Road Trip: Daytona Beach – Beyond the Sand, Part 1
It’s right there in the name of the city, and yes Daytona Beach, Florida is famous for its beach, the glorious 23 miles of it. No visit to Daytona Beach is complete without spending time with its famous white sand, but there’s also a big bucket full of fun to be found far from shore. Let’s explore the city and its adjacent towns and see what we find.
the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet is a great place to learn about some of the creatures that live in the Atlantic Ocean in the Daytona Beach area. It is also a place where you can actually touch some of this marine life which is an experience both children and adults will find unforgettable. The Marine Science Center houses a turtle hospital where a large number of tanks contain turtles of various types and sizes that are all “on the mend”. These turtles had various misfortunes that brought them to the Marine Science Center; some were hit by boats while others became hopelessly entangled in fishing nets. Some will be treated and released into the ocean while others will have to live out their lives in captivity. An elevated walkway allows visitors to see into the tanks where turtles are cared for, and Turtle Hospital workers will explain what’s going on and everything involved in rehabilitating injured turtles. On the occasion of the return to the sea of turtles in good health, the public is invited to watch the reptiles scramble on the sand and in the water (check the center’s website for dates, location and time). sea life? Well, that’s “petting” stingrays! In fact, you don’t really caress them, you just put your hand in the water and let the rays swim close to you and brush against your hand. Many stingrays swim in a loop around their tank, so if you “miss” on the first try, you can be sure there will be another stingray within a minute. You can also see a whale’s jawbone and learn about the region’s freshwater areas: lakes, springs, ponds and rivers. Visitors can also visit the Marine Science Center Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary. Find more information here.
Encounter with stingrays at the Marine Science Center
Another really fun thing to do is take a Dolphin and Manatee Boat Tour with Ponce Inlet Watersports. As the name suggests, this tour navigates the Halifax River and Indian River Lagoon areas in search of dolphin and manatee sightings. The dolphins here aren’t the type to leap wildly through the air, but your visit will most likely encounter dolphins that cruise around with grace and playfulness as they break the surface. The tour begins in Ponce Inlet and one of the scenic views offered by the cruise is a look at the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Florida. About halfway through the cruise, the boat stops at Shell Treasure Island where participants can stretch their legs, marvel at large seabirds and do some beachcombing. The narration along the way is educational and also humorous, be prepared for some moan-worthy jokes! Book your cruise here.
View of Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse from the Dolphin Tour Boat
Dolphin Boat at Shell Treasure Island
The Museum of Arts and Sciences is a large complex with something for everyone. The galleries focus on a wide range of fine and contemporary art, including art from Florida, art from Africa, Napoleonic art, and things you might not expect, like the Skeleton a (local!) giant sloth and a large collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia. The Coke display features many early Coke machines and a few delivery vehicles, including a stunning vintage truck painted bright yellow and loaded with (also yellow) crates of empty Coke bottles. And proving that the locals are genuinely friendly, visitors may encounter a giant ground sloth, or at least its skeleton. The fossil was discovered in Daytona Beach around 45 years ago, stands 13 feet tall and is over 100,000 years old. The big guy looks like he’s biting your head off, so here’s a chance to do a bit of clowning around with your photo shoot. The museum’s website is here.
Skeleton of giant ground sloth at the Museum of Arts and Sciences
Coke delivery truck at the Museum of Arts and Sciences
At the Museum of Arts and Sciences
Most visitors would agree that a visit to Daytona Beach is an enjoyable experience and you can take it literally when you stop by. Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory. This long-standing and well-respected chocolate shop offers delicious treats in every mode imaginable. Have you ever tried chocolate covered bacon? It’s on sale at Angell & Phelps along with everything else covered in chocolate, pure dark, milk and white chocolates, fudge in many flavors and even an instant chocolate powdered drink mix. It can be difficult trying to decide what to order from the display cases or what to choose from the vast selection of prepackaged treats, but since chocolates of this quality are not readily available, we suggest you don’t hold back. ; get a bunch of stuff! Follow the short hallway out of the retail area and you’ll discover windows looking into the factory area where you can see workers involved in various aspects of candy making. Kids and adults will love this, as well as the little train that runs on a track near the ceiling in the retail area. And we know you’ve been waiting for us to say it; yes samples are available! Bring your chocolate cravings to Angell & Phelps here.
Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory
There’s plenty more to do in Daytona Beach, and we’ll tell you more about it in Part 2 of our exploration of the area. In the meantime, you can find further information here.