Located in central Florida’s Volusia County, the city of Deland is home to about 27,000 residents and lies just off Interstate 4, between Daytona Beach to the northeast and Sanford to the southwest.
It’s close enough to the Atlantic coast to make day trips to the beach convenient options, and its proximity to Orlando opens up another spectrum of historical and recreational opportunities that can keep travelers busy for days.
For visitors to Deland, finding things to do shouldn’t be an issue regardless of the ages and interests of your travel companions.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Deland, Florida.
1. Volusia County Farmers Market
It’s quite possible that central Florida has more farmers’ markets than it does farmers, and it’s no wonder considering the area’s temperate climate, abundant sun, and fertile soil.
The Volusia County Farmers Market is the county’s largest and takes place every Wednesday from 7 AM until 2 PM.
Conveniently located just off Interstate 4, it is as much a flea market as it is a farmers market.
From fresh seasonal produce and prepared food items to arts and crafts, vintage clothing, and housewares, there’s a good chance if you need it or want it you’ll find it here, so swing by and take a look.
2. Dreggors Park
Deland has an extensive park network that offers locals and visitors a variety of free and convenient activity options.
Named after a local man who spent much of his time advocating for the preservation of the area’s historic sites, Dreggors Park’s amenities include a butterfly garden, paved walking trail, and an impressive playground that’s a big hit with little ones.
There’s also a restored hospital from the ‘20s that includes exhibits on common medical procedures in eras past, a veteran’s memorial, and a number of other significant cultural and historical attractions that make it a community resource that shouldn’t be passed up.
3. The Edmunds Center
Located on the scenic campus of Stetson University in Deland, The Edmunds Center is a multi-use event venue that seats 5,000 spectators and is home to the university’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams.
It’s been open since 1974 and is named after a former university president. Though it’s getting up there in years, it has undergone several recent upgrades and has held sections of some state and national basketball tournaments dating back to the early ‘90s.
In general, college campuses are fun and relaxing places to visit when exploring a new area, so check their website before heading out to make the most of your trip.
4. Stetson Mansion
Located on Camphor Lane in Deland, the Stetson Mansion is one of the city’s most well-preserved Victorian-era mansions. Over the years, it’s hosted several national and international dignitaries, including European royalty.
The mansion was originally built in the mid-1880s and is named after the family famous for making their fortune in the hat business. It’s now open to the public via guided tours that last between 60 and 90 minutes.
Tours are relatively inexpensive and offer guests unique insights into the lifestyles of society’s upper crust at a time when much of the area was mostly undeveloped.
5. Deland Naval Air Station Museum
During World War II, Deland Naval Air Station was buzzing with activity – as were all the country’s Army Air Corps facilities.
When the war ended, the station reverted to its civilian aviation role, but its military history hasn’t been lost. The museum that now sits on the site is dedicated to preserving the base’s interesting past and includes a variety of exhibits containing equipment, photographs, uniforms, and other historically significant memorabilia.
Of course, the old war-birds are most visitors’ favorites and include an Avenger torpedo bomber and a mach-2 capable F-14 Tomcat like the ones forever immortalized in Top Gun.
Guided tours are available, but you’ll need to make reservations in advance.
6. The Volusia County Fair and Youth Show
The Volusia County Fair and Youth Show draws visitors from all over the state and has been going strong for nearly a hundred years. It takes place in the first week of November annually.
The fairgrounds are located on East New York Avenue, and the event’s activities are exactly what you’d expect to find at traditional, family-friendly county fairs all over the country.
Games, rides, music, arts and crafts, and classic fair food, including funnel cakes, corn dogs, and boardwalk fries are available in abundance. There are also a number of agricultural events and contests that are popular with visitors.
7. Deland Fall Festival of the Arts
The Deland Fall Festival of the Arts is one of the central Florida region’s most anticipated and enjoyed arts shows and takes place over two days at the end of November when the Florida weather is picture perfect.
The event is produced by Deland’s Main Street Association and includes juried competitions that draw artists from around the state and country.
There will be plenty of food, drink, and entertainment on-hand to complement the fantastic art, and the festival is a great place to pick up a unique painting or sculpture to remind you of your trip to the Sunshine State.
8. The Reptile Discovery Center
For those not prone to spontaneous outbursts of the willies, the Reptile Discovery Center on Big John Drive in Deland would be a great place to spend a few morning or afternoon hours out of the intense Florida sun.
For most people, it’s the only opportunity they’ll ever have to get up-close-and-personal with such a diverse variety of snakes and lizards. The center’s residents include some well-known exotic killers like Burmese Pythons and King Cobras, which are the world’s largest venomous serpents.
The center features regularly scheduled live venom extraction shows and a variety of outdoor nature trails too.
9. The Athens Theatre
Originally designed and built by a famous architect in the early ‘20s, the Athens Theatre on North Florida Avenue in Deland is one of the city’s most well-preserved historic sites and was built in the style of the Italian Renaissance.
At the time, the city’s founders envisioned that Deland would eventually rival Athens, Greece in its majesty. Since its opening, the theatre has hosted a variety of performances, including dramatic plays, raucous vaudeville performances, and a little bit of everything else in between.
The theatre underwent several renovations and upgrades in the ‘90s and is now a pleasant mix of cutting edge and historically quaint that makes it truly one of a kind.
10. Deland Artisan Alley Farmers Market
Whether it’s hot and sunny or blustery and rainy, the Deland Artisan Alley Farmers Market is open. And unlike most farmers markets that are only open in the morning and early afternoon, it takes place on Friday evenings from 6 until 9.
That makes it the perfect place to unwind and stretch your legs after a long work week. It all takes place in the city’s historic downtown area, which is full of trendy eateries offering great food, tasty beverages, and often live entertainment as well.
The market features local organic produce and prepared foods like baked goods, salsa, honey, and pickles.
11. St. Francis Trail
For much of the year, the weather in central Florida is perfect for those who lead active lifestyles; the St. Francis Trail on River Forest Boulevard is a popular destination for those interested in experiencing nature and burning a few excess calories without leaving city limits.
The trail is nearly eight miles long and winds through a variety of natural settings along a few scenic rivers.
Most of the trail is only moderately strenuous, so it’s appropriate for most ages and levels of physical ability.
It’s a popular spot for bird watchers too and is home to many varieties of woodpeckers, birds of prey, and wading and migratory birds as well.
12. Boston Coffeehouse
For hopeless coffee addicts, it can be a bit unnerving when visiting a new area, especially if you’re not familiar with the lay of the land and are unsure of where you’ll get your morning and afternoon caffeine fixes.
Founded by a Beantown transplant in the mid-‘90s, Boston Coffeehouse started small but has since expanded to include five area locations, including two in downtown Deland.
Known for their professionally prepared espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes, they offer a number of healthy smoothie options and traditional entrees, like eggs Benedict and hefty breakfast burritos that are just the thing for empty stomachs with long days ahead of them.
13. The African-American Museum of Arts
For nearly 25 years, the African-American Museum of Arts on South Clara Avenue in Deland has been the area’s premier destination for those interested in learning about the contributions black Americans have made in the art world.
Not only does the museum showcase an impressive collection of African American art, but it’s dedicated to encouraging children to explore their creative and expressive sides through the wonders of art in all its varied forms.
The museum is free to visit from Wednesday to Saturday and includes a number of cultural and historic exhibits detailing the lives of African American’s in the area dating back to its founding.
14. Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company
With so much to see and do, most visitors to Deland find themselves in a virtual whirlwind of activity. For those who’ve hit the proverbial wall after a long day on their feet, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon or evening than with good friends and great beer in a trendy but relaxed setting.
Founded by a couple of local home-brew enthusiasts in 2014, Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company is known for its always changing offerings of tasty craft brews ranging from traditional to quirky and innovative.
Wines are available too, and though they don’t serve food, guests are encouraged to bring their own.
15. Museum of Art – Deland
The Museum of Art – Deland is operated by a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing world-class art and cultural events to the community that they probably wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
The museum has been around since 1951 and houses an impressive collection of more than 700 pieces from state, national, and international artists.
The museum hosts a variety of community programs throughout the year that include instructional courses for artists looking to perfect their craft – and many guest speakers and receptions for new artists and exhibits.
Check the calendar of events section of their website to see what’s on the horizon for when you’ll be visiting.