Located just south of Daytona Beach along Florida’s scenic central Atlantic coast, Port Orange is in Volusia County and had a population just shy of 58,000 residents at the time of the last census.
Along with Deltona, Daytona Beach, and Ormond Beach, Port Orange is a principal city in a region of the state that’s often referred to as the ‘Fun Coast.’
Port Orange is conveniently close to Interstate 95 – the state’s largest north-south corridor – and it’s also located in the narrowest part of the state, making the drive from the Atlantic to Gulf of Mexico coast a fun and easy excursion.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Port Orange, Florida.
1. Tiger Bay State Forest
Comprised of tens of thousands of acres, Tiger Bay State Forest includes a variety of natural environments, like swamps, forests, and pine islands that support an amazing array of plants and animals, many of which are unique to the area.
The acquisition for the land that would eventually become the state forest began in the late-’70s; since then, it’s been home to many rare and endangered animals, like bald eagles and Florida black bears.
Camping, kayaking, fishing, and hiking are all popular park activities, but remember, if you plan on fishing, you’ll need a valid Florida fishing license whether you’re a state resident or visitor.
2. Marine Discovery Center
In 2017, the Marine Discovery Center on Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna celebrated its 20th anniversary, which means that for more than two decades, it’s been doing its part to protect the coastal ecosystems that are so vital in supporting such a unique array of marine animals.
The center’s main thrusts are research, stewardship, and community outreach and education programs. A variety of indoor and outdoor recreation options are available that are suited for those of differing ages and interests.
Guided eco-tours are the perfect option for those who don’t mind spending a few extra bucks to get up close and personal with the local environment and its plant and animal residents.
3. Smyrna Dunes Park
Located near the junction of the Ponce Inlet, Indian River, and the Atlantic Ocean in New Smyrna Beach, Smyrna Dunes Park includes nearly 80 acres of pristine landscape that’s almost surrounded by water.
The perfect place for swimmers, shell collectors, and those looking to soak up the Florida sun, it’s a popular destination for nature-lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and amateur photographers looking to capture a few unforgettable views.
The dunes themselves are best explored by the elevated boardwalk that runs for nearly two miles, and there are pavilions and covered picnic areas along the way that are perfect lunch spots.
4. Daytona International Speedway
Some destinations require no formal introduction; for nearly everyone who’s ever heard of or visited Florida, Daytona International Speedway is one of them.
Since the late ’50s, it’s been a Florida racing icon that’s grown into a well-known international brand, and during its premier Daytona 500 race, it draws visitors from all over the world.
Though tickets to that event aren’t cheap or easy to come by, the facility hosts a variety of other racing events throughout the year that are just as exhilarating — and easier on the wallet.
The best way to keep up with what’s going on is to check out their website periodically.
5. Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
Located about 20 minutes south of Daytona Beach and Port Orange, the Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is a local historical icon that sits at the junction of the Halifax and Indian Rivers and the Atlantic Ocean.
The cost of admission to the museum and lighthouse is dirt cheap by local standards, and it’s not only fun but historically significant and educational as well.
Located on South Peninsula Drive in Ponce Inlet, they offer visitors some of the most amazing ocean views to be found anywhere in the area, so don’t forget that camera – and a good hat and sunblock too.
6. Sun Splash Park
When the heat and humidity conspire to make the weather pretty unbearable for much of the summer, it’s imperative to find water-related activities that are convenient and inexpensive.
Located on South Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach, Sun Splash Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is free to visit.
The park sits on nearly four acres of land at the intersection of South Atlantic Avenue and Revilo Boulevard in Daytona Beach and is open seasonally from February until November.
It can get downright crowded during peak times, so consider visiting during the week or in the morning if that’s a scene you’d like to avoid.
7. Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens
Located on Old Sugar Mill Road in Port Orange, the history of the Dunlawton Sugar Mill goes all the way back to the 1800s, when much of Florida was still the property of the Spanish empire.
What’s now part of the sugar mill was originally a nearly 1,000-acre plot of land that was leased to a local man in 1804, a time when much of the southwest region of the country was mostly forested and undeveloped.
The grounds now contain cultivated gardens, historical exhibits, and a variety of well-marked walking trails that are suitable for visitors of all ages and physical abilities.
8. Daytona Flea and Farmers Market
Daytona Flea and Farmers Market has the distinction of being named one of the top five markets of its kind in the country, and one of the top ten in the world.
Featuring hundreds of vendors selling everything from tools and housewares to t-shirts, historical memorabilia, and locally made health and body products, the market draws millions of annual visitors and is one of those unique local attractions that shouldn’t be passed up.
Located on Bellevue Avenue in Daytona Beach, it’s important to note that it’s not an air-conditioned facility, so it can get balmy to say the least, especially during the summer months.
9. Polynesian Fire Productions
Polynesian Luaus are amazing cultural spectacles full of fire, drums, and dancing. If you’ve never experienced one, checking out a Polynesian Fire Productions performance would be a great way to get a taste of Pacific Island life without leaving the mainland.
The only authentic Polynesian production of their kind in the area, they have a location in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as well.
The family that owns the business traces its ancestry to the island of Tutuila in American Samoa.
Before you go, check online for special offers, coupons, and group discounts which might save you a few bucks.
10. Daytona Arcade Museum
For many aging gamers, the golden age of arcades is a thing to be remembered fondly, and for those visiting the area, there’s no better place to do just that than the Daytona Arcade Museum.
One admission ticket includes full-day access, and you won’t need to spend half your time changing dollars for coins or tokens, because the games are set to free play.
The facility is part arcade and part museum and the only one of its kind in the area.
Considering all that guests have access to, the cost of admission is reasonable, and the collection includes some of the world’s first video games like Computer Space and Atari Tomb.
11. Daytona Beach Zipline Adventure
There’s no better way to get a bird’ s-eye view of the area you’re visiting than suspended above the trees harnessed to a zip line.
Exhilarating, safe and surprisingly inexpensive, Daytona Beach Zipline Adventure on Orange Avenue features ten separate lines that are suitable for those of varying levels of physical ability.
They’re located in Tuscawilla Park, which is near a popular city beach and the motor speedway.
If you’re a zip line newbie that’s still on the fence, fear not; before you set out, you’ll get all the safety gear and training needed to experience this unique form of recreation safely.
12. Stetson Mansion
Located on Camphor Lane in Deland, the Stetson Mansion is one of the area’s most popular historical attractions, and was built by wealthy and famous hat maker John Stetson in the 1880s.
Considered to be the grandest example of Victorian architecture in the entire state, it’s full of art, housewares, and furniture that were the height of luxury by the standards of the day.
The home was noted at the time for featuring an Edison electrical system, a variety of intricate floor designs, and thousands of individual panes of stained glass, many of which are still in original condition.
13. Museum of Art – Deland
Consisting of two distinct museums spread over a few city blocks, the Museum of Art – Deland is located on North Woodland Boulevard. One admission ticket gives guests access to both locations.
Each facility includes multiple galleries and features both contemporary and traditional works with a variety of international influences.
The museum is unique in that it offers both self and professionally guided tours, but each must be reserved in advance of your visit, and group size is restricted.
Tours are generally offered from Tuesday through Friday, so check online for their tour schedule, directions and prices.
14. Athens Theater
Featuring a variety of live entertainment options ranging from plays and musicals to live bands, the Athens Theater is a valuable community resource that’s brimming with options for cultural and performance-minded travelers.
Tickets to popular shows can go quickly, so it’s wise to book them well in advance of your visit.
At different times, the theater’s management may offer special deals like buy-one-get-one-free tickets, so check their website periodically.
To prevent endless streams of stragglers from disrupting the performance after it has started, late guests will need to wait until intermission to be seated.
15. Epic Ax Throwing
An ax throwing renaissance has been sweeping the country lately, making many towns feel a bit more medieval than normal.
Located on Robinson Street in Orlando, Epic Axe Throwing is the perfect afternoon or evening destination for those who’d like to burn some calories hurling a sharp wood-splitting implement at a stationary target.
Sadly, they don’t serve alcohol, but it’s probably for the best.
They do, however, serve snacks and appetizers, but you won’t find a full menu.
If you’re traveling with a particularly annoying relative, consider staging a faux ax throwing accident to rid yourselves of them once and for all. You’ll be glad you did.