A Town on Overdrive
Daytona Beach has become synonymous with motor sports—the city is the headquarters for NASCAR and the Grand American Road Racing Association and home to the Daytona International Speedway. Fans flock to the area for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, the Daytona 500 and Budweiser Speedweeks in February and the Coke Zero 400 in July. Two.wheelers (Harleys, not Schwinns) take over town during Bike Week in March and Biketoberfest in October. Clearly the city has earned its spot on the so.called fun coast of northeast Florida; there’s plenty to experience whether you’re on wheels or not.
START YOUR ENGINES
Take a tour of the Daytona International Speedway. Options range from 30 minutes to 3 hours and can include a tour of the infield, pit road, garages and victory lane. The Richard Petty Driving Experience is for those who would rather get behind the wheel of a NASCAR race car, for anywhere from 3 to 50 laps.
GOLF LIKE A PRO
LPGA International has been the home course of the LPGA golf tour for almost 20 years. There are two world-class, 4-star courses here, open to LPGA members and guests alike, and tee-time fees start at only $30.
The offerings at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk include a brand-new roller coaster, an arcade that has classic games, and a Ferris wheel that gives riders outstanding views of the area. There are fireworks every Saturday night and free concerts all summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
WHET YOUR APPETITE
The seafood restaurant Our Deck Down Under is located under the Port Orange Bridge, right on the Dunlawton Causeway. Locals flock here for reasonably priced sandwiches, salads and raw bar items, not to mention the house-smoked barbecued pork ribs and jalapeño bacon-and-cheese grits. A historically intimate dining experience can be had at the Cellar, an Italian restaurant set in the onetime home of President Warren G. Harding. NBA star Vince Carter opened an eponymous restaurant with a very smart design: One side is a sports bar with comfortable seating and plenty of TVs; the other side, an elegant steak house. The menu ranges from the expected chicken wings and jalapeño poppers to flat-bread pizzas, salads, pastas, seafood, and steaks. The build-your-own-burger option at lunch is a local favorite.
SEE THE LIGHT
A short drive away, visit the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse—at 175 feet high, it’s Florida’s tallest lighthouse. Visitors who climb the 203 steps to the top are rewarded with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Daytona International Speedway: 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.; 1.877.306.RACE; daytonainternationalspeedway.com
Richard Petty Driving Experience: Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.; 800.237.3889; drivepetty.com
LPGA International: 1000 Champions Dr.; 1.386.274.5742; lpgainternational.com
Daytona Beach Boardwalk: 12 N. Ocean Ave.; 1.386.253.0254; daytonabeachboardwalk.com
Our Deck Down Under: 78 E. Dunlawton Ave., Port Orange; 1.386.767.1881; ourdeckdu.com
The Cellar: 220 Magnolia Ave.; 1.386.258.0011; thecellarrestaurant.com
Vince Carter’s: 2150 LPGA Boulevard; 1.386.274.0015; vincecarters.com
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse: 4931 S. Peninsula Dr.; 1.386.761