Home of cool Beaches, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach Boardwalk and amazing of things to do in Daytona Beach on Memorial Day. We've compiled some of the best activities to do in Daytona Beach on this Memorial Day holiday.
The founders of Daytona Beach didn't just pick a random spot to create a resort town. They chose a stretch of sand extending some 23 miles, which was to become widely recognized as one of the best beaches in Florida, if not one of the best in the entire United States. Edged by its distinctive aquamarine waters, this famous beach now borders one of the world's most legendary Boardwalks, itself home to a ton of amusements, funky shops and restaurants, and outdoor street performers.
This is a true family beach, where the sounds of the waves are intermingled with the laughter of children. The beach is also home to 10 parks, a number of interesting festivals, and recreational opportunities galore. And from May 15 to October 31, a parade of giant sea turtles emerges from the ocean to lay their eggs on the sand.
Looking for somewhere great to stay here on Memorial Day? The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort is right on the beach, close to the Boardwalk and the shops of Ocean Walk Village.
The moment you enter Daytona International Speedway, you'll know you're on hallowed ground. This is not only one of the most legendary auto-racing tracks on Earth, it's also the home of NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Racing. Founded by Bill France, Sr., in 1947 and still family-owned, this organization holds colorful events that attract upwards of 125,000 spectators.
And now you can even get a taste the thrill of race car driving in a bunch of interactive racetrack experiences and tours during Memorial Day. On the Speedway Tour tram ride, you'll experience the 31-degree banks on the track, and even climb up to the podium in Victory Lane for a photo.
There's also the unique opportunity to ride shotgun with a professional driver at speeds up to 160 miles per hour and at the NASCAR Racing Experience or the Richard Petty Driving Experience, you can actually drive one of these cars yourselves for up to 30 laps.
Built in 1938, the Boardwalk amusement area – originally named the "Broadwalk" – is the center of Daytona Beach life, and is constantly being upgraded with new shops, new culinary treats, and new experiences.
Located close to the Main Street, this always bustling area has plenty of fun for people of all ages, with family-friendly indoor and outdoor things to do, including a Ferris wheel, go-carts, and free concerts in the bandshell.
Other places to visit on Memorial Day include the shops and trendy eateries of Ocean Walk Village, a taffy factory called Zeno's World's Most Famous Taffy, and the 1,000-foot-long Daytona Pier.
Although most frequently referred to simply as Daytona Beach Pier, the city's Main Street Pier, to use its proper name, has been a popular waterfront attraction for close to 100 years. Constructed in 1925, this city landmark is as popular for fishing as it is for those out for a stroll to get some ocean air.
Stretching 740 feet out into the Atlantic Ocean, this quaint wooden pier is easily accessible from the Daytona Beach Boardwalk. It's open daily and free to explore. It's a great spot for a sunrise selfie, or to spot marine life, such as dolphins, and seabirds. There's also a couple of restaurants here for those wanting to grab a bite with a great view over the water, one of which will also cook up any fish you may have caught.
Those interested in fishing can do so from dawn to dusk at the east end of the pier. Fishing can also be enjoyed from Sunglow Pier, too (fees required at both locations). While renovations and a possible extension are planned for the Main Street Pier, it and its restaurants remain open to visitors on Memorial Day.
The Marine Science Center is not only a living museum of underwater life, it's also a research and learning center. Since opening its doors in 2002, this fascinating attraction has nursed more than 200 species and many thousands of animals back to health and released many back into the wild.
Among the rescued critters are sea turtles, hatchlings, and other animals such as snakes, gopher tortoises, and freshwater turtles. And, since opening in 2004, the Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Facility has taken in almost 18,000 injured birds.
Children and parents can actually view the research facilities and touch some of the inhabitants in the large touch-tank, including stingrays on Memorial Day visit. Other highlights include a Turtle Terrace, a nature trail with boardwalks, a bird observation tower, and all kinds of interesting exhibits.
If you're a baseball fan, you'll be familiar with the name Jackie Robinson. In 1946, Robinson became the first African-American to play in a professional baseball game in the US – right here in the stadium that carries his name. He was a minor-leaguer then, playing for the Montreal Royals. But it wasn't long before he was called up to the majors, to play – and eventually make the Hall of Fame – with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The old ballpark, located in the historic downtown waterfront district, is a Daytona Beach landmark, and history reverberates loudly here. So does the ballpark on nights when today's minor-league team, the Daytona Tortugas, play here. The ballpark also doubles as a concert venue.
The Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art actually refers to itself as a history museum because it tells the history of Florida through the works of its artists, from pioneer days until now. It tells this history more comprehensively than any other art museum and features more than 2,600 works of art, making it the world's largest collection of Florida art and artists.
Here, you'll find exhibits both historic and contemporary on subjects such as Florida weather, the Seminoles and the Everglades, depictions of Florida by female painters, and views of St. Augustine. Other highlights include pop-culture exhibits such as Americana, Coca-Cola, and the railroads. There's even a stunning Planetarium show, free with the purchase of a regular museum ticket.
It's an impressive museum, and one that enables Florida history to speak to us through the strokes of its best artists. This stunning museum is adjacent to the Museum of Arts & Sciences.
The Stetson Mansion is a still-standing sentinel of the Gilded Age. It was considered Florida's first luxury estate and its most glorious home up until the 20th century. Built by hat tycoon and philanthropist John B. Stetson in 1886, the house was constructed with a variety of interesting interior carvings, rare woods for the floors, 10,000 window panes of leaded glass, and world-class art.
The Stetsons were known for hosting the most lavish parties in Florida, attended by foreign royalty and American entrepreneurs, tycoons, and inventors. Family friend Thomas Edison helped design the electrical system, and the Stetsons even built their own power plant, ice plant, and a hotel for their wealthy guests.
The famous Florida magnate Henry Flagler even built a railroad line directly to the property. For a special treat, be sure to visit over the Christmas period, when the home is spectacularly decorated with festive ornamentation. Guided tours are available year-round.