It's Saturday morning in Central Florida and the weather forecast is 80% chance of rain, as we sit in the Florida Vacation Villa as a family to discuss what we're going to do for the day. We thought about booking a round of golf in one of the many Central Florida golf courses, but after much discussion we decide on a day trip to Daytona Beach.
We set off around 11:00 and the GPS tells me that it's 75 miles - the drive was pretty easy, a mixture of toll roads and the I-4 and we arrive around 12:20. On the drive in you pass the amazing Daytona International Speedway track where they hold the infamous Daytona 500 race. My first impressions were that it's a massive, very impressive stadium and race track although there's a lot of building work currently underway so we decided against one of the Daytona Speedway tours.
We continued on our way and followed the signs to the Daytona Pier, driving through an area of gift shops and bars which your mind can easily imagine being packed with bikers during the Daytona Bike week, not this weekend so it was pretty quiet. The next challenge was parking - I had the pre-conception that it would be difficult and expensive, but instead we drove to the first car park near the Pier and it was $8 for the day and right next to the beach.
Before unloading the car we decided to take a walk along the pier which has several restaurants and is free to enter. There is plenty of seating (the majority in the shade) and at the end of the pier there is an area where people fish.
We then headed back to the car to unload the beach chairs/umbrella and all the other paraphernalia for the beach. The beach itself is a lovely white sand and if you decide not to take your own chairs or sunshade you can hire these from people directly on the beach - surfboards too. There is also a refreshment van static on the beach and a golf buggy converted into an ice cream van that creeps along hoping for customers!
The water was warm, even though it's the Atlantic, and the waves were large enough for the kids to have fun but not dangerous. There's a lifegaurd on duty close to the Pier displaying beach warning flags - this day they had a Red Flag on which was a black surfboard with a cross through it- pretty self-explanatory..... no surfing was allowed.
The only thing we did not do was take a drive down the beach!
Oh and did we say there was an 80% chance of rain? Not in Daytona - it was sunny all day long and we headed back home around 16:00 to be met with some heavy storms by the time we got back to our Disney Villa.