Family Vacations Go Beyond the Beach
A popular destination, families annually flock to Daytona Beach, “The World’s Most Famous Beach,” to enjoy fun in the sun. And although a beach vacation is always a winner with the whole family, Daytona Beach is so much more than just a beach town. Arts, history, culture, nature—these are just the beginning of the other attractions available in this Florida city.
Explore Some History
Known as “The Jewel of Ormond Beach,” The Casements (25 Riverside Dr., Ormond Beach, Florida) served as John D. Rockefeller’s winter home from 1918 through 1937. Named for the large, hand-cut casement windows on the home, the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, leading the way for the home’s restoration. Today, families can tour the home which contains two permanent exhibits. The first is the Hungarian Folk Exhibit featuring authentic folk art and handmade, embroidered costumes from the historic districts of Hungary. Young men visiting with families may enjoy the second exhibit, the Boy Scout Historical Exhibit, which documents scouting history and showcases memorabilia like patches, handbooks and uniforms. Free tours are held every Monday through Saturday.
Meet the Great Outdoors
Spanning the distance between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean, Ormond Bicentennial Park (1850 Ocean Shore Blvd., Ormond Beach, FL) welcomes families to enjoy its 40 acres. Visitors can play in the sand and surf at the beach, or see what they can catch at the Riv-Ocean Drive fishing dock. Another fun activity is searching for wildlife while hiking on the nature trails and boardwalks. There’s also a playground, picnic area and restrooms, making this an ideal family outing for a few hours or a whole day.
Create Photographic Memories
Located at Daytona State College, the Southeast Museum of Photography (1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL) seeks not only to educate students at the college, but also to expose the community to history and culture through photography. Permanent and temporary exhibits feature the works of both current and former students as well as photographers from around the globe. Admission is free, providing a great opportunity to introduce children to art and discuss how it tells a story and the impact it has on us.
Enjoy Something Sweet
Since 1925, Angell & Phelps (154 South Beach St., Daytona Beach, FL) has created chocolates and candies that continue to be favorites with all ages. In downtown Daytona, visitors can hear the history of this famous business as they watch workers craft these delicious treats during the free factory tour. At the end of each tour, visitors get to sample one of these sweet delicacies. Each tour lasts approximately 20 minutes, but head to the windows early so kids can get the best view. The tour takes place in a hallway along the windows and can get crowded, so make sure everyone in your group has a good viewing spot.
Hit the Boardwalk
On the grounds of the Museum of Arts & Sciences, the 90-acre Tuscawilla Preserve (352 South Nova Rd., Daytona Beach, FL) is technically a virgin Florida coastal "hydric hammock." In simple terms, this is a wet forest similar to a swamp but drier. Families can tour the property on the boardwalks that travel throughout the preserve, learning more about the wildlife and fauna living here thanks to the many interactive learning stations scattered along the paths. For parents or children who want to take a rest break, benches are placed on the paths, and several overlooks provide a nice viewing area to spot animals. The preserve is accessible from the museum parking lot, which has free parking.
Heading to Daytona
Daytona is popular with much more than just families; as such, it experiences large crowds throughout the year. For instance, the population swells in February and early July during the city’s annual NASCAR race events. March and October see large crowds during Bike Week and Biketoberfest. And, of course, spring break and summer experiences larger than normal crowds with beach-goers, so consider these events when planning your own visit. Weather doesn’t usually affect vacation plans much, given average temperatures range from 59 degrees F in winter and 78 degrees F in summer.
Karon Warren has covered travel for nearly 20 years with numerous print and online publications. Her byline has appeared in USA Today, USA Today’s 10 Best, WorkingMother.com, FamilyVacationCritic.com. and many others. She is a member of both the Society of American Travel Writers and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In addition to her freelance work for other clients, she also writes for her own travel site, ThisGirlTravels.com