By Roger Jimenez
As the heat of summer starts and the long-awaited Memorial Day weekend approaches, there's no better way to embrace the season than by planning a trip to the sun-kissed shores of the beach! A time for reflection and remembrance, it’s the perfect invitation to take in the sun and make some summer fun. Make sure to visit one of these sandy shores for your holiday getaway and make the perfect plan for you and your loved ones!
Est. Travel Time: 50-65 Minutes
Discover the allure of Daytona Beach, a coastal gem located just an hour away from Orlando. This vibrant destination offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and endless entertainment. Grab some grub, or stroll along the stunning boardwalk; if you get there early enough, you can find public parking available for just $1 an hour. You can even find some cheap thrills nearby— like the Slingshot!
Cruisin’ Cafe and Joe's Crab Shack are two culinary treasures in Daytona Beach that locals often recommend. Whether you're in the mood for a juicy burger with a beachy twist, or crave the taste of crab legs, these restaurants provide an unforgettable experience that celebrates the flavors of the sea.
Join the locals for an unforgettable evening of music and memories that will light up the summer nights at the Daytona Beach's Bandshell. FREE summer concerts starting Memorial Day weekend, every Friday and Saturday night! Get ready to dance beneath the starlit sky as live performances captivate audiences, starting at 7:15. And each Saturday night, the grand finale awaits with a fireworks show at 9:15!
New Smyrna Beach
Est. Travel Time: 50-65 Minutes
Escape to the hidden paradise of New Smyrna Beach, where tranquility meets coastal enchantment just an hour’s ride from Orlando. Unlike the bustling boardwalks, this gem boasts a more secluded atmosphere, offering a haven for those seeking a calmer Memorial Day weekend. With its smaller and more intimate setting, New Smyrna Beach creates an idyllic backdrop for nature strolls, private sunbathing, and cherished moments.
And for those seeking something new, feel free to take on the unique experience of drive-on beach access, where for just $20, you can create some unique memories by driving and setting up camp directly onto the beach!
Crabby’s and The Breakers are some culinary destinations in New Smyrna Beach that epitomize coastal dining at its finest. Whether you're seeking a casual beachside hangout or an upscale dining experience, these restaurants provide a diverse range of flavors to suit any preference.
Experience a patriotic tribute at New Smyrna Beach's Memorial Day ceremony! Honor the courageous men and women in service as they are recognized with a poignant Colors Ceremony, a breathtaking plane fly-by, and captivating performances at the Brannon Center, commencing at 11 AM (May 29).
Or embark on a journey through history at the iconic Ponce Inlet Lighthouse! Explore the fascinating museum, climb the majestic lighthouse, and catch some panoramic views for just $7 (Children aged 3+ can join for only $2)!
Est. Travel Time: 60-75 Minutes
Cocoa Beach, known as the "Surfing Capital of the East Coast," is where you can find the iconic Cocoa Beach Pier! Though it takes about an hour and 10 minutes to get there, there are incredible dining options, tall drinks to be enjoyed on the beach, live entertainment, and lots of shopping waiting. Volleyball nets, surfboards, and kayak rentals are also easily available right on the beach for anyone seeking an exciting time.
Some of the best beach cuisine in New Smyrna Beach can be found at the Rikki Tiki Tavern. A lively and vibrant oceanfront bar perched at the tip of the pier, it offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience with a tropical ambience, incredible views, and delicious drinks.
Feel free to march to the beat of pride and attend the Annual Memorial Day Tribute Parade, held at Cocoa Riverfront Park at 4 PM (May 29). Celebrate the heroes who have served the nation as the locals honor their bravery, unity, and unwavering spirit.
As May wraps up and we reach the halfway mark of 2023, it’s the perfect time to pack up the coolers and the sunscreen and head to the beaches. With this year’s Memorial Day weekend featuring so much entertainment and celebration a quick drive away, there’s no shortage of exciting things to do for anyone looking to have some outdoor fun in their own way.
Header Image by Igor Oliyarnik
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