One might conjure up images of car racing and spring breaking when thinking about Daytona Beach, but this area has some wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities. A city of 500,000 that attracts some 8 million visitors annually, Daytona Beach has branded its 23-mile packed sand beach as ‘the most famous in America’ — which from a runner’s perspective might be justifiably so! Add neighboring New Smyrna’s 17-mile beach and this area is beach running heaven. But there’s also an excellent variety for running in the Daytona Beach area, from scenic roads to a growing network of multi-use paths.
In addition to the beaches, there is nice running along the Halifax River right in Daytona Beach, and the Historic District and Riverside Drive in New Smyrna Beach. Another favorite road run is along choice sections of the famous ‘Ormond Scenic Loop‘. For trail running, try the spectacular path at Smyrna Dunes Park, or the nature trails at Doris Leper Spruce Creek Preserve. A bit further inland, there’s a large number of multi-use paths, highlighted by the 20-mile Spring-to-Spring trail, which passes through several parks and along Lake Monroe.
Great weather is of course a main attraction in Florida. This area’s cooler than south Florida temperatures in winter make it a joy for running. In summer, best to go early to beat the heat, and keep an eye to the sky for the near daily thunderstorms. For transport, a car is generally needed to get around, especially to access some of the parks and paths further inland.