POWERED BY FORD VIP BLOGGER PROGRAM: This is the latest piece in our new series of columns that we will be sharing in partnership with our friends at FORD Motor Company to share some of our new favorite quick trips in the Orlando area.
Orlando’s downtown “bungalow” neighborhoods are undoubtedly the best places to live in The City Beautiful but sometimes you need to get away. We straight trippin’, boo.
This week’s Ford-fueled trip took us to Daytona Beach on the east coast. The drive is only 55-minutes on the interstate if you make a quick dash there, but there are a few side trips along the way if you don’t mind taking your time. Just click on the pins in the map below for some side trip suggestions, including a visit to Cassadaga, a previous Straight Trippin’ hot spot feature.
Daytona Beach is a city of roughly 67,600 people on the Atlantic Coast and is about 51 miles northeast of Orlando. It’s known most for its Daytona International Speedway, which is the site of the annual Daytona 500 NASCAR race that takes place every February. It’s also known for being a Spring Break hot spot, hosting the Daytona Bike Week in March, and the fact that you can drive on the beach.
Because of the hard beach sand, it’s been known as a Mecca for motorsports and was known for hosting beach races for over 50 years before establishing the Daytona International Speedway.
Because of its notoriety for partying, some people write it off as a place to be avoided. But we say there’s probably no better place in Central Florida to go if you just want to slap on some chaps and have some cold beers. Lean into it, Orlando.
THINGS TO DO:
Besides getting weird and drinking your way through the city, Daytona has a bunch of fun things to see and do, including:
- Richard Petty Driving Experience
- Museum of Arts and Sciences
- Clip Clopping on the beach with Equestrian Adventures of Florida
- Daytona Flea and Farmer’s Market
- Fishing at Sunglow Fishing Pier
Daytona has tons of shopping options that range from the Volusia Mall (Website) by the International Speedway, to the Ocean Walk Shoppes (Website) on Atlantic Avenue – an open-air shopping center right in the heart of the beach area.
Atlantic Avenue is peppered with neon-splashed t-shirt shops and tourist-angled storefronts beckoning to the college crowd where you can find anything from custom t-shirt printers to hermit crabs to smuggle home in your beach cooler.
There are also an abundance of small mom and pop, independent stores if you take the time to look. Atlantic Sounds (Facebook) has been in business since 1982 (as long as EPCOT has been open) and is run by a man who grew up in College Park, here in Orlando, Mike Toole.
The mainland part of Daytona has a great historic district and a Main Street with plenty of vintage shops and tasty restaurants, including a funky old book shop, Abraxas Books (Facebook).
Daytona Beach has an extremely wide beach area, particularly at low tide. Its combination of a gentle slope, hard-packed sand, and warm water, make it a very easy-to-walk stretch of oceanfront.
The beach is free and accessible for pedestrians and cyclists 24-hours a day, depending on weather and tide conditions. Driving and parking is open to vehicles from sunrise to sunset from November 1 to April 30 and from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. May 1 through October 31 but it costs $20 for a day pass to drive on the beach.
Annual passes are available for Volusia County residents for $25 and $100 for non-residents.
There are 26 beach access points for pedestrians and vehicles which you can see if you click HERE.
PLACES TO STAY
Because of Spring Break and annual events like Bike Week, Daytona Beach is chock full of hotels, motels, and everything in between. Prices range from $47 to $100 a night, depending on your budget and preference.
We told our friends at Exploria Resorts that we were heading to Daytona Beach for a one-night stay and they put us up at the Grand Seas Resort (Website). The Grand Seas overlooks 812 feet of oceanfront and features a mini-golf course, onsite fitness center, two outdoor pools, and one indoor heated pool, as well as an on-site cafe if you don’t feel like getting out of your swimming suit.
Currently, the resort is practicing strict social distancing protocols on-property and housekeeping services will occur once guests have checked out, and will not enter any occupied rooms during your stay though towel exchanges are available upon request.
Exploria has extended a discount to Bungalower readers for 21% off their stay at the resort using the code “STAYCATION21.” Ask for the rooms with the views of the beach so you can wake up and watch the sunrise like we did in the video above. #staycation