Nestled between Orlando and Daytona Beach is a charming city called DeLand, which is home to an array of art fests, farmers markets, flea markets, natural outdoor adventures, quirky restaurants and even the DeLand Naval Air Station Museum.There’s a distinct fun and funky quality to the area, and it’s all a short drive away from downtown Daytona Beach. On your next visit to the area, discover the fun for yourself by spending an afternoon along the new Wings of the West trail!
The Wings of the West trail unfolds mural by mural, with massive, building-wide artistic renderings that make for the perfect photo ops. The trail allows visitors to see some of the area’s most popular attractions while also experiencing the unique, creative elements that make this place so special. The original DeLand Wings mural, created by DeLand native and artist Erica Group, has become an iconic selfie spot in downtown DeLand. And now, the area’s wings have “taken flight” in a way, and have begun to soar with popularity. Hop in your car and take yourself or your family on a self-guided tour of the Wings of the West trail!
Note: This guide follows a path that flows from north to south, with a starting point in Daytona Beach, but feel free to mix your route up as it fits into your itinerary!
FIRST STOP: Barberville Pioneer Settlement
1776 Lightfoot Lane, Barberville
The Barberville Pioneer Settlement is home to one of Florida’s premier living-history demonstrations, making it a popular spot for history buffs, school groups and, most recently, to a peacock wings mural. Peacocks reside inside the settlement, and their bright colors and proud sensibility served as a natural muse to the artist. Size-wise, the scale of this set of wings falls somewhere between adult and child size to please the range of generations that frequent the settlement. You can take guided or self-guided tours of the settlement to learn about life in rural Florida in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to step up in front of the wings for the ultimate Instagram post!
SECOND STOP: Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
2045 Mud Lake Road, DeLeon Springs
The 22,000-acre Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1964 as a migratory bird refuge. Bordered by the famed St. Johns River on its western boundary, the refuge contains natural habitats including marshes, swamps, creeks, hammocks and uplands. Man-made dikes form pools that attract waterfowl year-round, and bald eagles, deer, marsh rabbits, otters and gopher tortoises are common sights, as well. Here, you’ll also find the most recent installment on the Wings of the West trail. The swallow-tailed kite wings are within a short walk of the Live Oak parking lot at the end of Mud Lake Road. To get to the mural, head past the gate and to the right, and the wings are situated down the trail under a big oak tree.
THIRD STOP: Skydive DeLand
1600 Flightline Boulevard, DeLand
Even though this drop zone is one of the busiest in the world (nearly 100,000 people take the plunge each year here), plenty of people are finding a good reason to snap a selfie with two feet firmly on the ground. Near the on-site restaurant and gear store, Erica Group painted her second set of wings, appropriately painted as biplane wings. And if you’re feeling like taking flight yourself, Skydive DeLand offers tandem jumps, Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) training and advanced jumps. For everyone else, perhaps just a cute photo opportunity is on tap for the day.
FOURTH STOP: Downtown DeLand
The downtown wings mural, located on Historic Downtown DeLand’s Persimmon Lane, was the original creation in the Wings of the West series. What started as a chalk design used in a photo shoot for a local business has turned into the #DeLandWings social media sensation. As you step up to the wings, you can’t miss the unmistakable vibe — the downtown area is classic “old Florida,” but the artisans, retailers, brewers and restaurateurs have all helped foster a fresh, fun atmosphere of creativity and hospitality. Downtown DeLand is home to art galleries, live theatre and museums, as well as a slate of annual events.
FIFTH STOP: Cassadaga
1112 Stevens Street, Lake Helen
The Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is a 100+yearold community of spiritually-minded people located in rural West Volusia. Visitors come for readings from resident mediums, for church services or just to take in the peaceful energy of the community. Many also attend tours, classes, workshops and, of course, visit the fabulous gift shop. The Wings of the West artist was inspired by Cassadaga, which led to a mural featuring a set of life-size fairy wings. The mural is freestanding in a clearing at the end of the camp’s Fairy Trail on Chauncey Street. With the trees around you and the peaceful camp atmosphere, you might really feel like you can fly away when you stand in front of these wings!
FINAL STOP: Lyonia Preserve
2150 Eustace Avenue, Deltona
Bird-watchers from all over already know about this fabulous preserve! This 360-acre scrub habitat is home to nearly 100 rare Florida scrub jays, dozens of gopher tortoises and many other species that thrive in the Central Florida ecosystem. While you’re there, you can also pay a visit to the Lyonia Environmental Center — an engaging, educational center filled with displays on the area’s ecosystem, flora and fauna. A tour of the center is especially fun for kids, but it offers an understanding of the county’s environment, natural heritage and ecological challenges to all ages. Visitors can also take to the three hiking trails of the preserve for a firsthand look. While you’re on the trail, you can admire your final mural of the day: a creation which depicts scrub jay wings, ready and waiting for you to step in and strike a pose.
Exploring the Wings of the West trail allows for a unique travel itinerary. Make a whole day of it, if you’d like! Take your time making your way from one mural to the next, leaving plenty of time to poke your head in one of the city’s many art galleries or stop for a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. The fun awaits — time to let adventure take flight! Start planning your beach getaway now!