Courier February Courier - Page 42

ATLANTIC COAST COMPASS A segment of the 23 miles of beaches at Daytona Beach, Florida Rev up for Daytona Beach Welcome to geology’s hall of fame. Baseball has one. Rock and roll has one. And although it took millions of years, the earth has one, too. And with well-lit, well-paved walkways stretching throughout, you can easily stroll through rooms 10 stories high, marvel at the enormous columns and crystal-clear pools, and of course, hear the world’s largest musical instrument, the Great Stalacpipe Organ. It’s time to discover the most cavernous caverns on the East Coast. It’s time to discover Luray. For a free brochure, call (888) 443-6551 or visit us online at LurayCaverns.com. 40 February 2018 Once known as the Spring Break Capital of America and for the Daytona 500—the motorized equivalent of the Kentucky Derby or Boston Marathon—Daytona Beach has worked hard to let tour operators know that it’s more than just pretty beaches (23 miles of them to be exact). While Daytona International Speedway is generally associated with the February NASCAR classic, it offers tour operators and their clients plenty to do any time of the year, from a daily tour of the Speedway grounds to a stroll through the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. A switch from revving engines to amusement rides and attractions isn’t that much of a stretch in Daytona Beach. For a touch of nostalgia, take your group to the Boardwalk and Pier. On Saturday nights between Memorial Day and Labor Day, they can enjoy a dazzling fireworks display; the rest of the year, they will have to content themselves with concerts, street performers, food and fun. Other activities that appeal to group travelers are eco-tours that showcase some of Florida’s most endangered species, from turtles to manatees, and a visit to the Marine Science Center. Just south of Daytona, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest in Florida at 175 feet. Your group may have to go single file to climb the 203 steps to the top, but it’s worth it for the panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. If the lighthouse, built in 1887, is something old, Daytona also has something new: One Daytona. The massive complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues was scheduled to open in late 2017, but Hurricane Irma pushed back the opening, which is now scheduled for early 2018. Finally, tour operators should know that Daytona is the Festival Capital of Florida, celebrating everything from oysters to outdoor art. The Daytona Beach Blues Festival, held each October (in 2018, it’s Oct. 5–7) is one of the nation’s most prestigious. For more information, visit daytonabeach.com or contact Leda Beever at lbeever@ daytonabeach.com.