Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Daytona Beach Family Vacations with Teens – Surfing, Para-sailing, and High Speed Action. 050FLDaytonaWheeling  I know of five good reasons to vacation in Daytona Beach with teens: awesome beach action, waves for surfing, thrilling rides, cosmic bowling, and the Daytona 500 Experience.

Here's the scoop. Generally teens like to sleep until noon and then make plans for the day, so without cool stuff to do sleeping in just happens. Selecting an action spot is essential when vacationing with teens and Daytona Beach offers fun options and action for parents and teens. I also know every family has their own way of sorting out the family vacation and that no two will make the same plan but with teens extra effort is needed. The fact is teens really only want to do the cool stuff and not always with their parents and the reverse is also true. Daytona Beach offers things to share and activities best left to teens.  I have sorted out five “best bets” from our own teen experience.

The action is on the beach. At low tide the hard packed surface invites cycling, jogging, fishing, and driving is permitted (too cool) on 11 of the 23-mile long beach area. At times the beach is up to 500 feet wide at low tide tempting beach goers to join a game of beach volleyball or sand ball. From various points along the beach snag a banana boat ride and go parasailing. Perhaps the hottest and wildest beach attraction is the Daytona Slingshot.  Like it sounds, riders buckle into a spring machine that launches participants 300 feet in the air at 100 mph – fun, but not for the faint of heart. 

Take to the surf. The art and sport of surfing suits all ages and on the north side of Daytona Beach the surf is almost always up – at least for beginners.  Surfari Surf in Ormond offers both private and group lessons for all skill levels.  Using safety minded techniques surfing instructors make students feel safe, confident, and at ease while practicing techniques on the beach or in the water. Bonus points: Surfari also conducts summer surf camps for youths, teens and adults. Each session enables students to master skills and perfect techniques in addition to learning ocean safety, wave timing, and judgment skills.
How about surf school? The solution is simple put the kids back in school – surf school. While they teach year round, from May through August Daytona Beach Surfing School offers concentrated, week-long camp sessions for ages 7 to 17. Participants learn how to carry the surfboard through the surf, how to fall, how to balance, positioning for standing and paddling, and how to read the surf for breakers. All students are taught about tides, currents, winds, water and ocean safety, and marine life awareness. Surf School instructors go out in the water with each student, select the proper waves to add to the fun of practice. Bonus Points: They provide safe, soft surfboards free of charge for each camper and all lessons as well as and wetsuits when needed. Private and group lessons are also available.

Bounce over the waves. Imagine bouncing over the waves on top of long, yellow pontoons strapped together and pulled by a Jet Ski as it cuts through the waves. The entertaining 25- minute ride traces the coast within site of the beach. There’s room atop the banana boat for eight people and no special skills are needed except the ability to laugh and hang on tight. Rides are offered everyday from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Bonus Points: They offer complimentary pick up and return to any hotel along the beach.

Soar over the ocean. Daytona Beach Parasail makes flying possible – well actually the feeling of soaring. Fun, exciting, and relaxing, it actually is as easy as it looks. No special skills are needed, with the right attitude and a little spirit of adventure it is definitely on the “too cool list”. There is no age requirement and participants do not need to know how to swim, or steer, just follow instructions and the fun just happens in the air along the beach. Choose parasail flights from 800 to 2,000 feet and decide if it will be a single, double or triple.  The mini adventure takes about 45 minutes including the boat ride out, the flight, and the return to shore. The actual time in the air varies from eight minutes for a solo flight to about 16 minutes for a double. Make sure take a camera because photos for MySpace or FaceBook will be essential. Bonus points: Daytona Beach Parasail operates from four locations on the beach and they offer free shuttle service from your hotel seven days a week weather permitting.

Bowl with the lights out. Bellair Lanes & Entertainment Center has 32 computerized scoring lanes with bumpers and open bowling is available every day.  The facility also offers billiards, darts, and a video arcade so no one will be bored. Bonus points: To make bowling almost surreal, each Friday & Saturday after 9:30 this is the spot to try cosmic bowling an experience featuring light show and interactive program. Here’s the deal. Each Sunday is “Dollar Day” with each game costing $1 from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM and on Sunday and Tuesday nights “quartermania” is the rule so games, shoes, hot dogs, and domestic drafts are just a quarter.

Splash, climb, race, or get extreme. Daytona Lagoon (the name does not say it all) features a waterpark, go-karts, miniature golf, laser tag, video arcade, climbing wall, antique carousel, and The Phoenix Extreme Swing. The menu for fun makes this spot a must for fun. On the water side you’ll find 12 water rides, a giant wave pool and tubing river - as well as Kraken's Conquest, a brand-new, fast-paced 4-lane racer slide. The dry side includes Grand Prix go-kart racing, miniature golf, laser tag, carousel, arcade and The Phoenix - a high-intensity Xtreme swing that propels riders at 50 mph though it's arc offering an amazing view of the Daytona Beach skyline, if you keep your eyes open. Need to know.  The family entertainment center is open year round and the water park is open March - September. 050FLDaytona500

Go for the speed, stay for the fun. Not-to-be-missed, the Daytona 500 Experience, located just outside Daytona International Speedway's fourth turn, is definitely the place for action perfect for teens. From the very moment of arrival the roar of engines, checkered flags, and award winning graphics create a sense of competition and winning. Every inch of the facility is high-tech – high speed, low drag combining racing history with hands-on activities to be shared. Visitors are invited to change tires in a timed pit stop competition, design and video-test their own cars, and broadcast a famous race finish. It’s all about racing and at The Daytona 500 Experience guests have the chance to sit in driver's seat and race against family or friends with racing simulator rides Daytona Dream Laps and Acceleration Alley. Bonus Points: The newest thrill is NASCAR 3D, The IMAX Experience," featuring rare behind-the-scenes views, gripping action on the track with narration by Golden Globe award-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland.

Family Vacation Planning Details
Daytona Slingshot 49 Ocean Ave., Daytona Beach (386) 254-8626.
Surfari Surf Shop 52 Bovard Avenue Ormond Beach, FL 32176.  (386)299-3609 or
Daytona Beach Surfing School 143 Sandpiper Ridge Dr. Ormond Beach, FL 32176. (386) 441-1110 or
Bongo Billy's Banana Boat Rides.  On the beach behind Ocean Walk Shoppes, Daytona Beach (386) 235-2598 or
Daytona Beach Parasail, 4936 S Peninsula Dr. Ponce Inlet, FL 32127. (386) 547-6067 or
Lanes & Entertainment Center. Located at the Bellair Plaza Shopping Center. 2575 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach (386) 677-5410.
Daytona Lagoon is at Oceanwalk Village right next to the Ocean Center 601 Earl St., Daytona Beach (386) 254-5020 or
Daytona 500 Experience.  1801 West International Speedway Boulevard Daytona Beach, FL 32114. (386)6 81-6800 or

Researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac,  Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel files. Images images by FTF, Daytona Beach CVB, and Daytona Beach Surfing School. Updated copyright 2017.