomoka State Park

Located nearby in Ormond Beach, just a 20-minute drive from Daytona Beach, you’ll find Tomoka State Park. This lush, 2,000-acre (185 hectares) park at the junction of the Halifax River and Tomoka River was the home of Native Americans for thousands of years! Today, it offers us the opportunity to learn about the area’s original residents and experience Florida’s natural beauty.

Tomoka State Park is a paradise for bird watchers, paddles, and nature enthusiasts. Hike the historic half-mile Tomoka Trail, spot woodpeckers, cardinals, Mockingjay, and bald eagles (among many other incredible birds), climb up the water bird observation tower, or take a kayak out on the water – you may even spot a West Indian Manatee! Canoes and kayaks are available to rent at the store inside Tomoka State Park.PRICE: US$5 per vehicle

15. Get a taste of heaven at the local chocolate factory

Got a sweet tooth? Stop by the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory next time you visit Daytona Beach.

Angell & Phelps has been crafting delicious, mouth-watering treats since 1925. Today, you can watch the magic happen right in their Daytona Beach store. Stop in for a free factory tour to see candy being made the old-fashioned way.

After you sample some of their homemade chocolate, you’ll want to stock up on plenty to bring home with you. They’re known for their chocolate-covered bacon, so don’t leave without trying some!

16. Go fishing at Sunglow Fishing Pier

fishing rods in a boat

Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World, and we take that title seriously here! Daytona Beach pier offers some spectacular fishing locales frequented by locals and tourists alike. Sunglow Fishing Pier on South Atlantic Avenue is a favorite spot for catching a wide variety of (dare I say tasty?) fish! It’s been around since 1960.

You can rent fishing poles at Sunglow Fishing Pier, and there’s a bait shack as well. If you work up an appetite and decide not to catch your own dinner, head to Crabby Joe’s Deck & Grill for a bite to eat and taste tropical libations.

PRICE: Admission to sightseeing is FREE. Fishing is US$10 for adults and US$5 for children. Rod rentals and bait are extra.

17. Take a paranormal tour at Lilian Place Heritage Center

I am a sucker for a good ghost tour when I’m on vacation. Nothing too scary, of course – just the right amount of chills for it to be both fascinating and fun! For one of the unique things to do in Daytona Beach, look no further than the Lilian Place Heritage Center.

Lilian Place is an Italianate Victorian house built in 1884 by one of the first settlers in Daytona Beach, Laurence Thompson. It sat abandoned until 2009 when a grant was awarded to the Trust. Today, this historic Daytona Beach waterfront home is open to visitors interested in learning about its incredible past.

One of the most unique things to do in Daytona Beach is a paranormal tour of Lilian Place. Victorians were big on communicating with the dead, so this experience is very fitting! Learn about the former residents, the eery Widow’s Walk, and tales of unexpected happenings and ghost sightings at the Lilian Place Heritage Center.

The tour takes place after dark as you explore the museum’s historic rooms, guided by a paranormal professional utilizing real investigative equipment! Check out the Lilian Place Heritage Center event schedule for upcoming dates, and book ASAP. These tours are super popular! Ages 13+ only.

PRICE: US$30 per person. The VIP experience (includes extra areas to explore) is an additional US$10 per person.

18. Check out Jackie Robinson Ballpark

If racing’s not your thing, but baseball is, be sure to stop by the Jackie Robinson Ballpark while in Daytona Beach, Florida. It’s the 4th oldest ballpark still used in professional baseball today and home to the Daytona Beach minor league team, the Tortugas!

Let me be clear: I am no baseball fan, but I still always have such a blast at minor league games. The energy at the ballpark is always amazing. It’s hard not to get into the game when you’re there!

Jackie Robinson Ballpark is considered one of the best ballparks in Minor League Baseball and a must-visit for baseball fans visiting Daytona Beach.

19. Wet your whistle along the Daytona Beach Ale Trail

image of a brewery

Craft beer lovers, this one’s for you! The Daytona Beach Ale Trail features 24 unique breweries in Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, and West Volusia.

You can explore all of them or stick to the 8, all near each other in Daytona Beach proper. Whichever you choose, you’ll experience some incredible local craft beer along the way!

Some of the breweries serve food as well, and there are frequently food trucks parked out front of others so that you can stay fueled up for more fun.

Check out the Daytona Beach Ale Trail map!

20. Grab a bite at Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Club

If you’re visiting Daytona Beach, Florida, you’ll definitely want to stop by Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Club! True to Daytona Beach’s party atmosphere, Ocean Deck has live music and dancing every night right on the beach!

Savor freshly caught seafood or one of their award-winning burgers while enjoying the beautiful ocean views. Grab one of their fun cocktails, including a huge selection of tropical frozen drinks! Try the Strawberry Pound Cake, made with whipped cream vodka, strawberry puree, and ice cream. There’s even a non-alcoholic version called the Strawberry Shortcake.

Feeling brave? There is karaoke at Ocean Deck Restaurant on Saturdays and Sundays. Every Tuesday is Ladies’ Night, where ladies drink for free from 9 PM to midnight!

21. Get some peace and quiet at Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens

image of a triceraptor from the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens

The history of Dunlawton Sugar Mill goes back to before Florida was even a state! It has served various purposes over its many, many years and was even an amusement park, Bongoland, with a train, rides, animals, and a live monkey named Bongo! In 1985, it was purchased by nurseryman Martin Wittbold, who transformed Dunlawton Sugar Mill into the gorgeous gardens you can find there today.

If you’re visiting Daytona Beach, Florida, I highly recommend checking out the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens. Explore the lush landscape and incredible grounds while learning about its rich Florida history. Stroll along the nature trails to see abundant flora and fauna, remains from the original sugar mill, and the giant dinosaur statues from when the area was Bongland that still stand today!

Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens is a short drive from Daytona Beach – less than 15 minutes in Port Orange. It’s a wonderful, tranquil space to connect with nature and spend time with loved ones. With all the excitement Daytona Beach has to offer, you’ll want to add this relaxing experience to your list! Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated.

👪 Family-friendly score:Medium
📅 How many days:3-4
🏛️ Best museum:Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum
🎢 Top paid attraction:Stand Up Paddleboard Tour
🚶🏽‍♂️ Best free activity:Daytona Beach Boardwalk
👧 Best attraction for kids:Daytona Lagoon
🕺 Nightlife:Seabreeze Boulevard

BONUS: Best Day Trips in Daytona Beach

Hotels near Disney World Florida

I highly suggest renting a car for your Daytona Beach trip. This way, you can explore the exciting surrounding areas during your time there. There is so much to see and do in Central Florida, and Daytona Beach is the perfect home base to explore from.

These are a few of my all-time favorite day trips from Daytona Beach:

  • Spend the day in Orlando – In just over an hour’s drive, you can experience the theme parks and attractions Orlando is known for. Make magical memories at Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort, or check out the amazing nearby natural springs.
  • “Cross over” to Cassadega – Truly one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been, this spiritualist encampment, founded in 1884, attracts visitors from all over the world seeking guidance and communication from beyond! Just a half an hour drive from Daytona Beach, you can get your aura photographed, palms read, and even attend a seance!
  • Meet manatees at Blue Spring State Park – If you’re visiting Daytona Beach from mid-November to March, you’ve gotta stop by Blue Spring State Park – it’s only 40 minutes away. With 72-degree waters all year long, Blue Spring is a refuge for manatees during the colder months, and you can see them lounging in the springs while learning about the park’s conservation efforts and the incredible difference they’ve made for these beloved animals.

FAQs about Daytona Beach, Florida

aerial view over Daytona beach

🏖️ Is Daytona Beach worth visiting?

Yes! Daytona Beach is an ideal destination for beachgoers and NASCAR fans. It’s home to the Daytona International Speedway, renowned for hosting the prestigious Daytona 500 motor car race annually.

🏁 What is Daytona Beach famous for?

Daytona Beach was given the nickname “The World’s Most Famous Beach” for its beautiful sandy beaches Florida is known for. In Daytona Beach, you’ll find the Daytona International Speedway, one of the most famous race car tracks in the world.

📅 What is the best month to go to Daytona Beach?

The best month to go to Daytona Beach is May. Hurricane season does not begin until June, and temperatures will still be mild. If you’re a racing fan, you’ll want to go during February for the Daytona 500 or the Speedweeks leading up to it.

🌊 Is Daytona or Cocoa Beach nicer?

Daytona Beach is a great place to visit if you’re looking for an exciting party-on-the-beach atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and one-of-a-kind racing experiences. Cocoa Beach is a better option if you’re traveling with kids, as it’s more laid-back and family-friendly.

Conclusion

pier view at night

You made it! I hope you enjoyed my list of fun things to do in Daytona Beach!

A legendary speedway, non-stop party vibes, and “The World’s Most Famous Beach” make Daytona Beach a unique destination indeed. But what I love most about it is its history – you have to go off the beaten track to learn about this area’s fascinating past, and I can’t recommend it enough!

If you’re planning a trip to Daytona Beach, don’t miss out on my 2 favorite activities there:

Leave me a comment if you have any questions! I’m happy to help in your planning however I can. If you want to extend your Florida vacation, check out the best places to stay in Orlando – it’s only an hour away from Daytona Beach, and there is so much to do there, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

Happy travels!

Montana


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image of the Daytona beach and a race

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