Planning a trip to Daytona Beach? Our experienced travel editors break down the town so you can make the most of your stay. Let these itineraries be your guide, whether you're here for a weekend or a whole week.
1Start your day on the beach. Make sure you have something to drink and maybe something to read as you gear down from whatever hectic schedule you were on before you got here.
2Have lunch at one of the beach wagons.
3After lunch, relax on the beach some more.
4Dinner at Azure. Afterward, stroll out to the pool deck and establish yourself in one of the Adirondack chairs next to the firepit overlooking the ocean. Order something cool and chat with whoever sits next to you.
1Back to the beach for the morning. It’s best to get your beach in before it gets too hot; afternoons are for contemplating the ocean over a cold adult beverage from the shade of a tiki bar.
3After a decent interval to digest, climb the steps to the very top of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and gawk at the ribbon of sand stretching off to the north and south.
4You’re going to need a drink after you get down from the Lighthouse, so head over to the Ponce Inlet Marina for drinks at Inlet Harbor. Start with a nice cool Rum Runner. Then another. After the third one you’ll be in no mood to move, so order some finger foods or a fried seafood platter. Look out over your next Rum Runner from the shade of the tiki bar and contemplate the ocean.
1Take a break from the beach and head over to the Daytona International Speedway for a tour and the Daytona 500 Experience. Tour the stands, watch the 3D movie and, if budget allows, strap into one of the racecars at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. There’s something about driving a car through a 31-degree banked curve at 110 mph that tends to get your blood pumping.
2Head to Chucherias Hondurenas for lunch; if you’re adventurous try the pupusas de queso, if not, the Cuban sandwich is awfully good.
5After dinner, walk over to the Main Street entertainment district and pick a bar for some loud music and cold beer.
1Sleep in, then pack a lunch and drive up to Marineland mid-morning. Swim with the dolphins.
2Afterward, drive the few miles to Fort Matanzas to see how the Spanish soldiers who manned the outpost lived, and ask yourself, “How bad did these guys have to screw up at St. Augustine to get sent down here?”
3From the Fort, drive onto the beach on the north side of Matanzas Inlet and enjoy your lunch, then just lay out until the sun sucks every bit of tension from your body.
4When the sun begins to disappear, gather your stuff and head for the hotel. Get cleaned up and go to the Chart House for dinner.
5If you can still move after that, head back to Main Street for a nightcap.
1Enough running around already: time for some more relaxation on the beach. Spend the morning moving as little as possible, with the occasional dunk in the ocean or pool to cool off.
2Go back to the room and hose off the sunscreen, then drive to New Smyrna for the afternoon. Stop for lunch at Our Deck Down Under in Port Orange on the way.
3After lunch, swing by the Sugar Mill Gardens, then drive on to New Smyrna and stroll Flagler Avenue, stopping for an ice cream along the way.
5On the way back to Daytona, stop at The Aquarium for some after-dinner dancing.
1Time for another road trip, this time to St. Augustine. It’s an hour north and 500 years back in time. Spend the morning along St. George Street, have lunch at one of the small cafés, then wander the rest of the downtown district, stopping in at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine at some point. In the afternoon, take the tour at the Castillo de San Marcos. For dinner, walk over to 95 Cordova in the Casa Monica Hotel.
1You have time for one last, long day at the beach before heading home. Stock up on sunscreen, towels, snacks and cold drinks and head for the beach early. If you’re up to the travel, head for Smyrna Dunes Park (just stay well clear of the South Jetty). Sit on the beach and veg. Buy lunch from one of the beach wagons. Veg some more.