After Orlando, it’s time to visit the splendid Daytona Beach.

A popular way to get some beach time when visiting Orlando is to head up to Daytona Beach. Interstates 4 and 95 make this a fast, easy drive of less than two hours.

On the way, you may want to make time for some interesting side trips.

Start by heading northeast on I-4. Visit historic Sanford and the nearby Central Florida Zoo, located off I-4 on Route 17/92. Hop back on I-4 for twelve miles to Cassadega, a small town known for its spiritualist community.

Have your palm read while you’re there.

If you discover that a trip to the beach – less amazing on Miami Beach of course –  is in your future, continue on to Daytona (I-4 intersects with I-95; head north there for 1 mile). Before you get to the beach, 2 miles east of I-95, you’ll pass Daytona International Speedway on International Speedway Boulevard (Highway 92), exit 87.

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Home of the Daytona 500 (among other races) and Daytona USA, an interactive race-theme attraction, this is worth a stop. You can tour the famous track by tram if there are no races. Take pictures from the high bank on turn four. Don’t miss the movie in Daytona USA-kids don’t have to be race fans to enjoy this experience.

The Museum of Arts and Sciences, a little-known gem, also appeals to kids with its 13-foot-tall skeleton of a 130,000-year-old giant ground sloth and Volkswagen-sized giant armadillo skeleton.

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If you turn off Highway 92 south on Beach Street, you can explore the spruced-up downtown. The kids will undoubtedly love a visit to Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory, where they can get a free 30-minute tour and samples. Halifax Historical Museum is deposited in a historic bank building. One of the highlights is a wood-carved model of how the beach boardwalk area once looked. Daytona Beach’s boardwalk and pier area are the highlight of the beach. To get there, cross to the beach via Highway 92 or Orange and turn on Ocean Avenue (Route A1A).

The boardwalk lies north of the two bridges.

Daytona Beach is famous for its hard-packed, wide sands that people can drive on.

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Recently, the boardwalk area has been designated pedestrian-only, something similar to beach in front of Ocean Drive in Miami. This is like a fairgrounds on the beach, with all sorts of rides, games, and beach toy rentals. Try boogie boarding in the awesome waves.

Nearby Adventure Landing is a new water amusement park (spin-off of the one in Jacksonville Beach). Families find lots of miniature golf and go-cart attractions. The lighthouse at Ponce Inlet, to the south along Route A1A, is fun to climb and has a historic village around its base.

Stop at Lighthouse Landing for a casual lunch or sodas.

This tour: about 55 miles

Hotels in Daytona Beach

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