Camping / Northeast Florida

Camping and things to do near Daytona Beach

Daytona: Camping and Things to Do

This article includes:

  • Best Camping Near Daytona
  • Things To Do Near Daytona Beach
  • Hotel accommodations

 Racing is an authentic Florida tradition proudly worn in Daytona, where motor cars first coursed the hard-packed sand of its beaches during the 1930s.

You can still drive on many of the county’s beaches, but the racing has moved inland to Daytona Beach International Speedway.

Four major events draw large crowds to Daytona every year:

  • February. Speedweeks and the Daytona 500
  • March. Bike Week
  • July 4th. Coke Zero 400
  • October. Biketoberfest

Accommodations are in short supply, especially camping, but here’s our guide to help sort through the RV and tent camping options, identify outdoors things to do near Daytona International Speedway.

For more information about the events at Daytona International Speedway, visit their official web site: www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

Camping Options For Speedweeks

One of the major challenges you will face on your visit to Daytona Beach is finding a campground to pitch a tent or park an RV. Hotel and motel accommodations are also scarce.

Sites are available at the Speedway in the infield or outside the track behind the berms, and a few enterprising ranchers along Williamson Boulevard have been known to open their pastures for campers and car parking within walking distance of the track.

For a small fortune, RV, travel trailers, motor coaches and even tents can camp inside the racetrack, where you can watch events from your campsite, or just outside the berm.

You can buy tickets and reserve a campsite at the Speedway by calling call 1-800-PITSHOP   Or go to this link at Daytona International Speedway for campsite maps and more information.

Special Event Campground for Speedweeks in February

FinishLine RV Park is one block from the Speedway. A few sites are paved, and a few have electric hookups, but you’ll pay $15 a night extra for 30-amp power.  You must also pay a $100 non-refundable deposit regardless of your length of stay. Rates range from $110 to $400, depending on the length of stay, plus a vehicle charge. For more information, visit their web site.

Florida Rambler’s “Best Camping” Near Daytona Beach

Our campground recommendations cost far less, and for that reason they get snapped up early. But they are worth checking in case of cancellations.

Blue Spring State Park, Orange City — On the eastern edge of a vast basin of preserved lands, wildlife refuges and state parks that protect the watershed of the oddly north-flowing St. John’s River, making this park an ideal launching pad for paddling your kayak into the wild or just chilling out in the spring. 51 campsites (tent or RV), $24 night; Cabins, $95; Rest rooms with showers; Grill, table, water and electric at each site; Dump station; Swimming, snorkeling, tubing in the spring; Nature trails; Kayak/canoe concession on St. John’s River; Boat launch outside park; Pets OK in campground; No alcohol, no weapons.  For campground reservations, call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern) or TDD (888) 433-0287, or online at Florida State Parks. 28 miles from the Speedway, off I-4. Florida Rambler article: Blue Spring State Park

Tomoka State Park, Ormond Beach — A watery paradise with excellent paddling, boating and fishing. This beautiful state park is on the scenic Ormond Loop Trail. One of the premier stops on the Florida Birding Trail with more than 160 species sighted either resident or passing through during the spring and fall migrations. More than 100 shady campsites near the Tomoka River with electric and water hookups, picnic table and a grill. Dump station on site. Maximum RV length is 34 feet. Sites are $24 per night and include electric, water. Pets OK in the campground. For campground reservations, call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern) or TDD (888) 433-0287, or online at Florida State Parks. 14 miles to the speedway. FloridaRambler article: Tomoka River State Park

 Most of these state park campgrounds are fully booked well in advance, although you might get lucky with a cancellation. Meantime, plan for next year’s events by booking 11 months in advance.

Campsites at Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area

Camping at Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area

Gamble Rogers State Park, Flagler Beach – Camping on the beach, behind the dunes. A great little oceanfront campground, if you can get in.  There are 34 sites, some with an ocean view. Al sites have water, electric, picnic table and a fire ring. A dump station is on site. For campground reservations up to 11 months in advance, call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern) or TDD (888) 433-0287, or online at Florida State Parks. 22 miles from the Speedway, north of Daytona on State Road A1A.  FloridaRambler article: Gamble Rogers State Park (and more)

Favor-Dykes State Park, St. Augustine – This tranquil park borders Pellicer Creek into the open marshes that frame the Intracoastal Waterway south of St. Augustine. This park is one of the most popular in the state for bird-watching. The campground has 30 sites in a shady hardwood hammock, each buffered from neighboring sites by natural vegetation. Each site has water, electric, fire circle with grill and a picnic table. Pets allowed. Alcohol prohibited except within your campsite. For campground reservations up to 11 months in advance, call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern) or TDD (888) 433-0287, or online at Florida State Parks. 42 miles north of the Speedway on I-95.  FloridaRambler article:  Favor-Dykes State Park (and more)

Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka — Wekiwa  Springs is one of Florida’s largest and most popular state parks, a 7,800-acre wonderland of 19 distinct plant communities and the source of one of the state’s two designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Wekiva.  60 sites (tent or RV), $24 night; Rest rooms with showers; Fire ring with grill, table, water and electric at each site; Dump station; Swimming in spring, hiking, bicycling, canoe/kayak launch; Pets OK but not in swimming area; No alcohol or firearms.  For campground reservations up to 11 months in advance, call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern) or TDD (888) 433-0287, or online at Florida State Parks. 47 miles south of the Speedway, just off I-4. FloridaRambler article: Wekiwa Springs State Park (and more)

More North Florida camping info from Florida Rambler:

RV Camping Along I-95 in North Florida’s state parks

Private RV Campgrounds near Daytona Beach

RVers should also check availability for these campgrounds near Daytona International Speedway:

Daytona Beach KOA (5 miles)
Daytona Speedway KOA (5 miles)
Sunshine Holiday Daytona RV Resort (11 miles)
Bulow RV Resort (20 miles)

Things to Do Near Daytona Beach

Ride the Loop — The Ormond Scenic Loop is a 30-mile road trip through live-oak canyons, waterfront postcard scene, abundant wildlife, two state parks and a state historic site. Along the way, there’s camping, hiking, biking and paddling opportunities.

Related Florida Rambler article:

Road Trip: Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail

Gateway to the Scenic Loop: Tomoka River State Park

 

Florida scenic roads: Ormond Beach Scenic Loop and Trail
The Loop — One of Florida’s most scenic roads

Flagler Beach — This quaint little beachside community is a refreshing change from the high-rise condos and hotels that populate much of Florida’s coast. And it’s coastal waters are at the vortex of Florida winter whale watching.

Related Florida Rambler articles:

Escape to this real Florida beach town

Whale watching in Florida: Winter thrill on the northeast coast

Daytona Beach — Driving your car on the hard-packed beaches of Daytona, and New Smyrna Beach is a Florida tradition.  Pioneers did it with horses and buggies, but the legacy for race fans is the history that was made here from the 1930s until 1959 — stock car racing was born on these beaches.  Yes, early racers actually sped along this hard-pack sand until Daytona Speedway was built in 1959. You can drive on these beaches, too — just not as fast. 🙂

Related Florida Rambler article: 

Ultimate Road Trip: Driving on the beach

The Homely Manatee — The West Indian sea cow migrates in winter to the steady temperatures of the springs that feed the nearby St. John’s River where you can observe their lazy meanderings. One of the best viewing areas is at Blue Spring State Park, just a few miles from Daytona off Interstate 4. Seafaring legend has it that these lumbering creatures were the myths of mermaids. Mermaids?

Related Florida Ramber articles: 

Where to see Manatees in Florida

Video: Exploring the St. John’s

 

Surf fishing is popular on Apollo Beach, one of Florida's best beaches.
Surf fishing is popular on Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore

Canaveral National Seashore – Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore is one of the last stretches of pristine beach on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, and it’s all yours. Access to the beach is limited by parking, so it is quiet and peaceful with bountiful wildlife. You can almost always find your place in the sand. If not, go fishing in the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons or hike a nature trail through coastal scrub.

Related Florida Rambler articles:

Apollo Beach: Canaveral National Seashore

Video: Kayaking the Indian River Lagoon

Surf Fishing: Family fun for your beach day

Castle Windy Trail at Canaveral National Seashore

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge — Merritt Island offers a multitude of activities, from bird watching and hiking to kayaking and great fishing, less than an hour’s drive south of Daytona Beach.  The casual, fun and scenic route, and the one bikers frequently cruise during Bike Week, is down U.S. 1 to Oak Hill, where you pick up the north entrance road to the refuge. Once inside the refuge, you can cruise for miles through the wilderness. Definitely worth a side trip, and bring your kayaks for a paddle in Mosquito Lagoon! And on your way back, be sure to stop at Goodrich’s Seafood, off the beaten track in Oak Hill.

Related Florida Rambler articles:

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge 

Oak Hill: Don’t Blink

Places To Eat, More Things To Do:

7 cool campgrounds within an hour of Disney World

JB’s Fish Camp: Running with the crabs

St. Augustine: Fort makes history fascinating

Near St. Augustine: Magical Princess Place

Washington Oaks: Gardens plus unusual beach

Great escapes: Florida’s cool, refreshing springs

Spruce Creek paddle: Diamond in the rough

Oak Hill: Don’t blink

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Hotel Accommodations For Daytona Beach:

There are hundreds of motels, both on the beach and near the beach, in Daytona Beach and surrounding communities.  We particularly like the Riverview Hotel & Spa in New Smyrna Beach for it’s classic Florida ambiance, waterfront location on the Indian River and proximity to one of Florida’s best beaches.

Another good option is the Black Dolphin Inn, a high-end B&B that is also on the Indian River in New Smyrna Beach. The 14-room Black Dolphin is relatively new to the lodging scene near Daytona and prides itself on its connection to local fishing guides, who will take you out into the nearby Mosquito Lagoon.

But your choices are endless.

Check out Hotels in Daytona Beach

Hotels in New Smyrna Beach

Hotels in Ormond Beach

Hotels in Flagler Beach

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