Affordability, opportunity and the great outdoors give Greater Daytona real appeal
Yes, there is ample sunshine and access to water and beaches, but life in the Greater Daytona Region offers so much more.
The region offers an affordable cost of living – less than 90% of the state and U.S. average – a diverse and vibrant economy, plentiful shopping, dining and entertainment options and a prime location in proximity to cities like Orlando and Jacksonville. Those advantages have made it a destination of choice for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, including young professionals, such as Kathryn Nagib, who are eager to put down roots and make the region their home.
“I moved from Orlando to the Greater Daytona area in 2012 for a job opportunity, but I plan on staying here for so many reasons,â€ says Nagib, development manager for the Halifax Health- Foundation in Daytona Beach and president-elect of the Volusia Young Professionals Group. “The weather is beautiful, and we have gorgeous beaches – those are things you can’t find just anywhere. I also think many residents share a common goal of bettering our respective communities and continuing to make them places people want to be, and that benefits all of us.”
Part of the Greater Daytona Region’s appeal lies in its thriving communities, such as DeLand, a mecca for dining, arts and culture, shopping and recreation.
As an award-winning Florida Main Street community, downtown DeLand lays claim to a host of locally owned destinations, including Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co., named the No. 1 brewery in the state by online magazine VacationIdea.
Savannah-Jane Griffin, executive director of community engagement and inclusive excellence at Stetson University, recommends downtown DeLand attractions like Cafe DaVinci, Athens Theatre and the Artisan Alley Friday Growers and Makers Market.
Annual events such as Thin Man Watts Jazz Festival, Taste of DeLand and DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts are well worth a trip downtown, she says.
“Downtown DeLand is unique because it has one-of-a-kind restaurants, businesses and entertainment venues, along with signature events that you won’t want to miss,â€ Griffin says. “It’s safe to say our downtown provides something for just about everyone.”
Downtown New Smyrna Beach is another favorite destination in the region. Its Canal Street Historic District features tree-lined streets, a marina and a park along the Indian River. Stocked with quaint shops and standout restaurants, the district is also a top spot for festivals and special events.
A variety of monthly and annual events take place in the district, says Courtnee Brokaw, communications manager for the New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau. An Art Stroll and Craft Beer Walk are held on the first Saturday of each month, while the Canal Street Classic Cruise Car Show is on the second Saturday. The fall brings the New Smyrna Beach Antique and Vintage Market and Blocktoberfest, which includes live music, inflatables and a pooch parade. Each January, IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts attracts artists and craftspeople from around the country who come to display and sell their work.
Shopping and Entertainment Hot Spots
In addition to its must-visit downtown, Daytona Beach features large-scale attractions, such as the 235- acre Tomoka Town Center. Located along the east side of Interstate 95, the mixed- use development is home to major retail chains like Hobby Lobby, T.J. Maxx and DSW as well as the 350,000-square-foot Tanger Outlets mall, which includes approximately 70 stores and a handful of restaurants.
Also in Daytona Beach is One Daytona, a lifestyle and entertainment destination complete with two hotels and a luxury apartment community. One Daytona, located directly across from the iconic Daytona International Speedway, boasts 300,000 square feet of dining, shopping and entertainment, including Cobb Daytona Luxury Theatres, a 12-screen movie complex, and Victory Circle, which hosts concerts and family-friendly events.
The Pavilion at Port Orange offers an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment experience complete with a boardwalk feel. The Pavilion at Port Orange includes a 14-screen movie theater, an outdoor community performance venue, walking trails surrounding the water, and a variety of retailers and restaurants.