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Daytona Beach, Florida

Well, what can I say about Daytona Beach? I suppose I could say it has something for everyone, but really it just has too much of everything. Daytona is Orlando's beach, perhaps I could even say it is where Central Florida goes to the beach. Daytona packs a lot into a fairly short stretch of island between International Drive and Main Street. Lots of shops selling souvenirs, T-shirts, and plenty of bars and restaurants, but not a lot of what you'd call fine dining.

Especially around the pier, which was remodeled and re-opened in 2012, Daytona has a carnival atmosphere. That's where all the action is, and one of the best places to stay--to be in the middle of the action--is the most excellent Daytona Beach Hilton hotel / Oceanwalk Village. I've never been a big fan of tall beach hotels, but I thoroughly enjoyed staying at the Hilton, which practically overlooks the Main Street Pier.

What's really different from the Gulf Coast beaches is that if you want to go to the beach here in Daytona, you almost have to park ON THE BEACH. There are just a few access points that have off-beach parking.

Of course if you are staying in a hotel, beach parking is not an issue, though many hotels charge guests an additional daily fee for parking. Parking and driving on Daytona Beach requires that you find a beach access, called a "ramp" that is open. Since the width and firmness of the beach changes on a daily basis and with the tides, not all ramps are open every day or for the entire day. Signs indicate which ramps are currently open. Daytona beach is lined with large hotels. If you don't like that, then you won't like Daytona and you should go further south to Ponce Inlet or to Canaveral Seashore. Daytona does have several very nice beach accesses with FREE off-beach parking. The Sun Splash access is the one I photographed, as noted in the photos below.

 
 

weekend on Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is a classic beach scene. Sand, surf, umbrellas, lifeguards, snack bar food, surfing, boogie boarding, cars cruising the beach, bikes, picnics, fishing. It's all here.

This and the next 5 photos were taken at the Sun Splash beach access on Daytona Beach.

 Here's a link to the Volusia County daily report on beach conditions, including beach driving, surf conditions, water temp, and lots of other excellent information. http://www.vcservices.vcgov.org/BeachSafety/Default.aspx
 
Daytona Beach sandbar at low tide The surf was small on this late August day on Daytona Beach. The tide is going out and the sand bar is exposed.
vendors and snacks on Daytona Beach If there is anything you need to buy, like food or beach supplies, you don't even have to leave the sand.
sun splash park beach access, Daytona Beach This is the Sun Splash beach access, complete with water fountains for kids to play in, dolphin sculptures to make you look up, and restrooms.
dolphin fish sculptures on Daytona Beach Dolphin fish sculptures. Who says there isn't any culture on Daytona Beach?
parking cars on Daytona Beach Cars and people share the beach. Every once in a while someone gets run over by a vehicle. Be careful.
wide Daytona Beach at low tide Just south of Daytona Beach is Daytona Shores. Same beach, same giant hotels.
Relaxing on Daytona Shores beaches Daytona Shores is a bit less crowded than Daytona beach. Did you know that Daytona Beach Shores is one of the top beaches in Florida for birdwatchers to come to watch gulls (aka seagulls)? Gulls gather here in large numbers and a sharp-eyed birder can sometimes spot rare species mixed in with the regular flock.

 

driving on Daytona Beach at low tide Nothing like taking the big rig for a drive on the wide beaches of Daytona Beach. A bike and a kayak are more my style, but to each his own.

Copyright 2006 David McRee, BeachHunter.net | Daytona Beach photos and information