For the rest of the world, summer means it's time to wheel out the luggage and travel the world. For Canadians, summer is a time to stay at home. After all, it's the Great White North the rest of the year. It's Autumn that's really the season for Canadian wanderlust. When the weather becomes brisk we know that the sweltering temperatures of our favourite southern sun destinations have passed. The kids are back in school and the crowds have thinned. Plus, the carrot of discounted airfare dangles before us. If there ever was a time to break for Florida, it's now. How about bronzing stateside on the 'world's most famous beach,' while Canadians back home pretend to get overexcited by sweaters and rainboots? A perennial destination favourite, here's what's fresh for fall in Daytona Beach.
Sleep...on the Beach
When in Daytona Beach, why would you sleep anywhere else...except on the beach? Sitting on the famous A1A, (the city's main artery) is the modern Nautilus Inn; a beacon for sun worshiping holiday makers. Make it your beachfront launch point for exploring the Daytona Beach area. It offers up unobstructed panoramic beach views, a shore side pool and dining, and well appointed rooms. Plus, they reward Canadians for their fall wanderlust. Click here for major savings.
Bites & Brews
The second after stepping back onto solid ground travellers will be interested in unique eats. Luckily for us, Daytona Beach is all about seafood. The first step of any local recipe calls for fish pulled fresh from the ocean. Skip the chain restaurant and give something wholly unique a try - like Aunt Catfish on the River. Aunt Catfish celebrates Southern seafood tradition, serving up homestyle staples like shrimp and grits or fried oysters. The adventurous foodie can sample fare like frog legs and alligator tail.
Alternatively, Daytona Beach can (and should) be a place to try new things. The culinary scene in Florida is notable for its Cuban influence, but there are also pockets of more obscure Latin American cuisine. Top of mind is Chucherias Hondureñas, serving up the delectable bites from Honduras. While it also draws on flavours from the Caribbean, South America and Mexico, diners will find exotic entrees like 'True Honduran' nowhere else. This traditional dish gives us an authentic taste with seasoned steak, fresh Honduran cheese, refried beans and Chimol sauce.
One of the favourite hotspots to wash down the city's gastronomic creations is Ormond Brewing Company. What began as a few home brewers trading tips, has grown into one of the state's most successful craft beer operations. There are 12 taps serving a variety of beer, rotating seasonals and small run batches. Pull up a seat at the beautiful granite bar top and give brews like their popular Breakfast Brown a try. A coffee brown ale, it combines dark ale with the subtle roasted flavour of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans. It's one of the few beers that is as good at breakfast as it is for dinner.
Food, Wine & Beer
While brewers like the Ormond Brewing Company are open all year, the fall season brings special culinary and craft brewing events to the city. The Craft Beer & BBQ Festival takes place October 23 and 24, and celebrates what makes the South so wonderful. Or at least the two main things: cold beer and succulent barbeque. It is the perfect stop for the visitor short on time, with 40 craft brews from all over Florida gathered in one spot ready for sampling. Alternatively, those who may miss the Craft Beer & BBQ Festival will delight in the Food, Wine, & Brew Fest. Held on November 14th it invites visitors to an equally tantalizing experience. Festival goers are treated to around 100 craft beers and 40 wine vintages from around the United States, with food pairings supplied by local restaurants. All of this among the beautiful scenery that surrounds the Intracoastal Waterway.
Those who are seeking a more cultural experience in Daytona Beach will find it some of their other fall festivals. One of the most fascinating attractions that comes to Daytona Beach in the fall is its iconic Biketoberfest. Since 1991, the seasonable weather has attracted motorcyclists from around North America for one last bash before the bikes are tucked away for the winter. Over 125,000 motorcyclists will flood the city from October 15th through the 18th to enjoy and annual weekend of fun. The agenda features classic bike shows, live music and racing at the legendary Daytona International Speedway.
Halifax Art Festival
While Biketoberfest fits right in to the high octane attitude of the city, the beach is equally as attractive to artists as it is for motorcyclists. This is evidence by the well attended Halifax Art Festival. Established by the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS), a landmark that remains almost as famous as the Speedway, the Halifax Arts Festival stands as the second oldest annual art festival in Florida. Celebrating its 53rd anniversary in 2015, festival goers will enjoy its collection of 200 fine artists and artisans. This showcase also features venues for live entertainment, student art competitions and a handful of activities for the kids.
Daytona Blues Festival
The final festival that ignites Daytona Beach during fall is the Daytona Blues Festival. Although it is only celebrating its 5th anniversary, it's come a long way since infancy. From its humble beginnings, the Daytona Blues Festival has grown into an annual family-friendly musical tradition. Held within the historic Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the three day festival keeps visitors enthralled with a series of Blues legends and promising up-and-comers like Mike Zito, Otis Taylor, Tommy Castro and Jonathon Boogie Long. Festival goers are kept fed and watered by a deluge of local food vendors and craft beer.
Although the many fall festivals will take visitors to some of the most iconic parts of Daytona Beach, they don't even begin to cover everything there is to see. While several of the city's events will drop visitors near the popular shopping districts, a peek inside Dunn’s Attic & Auction House before heading back home is a must. Visitors are sure for find a fair few treasures in the auction house as Dunn's deals in collectibles, jewelry, handmade crafts and furniture. It is a shopping experience akin to picking through a long-lost relative's attic, abound with unique treasures.
Toes in the Sand
After exploring the city, there is really only one way to round out a day well spent in Daytona Beach - a peaceful moment at their famous seashore. During the day, there are a few moments for quiet contemplation with heels dug in the sand, but the beach is always made romantic by light of the bonfire. For native Floridians, Daytona Beach evenings may be a bit chilly in fall, but Canadians will feel right at home under the stars. Visitors can head to the shoreline in spots like Frank Reardon Park, Tom Renick Park, or the Sapphire Walkway to reserve a designated spot for an iconic bonfire at the beach. The experience is so cathartic and relaxing that it will almost feel like vacationers are transported back to the fond days of a Canadian summer.
Ready to relax in Daytona Beach?
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