Saturday, March 8, 2014

Travel Plans: Daytona Beach

As you may know, I'm still counting down the days until Brad and I leave for vacation this month (only 10  left)! So, out of sheer excitement, I thought it would be wonderful (and helpful to anyone else who may be traveling in these areas) to share some loosely-made travel plans and exciting tourist attractions that we'd like to hit! Last week, I discussed ideas for an adventurous romp through the flavorful city of New Orleans, which you can read here!

This week, I'd like to discuss the area in which we'll spend the second half of our adventure in the making, the beautiful Daytona Beach! While Travel Plans: New Orleans focused entirely on events within that city, it seems we'll have a little more wiggle room while in Florida, so I'll be touching not only on locations within Daytona Beach, but also some in the surrounding area and along the Daytona Beach shoreline! So here are my remaining vacation plans:

Visit Manatee Island Park.

CC Image courtesy of Tracy Colson, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Svc. Headquarters

Nestled right into Halifax River is a small island and wildlife reserve known as Manatee Island Park. As an inland Northerner, the idea of possibly spotting a manatee while dipping my toes in a river is pretty astonishing.

Walk along & go for a swim at Daytona Beach.

CC Image courtesy of Melissa Hillier

The city isn't called Daytona Beach for nothing! The shoreline stretches on for miles, and is open to the public at all times. If you're one of those romantic types that's always wanted to stroll along the beach at night, then this is the place to be.

Take a tour of the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory.

CC Image courtesy of Rob Bixby Photography

Okay, despite living in Pennsylvania for about half of my life, I have to admit that I've never taken a tour of that famous chocolate factory that everyone knows about, which shall remain nameless. Still, there's no comparison when it comes to enjoying something that's handmade by people who love what they do.

Visit the Marine Science Center.

CC Image courtesy of Andrea Westmoreland

If you're looking for a more hands-on, kid-friendly learning environment that's also inexpensive, check out the stingray touch-pool at the Marine Science Center! Also, be sure to check in at the turtle hospital, where thousands of injured sea turtles have been rehabilitated since 2002.

Climb to the top of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

CC Image courtesy of Dorothy Finley

I'm under the impression that most babies born in Michigan have a weird romantic obsession with lighthouses. Okay, maybe it's just me, but I'm going to climb to the top of this lighthouse.

Go Parasailing!

CC Image courtesy of John Trainor

Parasailing is something that I've wanted to do for a long time! It's a little intimidating and somewhat expensive (so this item is a bit lower on my list of priorities), but there are plenty of places along the beach to make it happen if this is on your bucket list, too!

See the ruins at Old Stone Wharf.

By Ebyabe (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

History buffs, this one's for you. Hidden in the rise and fall of the Daytona Beach shoreline are the ruins of one of the oldest English settlements in American history.

Check out the Daytona Beach boardwalk & pier.

CC Image courtesy of Boston Public Library

Packed with hot food, carnival rides, shops, and nightly fireworks, you'd be silly not to stop in at the boardwalk of the "World's Most Famous Beach"!

Have you ever been to Daytona Beach? What's your favorite Daytona getaway?

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