The family and I had a great time this summer staying on Daytona Beach. We lucked out and found ourselves staying at a very nice condo on a no-car zone section of the beach, which helped make our time on the beach itself very enjoyable; the car accessible sections are not really family friendly.
There is always something to do in Daytona even when you don’t want to park yourself on the beach. The main street pier is always worth a visit and the boardwalk is fun for kids of all ages, especially at night, though parental supervision is a must.
There are countless restaurants in the area, a favorite of mine is Boondocks, tucked away on the Intercoastal just a few miles up the road in Wilbur by the Sea, nothing fancy but it’s a classic Florida style restaurant attached to a marina which makes for great atmosphere. There is also some fun to be had feeding the swarming catfish any leftovers you might have. Racing’s North Turn is another classic eatery with good food and a great location, this one is right on the beach.
To be honest, Daytona is generally a bit gritty for my taste, the beaches are hard and lack the natural feel you get in New Smyrna or Titusville and are a far cry from anything you’d find on the Gulf. The crowds can be a bit rowdy and..rough around the edges. But pick the right time & location and there are good family friendly times to be had. Of course, if you’re young, single and like a good dive bar then this is one of the best places to be.
Overall, I give Daytona Beach a 7 out of 10 on the good time scale and a perfect 10 on the classic Florida scale.