Where to Eat, Stay, and Play During the Daytona 500

Daytona Beach
The Daytona Beach Welcome is right at the Speedway, which happens to be next to the airport.

With the Daytona 500 coming up the weekend of February 19th, most eyes in the Florida city will be on the racetrack, but that’s far from the only thing to do in Daytona Beach. Whether you are traveling here for the race weekend or planning a trip for another time, Daytona is ready with good food and a lot of fun.


Eat Along the Water

Whether it’s an inlet or an ocean, you won’t have trouble finding water views to dine by in Daytona Beach, Florida. Many of the restaurants are right on the water, which also means the seafood couldn’t be fresher.

Crabby Joes Daytona
Crabby Joe’s in Daytona has become a popular breakfast spot thanks to the local fisherman.

Ocean Deck is a favorite of visitors and locals so be prepared for a full restaurant. It’s worth it for the up close and on the sand experience. Happy hours offer great drink deals and the food is also good. Be sure to ask what the latest catch is.

Crabby Joe’s Deck & Grill is on a pier directly on the beach. They’re a scenic option anytime, but really known for their breakfast. Local fisherman love to come in before fishing off their deck. They even have their own breakfast, which you must try: Fisherman’s Special-Grilled or Blackened Fish with two eggs, hash browns or grits.

Racing’s North Turn is on a private beach of the ocean and well worth the 10-15-minute drive from the center of Daytona. You’ll find live music here on the weekends and some fun memorabilia at this spot where the first races took place on the beach in 1936.

Inlet Harbor Restaurant & Marina is a scenic boat-in dining spot. You can linger there with tasty margaritas and nachos, or make a meal with the memorable fish tacos.


View from Oceanside Inn
In addition to getting a reasonably priced room at the beach, you can get an ocean view at Oceanside Inn.

Stay on the Beach

A good option that will please everyone is the Oceanside Inn. It’s directly on the beach and has a pool. The rooms have kitchenettes and it’s centrally located to restaurants and attractions. Complimentary continental breakfast is included here too.

If the Oceanside Inn doesn’t work out, don’t worry. Atlantic Avenue runs for miles in Daytona Beach and is lined with oceanfront chain hotels, including Hilton, Wyndham, Holiday Inn, and Extended Stay. A new Hard Rock Hotel is also being built right on the water in Daytona Beach.


Play at the Attractions

If you think watching the Daytona 500 is the only thing to do in the Daytona Beach area, you will be happily surprised.

Coca-Cola Display
The Coca-Cola Display at the Daytona Museum of Arts & Sciences contains quite a few nostalgic pieces.

Begin with a visit to Memorial Art Museum & Gardens. Their nature walk will definitely get you in the relaxation mood. From there, head to the Museum of Arts & Sciences and the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art (right next door). At the former, you can see and read about how the Coca-Cola Bottle was invented in Daytona and see some cool nostalgic pieces.

Before you leave the art museum, you should stop for a sandwich at the Honey Baked Ham Café inside the museum. Save room for dessert at the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory, where you can get free samples after taking a tour of the production line.

Other fun spots in Daytona include the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum and the Marine Science Center.


Head Back to the Speedway

Inside Daytona Speedway
On non-race days, you can take a behind-the-scenes tour of Daytona International Speedway, and see the history inside.

You’ll definitely want to spend some time at the Daytona International Speedway when it’s not a race day. The 30-minute tour takes you behind the scenes and close up to the track. Learn about the Speedway’s history and the $400 million renovation its currently going through. Explore the Welcome Center and Pit Shop, where you are more than likely going to want to pick up a souvenir.


Getting There

Getting to Daytona Beach got easier when JetBlue Airways launched a new route directly to the Florida city from New York. Non-stop flights are still available through Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Another option to consider when making your way Daytona is flying into Orlando and renting a car. Sanford Orlando Airport is only 45 miles away and Orlando International Airport is 54 miles away. You can combine a relaxing Daytona vacation with a trip to Disney World.

Visit the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau website for more information.

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About the author: Marcia Frost

Marcia Frost is the Midwest Travel Guide at About.com. She also writes national and international travel stories for many off and online publications, including Yahoo!, Girls Getaway, The Daily Meal, Cruise Voyant, and Cocktail Culture Her blog, WineAndSpiritsTravel.com follows her trips around the world, discovering great destinations for wine, liquor and food. Follow her adventures to see a preview of what she will bringing next on http://www.twitter.com/SpiritsTraveler and at Http://www.Facebook.com/SpiritsTraveler

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