I think we can all agree that there are worse places to be stuck for a few days than Daytona Beach, so I was more than a little happy to spend some extra time in the warm Florida sunshine when my flight home got cancelled. While visiting Daytona for a work trip, a massive storm up north caused sweeping cancellations of flights, which meant that I was stranded in sunny, beautiful Daytona Beach for another day or two. I know, poor me.
However, because I originally wasn’t planning on staying in Daytona Beach for another couple of days, I needed to find a last-minute hotel. So I pulled up HotelTonight’s app and within minutes I had booked a room in a charming seaside hotel. Since I hadn’t been able to explore much of the area while I was attending the business conference, I was excited to actually get to unwind, recharge and enjoy this picturesque beach town.
The Daytona Beach Boardwalk is iconic. This historic boardwalk was originally built in 1938, and to this day it’s one of the most popular spots for tourists and locals alike. The Boardwalk is lined with popular hotels, great restaurants, lively bars and eclectic shops, so you could spend hours strolling along this seaside path. The Boardwalk also features live entertainment and amusement park rides, so it’s certainly one of the most exciting areas in the city. I spent the morning walking up and down the Boardwalk, taking in all of its unique sights and smells, and it was easy to see why this area of Daytona Beach is so beloved by both locals and visitors.
I couldn’t stay in Daytona Beach without enjoying its most popular attraction – the beach. Daytona Beach boasts more than 20 miles of white, sandy beaches, so every visitor is sure to find a stretch of beach they love. Daytona Beach really does feel like the quintessential American beach town, and it’s a popular spot for families as well as young spring breakers. I was traveling solo on this beach adventure, but I didn’t let that stop me from making the most of my short stay in this coastal town. I planted my umbrella in the sand, rolled out my towel, and spent the afternoon lounging on this picturesque beach.
Located between Bay Street and Orange Avenue in Daytona Beach’s downtown neighborhood, Beach Street buzzes with activity and excitement. This historic shopping street boasts great boutiques as well as trendy stores, and there is an eclectic selection of dining options in the area. I actually had a hard time deciding where to eat dinner, because there are so many interesting restaurants and eateries on this lively street. This area is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Daytona Beach, and chances are that once you visit Beach Street, you’ll want to find any excuse to return to this charming historic district.
The next morning, I made my way to Cracker Creek, a 20-acre nature sanctuary just south of Daytona Beach. This scenic sanctuary is home to many endangered plants and animals, and visitors can explore this expansive environmental preserve on foot or by boat. I found that the best way to really experience Cracker Creek was by boat, so I ended up taking a boat tour of the Creek, and I was glad I did. On the boat, I was able to get up close to some of the local wildlife, such as cranes, jumping fish and even alligators.
This 52-acre public park is located in Ponce Inlet, which is just south of Daytona Beach. If you want to escape the crowds of Daytona Beach, the Lighthouse Point Park is the perfect place to visit. The park boasts natural scenery and wildlife, and it feels much more remote than the busy stretch of sand in Daytona. As I walked through the park and along its rugged shoreline, I spotted dolphins just off the shore. Other park goers told me that they’ve seen animals, like tortoises and birds of prey in this park, so it’s definitely a great destination for nature lovers.
After two days of sunshine and fresh ocean air, it was (unfortunately) time for me to head back to the airport. While I know the storms up north caused many travelers a great deal of stress and headaches, they actually gave me a rare opportunity to forget about any stress I had back home. I’ve always believed that spending a couple of days on the beach is the best form of therapy, and I was so grateful that HotelTonight made it so easy to book my last-minute hotel in Daytona Beach. Even though my extra time in Daytona Beach was completely unexpected, I was able to have a relaxing, unforgettable mini beach vacation thanks to some unforeseen weather and HotelTonight.