Review of Daytona Beach, Florida

Nice place to visit, for a week, then go home.
Star Rating - 10/10/2019
It's important to know there are two Daytonas. There's Daytona Beach, which is where, well, the beach is. Then there's Daytona on the mainland side of things. These are two very different things. Daytona is home of the racetrack and a big 'ol flea market. The downtown is pretty sad. There isn't much there. When we lived there, there was one real coffee house that we didn't like (Marly's), one Christian coffee house, some antique stores, a Christian Science Reading Room, a very small time theater of sorts, and a few restaurants that weren't much to write home about. The Popeye's was probably the best of the bunch. The local bus station was downtown too, which was basically a refugee camp for felons. This is not inaccurate, the wife and I rode the bus, and refused to catch it at the Votran station, preferring to catch it after it had swung out of there because the station was downright scary day or night. Politics are far right Tea party type, and the France family and the developers run the city, much to it's detriment. They even have developers on the Tourism board!!! There's a lot of poverty too, and blacks have a tough time of it due to the city's less than enlightened hiring practices. Lots of crime on the mainland side too. Plenty of rednecks. There are a few people downtown who think they're "hip", which is pretty sad because there is NO hip anything in Daytona. Please.

Daytona Beach is just what it is. A beach town that has the view of the ocean blocked by huge hotels. All the mom and pop motel/hotels are about gone, and the beach boardwalk is essentially gone as well. Too bad, because in years past it was fun there. There is a large part of the city on the Daytona Beach side that is ghetto. How people can let prime real estate get this way is beyond me. Lots of tweakers and alcoholics. There are nice neighborhoods, but you have to travel down the beach in either direction away from the pier to find them. When the bike guys come, leave. Believe me, both Daytona and Daytona Beach are awful during those times and the noise is deafening. There is very little to do other than go to the beach and try not to get run over by the cars that are allowed to drive on the beach. Every year someone is run down. It's a real, real stupid idea, but that's what the locals hang their hat on, that they used to race on the beach. It was dumb then, and it's super dumb now. There is little mingling between races, and when I and the wife went anywhere (I'm white and she is black), we were always the only mixed race couple.

I'm only giving two stars because the beach and water are so beautiful. But that alone isn't enough to live in Daytona unless you're a snowbird maybe.
steve | ,
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4 Replies

Thanks a lot for the detailed review, that makes our life much easier, as we read consistent comments about what you described. We are looking to buy our pre-retirement property somewhere in FL...anywhere close to the water (10 to 15 miles radius), so Daytona is out of the equation. Thanks again. Luiz
Luiz | Stamford, CT | Report Abuse

I have been in Daytona for a year now. It’s OK, and even though I can see the ocean from my rented condo along A1A, I do have to point out a misconception of views of the beach and ocean. Take a drive from Ormond to Ponce and you will not see ocean or beach views for most of the drive, especially in Condo Canyon in Daytona Beach Shores. However Ii’s a whole different experience driving from Ormond to Flagler. Lots of great ocean views for most of the drive. But if you plan a scenic ocean view drive, you won’t find it in Daytona.
Jay | Daytona Beach, FL | Report Abuse

Well, I must say you sound like you have had a tough life. I’ve lived in Daytona Beach for 17 years now. Nothing in your writing is accurate. 1) Daytona’s beaches are gorgeous and can be seen while driving along A1A. 2) Many mom and pop hotels still exist and have been greatly improved, especially over the past few years. The old dated big hotels have been bought and revamped by reputable companies. They are clean and safe. 3) No one judges a community by book stores. ????? 4) Your racist comnents towards whites and blacks are completely unfounded, wrong, and rude. 5) Daytona has been run by Democrat black mayors for many years. 6) The pier has been cleaned up and is finally safe from the unsavory behavior of criminals. No more panhandlers. 7) Most people who come here don’t want a big sprawling metropolis (regarding your comment about the racetrack and flea market). Orlando and Jacksonville are close enough for that kind of crazy if that’s what people are looking for. 8) Bike week brings in the most respectable, kind, and fun people than any other event. I’ve seen more damage from truck rallies, bcr, and spring breakers. These events are short so if they are not to your liking go somewhere else. Daytona at least tries to cater to everyone. It’s very diverse in a good way. It’s a shame your so jaded and blind to the good here. You obviously didn’t even try to find things to do and enjoy what Daytona Beach has to offer. Sitting on a bus traveling to Popeyes really does not give you much credibility in your report on Daytona. This town like every single other town across the USA has it’s issues but it is nothing at all like you described. My husband and I moved here 17 years ago like I said. I never had any problems finding work (now retired), people are kind, communities have been on the upswing with pride in taking care of themselves, taxes are cheap, weather is incredible, housing is affordable without having to live in a dump. There are events all year long. Beaches are super family friendly for travelers and locals alike not to mention safer than ever. So all in all Daytona Beach is our retirement place and we love it. We decided to do some sleuthing around different Florida towns to see if they were better (I lived in south Florida for 20 years in the 80s and 90s and can say that is a place to stay away from now in 2021). Most towns you cannot see the ocean while driving along the coast due to buildings and sand dunes. The traffic is horrible in most beach communities in Florida but not here in Daytona. When coming over the bridge you feel a sense of calm with the breath taking beauty of our waterways which are not cluttered up with a buttload of boats. Huge plus!
Char | Daytona Beach, FL | Report Abuse

Thanks for the review. Snow birds looking around for where to put down a stake in Florida. Right now open to anything. Even looking at cheap properties where we can rebuild.
G | Grand Rapids, MI | Report Abuse
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