ABOUT DAYTONA BEACH:
Daytona Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida. 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 61,005. It is a principal city of the Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which was home to 494,593 people in 2010. Daytona Beach is also a principal city of the Fun Coast region of Florida.
The city is historically known as having a beach where the hard packed sand allows motorized vehicles to drive on the beach in restricted areas. This hard packed sand made Daytona Beach a popular place for motorsports, with the old Daytona Beach Road Course having hosted races for over 50 years. This course was replaced in 1959 by the Daytona International Speedway. The city is also the headquarters for NASCAR and the Grand American Road Racing Association.
Daytona Beach is a year-round family-friendly resort area, but could also accurately be called a seasonal town, with large groups of out-of-towners descending upon the city for various events, most notably Speed weeks in early February when over 200,000 NASCAR fans come to attend the season-opening Daytona 500. Other events include the NASCAR Coke Zero 400 race in July, Bike Week in early March, Biketoberfest in late October, and the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race in January. The Turkey Rod Run is a fun Thanksgiving event that attracts people from all over bringing their classic, spruced up or hot rod cars to show off.
Daytona Visitor & Convention Bureau http://www.daytonabeach.com/
City of Daytona Beach http://www.ci.daytona-beach.fl.us/
Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce http://www.daytonachamber.com/
DAYTONA BEACH HISTORY:
The area where Daytona Beach is today was once inhabited by the indigenous, Timucuan Indians, who lived in fortified villages. The Timucuas were nearly exterminated by contact with Europeans through war, enslavement and disease and became extinct as a racial entity through assimilation and attrition during the 18th century. The Seminole Indians, descendants of Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama frequented the area prior to the Second Seminole War.
During the era of British rule of Florida between 1763–1783, the King’s Road passed through present day Daytona Beach. The road extended from St. Augustine, the capital of East Florida, to Andrew Turnbull’s experimental colony in New Smyrna. In 1804 Samuel Williams received a land grant of 3,000 acres from the Spanish Crown which had regained Florida from the British after the American Revolution. This land grant encompassed the area that would become Daytona Beach. Williams built a slave labor based plantation to grow cotton, rice and sugar cane. His son Samuel Hill Williams would abandon the plantation during the Second Seminole War when the Seminoles burned it to the ground.
In 1871, Mathias Day, Jr., from Mansfield, Ohio, purchased a 2.144.5 acre tract of the former William’s Plantation, on the west bank of the tidal channel known as the Halifax River. He built a hotel around which the town arose, which is today the Daytona Beach Historic District. In 1872 due to financial troubles he lost title to his land, residents decide to name the city Daytona in honor of Day as its founder, and incorporated the town in 1876.
In 1886, the St. Johns & Halifax River Railway arrived in Daytona. The line would be purchased in 1889 by Henry M. Flagler, who made it part of his Florida East Coast Railway. The separate towns of Daytona, Daytona Beach, Kingston, and Seabreeze merged as “Daytona Beach” in 1926, at the urging of civic leader J.B. Kahn and others. By the 1920s, it was dubbed “The World’s Most Famous Beach”.
Daytona’s wide beach of smooth, compacted sand attracted automobile and motorcycle races beginning in 1902, as pioneers in the industry tested their inventions. On March 8, 1936, the first stock car race was held on the Daytona Beach Road Course. In 1959, William France Sr. and NASCAR created the Daytona International Speedway to replace the beach course. Automobiles are still permitted on most areas of the beach, at a maximum speed of 10 mph.
The city attracts over 8,000,000 tourists each year. It is one of the few places in the world where it is permitted for one to drive a car on the ocean beach.
During motorcycle events (Bike Week and Biketoberfest), several hundred thousand bikers from all over the world visit the greater Daytona Beach area. Special events that draw visitors to Daytona Beach include:
- Speed weeks (Daytona 500 NASCAR race, Rolex 24 sports car race, and others)
- Coke Zero 400, NASCAR race on or around July 4 (Traditionally called the Pepsi 400 or Firecracker 400)
- Daytona Beach Bike Week Daytona 200 motorcycle races, bike shows and biker reunion in March
- Biketoberfest in October
- Turkey Run car show and events during Thanksgiving weekend (Traditionally called the Turkey Rod Run)
- Spring break (date varies, usually the first and second week of March)
The city of Daytona Beach is split in two by the Halifax River lagoon, part of the Intracoastal Waterway, and sits on the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered on the north by Holly Hill and Ormond Beach and on the south by Daytona Beach Shores, South Daytona and Port Orange.
Daytona Beach has a humid subtropical climate, typical of the southeastern United States. Summers are hot and humid with highs usually in the 90s and a heat index often exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Thunderstorms are frequent in summer afternoons and the hot, humid weather can last right through the fall months. Winters are dry and mild, marked by a constant series of cold fronts and warm-ups. Temperatures dip into the low 30s and upper 20s Fahrenheit on rare occasion, and freezes are not common. Frost occurs a few times a year mainly in the inland areas, but is rare along the beaches; snowfall is extremely rare. Temperatures in spring are famously pleasant with warm afternoons, cool evenings, and far less humidity. This beach-going weather attracts tourists back to the beaches usually by early March.
Despite its warm location, there were a few catastrophic freezes in the area’s history. Early settlers only left vague records, but severe freezes were indicated on: January 2–3, 1766; February 7–8, 1835; and January 16, 1857. The cold weather was so severe that crops such as orange trees were killed and several plantation owners abandoned the area as a result.