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Daytona Beach, Florida 72-Hour Vacation

A "Speedy" Beach Town
72 Hours in Daytona Beach

Ponce Inlet
Ponce Inlet


Energize yourself with a hearty American breakfast at Daytona Diner—think omelets, pancakes, and biscuits and gravy. Afterward, head south on A1A (which parallels the ocean), to the tiny hamlet of Ponce Inlet. Visit the Marine Science Center, which houses one of the few turtle rescue hospitals in the nation. Look at exhibits on the marine environment, mangroves, alligators, whales, dolphins and a dune habitat with a cross section of a sea turtle nest. Go to the bird observation tower to search the skies for bald eagles, osprey, terns, pelicans, cormorants, egrets, herons and Peregrine falcons. A nature trail that embodies native flora and fauna is also handicap friendly.

From Turtle Terrace, you'll overlook seven turtle hospital pools with injured and sick green and loggerhead sea turtles, and a variety of reptiles. One of the main goals of the center is to rehabilitate and release hundreds of turtles and hatchlings back into their own environment. In the seabird rehab center, view the black-crowned night heron, brown pelican, bald eagle and tufted titmouse as they are nursed back to health to take flight again.


Adjacent to the Marine Science Center, the red brick Ponce Inlet Lighthouse dates to 1887. At 175 feet, it's the third tallest lighthouse in the US. If you're game, climb the 203 steps to the top for a spectacular view. Take time to glance at the museum with its large collection of restored Fresnel lenses.

From Inlet Harbor, opt for an afternoon Manatee Scenic Cruise along the Intracoastal. Your folksy tour guide gives you the scoop on local history and folklore. Also departing from Inlet Harbor Marina, the New Smyrna Beach Water Taxi takes you on a one-hour scenic cruise along the ecologically-rich Indian River Lagoon to New Smyrna Beach, a small beachy village south of Daytona.

Before you call it a night, dine on Caribbean fare and seafood at Caribbean Jack's, an easy 12 miles north of Inlet Harbor on the west side of the Intracoastal. With a 3,000-square-foot outdoor deck extending 200 feet into the Intracoastal, the restaurant dishes up the freshest seafood with a Caribbean flair. For a tempting appetizer, dip gator bites in a chipotle pepper aoli. For the main course, try the Islamorada mahi mahi—fresh island-spiced grilled fish served over garlic-tossed linguine and diced tomatoes. Or opt for the macadamia crusted fresh grouper served with lobster sauce. Live entertainment is on tap weekends.


After dinner, hit the high energy scene at Razzles for those in the 21 to 35 age bracket. With orange walls, green neon lighting and intimate, cushy sofas, the club dazzles with hip hop, trance and old skool music. Every Friday night from 8 p.m. to midnight is ladies night, and drinks are free from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. on Saturdays.

Continue to Day 3


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* Images courtesy of the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. Razzles image from

(Updated: 11/12/09 CT)

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