Spring Break, Nascar and the Richard Petty Driving Experience have put Daytona Beach on the map. But there is more to the Central Florida Beach resort area. TravelingMom with Pets Judy Antell unearths family-friendly free things to do in Daytona Beach.
A trip to Daytona Beach, Florida doesn’t have to break the bank. The area has miles of white sandy beaches. When you’ve had your fill of beach fun, there is still plenty to do. Here’s a look at the free things to do in Daytona Beach.
Beaches and Parks: Free things in Daytona Beach
Sun Splash Park – This oceanfront park features an interactive water fountain, open March 1 through November 30. Other amenities include decorative walkways, a shaded playground, volleyball courts, picnic areas, restrooms, outdoor showers, and and ADA beach accessible ramp. The four-acre facility also provides free, off-beach parking. Open sunrise to sunset.
Tuscawilla Park – Tuscawilla Park has a nature center and trails that offer visitors a glimpse at plant and animal life. The park includes picnicking facilities and a disc golf course. Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Note: The Museum of Arts and Sciences, which charges admission, is nearby.
North Peninsula State Recreation Area – Ormond Beach. This 900-acre park offers over two miles of sandy beaches. The area, which is open 365 days a year, features palmetto dunes and surf fishing. May through September, see marine turtles nesting. There is also biking and hiking.
Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park – Ormond Beach. This sports-oriented park stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Halifax River and covers five ecological systems. It features tennis and racquetball courts, a soccer field, basketball court, canoe / kayak launch, nature trails, and picnicking facilities. There is a large shaded dog park, with separate areas for large and small dogs. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
What to do in Daytona Beach away from the beach
Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory Tour – Located in the historic Riverfront Marketplace, Angell & Phelps Chocolates has been a Daytona Beach tradition since 1925. Take a free, guided, 20-minute tour through the chocolate-making process. And eat samples at the end! Tours are Monday through Saturday.
Dunlawton Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens – Port Orange. Set amid 12 acres of lush botanical gardens stands the remains of a 19th century English sugar mill. The gardens were once home to the 1940s theme park, Bongoland. Life-size dinosaur statues and a children’s garden appeal to kids. The gardens feature native plants, tropical collections and a human sundial. No food or drink allowed. Dogs are not permitted. The gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.
Free Museums of Daytona Beach
Art League of Daytona Beach – Works of local, state and national artists are on display here. Exhibits change about every six weeks.
The Casements – Formerly the winter home of multi-millionaire John D. Rockefeller, The Casements is on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum has Boy Scout memorabilia, a Rockefeller Period Room and art on display. Free tours 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9:30-1:30 a.m., Saturday. Watch free movies outdoors on the first Friday of every month.
Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation Home & Gravesite – Bethune’s home, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1904. It is on the Bethune-Cookman University campus. Free, guided tours Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment.
Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens – This museum showcases paintings, drawings, video, mixed media, photography and three-dimensional works of art. The museum commemorates the service of World War II veterans. Open Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday & Sunday noon- 4 p.m. The adjacent lush tropical gardens feature nature trails, fish ponds and fountains. Walk the labyrinth inside a gazebo. Gardens are open daily, dawn to dusk. Admission is free, with a suggested $2 donation. Parking is free.
Southeast Museum of Photography – The Southeast Museum of Photography is Florida’s official museum of photography. It is one of only 13 museums in the United States dedicated exclusively to photography. In addition to its collection of renowned photographers, there are traveling exhibits and a gallery dedicated to local young artists. On the Daytona State College campus; closed during school breaks.
Special free events in Daytona Beach
Friends of the Bandshell Concert Series– This free seasonal concert series takes place May-September every Friday night at 7 p.m. The concerts are held at the oceanfront, historic bandshell. Local groups and nationally known bands perform. A free fireworks show takes place at 9:45 p.m. You can rent a beach chair or sit in the sand.
New Year’s Eve – Celebrate New Year’s Eve on the ocean. There is a free concert at the bandshell and a free block party, New Year’s Eve on Main Street. Best of all for families with your kids, there is a fireworks display at 8 p.m., with a second display at midnight.
First Saturday Art Walk – The Ormond Beach ArtWalk. Over 30 galleries are open showcasing local artists. There is free wine and snacks, too! 5 – 8 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month.