South Daytona is located on the north-central portion of Florida’s Atlantic coast in Volusia County.
It’s bordered by Ormond Beach and Daytona immediately to the north, and Port Orange and New Smyrna Beach to the south.
At the time of the last census, South Daytona had a population of about 12,500 residents. It combines a pleasant mix of small-town charm and proximity to world-class natural, historic, and recreation attractions that make it the perfect place to hang your hat while exploring the Sunshine State.
Below are 15 things to do in and around South Daytona that you may want to check out.
1. Reed Canal Park
Most parks are free and underutilized community resources that are the perfect places to relax between activities.
Reed Canal Park is popular with locals, especially those with kids. It features a variety of amenities, like an 18-hole disc golf course, a playground, a pond, and a number of walking and biking trails leading through serene forested areas. There’s a dedicated dog park as well.
On Saturday mornings, the park’s pond is abuzz with remote control boats that kids seem to find mesmerizing. It’s a great place for a relaxing picnic or an evening walk as the sun sets.
2. Hannah’s Family Diner
Florida sports one of the largest populations of retirees in the country, and the area around South Daytona is particularly popular due to its abundance of sunshine, warm weather, and businesses catering to the elderly.
Located on Reed Canal Road, Hannah’s Family Diner isn’t the exclusive realm of snowbirds and old folks; in fact, it’s popular with visitors and young residents too.
Hannah’s is known for its traditional fare, hearty portion sizes, and reasonable prices. Previous guests have commented that they appreciated its comfy, family-friendly atmosphere and attentive service.
3. Living Legends of Auto Racing
Daytona Beach is arguably the country’s most iconic racing destination; during the season, it draws millions of visitors from all over the world.
Though tickets to the Daytona 500 can be hard to come by and prohibitively expensive, the area offers a variety of race-related attractions, and many of them are convenient and reasonably priced.
Living Legends of Auto Racing is not only free to visit, but it’s chock-full of exhibits and memorabilia stretching many decades into the past.
The museum is located inside Sunshine Mall. Though many guests stumble upon it by accident, it usually ends up being one of the most memorable experiences of their trip.
4. Daytona Beach Boardwalk
Located along North Ocean Avenue in Daytona Beach, the Daytona Beach Boardwalk was originally built in 1938. Though it’s seen several upgrades and renovations over the years, it still retains much of its original charm.
The boardwalk has been attracting locals and travelers since the beginning and is full of shops, bars, restaurants, rides, and arcade games that give it a theme park-like atmosphere.
The boardwalk’s band-shell hosts a variety of concerts and live entertainment, and many of them are free.
There’s no better place to capture an unforgettable Florida sunset either, so don’t forget your camera.
5. NBalance Best Holistic Wellness Spa
Featuring a dizzying area of massage and total wellness options to choose from, NBalance Best Holistic Wellness Spa is a popular hotspot for those whose chi is out of balance, as well as those who just want to feel younger and more relaxed than they really are.
Previous guests have commented on the staff’s patience and attentiveness, as well as the variety of options at their disposal.
From aromatherapy and scalp massages to anti-aging and skin tightening treatments, there’s probably a little something for everyone regardless of age. For those who lead hectic and stressful lives, there’s no better way to get vacation kicked-off than with a bit of pampering.
6. Museum of Arts and Sciences
The Museum of Arts and Sciences on South Nova Road in Daytona Beach contains tens of thousands of objects of art, making it one of the largest attractions of its kind in the state.
The pieces in the museum’s collection feature a variety of international influences, including Cuban, South American, and Chinese.
Exhibits also include many craft-movement and Americana pieces, like antique teddy bears, quilts, and toy cars from decades past.
There’s also a dedicated children’s portion of the museum; its interactive exhibits touch on science, the natural world, aviation, and technology, and have been known to keep kids engaged for hours on end.
7. Jackie Robinson Ballpark
In 2014, the Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Daytona Beach’s City Island celebrated its 100th anniversary. Though it started small and has had a few different names over the years, the stadium still harkens back to eras past.
It’s undergone a variety of expansions and renovations over the years, and is historically significant because it was home to the first professional, integrated baseball game.
That historic game took place just after World War II, and the stadium is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though it’s still a functioning ballpark, it’s now a sports and civil rights museum too.
8. Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is a world-renowned auto racing icon, and though not all visitors are lucky enough to snag tickets to the speedway’s famous races, it’s still possible to get a behind-the-scenes look at the impressive facility and its unparalleled history.
Tour options are in abundance, and considering the number available, finding one that suits the schedules and interests of nearly all visitors usually isn’t a problem.
Generally, tours last from 30 minutes to a few hours. A portion of the speedway is a museum that includes racing equipment and memorabilia, cars, photographs, and multi-media presentations as well.
9. Ormond Brewing Company
Located on Division Street in Ormond Beach, Ormond Brewing Company has been described as a utopia for beer lovers and is just a short drive from South Daytona.
Featuring a variety of craft-brewed beers, ranging from dark stouts and porters to light and refreshing wheats and IPAs, there’s probably something to tempt nearly every taste bud. Their taproom usually has about 20 different varieties on-tap.
Ormond Brewing doesn’t serve food, but guests are encouraged to bring their own. Like lots of brew-houses, it’s common to find food trucks in the lot dishing up tasty, inexpensive grub.
10. Ponce de Leon Lighthouse & Museum
At nearly 180 feet high, the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse is Florida’s tallest, and the original structure was constructed almost two centuries ago.
Though much of the current lighthouse isn’t original, it’s been lovingly restored to resemble its historical appearance. It’s now a museum dedicated the preserving the state’s rich nautical history.
The grounds consist of the lighthouse and other historic buildings that once housed the keeper’s family and other equipment needed to keep the lighthouse up and running.
Large group and educational tours are available, but you’ll need to book them in advance of your visit.
11. Ormond Beach Environmental Discovery Center
Though much of Florida’s Atlantic coast is developed, for those interested in experiencing the area the way it was in its natural state, there are still some opportunities – but they’re getting harder and harder to come by with each passing year.
The Ormond Beach Environmental Discovery Center is located on Division Avenue and includes a variety of environmental and animal-related exhibits that are both informative and downright interesting.
The center is free and open to the public every day except Sundays and Mondays. On days when they’re offering guided tours or classes, they may be closed, so it’s best to check online or give them a call before making a special trip.
12. Richard Petty Driving Experience
Richard Petty’s name is one of the most recognized of all of NASCAR’s historic drivers. The driving attraction that bears his name is one of the most exhilarating and adrenaline-filled activities that most visitors experience on their trip to the Sunshine State.
There aren’t many venues where average Joes can get behind the wheel of a 500+ horsepower race car and tool around a world-famous track. Considering the uniqueness of the experience, it’s not outlandishly priced.
There are also ride-along options for those who want to experience amazing speed but would rather do it with a professional behind the wheel.
13. Smyrna Dunes Park
Beaches are some of Florida’s largest attractions, and for many vacationers, that’s exactly where they’ll spend the majority of their time.
Located on North Peninsula Avenue in New Smyrna Beach, Smyrna Dunes Park sits along the scenic convergence of the Ponce Inlet, Indian River, and Atlantic Ocean. It’s a lot less developed than many other area parks and beaches.
The park includes long stretches of beach, scenic dunes, and a variety of distinct ecosystems connected by trails that are open to walkers, bikers, and runners.
It’s common to see wildlife in the park, and it’s popular with fishermen and body-boarders as well.
14. New Smyrna Museum of History
The New Smyrna Museum of History houses one of the area’s most complete collections of historical items relating to the central Atlantic coast, and includes both natural and historic exhibits that give guests a broader scope than they’ll find in most museums.
Most guests find the sections on the area’s founding to be the most intriguing; it’s not commonly known that a Scottish doctor was among the first of European descent to settle in the area.
The museum is located inside a historic post office building from the ‘30s, and most guests spend between one and two hours taking it all in.
15. Canaveral National Seashore
Though it’s a bit of a drive from South Daytona, Canaveral National Seashore is well worth the trip for travelers with access to wheels who’re interested in immersing themselves in some of the state’s most pristine barrier islands and coastal environments.
The preserved area includes more than 20 miles of idyllic beaches, as well as dunes, estuaries, and lagoons that harbor a fantastic diversity of plant and animal life.
Don’t expect to find Starbucks, Ferris wheels, all-you-can-eat buffets, or surf shops, but do expect breathtaking ocean views, tons of blue sky, and lots of unrestricted sea breezes.