Ready to escape the cold winter and head to the gorgeous beaches of Florida? Whether it’s time to plan your summer holidays or you’re simply in need of a bit of sun, you can have it all at the best beaches in Daytona Beach, Florida.
One of the top beach destinations in the continental US, Daytona Beach has 23 miles of the most picturesque beaches in the nation. Whether you’re a beach bum that wants to lounge and work on your tan or an active go-getter who wants to hike miles of beautiful forest trails, there’s something for everyone.
End your day with waterfront dining, enjoying stunning sunsets, or stay the night in one of the many hotels! With summer weather enjoyed practically year-round, go for a paddle, swim, or simply enjoy one of the stellar restaurants in the tropical paradise that is Daytona Beach—the iconic destination for beach lovers.
Ready to plan your trip to one of Florida’s best beaches? Grab this complete Daytona Beach guide including the best beaches to check out in the area.
Top-rated Daytona Beach beaches
The main Daytona Beach area boasts some of the world’s best beaches. With their crystal clear aquamarine waters and hard-packed sand, it’s perfect for family vacations. Adventurers of all ages can have a great time, whether you’re strolling the massive 23-mile stretch of white sand beaches, or going for a paddleboard tour in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Away from the sands themselves, the Daytona Beach Boardwalk is a well-known tourist attraction with activities to satisfy every taste. From shopping to music events, arcades, a myriad of restaurants, the boardwalk is one of the city’s must-see attractions.
Also in the area is the Daytona Beach Fishing Pier. The pier stretches 1,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean (more the length of three football fields!)and has been a favorite fishing spot for more than a hundred years.
The beautiful coastal area or Ormond Beach is situated to the north of Daytona Beach and has a small-town charm to it that makes you feel calm and peaceful. With pristine, blue waters and gorgeous surroundings, Ormond Beach is much less crowded than the neighboring Daytona Beach.
Ormond Beach is also home to the fairly new Andy Romano Beachfront Park. This four-acre expanse runs right along the beach and guarantees hours of fun for the whole family. Check out its great facilities with free parking just off the beach, areas for grilling, clean restrooms, and splash pools for the little ones.
Ponce Inlet to the south of the city is not to be underestimated by its size. It’s an excellent small-town beach for nature lovers and those with furry friends, with the inlet having several nature trails, dog-friendly parks, and off-leash dog beaches.
The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is most known as the tallest lighthouse in Florida. Standing at 175-feet tall with 203 steps from the bottom to the top, the lighthouse museum walks bay to times gone by, when kerosene lamps were lit by lighthouse keepers to guide ships safely to shore.
Surrounding the lighthouse, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Point Park is dog-friendly—just warn your four-legged travel companion not to chase Nelly, the lighthouse cat!
Daytona Beach Shores
Daytona Beach Shores is a family-friendly beachside location that’s much quieter and is geared more towards silver-haired beach lovers. As the city has fewer hotels and mostly consists of condos, it’s not as packed as other areas in Daytona Beach and has a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere to it.
With miniature golf, spa resorts, paddle-boarding, and even Polynesian fire dancing shows, you can keep the whole family entertained from dawn to dusk. When you’re not living it up, you can also work on your tan and enjoy the ocean breeze on the beach!
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Daytona Beach Shores also permits driving on the beach, so get in your vehicle, go for a quick drive with the windows down and catch all that salt spray!
Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park
The Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park is a 37-acre park at the end of the Daytona Beach strip. It’s located by Ormond-By-The-Sea, starting at the Halifax River and stretching all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. If you enjoy physical activity, this park will be right up your alley, with tennis courts and numerous areas dedicated to baseball, basketball courts, and soccer fields.
For nature lovers, there are several dog-friendly hiking trails—strap on your shoes, grab your pooch, and explore! If you’re looking for a little privacy to read a book or just get away from the daily stresses of life, there’s a secret area within Bicentennial Park that you can walk or bike to.
Love getting the binoculars out? There’s even a hiking trail at Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park specifically for bird watchers!
Sun Splash Park
Sun Splash Park is the perfect place for water lovers who don’t want to go into the ocean. With a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean, you can splash around in this 3,500 sq. ft splash pad. With 42 water jets that shoot water up to six feet in the air, this splash pad guarantees to provide hours and hours of fun.
The park also has beach access, so you can pack a picnic basket and enjoy one of the many picnic areas while the kids play in the shaded playground.
Sun Splash Park is open from early mornings to sunset and is just another way to enjoy a fun day out with the fam in Daytona Beach.
New Smyrna Beach
Whether you’re a Slater-level pro or just a beginner struggling to pop up, New Smyrna Beach is a 17-mile stretch of beach that’s a surfer’s delight. With some of the best waves along the East Coast and frequent breaks, you’ll be sure to catch a wave here!
Not only does New Smyrna Beach have an idyllic stretch of white sandy beach for you to enjoy, but the area is also a food lover’s haven. Boasting some of the finest restaurants in the Daytona Beach area, you’re sure to find delicious meals to satisfy any palate.
Smyrna Dunes Park
An amazing feature of the Smyrna Dunes Park, and perhaps the most important reason for it being a top-rated beach in the Daytona Beach area, is the fact that it has two miles of elevated boardwalks making it wheelchair accessible. For an added bonus, the boardwalk is made with recycled lumber, making it even better!
If your vehicle has a handicap parking permit, the entrance to Smyrna Dunes Park is free. Dogs are allowed on the leash, and there’s even a dog-washing station to hose Fido off at the end of the day to save your car from the mountains of sand.
Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park
Part of the Florida Black Heritage Trail, the Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park is named after the African American educator and civil rights activist who was an integral part of establishing the area as a beach for African Americans during segregation.
Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park has now become a surfer’s paradise and is open to all. With convenient parking at the edge of the beach and a boardwalk on the Halifax River side of the park popular with anglers, there’s plenty to enjoy. On a clear day, you might even be able to spot a manatee or two from the pier!
Canaveral National Seashore
Canaveral National Seashore is a massive barrier island of nearly 58,000 acres and is the largest stretch of undeveloped beach in Florida.
Part of the U.S. National Parks Service, it’s home to a huge variety of plants and animals and is the main habitat for many endangered species, including being a nesting spot for thousands of protected marine turtles, making this a true national treasure.
For the budding anthropologists, a visit to Turtle Mound is a must. This almost 50-foot archeological site lies within the Canaveral National Seashore and shows the earliest evidence of man to tread these shores. Its name comes from the fact that, over many years, the natives launched their dugout canoes at the base of the mound, hence, it began to take on the shape of a turtle.
The seashore has two entrances and can be entered either at Apollo Beach or Playalinda Beach. With lots of activities including swimming, horseback riding, boating, and birdwatching, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Just a short drive north from Ormond Beach is Ormond-By-The-Sea, a beautiful and safe residential haven for those looking to retire, nestled in quiet surroundings. Ormond-By-The-Sea is bordered by Volusia County on the north, Ormond Beach on the south, the ocean on the east, and the Halifax River on the west.
Affectionately abbreviated OBTS, this tiny enclave is home to slightly more than 8,000 people, and to countless species of coastal birds, sea turtles, and crustaceans.
As a bonus, this area is splendid for fishing so grab those rods and catch yourself some dinner!