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Daytona Beach is a city in Volusia Countymarker, Floridamarker, USAmarker. According to 2006 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the city has a population of 64,421. Daytona Beach is a principal city of the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Areamarker, which the census bureau estimated had a 2006 population of 496,575. Daytona Beach is a principal city in the Fun Coast region of the state of Florida.

The city is historically known as having a beach where the hard packed sand allows motorized vehicles to drive on the beach in restricted areas. This hard packed sand made Daytona Beach a mecca for motorsports, with the old Daytona Beach Road Course having hosted races for over 50 years. This course was replaced in 1959 by the Daytona International Speedwaymarker. The city is also the headquarters for NASCAR and the Grand American Road Racing Association.

Daytona Beach is a year-round family-friendly resort area, but could also accurately be called a seasonal town, with large groups of out-of-towners descending upon the city for various events, most notably Speedweeks in early February when over 200,000 NASCAR fans come to attend the season-opening Daytona 500. Other events include the NASCAR Coke Zero 400 race in July, Bike Week in early March, Biketoberfest in mid October, and the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race in January. In the past Daytona Beach catered to spring breakers, but in recent years most of the vacationers have migrated to other sites, like Panama City Beachmarker.


The area was once inhabited by the Timucuan Indians, who lived in fortified villages. War and disease, however, would decimate the tribe. Florida was acquired from Spainmarker by the United States in 1821, although permanent settlement was delayed until after the Second Seminole Warmarker from 1835 to 1842. When the Civil War ended, Florida experienced a boom in tourism.

The city was founded in 1870 and incorporated in 1876. It was named for its founder, Matthias D. Day. In 1886, the St. Johns & Halifax River Railway arrived in Daytona. The line would be purchased in 1889 by Henry Flagler, who made it part of his Florida East Coast Railway. The separate towns of Daytona, Daytona Beach and Seabreezemarker merged as "Daytona Beach" in 1926, at the urging of civic leader J.B. Kahn and others. By the 1920s, it was dubbed "The World's Most Famous Beach".

Daytona's wide beach of smooth, compacted sand attracted automobile and motorcycle races beginning in 1902, as pioneers in the industry tested their inventions. On March 8, 1936, the first stock car race was held on the Daytona Beach Road Course. In 1959, William France created NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedwaymarker to replace the beach course. Automobiles are still permitted on certain areas of the beach, at a maximum speed of 10 mph.

"The World's Most Famous Beach"

Carriages on the beach in Seabreeze, FL, 1906
The city and its beaches, lined with hotels, motels, condominiums and houses, attract over 8,000,000 tourists each year. In a wide variety of price ranges, hotel and motel rooms are typically plentiful even during special events. Daytona Beach has high security around its main hotel locations, with multiple cameras filming hotel and beach areas. It is one of the few places in the world where a car can be driven on an ocean beach. Most other driving beaches require 4 wheel drive or other special equipment.

During motorcycle events (Bike Week and Biketoberfest), several thousand bikers from all over the world visit the greater Daytona Beach area. While the city is often associated with spring break, the efforts of the local government to discourage rowdiness, combined with the rise of other spring break destinations, have nearly ended Daytona's former preeminence as a spring break destination.

Special events that draw visitors to Daytona Beach include:

Daytona Beach is also home to the headquarters of NASCAR, Grand-Am, International Speedway Corporation, United States Tennis Association in Florida, and the LPGA.

Geography and climate

View of Beach St. South, 2007
Daytona Beach is located at . According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 64.93 mi2 (168.17 km2). of which is land and is water. Water is 9.6% of the total area.

The city of Daytona Beach is split in two by the Halifax River lagoon, part of the Intracoastal Waterway, and sits on the Atlantic Oceanmarker. It is bordered on the north by Holly Hillmarker and Ormond Beachmarker and on the south by Daytona Beach Shoresmarker, South Daytonamarker and Port Orangemarker. The major highways that serve the city are the east-west Interstate 4 and the north-south Interstate 95, which intersect near the city. Other major roads in the city include US 92/International Speedway Boulevard, U.S. 1/Ridgewood Avenue, State Road 40 and A1A/Atlantic Avenue.

Daytona Beach has a humid subtropical climate, typical of the southeastern United States. Summers are hot and humid with highs usually in the 90s and a heat index often exceeding 100 degrees. Thunderstorms are frequent in summer afternoons and the hot, humid weather can last right through the fall months. Winters are dry and mild, marked by a constant series of cold fronts and warm-ups. Temperatures dip into the low 30s and upper 20s on rare occasion, and freezes are not common. Frost occurs a few times a year mainly in the inland areas, but is rare along the beaches. Snowfall is extremely rare. Temperatures in spring are famously pleasant with warm afternoons, cool evenings, and far less humidity. This beach-going weather attracts tourists back to the beaches usually by early March.

Despite its warm location, there were a few catastrophic freezes in the area's history. Early settlers only left vague records, but severe freezes were indicated on: Jan. 2-3, 1766; Feb. 7-8, 1835; and Jan. 16, 1857. The cold weather was so severe that crops such as orange trees were killed and several plantation owners abandoned the area as a result.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 87 89 92 96 100 102 102 100 99 95 89 88
Norm High °F 69.7 71.1 75.6 79.8 85 88.8 91 90.1 87.9 82.6 76.9 71.4
Norm Low °F 47.1 48.8 53.7 58 64.5 70.6 72.4 72.8 71.9 65.3 57 50.1
Rec Low °F 15 24 26 35 44 52 60 65 52 41 27 19
Precip (in) 3.13 2.74 3.84 2.54 3.26 5.69 5.17 6.09 6.61 4.48 3.03 2.71

Hurricanes and tropical storms

Because of Daytona Beach's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the city has a significant chance of receiving hurricanes and tropical storms every hurricane season. However, prior to 2004, major hurricanes are only recorded as skirting by the coast of Daytona Beach without any direct hits.

Hurricane Floyd passed along the Floridamarker coast in September 1999, which caused significant beach erosion and collapsed about 200 ft. section of the Daytona Beach Pier.

The 2004 Hurricane season was particularly tumultuous in the Daytona Beach area. Hurricane Charley was a very fast-moving, compact storm, which made landfall near Port Charlotte, Floridamarker, on August 13, swept across the state and hit Daytona Beach from the inland before reentering the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Frances was a very large storm in size, which moved made landfall at Hutchinson Island South, Floridamarker (near Port St. Lucie, Floridamarker) in the early hours of September 5, and caused a significant amount of collateral damage. Portions of Daytona Beach were without electricity or phone service for ten days following Frances due to downed lines or shorted transformers. Just three weeks later, Hurricane Jeanne formed in the Atlantic Ocean and made landfall only six miles from the same spot Frances hit, at Hutchinson Island South, Floridamarker, on September 26. Following the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, the names Charlie, Frances, and Jeanne were all retired from use.


Daytona Beach is not immune to the threat of tornadoes. Historical tornado activity is about 33% above the national average. On February 22, 1998 a tornado killed 13 people, injured 36 people, and caused $31 million in damages. Tornadoes also hit the city on Christmas Day, 2006. Some people were injured, but no fatalities were reported. Very significant damage was done to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Universitymarker's campus as the F2 tornado that touched down in Daytona Beach cut through the heart of the campus. It destroyed 50 of the school's 75 aircraft, mostly Cessnas. More info can be found: tornadoes of 2006, and at.

Rogue Wave

On July 3 1992, a 27 mile long Rogue wave hit the Volusia County beaches. The wave's range was from Ormond Beach in the north, to New Smyrna Beach on the south. The crest was 18 feet high and centered at Daytona Beach. Sailboats crashed ashore onto cars and many people suffered cuts and bruises from glass and debris. Two people required hospitalization and 200 vehicles were damaged. 75 injuries were reported. The prevailing theory is that an underwater landslide caused the rogue wave, although others have theorized that it was the result of a squall line.

Law and government

Local Government

Under Daytona Beach's commission-manager form of government, voters elect a City commission which consists of seven members who serve four-year, staggered terms. Six are elected by district, the Mayor is elected city-wide.

The City Commission establishes ordinances and policies for the city. It also reviews and approves the city budget annually. The Commission appoints a City Manager, who carries out the will of the Commission and handles day-to-day business.


The city of Daytona Beach made national headlines when it selected the several mile radius around Main Street as a blighted area and has targeted it for redevelopment. The city has sued the owners of land in this area to take away the land and give it to a developer in California. In the past eminent domain cases, the land was taken for building roads, schools, and other government buildings. In this case, the city has sued landowners to build taller buildings which will give the city more property taxes. This was summarized in National Public radio podcast: and in Entrepreneur Magazine: city's pro-eminent domain argument for this Main Street area is explained in this article:

Local elected officials

  • Mayor - Glenn Ritchey
  • Zone 1 Commissioner - Rick Shiver
  • Zone 2 Commissioner - Pamela Woods
  • Zone 3 Commissioner - Shiela K. McKay-Vaughan
  • Zone 4 Commissioner - Robert A. Gilliland
  • Zone 5 Commissioner - Derrick L. Henry
  • Zone 6 Commissioner - Cassandra G. Reynolds
  • City Manager (appointed) - James Chisholm

Federal, state and county representation

Daytona Beach is part of Florida's 7th congressional district and is part of Floridamarker's 27th Legislative District.


As of the census of 2000, there were 64,112 people, 28,605 households, and 13,844 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,092.6/mi2 (421.8/km2). There were 33,345 housing units at an average density of 568.3/mi2 (219.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 62.33% White, 32.75% African American, 1.73% Asian, 0.32% Native American, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.05% from other races, and 1.76% from two or more races. 3.48% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

A postcard depicting Daytona's Ridgewood Avenue, c.
There were 28,605 households out of which 18.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.1% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.6% were non-families. 39.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.77.

In the city the population was spread out with 17.6% under the age of 18, 16.6% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,439, and the median income for a family was $33,514. Males had a median income of $25,705 versus $20,261 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,530. 23.6% of the population and 16.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 34.9% of those under the age of 18 and 12.1% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


Daytona Beach Skyline, from the Seabreeze Bridge, 2007
The Museum of Arts and Sciencesmarker is the primary cultural facility for Daytona Beach and Volusia Countymarker. Other museums located in the city include the Southeast Museum of Photographymarker and the Halifax Historical Museum. The Museum of Arts and Sciences is actually a collection of museums and galleries and includes the Klancke Environmental Complex, the Cuban Museum, Root Family Museum featuring one of the largest Coca-Cola(R) collections in the world, the Dow American Gallery and the Bouchelle Center for Decorative Arts which together form what is probably one of the finest collections of furniture and decorative arts in the Southeast. There are also changing exhibitions and a new children's science center planned to open in 2008.

Daytona Beach in popular culture

Novels set in Daytona Beach include:
  • Day Number 142 (1974) by Edgar A. Anderson
  • Last Cruise of the Nightwatch (1956) by Howard Broomfield
  • Kick of the Wheel (1957) by Stewart Sterling

There have been a number of movies based on Daytona Beach, usually with a racing theme. The most recent example was the 1990 hit Days of Thunder, parts of which were filmed in Daytona Beach and nearby DeLandmarker.

Chris Rea wrote the song Daytona which was in his 1989 album The Road to Hell

Daytona Beach was also the destination of a group of plagued teenagers in the movie The Final Destination 2.


Club League Venue Established Championships
Daytona Cubs FSL, Baseball Jackie Robinson Ballparkmarker 1993 2
Daytona Beach ThunderBirds af2, Arena football Ocean Centermarker 2006 0

In addition to motorsports, Daytona is also the home of the Daytona Cubs, a minor league baseball team of the Florida State League and the Daytona Beach ThunderBirds, an arena football team of the af2.


There are a number of golf courses in Daytona Beach.








Posted speed limit on Daytona Beach

A large part of the Daytona Beach area economy is involved in the tourist industry. Over 8 million visitors came to the Daytona Beach area in 2004.

The area's economy includes other industries besides tourism, such as manufacturing. Daytona Beach provides a dynamic business environment with opportunities for the development and growth of smaller, home grown businesses and large corporate enterprises. It's a community with a talented and diverse workforce. Daytona Beach has industrial sites within an enterprise zone and sites within a foreign trade zone adjacent to Daytona Beach International Airportmarker. A medical office park provides additional sites. Prime Interstate 4 and Interstate 95 sites are available with excellent access to road, air, rail and water transportation.

Companies and organizations that have their corporate headquarters or a major presence in the area:



Public primary and secondary education is handled by Volusia County Schools. Daytona Beach has two public traditional high schools, Seabreeze High School and Mainland High Schoolmarker. Some of the larger private schools include Father Lopez Catholic High Schoolmarker.

Colleges and universities

Vocational schools



Passenger airline services are located at Daytona Beach International Airportmarker (DAB), which is centrally located within the city, adjacent to Daytona International Speedwaymarker. The city first located its airport at this location in 1930, with terminals being constructed in 1952 and 1958. The present facility was constructed in 1992 at the cost of $46 million, and includes both a Domestic terminal and an International terminal. Despite the new facilities, DAB has found difficulty in attracting and retaining carriers, having seen Continental Airlines, AirTran Airways, and United Airlines discontinue flights to Daytona in 2007 and 2008.

Current passenger airlines serving DABmarker include Delta Air Lines, with service non-stop to Atlanta, GAmarker and US Airways, flying non-stop to Charlotte, NCmarker. Both carriers offer connecting service from those cities to destinations worldwide.

International flights from Daytona Beach are available to destinations in the Bahamasmarker through air-taxi and charter services Airgate Aviation [16641]and IslandPass. Non-stop flights are available from DABmarker to Marsh Harbourmarker, Treasure Caymarker, and North Eleutheramarker.

DABmarker is heavily used for the purpose of general aviation, largely due to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Universitymarker, whose campus is located at the airport.

Other airports nearby are Orlando International Airportmarker and Jacksonville International Airportmarker, both of which are approximately one and one half hours away.


  • Daytona Beach is served by Greyhound Bus Lines, which has a terminal located at 138 South Ridgewood Avenue (US-1). The Greyhound routes from Daytona Beach connect with hubs in Jacksonvillemarker and Orlandomarker.
  • VoTran is the local bus service provided by Volusia County. It is a cheap way to get around and is handicap accessible. Buses travel to most sites and places of interest. A one-day VoTran bus pass costs $3.
  • A1A Beachside Trolley operates from January to Labor Day (September) along Atlantic Avenue on the beachside. They are air-conditioned and handicapped accessible.

The Volusia County Parking Garage in Daytona Beach provides a place for visitors to park and walk around.


Daytona Beach is easily accessible by I-95 that runs North and South and I-4 connecting Daytona Beach with Orlandomarker and Tampamarker. U.S. 1 (Ridgewood Avenue) also passes through Daytona Beach. A1A is a scenic North/South route along the beach.

The Volusia County Parking Garage is located at 701 Earl Street at North Atlantic Avenue (A1A). The garage is strategically located, next to the Ocean Centermarker, Daytona Lagoonmarker, and across the street from the Hilton Hotel and Ocean Walk Shoppesmarker. Over one thousand parking spaces are available inside the garage, which also houses an intermodal transfer station for VoTran. Pricing varies at different times of the year.


Passenger railroad service to Daytona Beach was established no later than 1889 by the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railway, predecessor of the Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC). Passenger trains continued calling at Daytona Beach till 1968, when the FEC terminated passenger operations system-wide.

Daytona Beach is served by Amtrak by way of a Thruway Motorcoach connection between the beachside and Amtrak's DeLand Stationmarker, 28 miles to the west. There, the service connects northbound with train 92, the Silver Star, and train 98, the Silver Meteor. Southbound connections from Daytona Beach are limited to the Silver Meteor's southbound train 97. The DeLandmarker - Daytona Beach service is Amtrak's only Florida Thruway Motorcoach route provided by a taxi-cab, rather than a bus.

Notable residents

Points of interest

Sister cities


Image:HR_DB_Birds0811.jpg|Great Egret near the west bank of the Halifax River, Daytona BeachImage:HalifaxRiverDucks2DAB.jpg|Mallard ducks swimming in the Halifax River, Daytona BeachImage:HR_DB_Birds0823.JPG|White Ibis and Snowy Egret near west bank of Halifax River, Daytona BeachImage:HR_DB_Birds0778.JPG|A Great Blue Heron hunts for food


  1. Daytona Beach Guide Overview
  2. Florida Citrus Mutual: Timeline of Florida Freezes
  3. Monthly Weather Review, September 1895: Florida Freezes for a Century and a Half
  6. NOAA, Florida Weather History: Volusia County
  7. The Daytona Beach Wave of July 3-4, 1992: A Shallow Water Gravity Wave Forced by a Propagating Squall Line, January 1995

External links

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