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


* 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.


* 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, 

Deland, FL- Home to Florida’s oldest private college Stetson University

Deland was founded in 1876, and was named for its founder, Henry DeLand who also founded Stetson University, Florida’s oldest private college. After a killing freeze destroyed the central Florida’s orange crop, DeLand entrusted the academy to his friend John B. Stetson, a wealthy hat manufacturer from Philadelphia. The Town steadily grew and reached 7,000 residents by 1940. Deland hosts some great historic architecture, especially stucco Mediterranean Revival architecture often designed by native architect Medwin Peek.

Historic Deland has held up well even with rapid suburban growth on its fringes. The city now has over 30,000 souls. Much investment has gone into main street and downtown helping to create an attractive and vibrant core. Major areas for Deland to improve from an urban perspective include better density, public transit access, and converting transitioning its more auto centric commercial districts to be pedestrian friendly. 
Click here to view my Deland album on Flickr


* Well invested Dwtn area complete with filled storefronts and great streetscaping.
* Great historic architecture especially Dwtn.
* Sidewalks and ADA Infrastructure is great  in Dwtn and Stetson University. Hit or miss in the historic residential streets where sidewalks are often missing and curb ramps are not up to ADA standards.
* Excellent street connectivity.
* Nice dedicated bike lane running the lengths of Historic Deland. No bike sharing system.
* Great generational diversity with around 60% family households. Excellent racial and economic diversity as well.
* Good supply of rentals with one-bedrooms leasing btwn $800-$1,000, 2-bedrooms in the low $1,000s, and 3-bedrooms in the high $1,000s.
* Great diversity of for-sale prices points starting around 50K all the way to 500K.
* Good mix of parks and amenities including several nice Downtown plazas, a major sports complex, Christholm Center, Painter Bond, the Bill Deggors Museum Complex, and the greenspaces of Stetson University.
* Culturally a great array of restaurants, cafes, and bars Dwtn, art galleries, the Athens historic theater and good array of local museums including Deland House Museum, Gillespie Science Museum, Museum of Art-Deland, African American Arts Museum, and the Bill” Dreggors Historic Site.
* Good array of neighborhood retails esp. Dwtn including a hardware store, several grocery stores and smaller ethnic grocers, public library, banks, a couple bookstores, and lots of boutiques and specialty stores.
* Mix of quality private and public schools within the historic core.
* Great tree canopy throughout Deland. 


* Pretty low density for an urban area, but this is pretty typical for the south.
* Outside of Downtown the commercial corridors are semi-auto centric. Amelia Street is primarily auto centric.
* Dwtn is vibrant but the rest of Deland is pretty quiet due to its low density
* Poor public transit.
* Decent amount of jobs in Deland as it is a county seat and hosts Stetson University. 30 minute drive (50 min bus ride) to Dayton Beach and 45 drive to Orland.
* Crime a bit above the National average and still plenty of blight throughout.