By: Hillary Latos
When you think of Daytona Beach, you may conjure thoughts of NASCAR and the Speedway, a thriving motorcycle community, or a town with more than 50 yearly festivals. However, Daytona Beach is much more; Daytona is home to the “World’s Most Famous Beach” that spans for 23 gorgeous miles. In the early 1900’s the beaches of Daytona began to attract adrenaline junkies who found the flat packed white sand perfect for racing who continuously set non-professionally competitive speed records that culminated in 1935 when Sir Malcolm Campbell drove the world famous “Bluebird” at 276 miles per hour on the beach. Today Daytona is home to fresh local dining, high-end shopping, museums, bustling nightlife, and is a lovely metropolis surrounded by charming and historic southern towns.
Daytona is home to numerous oceanfront high-end hotels like the Hilton, which is situated next to the historic local amphitheater Bandshell. The hotel offers free bike rentals, access to beachfront driving, and is close to excellent locally sourced dining. However, for those of you looking for a small town experience nearby Deland and Smyrna Beach are a great option.
Deland is a sleepy southern town filled with independently owned stores, award winning boulevards, a growing farm to table restaurant scene, and wine bars. While strolling down the main avenue, you may encounter locals driving down historic Woodland Boulevard in classic cars. Conveniently located between Orlando and Daytona Beach, Deland is known for great houseboat, manatee viewing and bird watching, skydiving, golfing, fishing, and outdoor recreation on the St. Johns River.
On the other hand, New Smyrna Beach is more lively as it is home to emerging local artists, and hip Flagler Ave which boasts vibrant shopping and hidden speakeasies. New Smyrna Beach possesses a distinct hometown quality reflected in the town’s architecture and landscape. And, Smyrna is an excellent place to savor fresh seafood on the waterfront, or under an umbrella at a sidewalk cafe.
And now it is easier than ever for New Yorkers to visit Daytona with JetBlue’s new direct flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Daytona Beach International Airport. JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach based on average fleet-wide seat pitch for U.S. airlines and carries more than 32 million customers a year to 94 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America. JetBlue now offers more flights between the Empire State and the Sunshine State than any other airline with up to 83 daily non-stops.
The new route with Jetblue has undoubtedly created a gateway, for New York and this is only the beginning. The airport features a growing list of shops and dining option as well as complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the terminals. “JetBlue’s arrival in Daytona Beach is part of the overall renaissance that the greater Daytona Beach area and Volusia County is experiencing,” said Rick Carl, airport director, Daytona Beach International Airport. “Having the most
convenient airport in the east central Florida region, Daytona Beach International Airport is well-suited for the partnership with JetBlue.”