DeBary is a city of about 20,000 residents in central Florida’s Volusia County.
Like most cities in the region, DeBary is surrounded by dozens of lakes of all shapes and sizes, and they offer locals and visitors a wide variety of outdoor recreation options.
The city was incorporated in1993 and lies just off Interstate 4, between Daytona Beach to the northeast and Orlando to the south.
DeBary is also close enough to the state’s eastern Atlantic coast to make day-trips to places like New Smyrna Beach an option too.
Below are 15 things to do in and around DeBary, Florida.
1. Gemini Springs Park
Gemini Springs State Park is just a few miles from downtown DeBary and features a number of recreational activities that make it a hotspot for nature lovers.
The park is located alongside a smaller lake that sits at the northwest corner of massive Lake Monroe.
Fishing, mountain biking, hiking, and kayaking are popular activities. Previous guests have noted that the lake’s waters were crystal clear and that fish, turtles, and even gators were plentiful and easy to see.
Rough campsites are available for a small fee, but remember that fisherman will need a valid Florida fishing license.
2. St. Johns River Eco-Tours
The St. Johns River is one of Florida’s natural wonders and runs from Jacksonville in the north down into the central portion of the state near DeBary. For those who’d like to see it from a unique perspective, there’s no better way to do it than as part of an eco-tour.
St. Johns River Eco-Tours offer a variety of options on-board their large, stable pontoon boats. They can take guests to pristine parts of the river that those stuck on land won’t get to see.
During the winter months, the area is a stop-off point for migratory birds and manatees that flock to its relatively warm waters.
3. Central 28 Beer Company
Central 28 Beer Company is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon or evening out of the harsh Florida elements.
They’re known for their wide selection of microbrews that range from traditional to creative. For those who’d rather have a glass of wine, they have plenty of varieties to choose from.
From IPAs and wheat beers to stouts and porters, there should be something to tempt even the most finicky palate. Though they don’t serve food, there are often food trucks onsite selling all kinds of tasty fare.
Central 28 has menus from nearby restaurants that deliver on days the food trucks don’t show up.
4. DeBary Hall
DeBary Hall is a mansion that was built in the 1870s by a prosperous German man who made his money in the champagne importing and distribution businesses.
The home and its contents were considered to be the height of luxury by the standards of the day. The house is filled with period art, furniture, and housewares that give visitors a unique glimpse into the lifestyles of the well-to-do in the past.
DeBary Hall features an interesting mix of plantation and colonial architectures that make it both striking and unique, and it’s open to the public from Tuesday until Sunday.
5. Swamp House Riverfront Grill
Though swamps aren’t generally associated with fine dining, the Swamp House Riverfront Grill on Highbanks Road in DeBary is one of those places that visitors tend to remember long after their vacation is over.
The restaurant sits on the shores of the St. Johns River near a scenic marina and features both indoor and outdoor seating.
Not surprisingly, much of what you’ll find on the menu is seafood, prepared in both traditional and contemporary ways – like broiled snapper, shrimp tacos, and a Reuben sandwich made with fried fish instead of corned beef.
The restaurant is handicap accessible and features a full bar and lots of regionally produced microbrews.
6. MG Coffee Brews & Bites
In a world where large national brands like Starbucks are pushing out small, independent coffee shops, it’s nice to find a local option that’s weathering the storm.
MG Coffee Brews and Bites is known for its comfortable setting, reasonable prices, and full menu – ranging from a simple cup of coffee to salads, sandwiches, and a variety of fresh baked goods.
As a unique and ingenious twist, they add ice cubes made from coffee to their cold coffee drinks, which eliminates the age-old problem of melting cubes making the drink watery and tasteless.
They’re located on Charles Richard Beall Boulevard in DeBary.
7. Glen Abbey Golf Club
Located on North Pine Meadow Drive in DeBary, Glen Abbey Golf Club is an 18-hole course that’s been open since 1974.
At 6,600 yards, it’s slightly shorter than many other nearby courses, which makes it an excellent option for those who’d rather not dedicate the majority of their day to a round of golf.
The course has three sets of tees, making it appropriate for players of most ages and skill levels. There aren’t any treeless holes that run parallel to one another, which means each hole is unique and distinct from all the others.
Ample sand and water hazards make the course both scenic and challenging.
8. DeBary Farmers’ Market
Located on the grounds of the Gateway Center for the Arts, the DeBary Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays from 8 AM until 1 PM and is predominately known for its fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
The market’s vendors sell a variety of non-food items too, like arts and crafts, jewelry, and pet and gardening supplies.
Many customers choose to show up early and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a muffin or scone before doing their shopping. For those looking to stock up on prepared food items, there are a variety of options – from honey and salsa to baked goods and coffee beans.
9. Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park is like a magnet to nature lovers, who flock in droves year-round to enjoy its unique array of activities.
The park’s natural springs are its main attractions and keep the water at a constant 73 degrees year-round, making them especially refreshing in the summer months when the Florida weather can be downright oppressive.
Fishing, camping, photography, and snorkeling are popular, and for those who’d like to explore the St. Johns River, it’s possible to rent kayaks for the day.
There’s an inexpensive fee to enter the park that’s charged per-vehicle, and early birds will definitely beat the crowds.
10. Henry A. DeLand House Museum
Located in Michigan Avenue in DeLand, the Henry A. DeLand House Museum is managed by the West Volusia Historical Society. It was built in 1886 by the man after whom the town was named.
The home and museum give visitors a look into how early settlers in the area lived more than a century ago when it was mostly wild, untamed, and dangerous.
Featuring Victorian-era architecture and a variety of items that have been restored to nearly original condition, the home and museum are the best places to learn about the county’s history and development, and the cost of admission is very reasonable.
11. Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando is one of the state’s premier tourist destinations. With so much to see and do, it’s a place that tends to monopolize many visitors’ time.
From thrilling amusement park-style rides and games to movie-themed attractions and a variety of live entertainment, it really does put many other area attractions to shame.
Though it’s popular with all ages, Universal Orlando’s customers are generally families with kids, so it does have a bit of a madhouse atmosphere – especially during peak summer months when kids across the country are enjoying their summer vacations.
To avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the off-season or in the morning when they first open.
12. Harry P. Leu Gardens
The Harry P. Leu Gardens are comprised of nearly 50 acres of distinct and professionally cultivated gardens, making it one of those rare hidden gems surrounded by more developed and commercial attractions for which the Orlando area is known.
The home, garden, and land that make up the site were donated to the city in the ‘60s and have been open to the public ever since.
The gardens and grounds feature a variety of plant, flower, and tree species. Each section is connected by well-marked paths and includes informative signs describing the things that guests are seeing.
13. Park Avenue Shopping District
Nearby Winter Park is one of the area’s most quaint towns and offers visitors a unique glimpse into the past while giving them access to unique and trendy shopping opportunities.
Park Avenue Shopping District has a reputation for drawing in the well-heeled from all over the area. In addition to its boutique shops, cafes, galleries, and eateries, it’s a popular live entertainment venue as well.
The district is near Winter Park’s downtown area. It’s very walkable and full of homes and businesses, many of which feature original architecture dating back to the area’s settling.
14. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Louis Comfort Tiffany is one of the most well-known artists and craftsmen of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art houses the country’s most complete collection of items created by him.
Though to the public, he’s most associated with bronze lamps and glass lampshades, Tiffany also made pottery and jewelry and was a painter as well.
The museum’s newest wing includes items that once resided in Tiffany’s Long Island home and studio, giving visitors insight into the man’s personal life in addition to his works and inspirations.
The museum is open from Tuesday until Sunday year-round and is closed on major holidays.
15. Hontoon Island State Park
Located along the St. Johns River in Volusia County, Hontoon Island State Park is only accessible via private boat or public ferry.
Most visitors choose to take the ferry, and once on the island, there are a number of activity options.
The island was home to Native Americans for generations before it was officially settled, and the park has several ruin sites that are interesting to check out.
Since there are no cars on the island, it’s the perfect place for walking, biking, and hiking. For those who’d like to spend a night or two, there are cabins and campsites available for rent.