Daytona Beach FL, supposed home to the World’s “Most Famous” Beach

East Daytona is the historic beach portion of the City along the barrier island. This and Downtown Dayton, which runs along Beach Ave on the west side of the Halifax River, are probably the oldest parts of the City developed mainly in the early 20th century. I view the core of Historic East Daytona lying in between University Blvd to the north and the E International Speedway to the South.

The City was named in honor of  Mathias Day Jr. of Mansfield, Ohio, who purchased the former Orange Grove Plantation in 1871 on the westside of the Halifax River. He built a hotel spurring the creation of the town. By 1886 the St. Johns & Halifax River Railway arrived in Daytona but it wasn’t until the 1920s that development took off. By 1930s Daytona Beach had a population of 16K.  Daytona’s wide beachs of smooth, compacted sand attracted automobile and motorcycle races in the early 20th century. This led to many land record attempts and the first stock car races in 1936.  In 1958, William France Sr. and NASCAR created the Daytona International Speedway to replace the beach course and the rest is history! Population steadily continued to grow in Daytona Beach. The City reached 30K residents in 1950 and 64 K in 2000. Population dipped a bit in the 2000s but they seem to have rebounded.

East Daytona’s grid and general walkability make it by far the best urban area in Daytona Beach. But there are many areas for improvement including better neighborhood amenities, quality urban in-fill to replace auto centric strips and surface parking lots, and much more density. 
Click here to view my Daytona Beach album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Quality transit service. Probably some of the best in the Daytona Beach region.
* Convenient access to many tourist jobs at Daytona Beach and only 2 miles to Dwtn Daytona. Convenient bike and bus access to Dwtn.
* Great economic diversity here.
* Decent array of rental product at moderate prices. 1-bedrooms rent in the low $1,000s. 2-bedrooms in the low to mid $1,000s.
* Nice variety of for sale options including 1-2 bedrooms condos selling around 100K, modest SF homes selling in the $100Ks, and larger homes selling in the 200Ks & 300ks.
* Park and recreational spaces are concentrated along the shoreline. This includes the beach, pier, Breakers, Ocean Park, and the amphitheater plaza. Really no parks within the neighborhood of East Daytona.
* Plenty of attractive early 20th century Florida homes. Much of commercial district is modern.
* Nice array of schools in East Ormond Beach.
* Pretty good urban form along Seabreeze Blvd and Main Street but pretty autocentric along Atlantic Ave. Unfortunately there are many surface parking lots west of Atlantic Ave.
* Culturally a good array of restaurants, bars, & cafes,  lots of live music venues, a cineplex. and a handful of historic museums. The cultural amenities of Dwtn Daytona are also only 2 miles away.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Limited racial and especially generational diversity due to East Daytona’s concentration of retirees. Very few families living here.
* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure is a mixed bag. Generally consistent sidewalks throughout but update to date ADA curbs are 50-50.
* East Daytona generally feels pretty safe but still some abandonded lots and gritty areas. Much of the touristy waterfront has seen better days and needs some reinvestment.
* Modern infill in Daytona is hit or miss.
* Pretty low density in East Daytona.
* Good vibrancy on the beach and in the commercial districts but pretty dead in the rest of East Daytona.
* Much of East Daytona’s Beach’ infill has decent urban form, but the architecture styles can be very tacky.
* Its generally pretty safe in East Daytona but there are quite a few vacant lots and some vacant bldgs.
* East Daytona’ night life can be a liability sometimes with all the rowdy tourists that roll into town.
* Some neighborhood services amenities including a post office, a drug store, tons of touristy gift shops, a handful of boutiques, and the Ocean  Walks Shoppes (mostly just restaurants and gift shops).
* No walkable supermarket or library, 

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