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The Cost of Living Diaries: Greater Daytona, FL

Get an inside look at what it’s like to live in the Greater Daytona region.

By Lindsey Hyde on May 2, 2023

Cynthia Blackwell

Residents of Greater Daytona not only enjoy a relaxed lifestyle, but the weather is gorgeous year-round, the cost of living is reasonable and job and recreational opportunities are overflowing. Cynthia Blackwell has lived with her husband in his native Volusia County since 2016 and, prior to that, from 1991 to 1999. Today, she works as a business and life strategist in Lake Helen.

How would you describe Volusia County?

It’s a “small town.” Everybody knows everybody. You have the beach, so you have the tourism aspect of it and the hospitality aspect of it, but then technology has grown immensely. Stetson University has grown immensely. It’s known all across the country for the business school, the legal school and music, so you have the collegiate aspect of it. But you also have that down-home Southern aspect of it, too.

What do you love about living here?

I have the best of both worlds. You have access to the beach, and then you have access to downtown Orlando, meaning the business of it, the nightlife and the city life. You also have easy access to Kennedy Space Center, Disney and Universal, so you really have the best of it all.

What is the cost of living like in the region?

It’s much more affordable than the two counties surrounding Orlando. You have Seminole County, which is the smallest county in the state, but one of the richest counties in the state. The cost of living is much higher going across the bridge (from Volusia County into Seminole County). Once you come across the bridge, it is probably a 15-25% increase in cost of living, from groceries to rent to property. And then you go into Orange County, (and it is the) same thing.

What’s your favorite restaurant, and how much would dinner cost for two people?

Sinatra’s Ristorante, which is in Cassadaga. There’s a hotel in the area, which is supposed to be haunted, and then there’s the coolest little restaurant in the hotel (Sinatra’s). They have great happy hours. They have live music. You have people from all over the area that will come; people who will drive out of state to come and stay at the hotel. It’s just cool. (Dinner and drinks would) be about $60.

What’s your favorite coffee shop, and how much is your go-to drink?

Boston Coffee House in downtown DeLand. It’s breakfast and just excellent coffee, hot cocoa and teas. (My favorite) is probably a mocha, and it would cost about $6 for a medium.

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