Here is Daytona Beach, Florida, which means you'll find a bit of summer during December. There is the famous Daytona Beach Pier, Boardwalk, and the Bandshell, plus fun waterfront hotels, restaurants, amusements, marooned jellyfish, and that lost shaker of salt.
“The World’s Most Famous Beach” begins at the intersection of Main Street and South Atlantic Avenue. Daytona Beach has plenty of parking for residents and hard-packed sand for snowbirds to stroll on as they leave their hotels. This rendering of the Daytona Pier has stood for 90 years.
The Pier and Boardwalk in Daytona Beach were ready for Christmas 2015 and were eager to ring in the New Year. Shops and amusements were open with smiling faces all around, day and night. Pizza vendors, taffy purveyors, video arcades, and t-shirt shacks were all packed with beach-goers.
Daytona Beach Pier & Boardwalk has a lot to offer off the water, too.
There is a roller coaster, slingshot thrill-ride, go-karts, and other
attractions. This area opens before lunch and runs till ten on weeknights
and midnight on weekends. The address is 25 Ocean Avenue with nearby
The Boardwalk was built in 1938 of concrete, not wood, and is open seven
days a week. The historic Bandshell (not shown here) marks the northern end
of the Boardwalk and this image looks south. There are hotels, amusement
parks, arcades and foodstands all along the Boardwalk. And several
staircases lead to the beach. The Pier and Joe’s Crab Shack are in the
The 1000-foot Daytona Beach Pier is a destination all to itself. The Pier
was first built in 1920 and the current structure went up in 1925, with
various refurbishments during the past ten years. At this fun fishing spot
way out over the water, anglers may have two poles each and don’t even need
The view from the Daytona Pier is amazing. This northern view was exactly
why the pier was so crowded with tourists the day before New Year’s Eve at
the close of 2015. Note the Slingshot thrill ride, the fancy hotels, the
Daytona Bandshell in the far distance, and all the sun-seekers. What aren’t
visible in the distance, however, are the wiggling jellyfish stranded in all
of the divots in the sand close to the water.
In addition to the Bandshell, the Boardwalk, the rides, the food stands, the
sand, and the Pier, a family-friendly park called Breakers Oceanfront Park
is located here. The amenities here will make for an enjoyable day. Alas,
there were no lifeguards visible. It was nearly 85 degrees in late
Breakers Oceanfront Park is located at 13 S. Atlantic Avenue. There are
modern, separate facilities (10:30 am-5 pm) with outdoor showers. There are
2 1/2 acres of: beach access, outdoor volleyball, seasonal splash pad, and
playground with 229 parking spaces. A walkway leads to the Boardwalk.
Breakers Oceanfront Park is free and open from sunrise till sunset. This is the volleyball court; note the ample free parking. There are also picnic areas here, along with bike racks. The picnic area is located between the parking area, the volleyball court, and the seasonal splash pad.
There is plenty of comfortable green space and several pleasant pathways to
enjoy at Breakers Oceanfront Park. The mood was good and the air was
refreshing at this park all day long. Nearby are knick-knack shacks and
taffy-purveyors, specifically Zeno’s. Zeno’s, a pretty pink sweets boutique,
has a working taffy-pull in its big front window. The taffy is delicious.
Daytona Beach is 23 miles long, and now that the tide is heading out for the
day, the shoreline is about 500 feet wide. The waves were warm and fun to
jump into, though the editor of this travel blog was warned repeatedly about
the jellyfish and sharks that typically lurk nearby by native Floridians.
People-watching and sight-seeing at the Boardwalk is a lot of fun; you never
know what you’re going to find. In addition to the shore birds, there are
also plenty of snowbirds. This catamaran sailboat advertising the Ocean Deck
restaurant attracted a lot of snowbirds in the late afternoon.
Joe’s Crab Shack had been a dance hall, wedding venue, and a casino. Joe’s came in during summer 2012. The food at Joe’s was delicious but there was a 2 1/2 hour wait for an inside table. At 5:30 pm on a Wednesday (the day before NYE), an outdoor table opened up after 45 minutes.
This is what Joe’s Crab Shack calls its Bean Town Bake steampot. There are
two whole Maine lobsters, new potatoes, clams, shrimp, a smoked sausage, and
a whole corn. The waitress brought butter into which to dip the lobster
pieces. This was about $43 and was plenty for two people.
This is Joe’s Bacon Chipotle Cheeseburger with fries. All in all, the food
took about a half-hour to arrive on a jam-packed night, and the service at
Joe’s was pretty good. Since this was an outdoor table, we had a great view
of the surrounding beach attractions, though it was chilly after sundown.
One last look at the Slingshot thrill-ride from the Daytona Pier after a fun
dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. People were still enjoying the beach well after
dark; fun-seekers were no doubt still having fun at the Bandshell at the far
right. Due to the hard-packed sand, it’s a fun stroll back to the many
beach-front hotels all along the A1A Highway.