The Daytona Beach area was home to many colorful, historical figures -- from lighthouse keepers and industrialist John D. Rockefeller to famed civil rights leader Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. There are a variety of museums and homes that tell the story of the Daytona Beach area’s rich history and culture. Here’s a look at some of the must-see stops for visitors.

Daytona Beach

Mary McLeod Bethune Home

Mary McLeod Bethune Home & Gravesite

640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd., Daytona Beach

This National Historic Landmark is the former home of civil rights leader, educator and founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. Filled with fascinating artifacts and photos of famous visitors and U.S. presidents, the facility is situated on the scenic grounds of Bethune-Cookman University.

This historic landmark is temporarily closed. When it reopens, tours are free for all visitors. However, donations are accepted to support the work of the historic home.

Lilian Place Museum

111 Silver Beach Avenue, Daytona Beach

Don’t miss Daytona Beach’s oldest beachside residence where history comes alive. The beautifully restored 1884 Victorian Museum is open for tours. Built in 1884 by Laurence Thompson, one of the city’s first settlers, the house is named for his daughter Lilian (1873–1934), who lived there until her death. This historic home is a fine example of Italianate high Victorian architecture — one of only two in Volusia County — and features high ceilings, crown moldings, heart-of-pine floors, and some say, a ghost.

The home regularly hosts events such as afternoon teas, mystery dinners, and paranormal investigations.

Hotchkiss House

1000 S. Peninsula Drive, Daytona Beach

Located next door to Lillian Place is the Hotchkiss House, which was built in 1905 by E.H. Hotchkiss, internationally known for marketing the Hotchkiss stapler. Now converted into the Lilian Place Heritage Center cultural event site with a spectacular patio overlooking the river, the three-story Victorian Anne structure is available to rent for parties, weddings, and special events.

Howard Thurman

The Howard Thurman Home

614 Whitehall Street, Daytona Beach

The historic Howard Thurman Home is the childhood home of one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. A native son of Daytona Beach, Dr. Howard Thurman went on to become an important author and religious thinker and one of the most influential early voices shaping the nonviolent philosophy of the Modern Civil Rights Movement in America.

The Cellar

220 Magnolia Avenue, Daytona Beach

The Cellar Restaurant was the historic summer home of Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States. Built in 1907 by his father-in-law Amos H. Kling, today, The Cellar is known for fine Italian dining with options ranging from lamb to pastas to seafood. The building is on the National Historic Registry and is owned by hosts Sam and Lina Moggio.

Dr. Josie Rogers’ House

249 N. Beach Street, Daytona Beach

Dr. Mary Josie Rogers, more commonly known as Doctor Josie, lived in Daytona Beach her entire life, except for her time in Chicago where she earned her medical degree in 1907. Rogers was elected the city’s first female mayor in 1922, just two years after women got the right to vote. In the home, she also practiced medicine as the city’s first female doctor, and some believe she may have been one of the first female doctors in the state. 

Dr. Rogers lived, worked, and died in the historic family home, now owned by the City of Daytona Beach. The 144-year-old home has been relocated to overlook the Halifax River on the north end of the Riverfront Esplanade and has recently undergone extensive renovation. 

Ormond Beach

The Casements, a former winter residence of John D. Rockefeller, is a popular historic site to tour

The Casements

25 Riverside Drive, Ormond Beach

Discover what life looked like for millionaire philanthropist John D. Rockefeller at his former winter home in Ormond Beach. At The Casements, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and open for tours, you can enjoy the fine architecture, historical memorabilia, and peaceful gardens. In fact, Rockefeller Gardens frequently hosts family-friendly events and serves as the scenic backdrop for various festivals throughout the year.

MacDonald House

38 E. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach

The MacDonald House was built in 1895 and is named for Billy MacDonald, who in 1926 purchased the nearby business which became Billy’s Tap Room and Grill. MacDonald bought the house in 1939 for his family’s residence; it had four bedrooms on the second and third floors and one bedroom on the main floor. Now home to the Ormond Beach Historical Trust and the Ormond Beach Welcome Center, this facility offers a 20-minute video presentation and other exhibits chronicling the rich history of Ormond Beach.

Rose Villa toward bridge

Rose Villa Southern Table & Bar

43 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach

Built in the late 1800’s, Rose Villa was established as a boutique hotel and bed and breakfast in 1901. A small exclusive adjunct to Henry Flagler’s Ormond Hotel, it accommodated important guests who preferred more privacy than the famous hotel afforded. Today, the Rose Villa Southern Table & Bar is a comfortable casual restaurant that features Southern inspired cuisine, including their signature southern fried chicken, classic craft cocktails and an ample selection of wines, all served in this historic setting.

Ponce Inlet

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse-Iconic Trail-Ultimate Daytona Beach Trail Guide

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum

4931 S. Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet

Just a short drive south of Daytona Beach, Florida’s tallest lighthouse and the original lighthouse keepers’ dwellings offer a glimpse into the past at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. Constructed in 1887, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and its keepers have guided mariners along the Florida coast for more than 130 years. Climb all 203 steps to the top to soak in unbeatable views of the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway.

The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station is widely considered one of the most authentic and complete historic lighthouse facilities in the country with guided or self-guided tours throughout the historic grounds to explain the history, design, and purpose of the station’s many features, structures, and keeper’s dwellings.

Ponce Inlet Historical Museum

143 Beach Street, Ponce Inlet

Right near the lighthouse, visit the Ponce Inlet Historical Museum which contains two historic Florida Cracker-style cottages that have been restored to their original layout. The Meyer/Davis House and the Hasty Cottage/Post Office are collectively known as the Ponce Inlet Historical Museum. The Museum is dedicated to education through preservation and telling the story of the cultural heritage of the Town of Ponce Inlet.

West Volusia

Stetson Mansion exterior

Stetson Mansion

1031 Camphor Lane, DeLand

West of Daytona Beach, you can step back into the Gilded Age at Stetson Mansion's "Christmas Spectacular!" Holiday Home Tour at “The House That Hats Built,” the famed Victorian Gilded Age residence built in 1886. Its original, rich architectural details make the perfect backdrop for elaborate holiday decorations, which are different each year. Named "Top 10 Attractions in the USA" by Tripadvisor or "10Best Historic Holiday Home Tours in the USA" by USA Today, designer decorations from around the world adorn the mansion and each of the 10 lavish themed rooms. Self-guided and guided tours are offered. Reservations are required.

Experience the area’s inspiring homes and culture for yourself — start planning your getaway today! Check out our Arts & Culture map, download our free official destination guide or sign up for our e-newsletter.