Sunday, August 2, 2015

Florida Trip Report Part 5: Daytona Beach Shores

Florida Trip Report:

Travel Hacking a Trip to Florida
Vacation music video
Disney's Contemporary Resort Review
Hyatt Place Daytona Beach Review
Part 1: Getting There, Poolside and Chef Mickey's
Part 2: Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios
Part 3: Reunion and Beaches and Cream
Part 4: 'Ohana Character Breakfast and Heading to the Beach

Part 5: Daytona Beach Shores

The next morning, we headed to the beach right after breakfast (we even went down to breakfast in our swimsuits and cover-ups, which totally fit right in...we saw people in swimsuits in many stores and restaurants in this beach town). We decided to reserve a few chairs for the day.

The kids tried boogie boarding (my oldest really got the hang of it) and just playing in the water. Time slipped away quickly.

We debated eating lunch on the beach from the food trucks passing by, but instead we decided to go back to the room to shower before heading across the street to Subway and Dairy Queen. I wanted to see a little of Daytona Beach today. Originally, we had planned to go to a chocolate factory tour and visit a local science museum, but we didn't have time to squeeze both in before they closed at 5:00 p.m. So of course I prioritized the chocolate factory!

The Angell and Phelps chocolate factory was small, but it advertised free tours and had good reviews on Trip Advisor. The tour was basically down one hallway with about 4 big glass windows where we could see chocolate and candy being made.

The owner works in the factory and is the only one to touch the press machine.

We saw the assembly line for chocolate covered potato chips, the company's #1 seller. (Chocolate covered bacon is the #2 seller, which I just couldn't bring myself to try).

At the end of the tour, everyone was given two samples to try. I tried a dark chocolate covered potato chip and a dark chocolate caramel. Both were outstanding! The chip was much tastier than I imagined it would be. We bought a small amount of chocolate and candy before we left.

On the way back to our car, we decided to stop at this magic shop.

One of the owners did a trick for the kids. We bought a few gag items.

After the magic shop, we had to drive back to our hotel to drop off the chocolate we purchased because, as Trip Advisor reviews warned us, the chocolate would surely melt if we hung around downtown Daytona for any length of time.

So we drove back to our hotel briefly, and then we drove to a Japanese Hibachi restaurant for dinner. It was ok, but not as good as some of the ones back home, so I won't even mention the name.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel pool and beach for another round of swimming.

The next morning, we again went straight from breakfast to the pool and beach area. I watched the time a little more closely so that I could be sure we had enough time to drive the opposite way to a few activities at the southern tip of Ponce inlet.

We started by visiting the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida.

We had to climb 203 steps in the spiral to get to the top (flip-flops are not recommended).

The top had a great view!

Can you tell which kid did not want his photo taken???

Unfortunately, after only being at the top for a few minutes, it started raining. Lightly at first, and then a huge downpour. We cut our visit at the top short and descended.

The lighthouse museum had other buildings on the campus, such as the caretaker's historical house and this lens exhibit building.

A very short drive away is the Marine Science Center. This is a very small exhibit that was worth seeing since we were in the area.

The main room had a few aquariums and a touch pool with stingrays.



The Marine Science Center takes in sick birds and sea animals and rehabilitates them. We happened to be there the same day that 3 young sea turtles were being released back into the ocean after their rehabilitation. So we all walked over to the nearby beach to see them set free.

While the main building was very small, there was also a bird exhibit across the street and an elevated hiking trail with an observation tower. We got to see some bald eagles.

Ponce Inlet also had some boat tours and watercraft rentals, so if we had been able to stay longer we would have checked out more stuff there.

On our last night in Daytona Beach Shores, we went to Aunt Catfish's On the River for dinner. We got there shortly after 5:00 p.m. on a weeknight, and there was already a 2-hour wait!

Thank goodness there was a dock and a playground to entertain the kids.

I was looking out at the water from the dock and saw several dolphins swimming nearby. One came right up to the dock, jumped up and startled me!

The food was totally worth the wait...I got fresh fish, and each meal came with a cinnamon roll (kinda weird for dinner, but it's the restaurant's specialty).

After dinner we went back to the beach. We were all sad that this would be our last night on the beach. I wished we had at least 2 more days there--one to do some water sports and one to just lounge around the beach all day.

The kids made some sand castles before it got too dark to see.

Up next: Airboat ride, and visiting the largest McDonald's Playland in the world!

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