Daytona Beach is a lively and active town most famous for hosting the Daytona 500, the biggest event in NASCAR’s calendar. This takes place on the glistening Daytona International Speedway, a place of pilgrimage for American motor racing fans. Alongside this high-octane sport, the town hosts several great restaurants and, for a quieter sporting experience, a string of good golf courses. Surrounding the town are several wild and tranquil parks, which have great opportunities and bird and wildlife watching.
Daytona is located in east-central Florida, an hour north of Orlando and 90 minutes south of Jacksonville. Daytona Beach International Airport is a 10-minute drive from the city, and Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains can be taken directly into the city center.
The Daytona International Speedway is America’s greatest pilgrimage spot for racing fans. It hosts the annual Daytona 500 every February, the most prestigious event in the NASCAR calendar, a whiplash 500-mile chase which inaugurates the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It’s the kind of event that draws people from all over the world, hooked to the hit of the corner-screeching thrill of watching 40 cars racing at 200 mph, with less space separating the cars than in most parking lots.
A little along the coast from Daytona Beach lies Lighthouse Point Park, at the southern tip of the town of Ponce Inlet. The park encompasses a ruggedly beautiful stretch of beach, with a wooden walkway bending above patches of Florida scrub plants and strong waves attracting surfers. It’s also great for wildlife: gopher tortoises, skunks and armadillos can be seen scuffing along the shoreline and dolphins can be seen weaving through the waves.
The LGPA International is the headquarters of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, who are responsible for organising over 800 events each year. It contains two golf courses, the Hills Course and the Jones Course, which are up there with the best public golf courses in Florida. Between them, they cater for all ability levels.
This much-loved cafe offers freshly caught seafood at its waterfront restaurant. The only thing better than its food, which includes dishes like the Caribbean jerk shrimp stir fry, are its sunset-over-the-ocean views, and fun, upbeat vibe.
The Shores offers Daytona’s premier luxury resort experience. Rooms bring together Italian marble, feathered British four-poster beds and big flat-screen TVs. Outside, there’s a sundeck with views over the ocean, jacuzzis, swimming pools, and beachfront cabanas.