Daytona Beach has a long and rich history that dates back to before the city was even founded, when Timucua Native Americans inhabited the area. Visitors and locals alike can learn more about the land's earliest inhabitants, prominent civil rights figures and historical sites at various monuments and attractions around Volusia County. Step back in time and appreciate the culture and history of the area on your next Daytona Beach vacation.
Before Florida was settled by the Spanish in the early 1600s, the Timucua Native Americans had inhabited the area from northeastern Florida to southern Georgia for thousands of years—as early as 3,000 BC. What is now Tomoka State Park was once the Timucua village of Nocoroco. Visit the park and view the 40-foot statue of the "Legend of Tomokie'' which memorializes the now-extinct tribe. While there, you can also explore the hiking and biking trails around the park or take to the water with canoe and kayak rentals available on-site.
More recently, the Daytona Beach area's early settlers were part of a colony of freedmen established by Esther Hill and John Milton Hawks in 1866. Comprising mostly Black Union soldiers and their families, the historic community is recognized by the Freemanville Historic Site in Port Orange just south of Daytona Beach.
In addition to Hill and Hawks, Daytona Beach was home to prominent civil rights leaders such as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune who was also an advisor to five U.S. presidents. Visit the home and gravesite of Dr. Bethune at Bethune-Cookman University and take a guided tour of the National Historic Landmark to learn more about her legacy.
In 1946, Jackie Robinson broke barriers in Daytona Beach as the first African American to play in a Major League Baseball spring training game. View the statue of Robinson, sign-up for a tour or catch a Daytona Tortugas game, and commemorate the site where a baseball legend played when you visit Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
While the Wright Brothers made history in Kitty Hill, North Carolina with the first flight in 1903, visitors and aviation enthusiasts can view a large sculpture depicting their flight at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. The monument is based off of a photograph by John T. Daniels, and visitors can stand in a designated spot to view the plane from the same angle Daniels stood at when photographing it.
Take a moment to honor war veterans when in Daytona Beach. The Military Tributes at Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens pays tribute to veterans through beautiful plaques and sculptures. The museum also features rotating art exhibits and lush gardens filled with native and non-native plants. Head to downtown Daytona Beach to continue your tribute to veterans at the Veterans Memorial at Riverfront Park.
Discover more iconic attractions in Daytona Beach including the world-famous Daytona International Speedway and Daytona Beach Pier during your next escape to our beachfront resort.