Very regrettably, I used to not see all of the fun that Daytona had to offer as an adult. My memories of Daytona were based on spring break college years or touristy trap and carnival style entertainment on the boardwalk, so when my husband told me that we would be going there yearly for a get away with his company, I was appreciative but only expected relaxing on a beach all day and that was it. After all, our spring break years are FAR behind us. But I was so wrong. My husband's boss is a kind man with a big heart that treats his employees to a non-work-company retreat every May. This past May was our second trip with the company. Let me tell you, Daytona is great and has so much to offer!! But it's even better with good friends! The sunrises are romantic. The Beach is so peaceful. The food is fantastic! There are definitely do's and don'ts with tripping to Daytona. Here they are:
Do partake in the beach rentals. The paddle boarding is amazing but not for the out of shape. (That would be me.) My husband got over the ocean break fairly easy but I did not. I have paddle boarded a few times in my day so comes pretty easy to me but on the ocean with a rough wave cycle, that is insanely hard. Getting past the break took everything in me and I was absolutely beat in the above picture. Also, sharks are definitely on the rise of coming to more shallow waters for food. If you are in their home, know that there are risks and always bring a life jacket. (Mine was behind me in this pic only for the photo op)
Do bring a waterproof lanyard for your phone. The pictures of everything are amazing.
Do not go this far off the coast. My husband and I have grown up only miles from beaches our entire lives. We are very familiar with rip tides and strong currents. And NO ONE will be spared, no matter how good of a swimmer you are. A rental worker actually jet ski'd out to us to see if we were ok. The current was strong and took us out this far so it was not completely intentional. But that is why the life jackets are so imperative. We made it back to shore safe and sound.
Partake in the food trucks and frozen lemonade kiosks. The food and drinks on the beach are great and so convenient. It was like an oasis discovery after those waves whipped me!
Do visit Yaya's! The bartenders are so kind and hospitable and did I mention you must go on Karaoke night??? The Karaoke is amazing and this bar is stapled with locals and annual vacationers who specifically come on Karaoke nights. Smoking has been banned in most indoor facilities but Yaya's unfortunately has not met this newer regulation yet. So be prepared for a flashback to the 90's when you were asked "smoking or non?" except its all smoking.
Do make a trip to the Waffle House after singing your heart out. The staff at the waffle house enjoy seeing the visiting patrons come in enjoying their town. Be sure to tip big for great service.
Do visit the Oyster Pub. If you love oysters, this is your paradise. The food was absolutely delicious and the restaurant is very accommodating for larger parties. For smaller groups, booths are all complete with your own personal TV to watch sports on. So if there is a good game on, this is your dinner destination if it is to be paired with good food. The outside of the restaurant is surrounded by strip clubs. This may or may not be your scene so there is your heads up.
Do go by Cocina 214 for a beachfront view to die for and a delicious margarita. This is a great Mexican restaurant with a great menu. They are insanely busy on Cinco De Mayo so definitely make reservations for that day. Otherwise, most of their menu is exquisite so order several dishes and share with your group.
Our Deck Down Under is another phenomenal dive with mind blowing food. Sit outside to enjoy the views.
The board walk is hit or miss when it comes to entertainment. There are still some good food choices but sometimes it is a big tourist trap. So be sure to take a drive down the coast (most areas allow you to drive on the actual beach) and explore a little.
AND MY BIGGEST DO FOR FOOD:
Eat breakfast, brunch, or lunch at the Cracked Egg! You will not be sorry. The service is great and the food is even better. Its always a staple and so good that it's hard to only go once per trip. (We usually go twice!)
And that's it. This is a great weekend trip for you and a friend, a group of friends/co workers, or your partner to recharge and relax. And if you want to spontaneously Adult at Disney while you're there, it's only an hour away, just saying... Disney is always a good idea.