A pleasant afternoon at Daytona Beach, Florida

Driving into Daytona Beach we are welcomed at the outskirts of the city by a big sign on the pedestrian bridge that spans US 92 between Bayliss Boulvevard and Nascar Drive. The city has a rich race car history originating with the Daytona 500, and we headed first to the Daytona International Speedway where it all began. Billing themselves as the "World Center of Racing," visitors there have a choice of 3 tours; the All Access, the Speedway or the VIP tour. However, as we wanted to spend more time on the beach we opted out of the tours, although we did go and have a look at the speedway and the gift shop.

You could say Daytona Beach is a standout. One feature that makes it unique is that you can drive your car on designated areas of the 23 mile (37 kilometers) white-sand stretch, so you can immense yourself in the past, back to an era where cars actually raced on the hard-packed sand. Five miles/Eight kilometers of beach are also available for visitors who wish not to have to share the beach with cars. Racing enthusiasts can also study about race-car history from the various signposts located on the promenade.

The beach was packed with locals and day trippers like us, and we walked quite a bit along it. It is famous for many other things besides cars and racing. We saw many people enjoying different activities at the beach. such as sunbathing, surfing, frisbee, sandcastle building, people watching, volleyball, swimming, running, bicycling, car cruising, kite flying, picnicking, riding floats, riding motorbikes, sitting under umbrellas, looking for shells, sailing, jet sking, fishing, eating "beach dogs" or snowcones, walking the boardwalk, enjoying the skyride, sail boarding, jogging, or just relaxing, etc., etc.

On the way home, we stopped briefly at New Smyrna Beach to have a quick look. As it was almost dark, the beach was almost deserted. Here again, we could take the car right near the water. We didn't have time to go to the Ponce Inlet lighthouse, but promised ourselves to make a separate trip there in the future.