There are no shortage of things to do in this relatively small town on the east coast of Florida with a colorful past in racing and beach going. Once a haven for drunk Spring breakers, it has done a good job of rebuilding hurricane-damaged properties on the beach that now attract couples and families more than anything else. And with its convenience to the Orlando area – it is pretty much a distant suburb of the big O – it is positioned quite well for vacationers to the Sunshine State.
This is Daytona Beach’s inland neighbor on its southern border. Port Orange is a town about the size of Daytona Beach but instantly looks cleaner and nicer when comparing the inland areas. Much less known, but a place to consider either stopping in or visiting as a base to explore the myriad of attractions and nature nearby. Unlike Daytona Beach, this is a new town that grew up without a historic downtown. But there is no shortage of suburban style shopping in this clean Orlando suburb and its proximity to Daytona Beach and the other beaches on the Atlantic make this an ideal base to explore the area.
The beach is the obvious primary attraction though plenty of people come here because of the Daytona International Speedway, known for its Daytona 500, is midway between Port Orange and Ormond Beach and quite near the only shopping mall in the region. There are a few museums in the area and a nice little historic downtown that is quite charming and directly on the intra-coastal waterway – locally called the Halifax River. Probably a one day itinerary might include some beach time, a visit to the downtown for lunch and a visit to one of the area museums – the Museum of Arts and Sciences is particularly interesting with something for everyone – as the former director I’m biased but given this forum of objectivity that I try to maintain, I still would suggest it. If museums aren’t your thing, a tour of the Daytona International Speedway is fascinating even to someone who isn’t into the racing that goes on there.
We camped here in our RV for two nights while I judged a local art fair that was set up around a collection of municipal buildings that are arranged around a lake making it one of the prettiest municipal complexes in the state. You can easily ride your bicycle here from the campground in under ten minutes. There was a nice heated pool at the campground and a well-stocked general store that had everything from beer to fridge magnets and most things in between. The staff were very friendly and there is a wide array of options here. We saw cabins and yurts, tent sites and pull-through RV sites.
There are primitive sites and ones with full hookups. Shady sites and sunny sites too! In other words, you will find what you are looking for here – except fire rings. Camp fires are allowed but the only ones we saw were in open areas of people’s campsites without fire rings. It was a little odd but it apparently works.
One thing we did not encounter here that is so common everywhere is bugs. We were really surprised given the wooded atmosphere that bugs were not a problem – could have been the time of year (April) but it was surprising and pleasantly so!