A Comprehensive Guide to Exploring the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Beyond
By James | Last updated August 23, 2023
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Daytona Beach is famous for its beautiful beaches and lively boardwalk. It offers tourists and locals alike an array of exciting activities and attractions. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, shop for souvenirs, or indulge in some of the best seafood in Florida, the Daytona Beach Boardwalk has it all.
But there’s more to Daytona Beach than the boardwalk. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey through the best Daytona Beach has to offer, from the boardwalk to beyond. We’ll explore the best local restaurants and bars, the top tourist destinations and the hidden gems only the locals know about.
So sit back and relax as we take you on a journey through this beautiful coastal city.
Introduction to Daytona Beach Boardwalk
The boardwalk was originally called the Broadwalk when it opened in the late 1920s. It is a classic seaside amusement park that has been entertaining visitors for decades. It is located off South Atlantic Avenue (A1A) at the intersection with Main Street, on the eastern coast of Florida.
This iconic beachfront boardwalk offers something for everyone, from thrilling amusement park rides and games to fresh seafood and ice-cold drinks.
The boardwalk is situated right by the beach, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and miles of white sandy beaches. Visitors can stroll along the boardwalk, stopping to enjoy the many attractions and activities that line the way.
You used to be able to take a ride on the Ferris wheel, race in go-karts, play on the arcade machines or challenge your friends to a game of mini-golf but most of these attractions have now gone.
But the boardwalk isn’t just about the rides and games. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore, selling everything from souvenirs and beach gear to fresh seafood and ice cream. If you’re looking for a break from the sun, you can head indoors to the Ocean Walk Shoppes, a multi-level shopping and entertainment complex located right on the boardwalk.
Whether you’re visiting Daytona Beach for the first time or you’re a seasoned visitor, the boardwalk is a must-see destination that you won’t want to miss. So grab your sunscreen, put on your flip-flops and get ready for a day of fun in the sun on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk!
History of the Daytona Beach Boardwalk
The boardwalk is more than just a place for tourists to visit. It has a rich history that dates back to the early 1900s. The city built the Daytona Beach Bandshell in 1938. It regularly hosts music concerts and other types of performances. The boardwalk quicky became a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Soon, more attractions were added to the area, including the Joyland Amusement Center and the Oceanfront Theatre.
Over the years, the boardwalk has undergone several transformations and renovations. But, it has always maintained its charm and appeal. It has served as a hub for beach activities, dining, shopping and entertainment for generations. Today, the boardwalk and Pier are one of the top attractions in the area, drawing in thousands of visitors each year.
The boardwalk has played a significant role in the development of Daytona Beach as a tourist destination. It has helped create jobs and has provided a fun-filled environment for families and friends to enjoy. As the boardwalk continues to evolve and grow, it remains an important part of the community. It is a must-visit destination for those travelling to Daytona Beach.
The Attractions of Daytona Beach Boardwalk
Daytona Beach Boardwalk is a hub of attractions with a variety of activities to suit every taste. Here are some must-visit places on the boardwalk. Also, look out for street performers like jugglers and sword swallowers.
Every Saturday from Memorial Day in May through to Labor Day in September, the city puts on a fireworks display at 9:45 p.m.
Daytona Beach Amusements
Today the boardwalk plays host to the Mardi Gras Fun Center plus Pizza King restaurant and Michael’s on the Beach gift shop.
Opening hours are from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Sundays to Fridays and until midnight on Fridays.
The old-school arcade machines like Skee-Ball and air hockey cost a quarter per play whereas some of the newer video games cost a dollar per play.
From rides including a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster to classic arcade games, this amusement park used to have something for everyone.
Like the two Fun Spot attractions in Orlando, at the boardwalk, there was no admission charge as such. In its heyday, you could pay per ride or buy a one-hour wristband for $22 or a two-hour wristband for $29.
In recent years, the attractions on the boardwalk have shrunk as the area undergoes redevelopment. At one time, someone proposed a new hotel, but they seem to have shelved those plans.
One of the star attractions was the Sand Blaster roller coaster. The Sand Blaster was a steel coaster with 12 riders per train, seated in three cars with four in each car in two rows of two. The track length was around 2,710 feet with a height of up to 85 feet and a 65-foot drop. The ride time was around 2 minutes.
It was built by Pinfari in Italy in the early 1970s and started life as Super Italian Bobs at Adventureland Park, Addison, Illinois. After several different owners, it was bought and moved to Florida in 2012. Here it was refurbished before being reassembled at Daytona Beach. The Sand Blaster required special treatment to cope with the ocean salt environment and the potential of hurricanes.
In August 2013, it was opened by Governor Rick Scott but following a non-fatal accident in 2018, Sand Blaster closed. It was subsequently demolished along with the smaller Go-Gator kiddies coaster.
The Sand Blaster was the first roller coaster to be operated in Daytona Beach since the 1960s. It joined other carnival rides including a Ferris wheel, go-karts, Tilt-A-Whirl and a bungee slingshot.
There were great views of the ocean from the 100-foot-high Ferris wheel but in 2014, the Ferris wheel was taken down for repairs and it never returned.
A second arcade, the Joyland Amusement Center and Lisa’s Gift Shop were both closed under eminent domain in late 2022 to make way for the new developments. The Joyland Amusement Center once housed a miniature golf course and then a slingshot ride and bungee ride on its roof.
If you are an adrenalin junkie, then you should head to Screamer’s Park just south of Daytona Beach Peer. The park is home to the Slingshot and Vomatron rides.
Opening hours are from 10 a.m. until 12 a.m. on Mondays to Thursdays and until 2 a.m. on Fridays until Sundays.
The Daytona Beach Slingshot is a very fast slingshot bungee ride that can take one or two riders. A two-seater capsule sits suspended from two 180-foot high towers. You are propelled upwards from the mouth of a smoke-spewing volcano up to a height of 365 feet. You are accelerated from 0 to 100 mph in under 2 seconds, before bouncing up and down and spinning for around 90 seconds.
The cost is $35 per rider. You can also buy a Video/USB of your ride for $20 and/or a T-Shirt for $20. A package including the ride, video and T-Shirt is $60 for one rider or $100 for two riders.
The Vomatron is an extreme swinging arm ride where you are spun around at speeds of up to 70 mph whilst experiencing up to 5G force. Each arm of the ride can carry up to two riders and the experience is like that experienced by fighter pilots and astronauts during training.
The cost is $30 per rider. You can also buy a Photo/USB of your ride for $15 and/or a T-Shirt for $20. A package including the ride, photo and T-Shirt is $50 for one rider or $85 for two riders.
Both rides have no aged limits but there is a minimum height of 50 inches and it is recommended you have a strong stomach as G-forces can be up to 4 to 6G!
There are similar rides at Fun Spot Old Town.
Daytona Beach Pier
The pier is a landmark attraction of the Daytona Beach Boardwalk stretching 1,000 feet out into the Atlantic Ocean. It was built in 1925, replacing an earlier wooden pier that burned down.
You can enjoy the breathtaking views of sunrise and sunset from the pier or indulge in beach activities like fishing and surfing.
The pier is renowned for its fishing location. Amongst the many species of fish caught from the pier are black drum, bluefish, cobia, flounder, kingfish, pompano, sailfish, sheepshead, snook, Spanish mackerel, tarpon, trout, weakfish and whiting.
At one time there used to be car racing on the beach and you could watch the races from the pier. The earliest known race was between two owners in 1903 to decide who had the fastest horseless carriage!
The long stretch of hard-packed sand was an ideal location for attempting to set world land speed records. In March 1935, the famous driver, Malcolm Cambell reached 276.816 mph in his 36.7-litre Campbell-Railton Blue Bird at Daytona Beach. After that, they moved to the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.
Alongside the speed records, a combined road and beach race track was established and racing finally ended in 1958. Today there are still stretches of the beach from Daytona right down to New Smyrna where you can still drive on the beach.
Daytona Lagoon Waterpark and Fun Park
Just north of the boardwalk are the Daytona Lagoon Waterpark and Daytona Lagoon Fun Park.
The Waterpark is seasonal and is open from early March until early September. The Fun Park is open all year round.
Opening hours vary by day and by park, it is best to check the calendar before visiting.
The Waterpark opens at 11:00 a.m. each day and closes at either 6:00, 7:00 or 11:00 p.m. The Fun Park usually opens at either 11:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. and closes at either 8:00, 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. On some days it does not open until 5:00 p.m.
There are several options if you want to eat, with hot and cold food and drinks available in both parks as well as a full bar in the Waterpark.
Daytona Lagoon Waterpark
The Waterpark is an ideal place to beat the heat and enjoy some splashing fun. With its range of thrilling water slides, wave pool, lazy river and children’s play area, it is sure to be a hit with both kids and adults.
There are five water slides:
- Kraken’s Revenge – 50-foot tall 4-lane mat race slide
- Shaka Halfpipe – two-person inner-tube ride with a backward 50-foot drop
- Blackbeard’s Revenge – enclosed slide with slippery twists and turns
- Adventure Mountain – fully enclosed twin slides
- Poseideon’s Pass – three partially enclosed slides
Note that all water slides have a minimum height requirement of 42 inches and Kraken’s Revenge and Shaka Halfpipe both have weight limits.
For those who want to chill, there is the Pelican’s Drift Lazy River. Kids will enjoy the Castaway Children’s Play Area with its shallow water, giant refillable bucket and water blasters.
The Treasure Lagoon Wave Pool lets you bask in the sun at the edge of the pool or ride the waves.
Complimentary life jackets are available where necessary.
You can buy a one-day pass to the Waterpark and 2023 online prices range from $37.99 (Monday to Thursday) to $44.99 (Friday to Sunday). Florida Residents, juniors (32” to 48” tall) and seniors aged 62+ can get discounted tickets. Gate prices are a few dollars more.
You can also buy matinee admissions after 3 p.m. and spectator (non-water usage) tickets if you do not want to get wet.
There is a Waterpark Season Pass which gives you unlimited access to all the attractions for the whole season or a Super Season Pass which gives you access to both parks for all of 2023. Both passes offer discounts on food and merchandise as well as early access at weekends to the Waterpark.
Daytona Lagoon Fun Park
Also on the site is the Daytona Lagoon Fun Park with a large range of rides and attractions.
Amongst the many rides are:
- Bumper cars – the indoor ride features electric bumper cards surrounded by giant tubes
- Go-karts – the multi-level track has both single-seat and two-seat karts
- Laser Tag – fight your way through zones, pillars and mazes with lights and sounds
- Sky Maze Ropes Course – tackle a rope course with zip lines and climbs
- Rock Wall – climb a large indoor rock wall
- Island Hopper – 7-seater drop ride
Note that you must have a valid driving licence if you want to drive the two-seat go-karts and there are minimum height requirements for all rides.
Fun for all the family is the 18-hole Miniature Golf Course.
There is also a Mega Arcade packed with over 70 games of skill, sports, racing, dancing and shooting as well as the old favourites like Skee-Ball and air hockey.
You can either pay as you go by attraction or buy a wristband which gives to access to all the attractions.
In 2023, individual attraction prices range from $7.99 for three rock climbs to $14.99 for the Sky Maze Ropes Course. The go-karts are $10.99 for a single rider and $12.99 for a double rider.
Wristband prices for 2023 are:
- 1-hour – $26.99
- 2-hour $32.99
- twilight after 6 p.m. $23.99
- all-day $44.99
- all-day Florida resident – $39.99
- all-day Waterpark and Fun Park – $67.99
Daytona Beach Bandshell
The Daytona Beach Bandshell is an iconic open-air music venue located at the north end of the boardwalk, right on the oceanfront. It was built in 1937 from the local coquina limestone and can host up to 5,000 people.
The Bandshell is now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is operated by the City of Daytona Beach.
It hosts many concerts and events throughout the year, making it a must-visit place for music lovers.
During the summer months, it features several tribute acts. General admission is free and VIP tickets are $15.00 per person.
Ocean Walk Shoppes
For those who love shopping, Ocean Walk Shoppes is a great place to explore. It has a wide range of shops selling everything from surfboards to clothing and accessories as well as several restaurants.
It is spread over several levels and the restaurants include Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Cold Stone Creamery, Jonny Rockets and Sloppy Joe’s.
It is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
These are just a few of the many attractions that the boardwalk area has to offer. With so much to see and do, it is no wonder that the boardwalk is still a popular destination for tourists visiting Florida.
Fun Activities to do on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk
The boardwalk is a hub of fun activities that cater to everyone’s tastes. From thrilling rides to delicious food, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
For the adventure-seekers, the boardwalk boasts some of the most exhilarating rides in the area. If you’re feeling brave, try the Slingshot, which will shoot you high into the sky before dropping you back down to earth at high speed.
For those who prefer a more laid-back experience, take a stroll down the boardwalk. Enjoy a refreshing ice cream or savoury snack from one of the many food vendors.
If you’re looking for something to do with the kids, the boardwalk has plenty of family-friendly activities. Take a ride on the carousel or let the little ones play some old-fashioned arcade games. You can also rent bicycles and cruise along the beach.
Finally, no visit to the boardwalk would be complete without a visit to the iconic Bandshell. This open-air amphitheatre hosts a variety of live performances throughout the year, including concerts, festivals and fireworks displays.
Whatever your age or interests, the boardwalk has something for everyone to enjoy. So come on down and join the fun!
Delicious Food at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk
When it comes to the boardwalk, it’s not only about the attractions and the view. The food options along the boardwalk and nearby areas are something to look forward to as well.
If you’re in the mood for some classic American cuisine, head over to Joe’s Crab Shack on the pier. They serve up delicious seafood dishes such as crab cakes, fried shrimp and their signature buckets of crab.
Other seafood spots to try out include Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Bar, which has been a local favourite since 1959 and Crabby’s Oceanside. Ocean Deck offers a wide range of seafood options, including oysters, clams and fish tacos. At Crabby’s you can experience alligator bites, conch fritters, New Orleans grilled oysters and more.
For a quick bite or a sweet treat, you can’t go wrong with the boardwalk’s many snack shacks. The boardwalk is home to several ice cream, popcorn and candy shops that will satisfy any sweet tooth. If you’re looking for something more filling, try out the pizza at Pizza King or the burgers at Daytona Brickyard.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more upscale, there are several great restaurants just a short walk from the boardwalk. One of the most popular is Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, which serves up mouth-watering steak dishes and seafood options. For Italian cuisine, check out Rossellini’s Restaurant, which has been serving up delicious pasta dishes for over 30 years.
Whether you’re looking for seafood, American classics, or something a little more upscale, the boardwalk and surrounding areas have plenty of food options to explore and enjoy.
So, make sure to come hungry and indulge in the delicious food scene!
Beyond Daytona Beach Boardwalk: Exploring Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach is not just about the boardwalk. There are plenty of other things to explore in this vibrant city.
For art lovers, the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) is a must-visit. The museum has a vast collection of art, science and history exhibits that will keep you engaged for hours.
If you love racing, then the Daytona International Speedway is the place to be. This iconic speedway hosts various races, including the Daytona 500. You can also take a tour of the speedway and learn about the history of racing in Daytona Beach.
If you are looking for a nature retreat, head south to the Marine Science Center at Ponce Inlet. Here you can learn about marine creatures and rehabilitation efforts.
Whilst you are there you can also visit the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, one of the tallest lighthouses in the United States. You can learn about its history and significance in maritime navigation.
For a relaxing day, head to the beach and soak up the sun or take a stroll on the Daytona Beach Pier. You can also visit the nearby beaches of Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach, which are known for their scenic beauty and water sports.
In conclusion, Daytona Beach has something for everyone. From museums to nature reserves, from racing to beaches, there is no shortage of things to explore in this vibrant city beyond the boardwalk.
Daytona Beach Hotels and Resorts
When visiting Daytona Beach, there are many hotels and resorts to choose from. Each offers unique amenities and experiences.
For those who want to be close to the action, there are beachfront hotels that offer stunning views of the ocean. The 3-star Club Wyndham Ocean Walk and the 4-star Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort offer easy access to the boardwalk
There are several other nearby 4-star hotels like the Plaza Resort & Spa and Daytona Grande Oceanfront Hotel.
These hotels often have beachfront bars and restaurants, as well as pools and other recreational activities. If you’re looking for a more secluded experience, several resorts and hotels offer private beaches, secluded pools and spa services.
If you’re travelling with a family, some resorts cater specifically to families, with kid-friendly pools and activities.
For those who want to experience the local culture, there are boutique hotels. These offer unique, personalized experiences and some are located in the heart of Daytona Beach’s historic district.
No matter where you choose to stay, be sure to research the hotel or resort’s amenities, location and reviews before booking. Many hotels and resorts offer package deals that include activities and local attractions, so be on the lookout for those as well.
By carefully choosing your accommodations, you can ensure a memorable and comfortable stay in Daytona Beach.
Events and Festivals in Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach is not only a beautiful destination with stunning beaches and a vibrant boardwalk. It is also home to a variety of annual events and festivals throughout the year. From music festivals to food and wine events, there is always something happening in Daytona Beach that is sure to meet a range of interests and tastes.
One of the most popular events in Daytona Beach is the Daytona Beach Bike Week, which takes place in March. This event attracts hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world. The come to Daytona Beach to enjoy the beautiful weather, scenic roads and exciting events and activities.
For foodies, the Daytona Beach Food and Wine Festival is a must-attend event. Taking place in May, this festival features local chefs and restaurants showcasing their best dishes and pairing them with a variety of wines and spirits.
Another popular event is the Halifax Art Festival, which takes place every November. This festival showcases the work of over 250 artists, including fine art, pottery, sculpture and more. The festival also features live music, food vendors and children’s activities, making it a fun and family-friendly event.
Other events in Daytona Beach include the Daytona Beach Seafood Festival in April, Daytona Beach Dream Cruise in October and Greek Festival in November, just to name a few.
With so many events and festivals happening throughout the year, there is always something new and exciting to experience in Daytona Beach.
Practical Information for Visitors
For visitors to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, it’s important to have some practical information to make the most of your trip. There is no shortage of things to see and do, so it’s important to plan and make the most of your time.
Firstly, consider the time of year you are visiting. Summer months tend to be the busiest and most crowded, while fall and spring offer milder weather and a more laid-back atmosphere. Winter months tend to be quieter, but still offer plenty of activities and events.
However, do be aware that during March/April time, American and Canadian colleges are on Spring Break. Daytona Beach is a major destination for students so the beaches and bars can become very crowded.
When it comes to getting around, there are several options available. The boardwalk itself is a pedestrian zone, so walking is a great way to explore the area. Bicycles are also a popular choice and there are several rental companies offering bikes for all ages.
If you are driving, there are several parking options available, including street parking, public parking lots and private garages. Some hotels and resorts also offer parking for their guests.
When it comes to food and drink, there are plenty of options to suit all tastes and budgets. From seafood shacks to fine dining restaurants, there is something for everyone. And of course, no visit to the boardwalk is complete without trying the famous Daytona Beach-style pizza.
Finally, it’s important to remember to stay safe and take precautions. Always keep an eye on your belongings, stay in well-lit areas at night and be aware of your surroundings.
With these tips in mind, visitors can enjoy a fun and memorable trip to the boardwalk and beyond.
Conclusion and Summary of Touring Daytona Beach Boardwalk
To conclude, exploring the boardwalk and beyond is an adventure that is worth experiencing. From the rich history of the area to the endless activities and attractions available, there is something for everyone.
As you stroll along the iconic boardwalk, you can enjoy scenic views, delicious food, exciting rides and games. Nearby, you can explore Oceanfront Park, relax on the beach and enjoy the cool ocean breeze.
Overall, touring the boardwalk is an experience that should not be missed. Whether you’re travelling with family, friends, or solo, this area has something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Daytona Beach!
We hope you enjoyed our comprehensive guide to exploring the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and beyond. With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to this beautiful destination.
Our guide is designed to help you get the most out of your visit, whether you’re interested in hotspots like the boardwalk or prefer to explore off-the-beaten-path locations.
From dining and shopping to attractions and entertainment, Daytona Beach has it all. We know you will have a wonderful time exploring this sunny paradise!
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