By Austyn O’Dwyer
Somewhere up north, a ski lift clacks haplessly up some frigid peak, a snow plow rumbles down a snow strewn alleyway, and a cantankerous shopkeep scrapes rebellious ice from windows. The chill of winter is still bone deep in many places around our wonderful country, but the equatorial serendipity of the sunshine state has allowed our deliverance from a -mild- winter to a balmy summer. If you find yourself in our neck of the woods this early summer, the list of sun-soaked activities is nearly endless. With events ranging from boozy to ocean breezy, Daytona Beach is a leisure mecca, boasting some of the best summer fun south of the state line. In this week’s blog, we will be documenting some our tried-and-true favorites, gathered by locals over decades, and “researched” thoroughly, guaranteeing you the best insider takes on Daytona Beach summer events. So grab a boogie board and shake off the last of the winter chill from back home, and let’s get started!
This sprawling estate, once the vacation home of oil mogul John. D Rockefeller, stands vigil in Ormond Beach’s historic riverfront district and offers some of the best scenery in town. With spring not far in the periferie, lush flora and fauna dot the neatly trimmed grounds and provide excellent eye candy for walking tours. Free tours are available Saturdays and Sundays from 10AM- 3PM. Walking tour guides are also available via the casements mobile app. Just outside the grounds, plenty of grassy fields are available for picnics, photos next to the Halifax river, and recreation, making this spot an eclectic mix of historical intrigue and unforgettable scenery.
For those of you who have read my previous blogs, my infatuation with Ormond Beach’s historic roadway “The Loop” has been well documented. The Loop is a 30+ mile double-circle of roadway that skirts some of the best preserved wetlands in Florida and offers access to many sightseeing opportunities, state parks, and intriguing landmarks. If you want to learn about the rich history of this storied roadway, we suggest taking a bus tour offered by the Ormond Beach Historical Society. The OBHS will tailor a personalized tour that accommodates your group and your interests. Tours can be scheduled via the website and, for larger groups, entire buses can be chartered for a low price. Take our word for it, this is an experience you don’t want to miss.
The Daytona Dry Tortugas- the Cubs’ minor league feeder team- have a permanent home in Daytona’s Jackie Robinson Park. The area offers fantastic views of the river, and is a stone’s throw from many bars, restaurants, and other establishments on Beach Street. The Tortuga games run throughout the summer and offer a multitude of great deals on food, local beers, and merchandise. Early summer is the perfect time to watch a ballgame in the temperate but tolerable night air, buffeted by a cool river breeze. Be sure to check the website for game times and advanced tickets for the family.
The locals were reluctant to give this secret away but, hey, we’re hospitable in Daytona Beach! Disappearing island near Ponce Inlet has been a closely guarded secret for generations, offering some of the best island-based entertainment in the area. Boaters can anchor up at low tide and walk the temporary sand paradise before the waves swallow it up again in a few hours. There are a multitude of boat rentals in the area including Ponce Inlet Watersports that are close enough to the island to make for easy access. Make sure to check the tide charts and bring plenty of sunscreen! For a better view of this aquatic oddity, check out this flyover video of dozens of boats anchored up to sandbar. Remember, take it slow and observe all channel markers when navigating this busy port.
Due to recent changes in the NASCAR race lineup, early summer is relatively quiet for NASCAR races, the next being the Circle K Firecracker 250 and Coke Zero Sugar 400 on July 5th and 6th respectively. Despite these early summer NASCAR doldrums, there is still a plethora of activities, shows, and events at the International Speedway. Check the speedway website for a full listing of summer events. Check back next time for full updates and a summer event breakdown.