Fast cars on the Daytona International Speedway and parked cars on wide beaches are solid reasons to visit. Cultural Heritage Traveling Mom agrees, but also discovered fun for the kids, the elders, girlfriend getaways, and multigen travelers to engage in the arts, nature, sports and history. Check out these 5 reasons to skip the sand in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Sure my big family of many ages plays well all day in the surf and on the sand but the last trip to Daytona Beach lured me off to other adventures as well. Good chance some of them would appeal to your traveling companions too.
Jump From A Plane, Or Watch Up Close
Pack your own gear and the cost to jump out of an airplane is lower. Imagine that level of confidence! You might prefer watching before signing up for lessons at Skydive DeLand.
In fact, before the sun gets too high in the sky, consider an outdoor breakfast at the Perfect Spot restaurant where the food is abundant and individually prepared and the picnic tables line the edge of grassy lawn where skydivers float into sight.
They make it look easy and you can peer into their eyes as they bundle their parachutes and head home, or back up in the air for another jump. Feel some people’s anxiety too if you saunter over to where they line up for the next plane.
I invited myself to a party of millennial women – first timers who had jumped that morning — as they watched video on a big-screen TV of themselves. What a privilege to experience their pride in self and each other!
Worship in Your Car
In other places highway traffic elicits driver prayers with expletives, of course, but in Daytona Beach Area prayer behind the steering wheel is more refined.
Fashion is not; bathing suits and flip-flops quite fine. Sunday services happen in a former drive-in movie theater, including communion. I’d recommend at least a drive-by any day of the week just to contemplate what convenience might mean regarding faith-based beach vacations.
All opinions appreciated.
Energize With Master Artists
Knowing I might immerse in the synergy of master artists creatively working together, and do so near Daytona’s beach — but in the woods is an extraordinary feeling.
Check out the Atlantic Center for the Arts because that’s where master artists gather in a 3,000-acre preserve for three-month residencies. Exhibitions, performances, readings are open to travelers like you and me so checking the website is vital.
Here’s why synergy matters: the three artists with their entourage of eight, create in different disciplines so music and poetry, painting and writing, dance and composition intersect throughout the residencies. Culinary too because there’s always a master chef.
Not sure if what I felt was subtle or profound, but attending an exhibition on the forested grounds I believed the combined creative energies were special. Lighthearted too: sign on a boardwalk path declares, “Caution: Artists at Work.”
Shop Half A Street
Shops line only one side of Beach Street in downtown Daytona Beach and that makes it easy to believe you’ve checked out each one. Individual owners with a personal, boutique feel, wide range of choices from apparel (I came home with a snazzy yet functional fringed purse) to fresh Florida citrus to coffee and chocolates. History museum too.
TravelingMom Tip: Slip into the cool shade of Cinamatique some hot afternoon for lunch or dinner, wine and beer, and a movie. It’s a charming non-profit arts organization that seats only 70.
Chocolate tours happen on the hour at Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory and they include tasting. This is a 1925 story about two young women selling candy at the kitchen window – same copper kettle is used today.
What’s new are the Lay’s Wavy potato chips and you can watch the chocolate being hand rubbed into the ridges, one at a time. Career choice?
Celebrate Baseball History
Solid reason those shops line half a street. The Jackie Robinson Ballpark is on the other side. Even if you don’t go to a game with the home team, the Daytona Tortugas, walk the grounds to contemplate 1946 when Robinson was the first African American to play in a Major League spring training game right here.
Also on this side of the street, find the Intracoastal waterway, lovely grassy park spaces for chilling and some walking trails.
Discover The Whole Area
Daytona’s a beach all right with the nostalgia of cars on the sand, wooden piers, the bandshell where many concerts are free, a boardwalk with rides and games and 23 miles of shelling, swimming, surfing beaches.
It’s also an area with eight distinct communities and I found them worth knowing. Grow accustomed to the names of DeLand, New Smyrna Beach and Ormond Beach as well as Daytona Beach meaning the town, and then discover some specific museums, artists, walkable downtowns, restaurants and memorable hotels.
Gringa TravelingMom chose a beachside restaurant with auto racing history for lunch–same place Cultural Heritage TravelingMom ordered dinner. When you follow Gringa TravelingMom’s tips for fun at Daytona International Speedway, look for the $400 million in renovations.