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Daytona Beach is one of those Florida beaches that had its heyday in the 1950s-60s and is now left with some awful architecture. What an eyesore! As you first cross the bridge on International Speedway Blvd to get to the barrier island, things look promising. But once you turn onto Atlantic Ave, shield your eyes!
The beach itself has pale, pretty sand and a shallow entry to the water, which makes it fun for young kids to splash about. My daughter had a blast here at sunset. There aren't many bugs like no-see-ums at the water's edge, even in summer. The disadvantage is that cars are allowed to drive on the beach- this is how Daytona became famous for racing! Beginning in 1902, cars and motorcycles raced on the hard-packed sand and tried to beat the land speed record. The race course on the sand was replaced by the International Speedway in 1958.
The ferris wheel and rollercoaster at the Boardwalk are now run-down and most of the rides are closed. The Boardwalk and bandshell (a castle-like structure built in 1937) are stark with no trees, but the boardwalk is nice to stroll along, up high over the beach. By the bandshell you can find a restaurant with a view, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Walk south along the boardwalk and you'll see the clocktower.
Another castle-like structure is the Tarragona Tower, on International Speedway Blvd on your right as you drive into town. It was one of two towers at the entrance to a residential subdivision built in 1925!
If you need to escape the heat, your kids can play in the Museum of Arts and Science, which is not world-class but has a good children's area for school-aged kids.
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To access the beach, park at Sun Splash Park, which has 95 parking spaces (come early) and a shaded playground by the sand. Or park at the large parking structure for the Boardwalk on Ora Street, for $1 per half hour.
The parking structure at the Boardwalk is at approx. 801 Ora Street, Daytona Beach FL 32118.
Sun Splash Park, 611 S. Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach FL.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, 250 N. Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach FL 32118, call (386) 947-8433.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.