Daytona Beach is the best place in Central FL
I moved here in 2016 from Orlando, FL. Prior to that, I would visit Daytona Beach, once a month from 2011 to 2016. When I left Orlando to go to Daytona Beach, I felt a very good vibe. The people in Daytona Beach are laid back and cool to a certain point.
The cost of living is much cheaper than Orlando and Jacksonville. Rent in Orlando ranged from $900 to $1500 and I lived near Altamonte Springs. In Daytona Beach, you can find good apartments in the $780 to $900 range (especially in South Daytona). I have a few friends in Jacksonville that pay from $850 to $1200 in rent.
The beach life is great. Bike Week is not bad (although not perfect). The Daytona 500 is legendary and the racetrack is a surreal experience and I am not into auto racing.
If you like college football on a local level, there is Bethune-Cookman University. They are usually one of the top teams in the MEAC Conference.
Along with Bethune-Cookman (named after former philanthropist and civil rights leader Mary M. Bethune), Embery-Riddle and Daytona State College are very good colleges/universities with Embery-Riddle best known for producing elite pilots.
The LPGA International golf club is underrated compared to golf courses in Augusta and Jacksonville.
Beach Street has good restaurants from Italian, Mexican, to Organic. They also have block parties for art events, breast cancer awareness, and more.
The Daytona Tortugas are a very good minor league baseball team. They play at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark. It was named after him because Daytona Beach was the first Florida city to allow Jackie Robinson to play during spring training in 1946.
Ocean Walk is the place to go and shop as well on A1A. The Ocean Center holds various events like comedy shows, ice skating events, concerts, cheerleader competitions, and more.
The city is great because it's kind of laid back enough to relax compared to Jacksonville and Orlando (except during Bike Week, Daytona 500, and spring break), but big enough to where you can go out and have a good time and not be super bored.
I would strongly recommend to at least visit the area and judge for yourself.
James | South Daytona, FL