Daytona Beach Florida has a fun history. Besides being MTV’s first Spring Break reality show, and known for bike week and of course for Daytona International Speedway, there is much more to this great beach town.
While exploring the city for a few days my family and I were able to learn a lot of fun Facts about Daytona beach, take a look at them below.
Fun Facts about Daytona Beach Florida
The Daytona Beach area consists of seven cities and towns including Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Shores, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange, South Daytona and Holly Hill.
It has been called the “world’s most famous beach“ since the 20s.
Land speed racers from Barney Oldfield to Henry Seagrave to Malcolm Campbell would visit Daytona repeatedly and make the 23 mi (37 km) beach course famous.
Cars are still allowed to go through the beach, but not faster than 16km per hour.
Ormond Beach became known as the “birthplace of speed” due to the various land speed records set there.
Beach street was named after the Beach family. But it is nowhere close to the beach.
Manatees visit its rivers and canals during the summer.
John D. Rockefeller died at the age of 97 at his winter home The Casements, which is located on Ormond Beach. The Casements offers free tours of its Rockefeller period rooms and serves as a community cultural center.
The tallest lighthouse in Florida is located at the southernmost tip of the Daytona Beach area in the town of Ponce Inlet.
Migrating whales can be seen from the shores of the Daytona Beach area during the winter months.
The headquarters for the Ladies Professional Golf Association is located on Daytona Beach.
Aileen Wuornos, was Daytona’s most infamous resident, a serial Killer executed in 2002.
Festivals and events for Daytona Beach Florida
Bike Week – March
Biketoberfest – October
Speedweeks (Daytona 500 NASCAR race, Rolex 24 sports car race, and others)
Coke Zero 400, NASCAR race on the first Saturday of July (Traditionally called the Pepsi 400 or Firecracker 400)
Daytona Beach Bike Week Daytona 200 motorcycle races, bike shows and biker reunion in March
Historic Facts You Didn’t Know about Daytona
Famous explorer Ponce de Leon, during his 1513 search for the Fountain of Youth, discovered the now-popular DeLeon Springs, located just west of Daytona Beach.
The area where Daytona Beach is today was once inhabited by the indigenous Timucuan Indians. They became extinct during the 18th century.
During the era of British rule of Florida between 1763–1783, the King’s Road passed through present day Daytona Beach.
In 1804 Samuel Williams received a land grant of 3,000 acres (12 km2) from the Spanish Crown which had regained Florida from the British after the American Revolution. This land grant encompassed the area that would become Daytona Beach.
Williams built a slave labor based plantation to grow cotton, rice and sugar cane. His son Samuel Hill Williams would abandon the plantation during the Second Seminole War
Matthias Day, a wealthy northern tycoon, was so completely enamored with the entire area that he became the founding father of Daytona (now called Daytona Beach) and built its very first hotel in 1874.
In 1886, the St. Johns & Halifax River Railway arrived in Daytona.
Races started on its beach on 1902.
It hosted land speed record attempts beginning in 1904, when William K. Vanderbilt set an unofficial record of 92.307 mph (148.554 km per hour).
Dr. Bethune, who was later appointed to government positions by Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, established a school in 1904 to educate the daughters of African-American workers.
The separate towns of Daytona, Daytona Beach, Kingston, and Seabreeze merged as “Daytona Beach” in 1926.
On March 8, 1936, the first stock car race was held on the Daytona Beach Road Course, located in the present-day Town of Ponce Inlet.
Daytona Beach’s role in the history of civil rights is significant. On March 17, 1946, Jackie Robinson played in the first integrated spring training baseball game with the Montreal Royals, a farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Later he became the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. Today, Robinson’s name identifies the stadium in Daytona Beach and a life-size statue of him has been cast at the entrance.
Bill France founded NASCAR in 1948 and built the World Center of Racing, Daytona International Speedway, in 1959.
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What other fun facts about Daytona Beach do you know?