When planning a holiday getaway, many happily trade sparkling snow for sparkling sand beaches and warm sea breezes. Visitors have always been fascinated at the ways Floridians combine the best of the beach with the best of the holidays, including decorations from beach-quirky to elegantly ornate.
Often called home of the world’s most famous beaches, Daytona Beach, Florida
, located on Florida’s east coast, midway between St.
Augustine and the Kennedy Space Center (only an hour’s drive from each) and just an hour east of Orlando, is a holiday standout that sets the stage for a season of dazzling light displays, along with 23 miles of Atlantic Ocean shoreline and inland fun.
Slow Drive in the Fast Lane
Since 1929 when Major Henry Segrave set his final land speed record on the white sand beaches of Daytona Beach, the "World's Most Famous Beach" has become one of the world’s most popular racing destinations. From mid-November through December 2021, Daytona International Speedway is transformed into Magic of Lights—a slow ride through a dazzling display of over a million holiday lights. (1801 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114; 800-748-7467). Drive through a 1.5-mile lights extravaganza that uses the latest LED technology and digital animation to create magical scenes such as the Enchanting Tunnel of Lights, Joy to the World, 12 Days of Christmas, 200-foot Candy Cane Lane and Snowflake Forest. Each year brings new displays along with traditional favorites. Walk across the pedestrian bridge or drive across the boulevard into a million square feet of world-class shops, restaurants, entertainment and hotel accommodations at ONE DAYTONA
. Each weekend brings family-friendly events from live music and performances to special meals and shopping. Stay on-site at Fairfield Inn & Suites Daytona Beach Speedway/Airport or the Daytona Autograph Collection Hotel for an immersive race-fan and festive holiday experience.
Cuisine and Holiday Cheer
Built in the late 1800s, the exquisite Rose Villa was established as an ornate bed and breakfast in 1901 to accommodate guests who wanted more privacy than Henry Flagler’s popular Ormond Hotel. In 2007 it was restored and transformed into Rose Villa Southern Table & Bar to the delight of locals and visitors alike. From November 19, 2021, through January 9, 2022, a stunning decorative display will light up historic downtown Ormond Beach as a beacon of the season in the center of the Granada Boulevard district. At Rose Villa Gingerbread Fantasy
visitors can take memorable photos outside the one-of-a-kind Victorian jewel and explore the rich history within for a delicious dining experience, gingerbread snacks and signature cocktails. Make dinner reservations well in advance to experience the restaurant’s eclectic mouth-watering works of art and special holiday events including an exclusive opportunity to build a gingerbread house with family and friends. (43 West Granada Boulevard, Ormond Beach, Florida 32176;
That’s just two of the holiday events planned for a season of magical memories and warm weather in Daytona Beach. December 4th is the Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade, where spectators line the Halifax River and take in the serene and magical displays on boats big and small, decked out from stems to sterns. The Jacksonville Symphony will be performing Handel’s “Messiah” at the Peabody Auditorium on December 17. For more events, visit www.DaytonaBeach.com/events