From stock cars and sunshine to sugar cane mills, Daytona Beach has a deep and colorful history — and it’s all waiting for you to explore. Although there are a variety of museums and guided tours throughout the area, one way to experience Daytona Beach’s rich history and culture is to hop in the car and drive! If you have a full day to spend on your excursion, consider following the five-stop route below. Of course, depending on the day or season, you may want to add to or omit a destination on this list.
So fill up the car, put on your walking shoes and prepare to take a step back in history with this Daytona Beach Self-Guided History Tour.
Starting point: The Casements
ADDRESS: 25 Riverside Drive, Ormond Beach
HOURS: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Discover what life looked like for millionaire philanthropist John D. Rockefeller at his former winter home in Ormond Beach! At this site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 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.
ADDRESS: 640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, Daytona Beach
HOURS: Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
From Ormond Beach, head south on Riverside Drive to Daytona Beach and the Mary McLeod Bethune Home and Gravesite. An educator and impactful civil rights leader, Bethune made a difference for women in the Daytona Beach area and beyond. View her former home, personal artifacts and gravesite, all while getting a glimpse of her important influence on education both in the area and nationally.
ADDRESS: 105 East Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach
HOURS: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Just over a mile away from the Mary McLeod Bethune attraction, you’ll stumble upon another site honoring a significant civil rights figure. Relive the important history of Jackie Robinson. Here in Daytona Beach, Robinson broke the so-called baseball color line. And although resistance existed long after that day, the event signaled the end of racial segregation in professional baseball. Come learn more about his extraordinary 10-year stint in Major League Baseball, and the lasting legacy he left behind.
Stop 4: Lilian Place Historic House
ADDRESS: 111 Silver Beach Avenue, Daytona Beach
HOURS: 1 to 5 p.m. every day but Tuesday
Stop by this historic, Victorian-style mansion to marvel at the fine details — and maybe even hear a spooky story or two! Built in 1884, the home features high ceilings, wood crown moldings and heart-of-pine floors. That’s not the only relic, though — there have been many reported sightings of a mystery woman dressed in white, called Lucille. Legends have it that she’s been causing mischief here for more than 100 years! Guided tours are provided until 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday; Victorian Tea is served at 2 p.m. every third Tuesday; and Wednesday Winedown happens at 5:30 p.m. every third Wednesday.
Stop 5: Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
ADDRESS: 4931 South Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet
HOURS: Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Drive a few miles farther south to Ponce Inlet and take your history tour to new heights! As Florida’s tallest lighthouse, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse offers a glimpse into the past, along with breathtaking 360-degree views. Climb all 203 steps to the top to soak in unbeatable views of the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway and the entire Daytona Beach peninsula. It’s an unforgettable way to end a history-packed day!