With so much to love in Daytona Beach, where do you start? After checking in at the very eco-friendly Daytona Beach Resort & Conference Center (www.DaytonaBeachResort) I decided to focus on three things in the area; the Daytona International Speedway (as in Daytona 500), local spas of which there were plenty and finally, spirits (as in an old, still in operation spiritualist camp not too far outside of Daytona Beach). Just an aside though, do spend some time at the beach since there is 23 miles of it to be enjoyed and you gotta have some downtime, right.
At the top of the list, the Daytona International Speedway (www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com) was more than I could have ever expected. I mean I’m a girl and I don’t really like racing, well I do now. We were able to watch some of the drivers testing the cars and that was a real treat, but even on off days it’s still a great stop since the Daytona 500 Experience at the Speedway (www.daytona500experience.com) is a must on any list. A family attraction with simulators, track tours and an IMAX 3D movie presentation, there is even what is called a live pit stop challenge, you could spend all day. If you time your trip right too, you can also enjoy the Richard Petty Driving Experience. It’s a 2.5 mile track at speeds as high as 150 mph and you throw in a 30-minute track tour for good measure.
Sweets and Spa
What’s a relaxing holiday without a couple of spa’s thrown in, we like that for sure. At the Daytona Beach Resort & Conference Center the Terra Acqua Day Spa (www.daytonabeachresort) awaits. Located in the lobby of the hotel, the spa uses Sothy’s of Paris products and treatments include the Lava Shell Massage, a Detoxifying Seaweed Wrap or if you prefer a facial it’s a European or anti-gravity facial, take your pick. Another option, the Shores Resort & Spa (www.shoresresort.com) with Indonesian and Thai rituals and a full slate of massage therapies and body treatments. Enjoy the Far East and choose between jasmine and frangipani if you opt for a Balinese or Thai massage. And, a spa day just wouldn’t be complete without chocolate so head on downtown to Angell and Phelps Chocolate Factory (www.angellandphelps.com). It’s been around since 1925 and you can ask for a free guided tour and watch more than 100 different kinds of hand-made chocolate being made and boxed.
In the little town known as Cassadaga (www.cassadaga.org) I actually found someone who did aura photography. I have been looking for an aura photographer for a couple of years and, since this is a tiny community of spiritualists (the spiritualist camp was founded in 1894) I knew I had come to the right place. Just 25 miles southwest of Daytona Beach, Cassadaga has also been named a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. More reason to visit, the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is the oldest active community of its kind in the southeastern part of the United States. Other options in Cassadaga include spirit and orb tours and an amazing bookstore.
Suggested restaurant options:
Stonewood Grill and Tavern – www.stonewoodgrill.com
Vince Carter’s – www.vincecarters.com
The Cellar – www.thecellarrestaurant.com
Lighthouse Landing – www.lighthouselandingrestaurant.com
Ronin – www.roninsushiandbar.com
Ivy Lane Bistro – www.ivylanebistro.com
Martini’s Chophouse – www.martinischophouse.com
Dancing Avocado – www.avocadokitchen.net
Have some free time, climb the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse (www.ponceinlet.org) – the tallest lighthouse in Florida at 175 feet. It was completed in 1887 and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Count the steps, all 203 of ‘em and the view is stunning.
For more information on Daytona Beach visit www.daytonabeach.com