Most people consider Daytona Beach, Florida a haven for spring breakers and bikers only. Part of that is definitely true; there are spring breakers that frequent Daytona Beach and with the bike week event every year bikers are certainly flocking to the area from all over the U.S. But, as I recently relocated to Daytona Beach for a job opportunity, I can definitely say that it has much more to offer! I’ve only been in the Daytona Beach for about a month, but I can see that the location itself is very central, the beach is beautiful and the nightlife is not bad at all. Of course, when moving to a new place you may have to find out the hard way about the “risky” areas or dive bars designed for bikers, so I’ll try and give some fist hand advice on location first.
Volusia County (Daytona Beach area) is absolutely huge, and spans all the way down the oceanfront coast. I work in South Daytona, but when I first decided to move here, I was looking primarily in the Ormond Beach area for a house to rent or apartment by the ocean. Ormond Beach is a fairly ritzy location with sprinkles of students, young professionals and senior citizens. I chose Ormond Beach because of the Starbucks (I’m addicted!) located right on Granada, which is the bridge centrally located in Ormond Beach. It’s also a very clean and beautiful city and with the housing market in shambles and the already very low cost of real estate in Florida (specifically Volusia County) I was finding 2-3 bedroom houses for $850-$1200. Incredible, considering these are Florida waterfront homes! Well, not exactly on the ocean, but a short walk and one street away.
When I became more familiar with the area I realized that it would take me about 30 minutes to drive to work from Ormond Beach. So, I began looking around the area from New Smyrna Beach to Edgewater to Port Orange to Ponce Inlet. I finally settled on a place in Daytona Beach just North of Silver Beach. I was lucky to find such a great place in a nice neighborhood, because about 2 miles north you began to see the areas of Daytona Beach that are not as “family-friendly.” I would not call it the ghetto, but for a Florida city, the most questionable area in Daytona Beach would be a mile or two surround the International Speedway Blvd. and Holly Hill. Anywhere in the South Daytona, Daytona Beach Shores, Ormond Beach, Ponce Inlet and Port Orange cities are OK to check out!
I haven’t really ventured too far into the night life in Daytona Beach, but as far as I can tell there is a plethora of young people and students (I’m a young person.) In Port Orange, off of US1 and in between Dunlawton and Silver Beach is a restaurant/martini bar called “Martini’s Chop House.” I went one Wednesday night for the “Wine Down Wednesday” and was very pleasantly surprised with the event: $12 all you sample wines from red to white with free appetizers! I didn’t eat there, but the food looked delicious and the crowd was versatile, from younger to older people enjoying the outside patio or sitting inside to taste the food.
The only other place I have visited that I truly enjoyed was Ocean Deck, located in the heart of Daytona right by the International Speedway Blvd. I know, I know, I said earlier that it was a “risky” area. Well, it still is and I would not recommend women or children venturing alone after dark. But, as far as nightlife, it is one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to. It opens to the beach in the back by the patio where you can walk down to the water sipping a Heineken, or Corona….or Vodka tonic, whatever your poison. The crowd is fairly young but also pretty diversified with some older crowds as well.