If sand and surf—and sunbathers—appeal to your senses, then visit Daytona Beach, Florida. The self-proclaimed "World's Most Famous Beach" is an epicenter of activity for Florida-bound college students, NASCAR fans and motorcycle enthusiasts from mid-February through March.
The rest of the year, Daytona Beach is a balmy haven appealing to all age groups, from little children assembling sand castles to seniors basking in the ocean breeze. Although lying on the Daytona Beach sand is a time-honored activity, so is driving on the beach—the silica is so hard-packed that vehicles are permitted as long as they don't exceed 10 mph/16 kph. When you tire of the surf and sand, there are plenty of local Daytona Beach haunts where you can eat, party, relax and shop for souvenirs.
Visitors will find that Daytona Beach is in the midst of a major redevelopment campaign, spurred by hurricane damage and the city's reputation as a spring-break destination. When completed, the Atlantic Avenue Enhancement Project will revamp the 1.3-mi/2-km stretch of Atlantic Avenue from Davis Street to Riverview Boulevard into a tropical boulevard, complete with palm trees, gardens and more.
Modern Daytona Beach hotels line the oceanfront, and many other improvements complement the Atlantic Avenue project. Daytona's character as an entertaining mix of high culture and fun-in the-sun remains intact—the elegant Hilton Hotel shares the boardwalk with Joyland Arcade. Unique shops, restaurants, and recreational and entertainment venues welcome everyone from families with young children to retirees to the uber-sophisticated.
Note: Florida sustained widespread damage during Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Travelers should investigate current conditions prior to planning a visit.
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