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Overview of Daytona,  Florida

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Daytona Florida Overview

Daytona Beach, Florida

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Daytona Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, USA. As of 2004, the population estimates recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 64,422. Daytona Beach is a year-round resort area, and home to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach Community College, and Keiser College Daytona Beach Campus. The city is also home to the Daytona Cubs, a minor league baseball team of the Florida State League.

Daytona Beach is well-known for its beaches (and the accompanying spring breakers) and as host of the Daytona 500, the most important race of NASCAR.

"The World's Most Famous Beach"

The city and its beaches, lined with hotels, motels, condominiums and houses, attract over 8,000,000 tourists each year. In a wide variety of price ranges, hotel and motel rooms are typically plentiful except during special events. Daytona Beach has high security around its main hotel locations, with multiple cameras filming hotel and beach areas.

During motorcycle events (Bike Week and Biketoberfest), several hundred thousand bikers from all over the world visit the greater Daytona Beach area. While the city is often associated with Spring Break, the efforts of the local government to discourage rowdiness, combined with the rise of other Spring Break destinations, have nearly ended Daytona's former preeminence as a Spring Break destination. Indeed, so few students (relative to past years) have come since 2002 that officials stopped estimating their numbers.

History

The area was once inhabited by the Timucuan Indians, who lived in fortified villages. War and disease, however, would decimate the tribe. Florida was acquired from Spain by the United States in 1821, although permanent settlement was delayed until after the Second Seminole War from 1835 to 1842. When the Civil War ended, Florida experienced a boom in tourism.

The city was founded in 1870 and incorporated in 1876. It was named for its founder, Matthias Day. In 1886, the St. Johns & Halifax River Railway arrived in Daytona. The line would be purchased in 1889 by Henry Flagler, who made it part of his Florida East Coast Railway. The separate towns of Daytona, Daytona Beach and "Seabreeze" merged as "Daytona Beach" in 1926, at the urging of civic leader J.B. Kahn and others. By the 1920s, it was dubbed "The World's Most Famous Beach."

Daytona's wide beach of smooth, compacted sand attracted automobile and motorcycle races beginning in 1902, as pioneers in the industry tested their inventions. The area would be nicknamed "The Birthplace of Speed." On March 8, 1936, the first stock car race was held on the Daytona Beach Road Course. In 1959, William France created Daytona International Speedway to replace the beach course. Automobiles are still permitted on the beach, although now only at slow speeds.

Culture

Daytona Beach is located roughly at the southern end of the cultural South, so its culture has remained somewhat Southern, but due to mass migration from Northern states, it is in many ways more similar to South Florida. Its Southern heritage cannot be completely forgotten however, thanks to the presence of NASCAR.

The architecture and style of its older homes and buildings and the culture and speech of its older, locally-born inhabitants leaves no doubt as to its cultural roots.

Daytona Beach has often been viewed as a party town. It has been a traditional destination for people who want to drink and get rowdy. There are still very strong remnants of the party culture, but in recent years the local government has made somewhat successful efforts to clean up Daytona Beach's rough image and turn it into a more family-friendly beach destination.
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