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The Daytona Beach Area's official visitor info website:
Influential visitors have been flocking to the Greater Daytona Beach area for centuries, and their contributions live on for all to enjoy!
The trend continued with other entrepreneurs endeavoring to build a city of commerce and vision. Commodore Charles Burgoyne began by building a community center in Daytona Beach in the early 1900s. Burgoyne organized concerts along the riverfront actively promoting the town's events to travelers. Later, John D. Rockefeller discovered Ormond Beach's immaculate golf courses and made his winter home at The Casements.
Automobile racing became a regular pastime along the hard-packed beaches at the turn of the 20th Century. Ormond Beach became known as the "birthplace of speed" due to the various land speed records set there. In 1947, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing was founded in Daytona Beach. Motorsports gained new ground in 1959 with the opening of the Daytona International Speedway, which continues to satisfy hundreds of thousands of speed-hungry fans each year. Today, the Daytona Beach area entertains approximately 8 million visitors each year. Visitors come from around the world to relax and recreate on one of the most beautiful, family-friendly beaches in Florida.
Ormond Beach & Ormond-by-the-Sea
At the turn of the 20th century, Ormond Beach garnered the reputation as a summer playground for the rich and famous. Industrialists such as railroad magnate Henry Flagler and oil industry multi-millionaire John D. Rockefeller visited the area often, helping to develop the town's character. Today Ormond Beach is known as the "Birthplace of Speed" and celebrates annual events that reenact the early days of racing on the beach. Ormond-by-the-Sea is a quaint residential area featuring parks, traffic-free beach and a variety of great restaurants.
Ponce Inlet & Wilber-By-The-Sea
Ponce Inlet, a quaint "Old Florida" town offers a sampling of some of the area's best waterfront restaurants and chartered fishing excursions, as well as a marine science center, a casino boat that sails daily and the tallest lighthouse in the state. The small neighboring seaside community of Wilber-By-The-Sea features quiet beaches and casual riverfront dining.
Port Orange & South Daytona
Connected to the beachside by the Dunlawton Bridge, the city of Port Orange is proud of its scenic riverfront, historic treaures, challenging golf courses and Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens. Just south of Daytona Beach on the mainland, South Daytona is nestled between U.S. 1 and the Intracoastal Waterway and features riverfront and lake front parks, ice skating arena and the Living Legends Auto Racing Museum.
Known as "The City with a Heart", Holly Hill boasts one of the most beautiful views of the Halifax River along scenic Riverside Drive. Enjoy riverfront parks galore that feature boat ramps, fishing piers and plenty of covered picnic tables. The Riviera Oaks Dog Park is also in Holly Hill.
Great weather, convenience and world-class golf await you in the Daytona Beach area, one of Florida's fastest growing golf destinations. The area is covered in famous fairways designed by the legends of the sport. Golf Digest recently ranked Daytona Beach in the top 15 places to play in the nation.
Daytona International Speedway:
The First Daytona 500:
On February 22, 1959, Daytona International Speedway hosted the first Daytona 500. The posted awards for the "500-Mile International Sweepstakes" totaled $67,760. A field of 59 cars took the green flag for the start of the 200-lap race. A crowd of 41,000 was on hand to witness the beginning of another chapter in the history of racing in Daytona.
The finish of the race also went into the history books. The finish was too close to call, but Johnny Beauchamp went to Victory Lane and savored the celebration although the results were posted as "unofficial."
Sixty-one hours later, Lee Petty was the winner in what appeared to be a dead heat between Petty and Beauchamp - with the lapped car of Joe Weatherly making it a three-wide finish at the checkered flag. A clip of newsreel footage proved that Petty was the winner by a few feet.