Travel: A Delightful Daytona Beach Getaway

What are you waiting for? January is the perfect time to escape to Daytona Beach.

The Max Beach Resort pool features majestic views of the Atlantic Ocean. (JOSEPHINE MAIDA)

One thing that makes Orlando such a fantastic place to live is that there is always something exciting and fun happening locally. A city filled with tourists and thousands of daily options for entertainment is great, but occasionally, it can cause sensory overload.

Daytona Beach is just an hour’s drive from the heart of downtown Orlando, a perfect spot for a relaxing beach weekend. Whether you’re looking to spend some time with friends or family, Daytona is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle at home.

My partner, best friend, and I wanted to decompress, so we planned a quick getaway to Daytona Beach. We wanted to stay somewhere modern with magnificent views and access to the beach. As we planned, we realized that finding the ideal hotel was more than half the battle in ensuring that we had a relaxing trip.

The newly remodeled Max Beach Resort is a blissful place to spend a few days. Our room, a three-bedroom oceanfront residence condo on the eleventh floor, overlooked the private bar and pool with views of the beach. The wall of windows looked straight at the Atlantic, making it feel like we were on the ocean. At night, the sounds of the water lulled us to sleep as we spent our afternoons eating and drinking on our private balcony.

Each bedroom has plenty of bathroom space, and a large kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances. The three-bedroom suite includes access to our own private, in-room laundry, ideal for keeping our swimsuits clean after a dip in the hot tub.

The entrance to the Max Beach Resort where paradise awaits. (JOSEPHINE MAIDA)

After checking in and settling into our room, we headed down to the resort’s Venn Bar to grab a cocktail and a bite. The food was delicious and sated our appetites. Our favorites include a fresh mixed green salad with orange citrus, creamy goat cheese, and hand-dipped chicken tenders.

Afterward, a white sangria was perfect for sipping as we strolled over to the massive pool and hot tub. Sitting outside, enjoying the Florida sun with the sounds of the ocean serenading you nearby, made for an unforgettable escape.

Besides a simple dip in the ocean paired with laying out on soft towels in the sand, the Max Beach Resort offers cabanas that look out onto the water and bike rentals to take a quick ride along the shore. And if you’re the type of traveler who enjoys soaking up the local history and culture, the Daytona Beach area has plenty to offer.

Step back in time at The Starlight Diner.

The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is a National Historic Landmark that was first lit on November 1, 1887. Today, the lighthouse is still in use and is open to the public. We climbed all 203 steps to reach the peak of the 175-foot lookout atop the tallest lighthouse in Florida.

If all that climbing isn’t your speed, the Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS) is a terrific place to enjoy a quiet and relaxing walk through history, art, and culture.

As a foodie myself, I was most excited to see the Coca-Cola exhibit in the Root Family Museum. Opened in 2001, this interactive section of MOAS holds one of the world’s largest collections of Coca-Cola memorabilia, alongside a darling collection of teddy bears, Indy Series race cars, retired train cars, and other iconic pieces of Americana.

Other incredible offerings include the Lowell and Nancy Lohman Family Planetarium and the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum, which features hands-on experiences for kids. Here, I saw children of all ages discovering more about careers in such diverse fields as medicine and restaurant ownership, all while having fun with their friends.

No getaway is complete without a trip to a local coffee shop. In Daytona Beach, the cozy feel of Casualbird, which boasts a menu of Southern beach fare, was the perfect morning stop before a day of exploring. The location is beautiful, with a mural outside, light cream colors, and wicker throughout. It’s the perfect place to grab an iced coffee and snag the ideal shot to showcase your vacation on Instagram. Drawn in by the complimentary bread pudding, they made our iced mocha lattes to order. For a snack, we shared the Summer Breeze sandwich: cranberry mayonnaise on toasted pumpernickel bread with roasted turkey, creamy brie, and tart apple.

The Schulte Gallery of Chinese Art. (JOSEPHINE MAIDA)

Snacks are another essential piece of any getaway, especially a road trip. While a simple stop at any gas station will suffice, in Daytona, travelers can access one of two of the Buc-ee’s locations available in the state.

More than just a stop for snacks, a trip to Buc-ee’s is an experience. This 24-hour mega-convenience store/gas station is known for its over-the-top gift shop and a variety of foods. From brisket to beef jerky, baked goods, fudge, and more, most of the products at this glorified rest stop are made exclusively for the chain. We stopped several times to get our favorite custom-dipped pretzels and slushies for the beach.

Down the road from the Max Beach Resort was Crabby’s Oceanside, with a menu full of seafood specials and outdoor seating on the beach. We enjoyed frozen pina coladas and baskets of crab legs as we watched the sun set and the sky turn pink over the ocean.

Before packing up the car to head back to The City Beautiful, we made one last stop at the Starlite Diner. The retro 1948 diner car has booths lining the walls and a counter with stools upholstered in shiny red vinyl. We grabbed a classic breakfast of fruit-topped waffles, eggs, bacon, toast, and home fries, filling our stomachs before filling up our tank for the quick trip back to Orlando.