Start your Daytona experience by checking in at the Shores Resort & Spa, the only AAA Four Diamond oceanfront resort in Central Florida. Settle in and recover from your journey with secluded paradise’s many amenities. Relax with views of the sparkling Atlantic or Intracoastal Waterway, visible from every room’s private balcony or terrace; catch a cat-nap on your butterfly netted feather bed; or let your stress ebb away with the tide as you gaze on it’s progress from the Shores’ oceanfront pool and Jacuzzi. Kiddos can begin making memories right away at the Shores’ Kid’s Club and Activity Center, where children aged four to 12 mingle and make friends during supervised activities. End the day with a Shores’ specialty – warm, gooey s’mores made from your family’s Complimentary S’mores Kit toasted by the open flame of one of the resort’s signature Oceanside fire pits.
Breakfast at the Shores’ own Azure restaurant, then head south along ocean-skirting Atlantic Avenue to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark completed in 1887. Pick up a Self-Guided Tour Map or follow a guide during summer months to learn the history of the 175-foot beacon, the light of which could be seen from 20 miles out to sea. Stephen Crane famously followed that light when his bark was shipwrecked 12 miles offshore, an experience he recounts in his famous short story, “The Open Boat” (you might recognize it from your high school reading list).
The 213-step climb to the lookout will leave you hungry, so cruise into town for fish and chips at locals’ favorite Bay Street Seafood Market and Deli (386-255-8650). Once you’re fueled up, go rev your engines with the Richard Petty Driving Experience (386-947-0507). There you’ll feel the adrenaline pumping thrill of race day at the illustrious Daytona International Speedway from the best seat in the house – the front seat of a 600 HP race car! Choose your adventure from a full scale of options, from the “Ride-Along,” which gets you three laps at high speed with a pro driver, all the way up to the “Experience of a Lifetime,” which puts you behind the driver’s seat for 24 laps (split up over three sessions). There’s even a “Junior Ride-Along” program for the young racing enthusiasts in your family.
Cap off the day with a sunset tour of the Boardwalk on Daytona’s main strip, complete with scoops of homemade ice cream and samples of old fashioned taffy at Zeno’s Boardwalk Sweet Shop (888-751-3251).
Find out whether you like Green Eggs and Ham at the Dancing Avacado Kitchen (386-947-2022), where you’ll find the Dr. Suess specialty on the menu along with other vegetarian, vegan, and carnivore-friendly fare. Keep the mood of discovery alive with a trip to the Museum of Arts & Sciences (386-255-0285). Founded in 1955, the museum has a little bit of everything to spark your family’s interest – from the Cuban and Floridian art, to the pre-Columbian and African artifacts, to Pleistocene fossils, to an interactive hands-on science center for children.
Grab sandwiches from the Honeybaked Ham Café on site in between exhibits, and make sure to save time for a show in the new planetarium, included in the price of admission.
Indulge in a final afternoon of beachy fun at the Oceans Racquet & Recreation Club (386-761-6088) adjacent to the Shores. Play Bocce Ball, shuffleboard, horseshoes and tennis, or learn to surf or paddleboard from the on-site recreation crew. Head back into town to pick up any last minute gifts and souvenirs in Daytona’s historic shopping and arts district (riverfrontshopsofdaytona.com/downtown-daytona-beach) before sitting down to dinner at Don Vito’s Italian Restaurant (386-492-7935), where you’ll find a down-home family atmosphere and the best Italian food around.
Back at the resort, don’t forget to stop by the Oceanside fire pits before you call it an evening. Between the water lapping shore, dancing firelight, and open night sky, you’re sure to go home remembering a different Daytona than you knew of before.