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Florida Guide > Days Out

Daytona Beach

I first went to Daytona Beach, with the wife, about 3 years ago in September 2001. It lies about 65 miles north east of Orlando, which you can cover in just over an hour. The route there is easy - just go east on the I-4 until you hit the end and then follow the signs for the beach.

The first thing that strikes you on arrival in Daytona Beach is, well nothing really. From the word go, I have to say that Daytona Beach struck me as a bloke’s place. This was something that I had expected as I knew it was famous for motor sport, which in the main is a bloke’s thing. It is also famous for allowing cars to drive on its beach, the privilege for which you have to pay. I saw some bars that boasted women with not all their wardrobe on, who serve the beer, if you get my drift. And it advertises the largest Harley dealership in the world. All very much bloke-type stuff.

On the day we went, it was very warm, so after driving up and down the sand a couple of times, which quickly became boring, we decided we would actually try walking on it. It is absolutely super. The sand is very fine and there is lots of it. We moved north from the driving section of the beach to where there was a lot of space for us to spread out into. On the day we were there, the waves were rolling in a bit off the Atlantic, but the sea was lovely and warm and we had a great time in the surf.

After a couple of hours, the old stomachs started grumbling so we headed south down North Ocean Avenue in search of a food place. North Ocean Avenue ends at Main Street where, unsurprisingly, South Ocean Avenue begins. In this area there was plenty of choice to meet our needs. The old favourites such as Pizza King, McDonalds, etc, were there, along with lots of others. There’s no problem finding something you like!

Having eaten, and feeling too bloated to resume diving in and out of the Atlantic rollers, we decided we would go for a stroll along the front, to walk a few calories off. Almost straight away we came across a British seaside town-type amusement arcade, so we decided to have a look, had to persuade the wife it might be fun! It was just like home, except that when you won, you didn’t get cash but coupons instead. After about 30 minutes we had played everything we wanted and had a good laugh into the bargain, so we decided to cash in our ‘chips’. I thought we had quite a few coupons but obviously we didn’t - it was bottom shelf for us! We ‘passed’ on the plastic comb/thimble etc., and decided on a diary, which was the size of a postage stamp. What a caper. Who knows how many millions of coupons you need for a top shelf prize! It might be a good place to take the kids though.

Fresh from this experience, we came back out onto the front, right next to Main Street Pier, which has the Skywalk chair lift that sweeps out in a big loop beyond the end of the pier. It cost about 3 dollars each for a ride that only lasts a short while (about 6 minutes I seem to remember), however, although it’s not particularly high, you can see for quite a distance, so have the camera ready. After this we went for a meander on the pier itself, which must have been exciting, as I can remember nothing about it!

By mid-afternoon we decided to head back to Orlando. However, Jacq had agreed that I could have a look at the ‘World’s Biggest Harley Dealer’ before we left. I was still a biker then (I’ve sold up now) and it was disappointing. It was probably no bigger than Fowler’s in Bristol, if it was even that size. It was interesting to see that Harleys are just as expensive in the States as they are at home!

To sum up, I would say that Daytona Beach is worth a day visit. I don’t think there was much more to see beyond what we saw in a day. It did make a change from the theme parks treadmill though. I would imagine it could be quite lively at night but that will have to wait for another time! Jacq has just said something about visiting a lighthouse, so feel another trip is looming!!!

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Page added on: 14 September 2004
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