Atlantic Coast Beaches
Daytona Beach (88 miles:- 1 hour 28 minutes)
Daytona Beach, often known as the "Most Famous Beach in the World" is an easy drive from Watersong being straight up the I4 and at just under an hour and a half is easily achieved as a day trip from Florida Delight.
We stayed at Daytona Beach for a week's holiday in early February 2017. The weather was very good and most days we were in shorts and t-shirts. The hotel that we stayed at was the Nautilus Hotel, situated right on the beach and our balcony had a great sea view. A complimentary breakfast was included in the price and the bedroom was large, clean and had two comfortable queen beds. We would stay here again if we are in Daytona.
Daytona Beach itself is a 23 mile stretch of sandy coastline and visitors enjoy a range of beach activities such as swimming, surfing and shelling as well the boardwalk and pier. There is access to the beach for cars and quite a few drove along the beach and parked but it is very well controlled with designated parking and driving areas and speed limits. Lifeguard patrols get the cars to leave the beach at around 6pm.
Daytona is also famous for its International Speedway and fans flock to watch the motorsport events and races throughout the year. Unforunately there were no events on during the time we were there but the Speedway Centre looks incredibly impressive from the outside so we can only imagine how good it must be to watch the speedway there. Something we would like to do in the future.
The Richard Petty Driving Experience is an attraction in Daytona that is also very popular for motor fans for a real hands on opportunity to get behind the wheel of a sports car and do some laps.
Daytona has a lot to offer visitors of all ages and interests. There is the Daytona Lagoon Waterpark but if you are planning on a visit there it is worth being aware that it is closed on Mondays.
Parking at Sunsplash Park is free and recommended. There are facilities for you to rinse yourself off and your sandals so there is no sand in the car.
New Smyrna Beach (86.7 miles:- 1 hour 36 minutes)
The New Smyrna Beach though relatively near to Daytona Beach is a much quieter alternative. A great place for surfers having been voted as as one of the National Geographic top 20 surfing beaches in the world.
Smyrna Dunes Park has meandering boardwalks to the beach and along the way you may spot a turtle, ospreys, pelicans and other wildlife.
There's opportunity to dive and discover the wrecks of the Mindanao (a WWII Liberty Ship) and the tug Thomas H
Playalinda Beach (86 miles:- 1 hour 36 minutes)
Playalinda means "beautiful beach" in spanish and it lives up to its name. Beautiful white sandy beaches and plenty of great fishing, bird watching and wildlife to enjoy.
Playalinda Beach is on the Canaveral National Seashore and is the longest stretch of undeveloped public beach on the east coast of Florida. It is one of very few areas in Florida where you can still practice nude sunbathing.
Situated adjacent to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge which covers 140,000 acres and provides habitat to more than 1.500 species of plants and animals. Many activities can be enjoyed here such as boating, fishing, hunting, and opportunities to see manatee from the manatee observation deck.
Caribbean Jack's (N/A from Orlando)
We are having a week's holiday at Daytona Beach and want to share with you our experiences of what we have done and where we have eaten whilst staying here in case you choose to spend a few days at the coast.
Our first lunch out was at a beautiful restaurant called Caribbean Jack's. Situated on the west side of Halifax River in Daytona it has its own dock and is a great place to sit outside on the decking, looking at the river, boats and sea birds.
There is a fire pit which would make evening dining or drinking nice.
Loved our meal. I always like to try Clam Chowder as a starter and theirs was one of the nicest I have had. To follow I chose a very tasty salad with blackened chicken and a delicious dressing. Richard had Jack's Seafood Bowl which he really enjoyed. Portion sizes were large but as it was the first day of our holiday we decided to go all out and have a dessert too. We shared one called Bananas Foster which was huge even for two and a real indulgence of banana, toffee sauce, puff pastry, cream and ice cream!
Meal came to $80 for two including two beers and a tip. We would go back again as loved the venue, service and the food.
CARIBBEAN JACK'S RESTAURANT & BAR
721 Ballough Road,
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Hours: Sunday- Thursday: 11am to 11pm (Friday and Saturday 11 am to Midnight)
Daytona Brickyard Restaurant (N/A from Orlando)
We eat at this diner on the second evening of our stay at Daytona Beach and really liked it. Fair to say we probably had the best burgers here that we have ever had.
Daytona Brickyard is, to me, the epitome of an American Diner in terms of the decor, food and service. It is located a few minutes away from the International Speedway and is also very handy if you have been to the retail outlets out of town. The decor is in the theme of motor racing and is a fun place to eat.
We both just had the burgers which came with fries and coleslaw and they were extremely good. We didn't need anything else to eat as portion sizes were very big.
Our bill came to $40 (including a tip) for two which was for our burgers, sides and additional bacon and cheese. We also had a beer each.
Would definitely recommend Daytona Brickyard as a fairly inexpensive, fun place to eat.
747 International Speedway Blvd,
Telephone: 386 253-2270
Java Joint Beachside Grill, Flagler Beach (N/A from Orlando)
While staying at Daytona Beach for a week we made a trip from Daytona up the A1A scenic coast road to St Augustine. The drive is lovely as it follows the coast so most of the time you are looking across the ocean and enjoying the sight of beautiful beachside properties. The journey is only just over an hour and St Augustine itself is fabulous (but more of that on a seperate listing).
We decided to stop for breakfast en route and chose Java Joint Beachside Grill based upon it being about 10 miles from Daytona (at Flagler Beach) and its great reviews on Trip Adviser. It was such a great place to have breakfast, situated on the coast road so we were able to enjoy an excellent meal sat outside looking across the sea. Perfect! The service was as good as it always seems to be in the majority of American diners we have been to. All waiting staff were really welcoming and helpful and prompt with serving. I had a greek omelette, fried potatoes, raison toast and coffee. Richard had two fried eggs, bacon, waffle and maple syrup with coffee. Total came to approximately $25 with tip.
I would be very happy to take the drive to have breakfast here from Daytona Beach which took about 40 minutes, just to enjoy the venue and its great location and food.
2201 N Ocean Shore Blvd, Corner of N 22nd St and A1A
Third Wave Cafe, New Smyrna Beach (N/A from Orlando)
We drove down from Daytona Beach to New Smyrna Beach for the day, which was about a 30 minute drive. For lunch we went to the Third Wave Cafe and Wine Bar based upon its Tripadvisor reviews. We really loved both the food and the venue. We arrived there at 12pm on a Sunday lunchtime, without a reservation. There is a really pretty little "secret" garden area behind the cafe to sit out for food but unfortunately it was already full with a 30 minute waiting list. However there was seating available inside or on the front decking and we chose to sit out on the decking.
Richard had a pizza and I had what was probably the tastiest salad I have ever had with nuts, feta cheese, strawberries and various salad leaves and other vegetables. It was delicious together with a couple of pieces of Richard's pizza. A very nice bottle of wine helped make it a very pleasant lunch stop
St Augustine (139 miles: 2 hours 17 minutes)
Saint Augustine is the oldest city within the borders of continental United States and was established in 1565 by a Spanish Admiral.
We went for the day when we were staying at the coast at Daytona from where the drive was just over an hour. It was a very scenic drive along the coast up the A1A. From Orlando it is quite a drive but it is a wonderful place so really worth trying to get there.
As the oldest city there is of course a lot of history and it is very well set up for tourism as it does attract a lot of visitors. We started our day by driving to the parking next to the Old Jail Complex at 167 San Marco Avenue where there is free parking for those who go on the hop on hop off trolley bus tour. This trolley bus tour takes an hour if you do the whole loop without getting off and there is full commentary from the driver about the history and places of interest.
Before starting the trolley bus tour we went into the Oldest Store Museum and the Old Jail. Both were guided tours and really interesting and fun. They are both located in the old town next to each other. We really enjoyed them.
Saint Augustine is a truly beautiful place and there are so many things to see either on the trolley bus tour on on foot. It would be hard to see everything in one day. St George Street is where the boutique shops, cafes and restaurants are and it is a very nice area to stroll along.
We thoroughly enjoyed all that we did during our day but the highlight for us both was a guided tour around Flagler College which started at 2pm and lasted about an hour. There were about 30 people on the tour and the guides are students from the college. Our guide was very knowledgeable and an excellent presenter. The history of the college which was formerly a hotel is interesting and the building is stunning.