Daytona’s 23 miles of beach, which stretch from Ormond Beach to Ponce Inlet, is exceptional in many ways. In addition to its considerable length, the width of the beach may be as much as 500 feet at low tide, unusually wide in Florida. No wonder Daytona Beach attracts as many as 8 million visitors annually from the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Daytona first came to the world’s attention due to its hard-packed sand bordering the Atlantic. In 1903, the flat wide surface grabbed the attention of early auto developers who started holding races on the beach at low tide. For many years, the straight white sands of Daytona Beach were the favorite place for setting land speed records. Today the races held at Daytona are inland, at the Daytona International Speedway not far from I-95.
Daytona is still famous as a beach anyone can drive on, only not the full 23 mile length. In recent years, the constant and increasing parade of vehicles created a dangerous situation. Careless drivers ran over people sunning far away from the water and well out of the normal line of traffic. Even some children were killed by gawking drivers who didn’t pay attention to where they were going.
The situation wasn’t likely to change so it was easy for higher-end hotels to point out their guests deserved the right to use the beach without fear of becoming a traffic fatality. Local officials agreed, and today the beach has been divided up like a patch quilt with drive and no-drive zones. See the maps for beach driving, no-driving zones and access points. Also download the free beach navigator app.
Never drive in the surf. It may be showy and splashy for a video but the salt water will cause rust and possibly other vehicle damage.
Beach driving at night is limited according to the time of year. The speed limit is 10 mph, with speeding fines starting at $116. Texting while driving is illegal. The only pets allowed on the beach are service animals. See the full list of driving conditions here.
Surfing is permitted all year but in more limited areas during summer. Learn about the designated surf zones.
Beach central for Daytona traditionally has been the area around the 1,000-foot long Daytona Beach Pier (formerly the Main Street Pier) and the adjacent Boardwalk amusement area. The pier, one of Daytona’s most famous landmarks, is open for fishing and also home to a Joe’s Crab Shack.
The amusement area has both outdoor and indoor rides, an arcade, a roller coaster and go karts. Parking can be tricky for first-time visitors. Check the bottom of this web page for parking locations.
At Daytona Beach Shores to the south is the 800-foot long Sunglow Pier and Crabby Joe’s Restaurant, 3701 S. Atlantic Ave.. Besides fishing, Sunglow Pier offers a cleaning station and rentals; (386) 752-4219.
Tide information for the current month. Beach driving is closed during high tide.
Fishing regs: Florida residents fishing off the beach or on a licensed pier need a free saltwater fishing license. Florida residents on a chartered fishing or party boat must buy a license. Out of state visitors must purchase a 3-day, 7-day or annual saltwater license for any kind of fishing..
Directions: From Orlando, take I-4 east. At the junction of I-4 with I-95, join I-95 and go north toward Jacksonville. Stay in the right line and prepare for Exit 261. Turn right onto West International Speedway Blvd/U.S.-92 E. Continue east to Daytona Beach.