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Bored in Daytona Beach? We don't believe you. Why? Because we know there's no shortage of things to do. In between time spent bronzing on the beach there are vibrant arts, entertainment, historic, culinary, outdoor recreation and scenic pursuits. We suspect you just need the right inspiration. Voila - here are 10 activities and events to spark your imagination. The even better news? They're mostly free.
Timeless Highlights & Activities
Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory Tour
What better way to get a break from the hot Florida sun than to slip into a chocolate factory? You're in luck, Angell & Phelps offer tours to peckish visitors with a sweet tooth. Those on a tight budget need not worry about their pocketbook either. Monday through Saturday, free guided tours lead groups on a 20-minute peek inside this factory. If watching Angell & Phelps chocolates come fresh off the production line doesn't tempt you to buy a small assortment, the free samples at the end of the tour sure will.
Address: 154 S Beach St, Daytona Beach 32114
Hours: Monday - Saturday at 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. starting each hour
Named after the notable hand-cut casement windows which give this iconic mansion major curb appeal, it is easy to see why The Casements is often called the jewel of Ormond Beach. Although it is now owned by the city, this mansion once served as the winter home for oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller. Beyond the handsome exterior, visitors can find rotating exhibits on loan from area museums (the likes of Boy Scouts of America memorabilia or collections of Hungarian festival costume) and special hosted events. Free tours are offered Monday through Saturday by the non-profit Casement Guild. Small donations are appreciated.
Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation Home & Gravesite
The historic Mary McLeod Bethune house dates back to 1914, and is located in the centre of the Bethune-Cookman University campus. Paying a visit to the house - which has been restored and now operates as a museum - offers a look into the life of this influential advocate. Inside, find period antiques, household appliances and belongings including her childhood bible and international awards. Dr. Bethune spent the majority of her barrier-shattering life here, hosting distinguished guests such as Eleanor Roosevelt, the founder of the National Council of Negro Women, and advisors to several United States presidents. Tours are free though donations are welcomed and appreciated.
Location: 640 Dr Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Telephone: (386) 481-2121
Hours: Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., appointments only on Saturdays; closed Sundays & holidays
North Peninsula State Recreation Area
Looking to get a glimpse at Daytona Beach's natural side? Look no further than the four kilometres of unspoiled beachfront along the Atlantic in North Peninsula State Recreation Area. Those who venture into it will be immersed in the native natural landscape Florida is famous for. The area preserves some of the state's rare creatures: Florida scrub-jays, indigo snakes, and gopher tortoises. North Peninsula is popular for shelling, fishing, surfing, picnicking, wildlife viewing, birding, swimming and walking.
Location: 40 Highbridge Road, Ormond by the Sea 32176
Amenities: Picnic tables, restroom, interpretive exhibits
Trail: The park offers a hiking trail that begins at Smith Creek Landing and runs 3.6 kilometres through the center park before looping back to Smith Creek Landing parking lot.
Park brochure: Click here
Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens
Lush tropical gardens threaded by trails and serene ponds; the gardens at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum are an excellent way to slip away from all things urban. The major draw of the museum may be beautifully manicured gardens, but rotating gallery exhibits feature the work of both prominent local and international artists. Explore the property and then enjoy lunch in the area; there are eight within a mile of this garden-art oasis. Admission is free, $2 donations requested. Parking is free of charge.
Location: 78 E Granada Blvd, Ormond Beach 32176
Hours: Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday & Sunday noon - 4 p.m.
Southeast Museum of Photography
Located just off the campus of Daytona State College sits the Southeast Museum of Photography. In fact, it's the only museum in Florida exclusively dedicated to the art of photography. Contributions to permanent and visiting exhibits come from both local and international photographers. Could you use a few pointers? The Southeast Museum of Photography also offers classes, lectures and seminars all dedicated to transforming visitors into better photographers. Admission is completely free.
Dunlawton Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens
Instead of letting the ruins of an old English sugar mill go to waste, Port Orange surrounded it with lush botanical gardens. Among the flora decorating the property are native trees, bromeliads and cacti. Contained within the property are the most complete sugar grinding machines left in the country. Among the crumbling ruins are a butterfly garden and large scale model dinosaurs, remnants scattered about from area's short time as an amusement park. Admission to the garden is free but donations are gratefully accepted.
Location: 950 Old Sugar Mill Rd, Port Orange, FL 32129
Hours: Everyday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., closed on holidays
For the cultural traveller who wants to see more of Florida than just beautiful beaches, a day trip inland to the Stetson Mansion in DeLand is a must. This 3-storey home sits on 300 acres of orange grove, and is a stunning example of Victorian-style architecture. However, visitors will notice influences, accents and adornments from the farthest corners of the globe.
The estate was owned by John B. Stetson -yes the Texan hat maker - and is lauded as Florida's very first luxury home. It is an iconic relic of Florida's opulent Gilded Age. Constructed in 1886, the home is listed on the national National Register of Historic Places. It's even considered to be counted among America's top historic homes. A visit is simply a must.
While a popular venue for weddings and other events, visitors can make reservations to fully tour Stetson. Enjoy tea while admiring the interior's combination of Tudor, Polynesian, and Moorish decor. Reservations are required for tours and pricing ranges from $20-$30 per adult. Payment at the door is cash only; parking is free.
Daytona Beach Area CVB
Among all its other attractions, don't underestimate the vast variety of shopping in Florida. The wide retail offering has Daytona Beach boasting one of the top retail destinations in the state.
For the largest variety of shops in one location, the Volusia Mall on International Speedway Boulevard can't be beat. There are over 100 different stores to choose from.
Those looking to embrace Daytona's pedestrian beach lifestyle should head to the historic Bandshell. Here you'll find Ocean Walk Shoppes which play host to the city's surf and beach boutiques.
South of Daytona Beach, in Port Orange, is The Pavilion. It's a sunny, open-air shopping centre with dozens of stores, including Kirkland's and Hollywood Theatres.
Daytona Beach shoppers looking for a Mediterranean village style shopping experience need only to head just north to Ormond Beach. Trails Shopping Centre offers some of the most sought-after shopping in Florida, with anchor stores like Chico's and White House Black Market.
North of the city in historic St. Augustine, premium outlet stores stock an impressive collection of the finest brands including Ann Taylor, Coach, and Calvin Klein.
Free for Nautilus Inn Daytona Beach Guests
Vacation bliss happy hour. Each afternoon sees Nautilus Inn celebrate another beautiful day on Daytona Beach. The complimentary cocktail hour begins at 5:00 p.m. and you're invited!
Find a chaise lounger and enjoy the pool. Did we mention it overlooks one of the most beautiful sections of Daytona Beach?
Enjoy a buffet breakfast spread. Start you day by enjoying our complimentary deluxe breakfast each morning from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. Go ahead, sleep in!
Events: Tis the Season to Get Festive
Riverfront Festival of the Season
Find traditional Christmas tidings in a tropical setting at Daytona Beach's historic riverfront. (The district has roots that date as far back as 1870!) Peruse over 60 boutique retailers set amid a charming coastal frontage. Come December, the area buzzes during the Riverfront Festival of the Seasons.
Mark your calendar: December 5
December 5th marks the 15th year of this beloved Daytona Beach tradition and promises to attract the biggest turn out yet. In addition to the events listed below, local talent will be performing and food trucks will be serving up the flavours of Daytona Beach.
16th Annual Christmas Boat Parade
5:30 p.m. marks the kick off of the annual holiday Christmas Boat Parade. It's a festival of lights twinkling on the water. View it all above - stake out a spot on the Seabreeze Bridge. Presented by the Halifax River Yacht Club.
Annual Sky Lantern
Following the boat parade, a host of lanterns will be released. Come admire the soft illumination of the evening sky.
Need more details? Read up here: riverfrontshopsofdaytona.com
December to Remember
Running November 28th through January 2nd, the month-long December to Remember brings a whole new series of events to the historic Bandshell. The main attraction of 2015 is the Sand Sculpture Trail, which features the sand artwork of the award-winning Grand Master Sculptor Suzanne Altamare. After strolling the unforgettable trail, be sure to stick around the Bandshell for tribute bands and fireworks (every Saturday). The kids will love face painting and choo-choo train rides, and you'll love food by Backyard Boys Barbeque.
Location: 70 Boardwalk, Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Dates: November 28; December 5, 12, 19, 26; January 2
New Year's Eve
Those looking for the biggest NYE party in Daytona Beach needn't look further than Main Street. From 6 p.m. -2 a.m on December 31st, the city comes together to ring in the New Year. With multiple stages for entertainment, street performers, and festival food stalls stationed among the crowd, this year's celebration is set to be a real party. At midnight, visitors can watch Daytona Beach's own ball dropping ceremony, followed by fireworks over the ocean.
Read more about the event: newyearseveonmainstreet.com
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