Daytona Beach with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

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Daytona Beach with Teens: A Family Vacation

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Family vacations to Daytona Beach are more than just splashing and waves, sunburns and jellyfish: this area has a whole lot more to offer. Here are some ideas for a day trip to Daytona Beach with teens.

Morning

The sun rising over the beach is an awe-inspiring sight, as the deep red of the morning sun is reflected on the ocean waves. One of the best things to do in Daytona Beach is take a fishing trip. Persuade your kids to get out of bed before sunrise, for once, and take a drive on Atlantic Avenue south through Daytona Beach Shores, then make a right turn onto Inlet Harbor Drive. Follow the road all the way down until it ends at the parking lot of the Marina and the Inlet Harbor Restaurant.

There are two main companies that operate out of the Inlet Harbor: Sea Spirit Deep Sea Fishing and Finest Kind II Fishing. Both have some pretty impressive charter boats. You have the option of half-day or full-day tours, but with the half-day option you can save time for other Daytona Beach vacation ideas.

The half-day fishing tour will go from just before 6AM through until 10 or 11AM. You will get about two and a half hours of solid fishing about 10 miles out into the Atlantic. When you are out that far during sunrise, you are completely surrounded by a sea of red. Even the most easily bored teen will enjoy the motion of the waves and the breeze whipping across the boat.

Sea Spirit Deep Sea Fishing, at 133 Inlet Harbor Road, Ponce Inlet, Daytona Beach, offers half-day tours at around $45 for adults and $40 for children age 4 and up. For more information call 386-763-4388. Finest Kind II Fishing, at the same address, allows you to rent out a boat for six people for a cost of $650-$800 per half-day. Children aged four and up are allowed. Call 386-527-0732 for information.

Be prepared for the haul, because you will catch plenty of fish. Amber jack, red snapper and grouper are just a few examples of what kind of fish you can expect. Bring a large cooler with you because when the tour is done, the fishing attendants will filet the fish for you to take home and enjoy.

If you are in Daytona Beach with teens who are a little hesitant about a boat ride far enough out not to be able to spot land, worry not. You can fish off of the pier beginning at 6AM every morning, when catfish and bass are all over the place. Head into the Riptide Bait & Tackle shop and rent a few poles. They are open daily 6AM-10PM and can be contacted on 386-767-5705. Fishing from the pier costs $3 for adults and $2 for children under age 10. This is paid at the bait shop, and there is no fishing license required.

Afternoon

The hottest part of the day is between noon and 3PM, the perfect time for lunch on your family day in Daytona Beach. Walk over to the Inlet Harbor Restaurant, where their "catch of the day" just arrived on a fleet boat. The fresh catch arrives from the boats just outside the window, and you will enjoy watching the other charters returning as you relax in the air-conditioned dining room.

Get your fill of fresh shrimp, red snapper or whatever else you like - they have it all at this local favorite in Daytona Beach. With teens, you never know if they"ll be up for seafood, but Inlet Harbor has it covered, offering plenty of chicken, burgers and steaks. Reserve your table at 386-767-5590. The restaurant is open daily 11AM-9PM.

After lunch with your family, travel north on Atlantic Avenue over to the Daytona 500 Experience, a combination museum, intense thrill ride and arcade. For the hyper-calm or just-too-tired-from-fishing teen, there is a serene tour of the Daytona 500 track and the museum featuring memorabilia from NASCAR celebrities. For the easily-bored teen, there is the IMAX movie, "Nascar 3-D: The IMAX Experience." It's a 45-minute glimpse into the world of the Daytona 500 race.

For any teen not thrilled with the IMAX movie, try the arcade-type experience of Acceleration Alley and the Daytona Dream Laps. Acceleration Alley is one of the latest motion simulators that pits individuals against each other in a race of simulated speeds over 200 miles per hour. Both rides are fun and worth checking out, but the Acceleration Alley is my personal favorite because it makes you feel like you are actually behind the wheel. Dream Laps is the more calm, child-oriented version.

If you're up for out-and-out family adventure in Daytona Beach, with teens who love speed, make reservations for the Richard Petty Driving Experience. In this thrilling activity, your teens will have the chance to ride along in an actual race car at speeds of over 100 miles per hour, and you will have the option of driving one yourself! After the drive, your teen can experience what it is like to be a part of a pit crew during a race at the DuPont Challenge.

The Daytona 500 Experience is located at 1801 West International Speedway, Daytona Beach, 386-947-6800. It's open daily 10AM-6PM and basic admission is $24.99 plus tax for adults and teens over the age of 13.

Evening

It is dinner time now, and there is one more unique restaurant you have to try on your Daytona Beach family vacation. Aunt Catfish's on the River is a local legend, known for its southern charm and delicious fare. With patio seating overlooking the Halifax River (where you can see the occasional whale pass by), it is a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Their limeade is made fresh and served in glass mason jars, and their seafood dishes and decadent desserts are to die for. Make sure you call for priority seating - this is a busy little nook of a restaurant, and lines begin forming at 5PM.

Aunt Catfish's on the River is located at 4009 Halifax Drive, Port Orange, telephone number 386-767-4768. It's open Monday through Saturday from 11.30AM and Sunday from 9AM, although closing times vary according to the season.

This is just one example of how you can spend a day in Daytona Beach with teens. The options are nearly limitless, so dive in and have some fun in the sun!


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