One exciting but often unheralded feature of living on the Space Coast is the proximity to many other delightful destinations just a short ride away. Melbourne, Palm Bay, and our beachside communities have much to offer, but weekend adventurers can enjoy a variety of interesting locales that appeal to nearby tourists as well as those visiting from out of state. In coming weeks, this column will highlight some appealing destinations for easy weekend road trips from Brevard County. Because theme parks dominate the landscape, many Central Floridians overlook Orlando’s many other appealing features. Because the beach is so much of an attraction for those of us who live along the coast, it is easy to forget some of Central Florida’s inland beauty. This week, let’s take a look at the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” and see what there is to enjoy in and around Daytona Beach.

Space Coast residents might question the value of another beach that is just a farther drive away, but Daytona Beach has two important differences that might appeal to beachgoers from the Space Coast. Because of erosion, Brevard County beaches are suitable for jogging only when it is near low tide. The wider beaches near Daytona allow joggers and bicyclists more opportunities to enjoy the scenery. For joggers, there are also several scenic causeways connecting the beachside to the mainland. The second major difference at Daytona Beach is that it is still legal to drive there. For a modest, but steadily increasing fee, you can buy a permit to drive along the beach. One of the best things about driving on the beach is that it includes the ability to park on the beach, allowing a much shorter haul from the trunk of your car to the water.

Because the area is inundated with tourists several weeks of the year, like Spring Break, Bike Week and Black College Reunion, visitors who avoid those busy times can often find surprisingly good values for lodging. As winter gives way to spring and summer, look for opportunities to get out and enjoy your state.
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