Daytona Beach with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

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Daytona Beach with Kids: A Family Vacation

Alamy

You may know Daytona, Fla., for spring break and auto racing. However, planning a family vacation in Daytona with kids is easier than you might think. With beautiful beaches and plenty to do for all ages and interests, you're sure to have the best family vacation in Daytona with the kids!
There is no shortage of great places to stay in Daytona with kids, but allow me to recommend one of my favorite resorts in Daytona Beach: the Americano Resort, located at 1260 North Atlantic Avenue (386-255-7431). The two bedrooms and sleeper sofa offer plenty of comfy space for families. You will enjoy gazing out across the ocean from your private balcony. Tired of eating out for every meal when you go on a family vacation with the kids? These rooms are equipped with a full kitchen, a great option for a family vacation on a budget.


Morning


You can't miss the beautiful beaches of Daytona with your kids. At dawn, the beach is almost deserted and makes for an awe-inspiring sight as the sun peaks over the horizon. The treasure hunters and other shell enthusiasts are out and scouring the shore for their respective prizes. Young children will enjoy the morning hunt for the perfect shell. One slight word of caution: shell hunters aren't the only early risers in Daytona Beach. Dawn and dusk are also when the sharks come out to play.

A hearty breakfast will provide lots of energy for the rest of your exciting family vacation day in Daytona. After your dawn beach excursion, head back to the Americano for a continental breakfast, which is sure to refuel the kids for more beach fun! As you play in the surf, keep an eye out for the traveling vendors with boogie boards, surf boards and other water toys available for purchase or rent. You'll be sure to spot the large, brightly colored vehicles within a few miles of the pier.

If you've planned your Daytona family vacation with small kids, you'll find the tidal pools to be perfect for your little ones, with water that's only a few inches deep and set apart from the waves. Your children will be delighted to find small fish and tiny crabs zipping in between their feet.


Afternoon


After the heat of the Daytona sun, you will likely be ready for a break. Load the kids into the car and cruise down Atlantic Avenue, also called Hwy 1, to Ponce Inlet Road. Fleets of fishing boats set out on their daily missions in the early mornings and mid-afternoons from Ponce Inlet. Deep sea fishermen will return with their catch around 11:30AM, and children are sure to delight in watching the fleet return with their full nets. Don't miss the huge catfish under the dock, waiting to snap up a snack as the fishermen clean their catch. You'll also find Florida's tallest lighthouse in Ponce Inlet. Wear your best walking shoes because it's 203 steps to the top! The lighthouse is open daily at 10AM. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $1.50 for children under 11.

When you are planning a family vacation in Daytona with kids, a delectable seafood meal at the Inlet Harbor Restaurant is a must. You won't even need your car! Simply follow the docks from Ponce Inlet and find Inlet Harbor Restaurant at 133 Inlet Harbor Road (386-767-5590). The seafood couldn't be any fresher, since it arrives on the Ponce Inlet boats daily. I've enjoyed family dinners here since my childhood and highly recommend it!

You may want to do a little fishing yourself from the dock outside the restaurant. Gear is available for rent at the tackle shop. But hold on to those fishing poles! Some of these fish are large enough to cause quite a stir if you're not careful.

Don't be surprised to hear giggling from the backseat on your way back down Atlantic Avenue. Your kids are sure to spot a dancing cow out the car window. If you are an ice-cream lover (and who isn't?), the Cow Licks Ice Cream Parlor, found at 2624 South Atlantic Avenue (386-761-1316), is your ice cream dream. Stop off for a tasty treat and enjoy the games and prizes found inside, too.


Evening


Be sure to stroll down the Daytona Boardwalk during your vacation with the kids. They will want to head out to the end of the pier and gaze into the deep ocean water. Keep your eyes open. Can't you just hear the kids' squeals of delight as they spot a dolphin or even a small shark? You'll find the pier at 1200 Main Street (386-253-1212). There's a fee to park at the pier, but you can save a little money by parking at the nearby beach, only a short walk away.

If your little ones are tuckered out after your great family vacation day in Daytona, the hotel Americano has a couple of great dinner options. Have a light dinner of sandwiches at the hotel's bistro, or for an even easier night, try ordering a pizza from Pizza Dude (386-252-3833) and have it delivered right to your room. As the day ends and the beaches clear, the kids may enjoy a twilight walk on the sand. It will be the perfect culmination to the perfect day in Daytona with the kids!

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