The communities here are fun and unique, providing something for everyone.
When comparing Greater Daytona to other regions, the competition often falls flat. This area provides a unique collection of 16 communities that offer a unique vibe and quality-of-life assets. Whether you are looking to spend an afternoon perusing different shops and grabbing some Asian cuisine, an evening out dining with friends or a Sunday morning exploring natural attractions, the Greater Daytona region has a community that offers that and more. Ready to learn what a sampling of this region’s cities offers?
World-famous for its beaches, this city is also home to great shopping at the Riverfront Shops of Daytona Beach. Located smack dab in the middle of downtown, shoppers can peruse its more than 60 shops. And if your stomach starts to rumble, numerous dining options (think Greek, Italian, Venezuelan, vegan and more) are available on-site. Across the river on Main Street Pier, families can keep their kids entertained for hours with arcade games, amusement park rides at Screamer’s Park and water fun at Daytona Lagoon – not to mention the numerous shops and eateries that surround the area. Finally, we suggest you stop at The Roof restaurant to fill up on freshly caught seafood while enjoying a 360-degree view of the waves and Daytona Beach.
Located on the northern shore of the St. Johns River, DeBary describes itself as “a town that is progressive yet has retained its unique Southern charm” – and this saying rings true. From a thriving bird sanctuary to the massive Italianate mansion (DeBary Hall) of its first 18th-century settler, DeBary has much to see. And, of course, eat. MG Coffee Brews & Bites delights with homemade pastries (you’ll love the strawberry and cream scone). Then, at the Swamp House River Front Grill, grab a seat at the porch railing and enjoy the breeze off the St. Johns River. Inside, renew your appreciation for American ingenuity as you gaze at a life-size alligator made entirely of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts. And if you are looking for a drink, the folks at Central28 Beer Company say their beer pairs well with daydreams. Test that notion in their tasting room, where you can woolgather along with Miss Mary Brown, Underduck and Up River handcrafted brews.
As for DeLand, this city is home to outdoor attractions, historic sites such as the Stetson Mansion (“The House That Hats Built”) and the spectacularly restored Athens Theatre. Its refurbished Main Street is now a bustling area with a busy calendar that includes gallery openings, a jazz festival and a celebration of Wine, Women and Chocolate.
“There are a lot of things going on,” says MainStreet DeLand Association Director Wayne Carter. “I’d say we average at least two events every week, sometimes four things at once. It builds a lot of energy for the community.”
And if you are in the mood to spend some cash, head on over to the Marketplace at Rivertown for antiques, clothing, toys and more.
New Smyrna Beach
Just south of Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach boasts 17 miles of glorious beaches, but it’s also a city known for its arts and culture. Nowhere is that more evident than the Canal Street Historic District. Early 20th-century buildings now house businesses, retail shops, restaurants and more. The district is a lively contemporary center for great shopping, dining, and art. At The Hub on Canal, artists’ work and admirers can watch. Dining options range from an elegant meal at Riverpark Terrace to a smoothie or salad at Lilly Rose Cafe to California cuisine at Cafe del Soul.
In Ormond Beach, you can find another unique brewery, which pays homage to the town’s history as the original home of Florida auto racing. The Ormond Garage was once a car repair shop that catered to well-heeled winter residents who raced their fancy, fast cars along the beach. The 1920s building was lovingly restored and repurposed, highlighting the city’s stylishly refurbished, nearly 2-mile-long Main Street. The brewery’s striking outdoor mural depicts an early Ormond Beach race day.
MainStreet Executive Director Julia Truilo notes that the city slogan, “Just Your Speed,” is apt. “It’s relaxed,” she says. “There are lots of things to do and places to go, but you don’t have to do it fast.”
One peaceful, fun option: the Ormond Beach Farmers Market, where 26 vendors sell local produce, plants, locally prepared food and art and crafts.