We decided to take a more scenic route than the interstate.
So we drove along the coast to Daytona.
It was a very pleasant drive with views of the ocean, hotels and houses.
The hotels aren't right on the water, so there are a number of spots to pull off the road and access the beach.
These were great, Michael could have his cigarette and I could walk down to the water. Usually no one was there but us, it was like having our own private beach.
We reached Daytona and found our hotel, The Plaza Resort And Spa, which is just down from the main street pier. Our room was an ocean front room with a balcony.
I love sitting on the balcony, especially at night, listening to the waves.
Because it was turtle nesting season, there were no lights at night near the beach. One night we walked down to the water to see if we could find any turtle tracks or turtles. Of course, we did not.
One of my favorite things about the beach is watching the sun rise over the water. It was the perfect beginning to the day, every day we were there. Rather it was seen from the beach itself or the balcony of our room, it was spectacular.
It is easy to tell which pictures were taken from the balcony, because I couldn't get a shot without the trees being in it.
I like watching the beach come to life. Before the sun peaks up from the horizon there are only a few people on the beach. The early morning runners or walkers and the few of us waiting for the sunrise. As daylight begins to break, you can see a few more people.
The balconies of the hotels begin to have occupants and hotel staff members are busy setting up the rental umbrellas and chairs along the beach.
Soon you can see the life guards taking their place in their watch tower chairs.
Out on the water you can see the boats begin to sail by.
By noon, the parasailers are on the water and the beach is alive with people.
The beach was really wonderful and we enjoyed it very much. We did find that Daytona is a very different place than St. Augustine. In St. Augustine, we felt safe walking around the streets of the area day or night. Daytona, was a different story. You had to keep your guard up. We were approached by pan handlers and rude pushy condo salesmen. One morning, I decided to walk to one of the shops that we had visited the day before. It was only about two blocks from our hotel. It was around 11am or so, on the main street, plenty of people around, and this man kept following me. If I slowed down, he slowed down, if I walked faster, he walked faster. I stopped at one point pretending to look at something in a shop window.....he stopped. I was beginning to get a little scared, so I quickly went into a shop and walked right up to a group of people inside, like I was meeting them. I asked them for directions. He finally walked on up the street. I didn't go anywhere without Michael after that.
While we were there we visited Ponce Inlet and the Ponce De Leon Lighthouse.
It was a very special treat for me. This made the fourth time that I have visited Daytona.
My other visits had only been for a day at the beach and even though I knew of the lighthouse, I had not even seen it until my third trip there. Even then I wasn't able to go inside the lighthouse because they were doing renovations. So this time, I was going to climb that lighthouse or else.........
The tickets are all day tickets so we climed the lighthouse, then left to have lunch at one of the restaurants on the water and returned to tour the rest of the lighthouse museum buildings.
After the lighthouse, we spent the rest of the day down at the beach.
From the jetty we watched a group of surfers. Some of them were pretty good.
There were several jellyfish swimming along the rocks of the jetty. It was kind of hard to get a picture of them. They would come up only for a few seconds and then back down into the water.
Michael knew that I wanted to see the lighthouse at night, so he made sure that we drove back at night to see it all illuminated.
It was truly beautiful. The picture does not do it justice.
Our time in Daytona was nice, we enjoyed it very much. It isn't a place I care to visit with the kids, but it has good points too.
Our last day of our trip we left open. We made no reservations. We decided to just play it by ear to see what we felt at the time that we wanted to do.
So be sure and check back to see where we ended up and for the final chapter.