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ptrbryant
04-21-2006, 09:42 AM
We'd like to go to the beach for one day of our primarily WDW vacation, but DH wants it to be a destination under 2 hours away. A friend mentioned Ponce Inlet, just below Daytona. Has anyone been there? She said it was a nice spot that was more quiet and laid-back than others. I tried to look for a website about it, but can only find info about their lighthouse...it does have a beach, right?

Karla B. :sunny:

Snoopymom
04-21-2006, 10:05 AM
It's a really small area, kind of a residential / protected natural area, so she probably means Port Orange or New Smyrna???

There may be some small beach access areas, like where you park close to the road and walk through, but I don't think there is a big public area.

If it works, here's a link to the hotels and condos closest to it on Mapquest to give you an idea.

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?formtype=address&latlongtype=findit&address=&city=Ponce%20Inlet&state=FL&zipcode=&country=US&latitude=eIA0Ov9O0n4%3d&longitude=qgleqPWfEss%3d&cat=hotel

ptrbryant
04-21-2006, 10:11 AM
Hmm, then would you recommend Port Orange or New Smyrna?

Thanks for your input!

Karla B. :sunny:

Snoopymom
04-21-2006, 10:28 AM
Hmm, then would you recommend Port Orange or New Smyrna?

Thanks for your input!

Karla B. :sunny:

I've never been past Ponce Inlet, but I've heard it's nice and quiet. If you found a beach access down that way in Port Orange and did the Marine Science Center and the lighthouse, had dinner and watched the sunset from Down the Hatch or one of the restaurants on the intercoastal, it would make for a really nice day!

Everyone here recommends Siesta Key on the Gulf if you're trying to avoid a "Daytona" type of beach.

Snoopymom
04-21-2006, 10:41 AM
Some websites for ya

http://echotourism.com/msc/

http://www.ponceinlet.org/

http://www.sealoveboatworks.com/dth/

http://www.inletharbor.com/

ptrbryant
04-21-2006, 11:02 AM
Thanks so much for the links...the key will be figuring out beach access, I guess---everything else looks nice and relaxing! Yeah, I know Siesta Key gets high marks here, but it's between 2 - 2 1/2 hours from Orlando (according to AAA Triptik). There's no way DH, who doesn't like driving in the first place, will want to spend 5 hours on the road on our non-parks day!

Thanks again for taking the time to post those links...got hungry reading the menus on the restaurant sites!

Karla B. :goodvibes

oneangel
04-21-2006, 11:08 AM
Dont forget cocoa beach. That is pretty close to orlando. I know ponce inlet is not really a place to go to for the beaches. It is very pretty though, and is fun to go to while visiting Daytona beach. Daytona can be a little crowded but really fun . We always go to Daytona, it is not as bad as what some people make it out to be. If you go to ther north side of the boardwalk, it turns into a no drive beach. Which is nice for the little ones. It is a nice beach to go to. We go every other year. St augustine beach is also nice, a little east from Daytona. We just always prefer Daytona, lifeguards and lots of activities for the kids and teens.

Snoopymom
04-21-2006, 12:24 PM
We always go to Daytona,
We just always prefer Daytona, lifeguards and lots of activities for the kids and teens.


Wow, I think that makes...maybe 3 of us, LOL!

Ptrbryant, We're going to Siesta Key for a day during our trip at the end of May and dh is compaining about the drive...I sure hope it's worth it or I'll never get to pick again, LOL.

Here's my complete list for Daytona and St Augustine if you're interested.

St Augustine

Besides the guided city tours, haunted tours and the "oldest" school, house, jail...everything tours, LOL, and the great shopping in the quaint stores along the cobble stone streets, we've done

The Alligator Farm which is fun. We liked Gator Land in Orlando a little more.
http://www.alligatorfarm.com/

We've done this chocolate factory tour. It's free and only takes about 45 minutes.
http://www.whetstonechocolates.com/

Loved this winery. They had some really yummy fresh tasting homemade grape juice for the kids too.
http://www.sansebastianwinery.com/

We haven't taken the lighthouse tour yet, but it looks like one of the most picturesque ones.
http://www.staugustinelighthouse.com/

Marine Land is now closed, and that's a good thing. Hopefully they will refurbish it. It has a lot of neat history, but it was not worth the money.

This cruise was a blast. We saw some dolphins and the captain let ds steer the boat for quite awhile.
http://www.scenic-cruise.com/

There are tons of neat little restaurants in town, but one of our favorites is Harry's, it's a lot like Pat O'Brian's. We like to sit in the courtyard.
http://www.hookedonharrys.com/

Creekside Dinery has great seafood and a nice outside deck with a fire pit. Owned by the same people as Salt Water Cowboys, but this place seems a little less touristy.
http://www.creeksidedinery.com/rest.html

The Oasis is a casual place, good for breakfast
http://www.worldfamousoasis.com/

The Sunset Grill is pretty good
http://www.sunsetgrillea1a.com/

My favorite is The Beachcomer, which doesn't have a website, but it's an itty bitty barefoot picnic table type of place right on the beach, and it's a fun place to get some oysters or peel and eat shrimp.

My in-laws just moved from there and we used to stay with them, so I can't really recommend a hotel. There are some great looking B&B's in the heart of the city, but if you wanted to stay on the beach, I'd recommend a condo. It seems like most of the hotels are across the street from the beach. We did stay at Anastasia condos once and they were nice.
http://www.staugustine.com/visit/ac...s/lodging.shtml


Daytona Beach

We've only been during off season. I don't think I'd want to go during speedweek or springbreak, especially with kids.

For hotels, I'd ONLY recommend the Hilton
http://www.daytonahilton.com/contactus.htm

and the Ocean Walk Resort, which has 2 indoor pools and the outdoor pool has a lazy river, a slide and a great kiddie pool with it's own slides and tunnels, etc.
http://www.oceanwalk.com/

which has the Ocean Walk village connected to it with restaurants and a movie theater. It's so nice to have everything within walking distance.
http://www.oceanwalkvillage.com/home.html

The speedway is fun. It has been awhile, but we loved taking the tour where you get to go on the track and walk on the bank
http://www.daytonaintlspeedway.com/

The Marine Science Center is an inexpensive neat little place to take kids, only takes an hour or two and you pretty much get your own personal guide, real casual and interesting.
http://echotourism.com/msc/

We haven't done it yet, but there's a chocolate factory tour.
http://www.angellandphelps.com/

The lighthouse at Ponce Inlet is right next to the Marine Science Center
http://www.ponceinlet.org/

and there is a nice restaurant there called Down the Hatch where you can watch sailboats and the most beautiful sunsets and another called The Inlet Harbor
http://www.sealoveboatworks.com/dth/
http://www.inletharbor.com/

We love to just walk around the board walk, eat taffy, ride the go-carts, play in the arcades and sit on the pier at the outdoor restaurant. It has that tacky old carnival feel to it, but it's fun. There's music on the weekends at the BandShell next to the pier, but we've always missed it.
http://virtualvolusia.com/Pier1.html
http://www.bandshell.org/

There is a new water park that just opened that we haven't been to yet
http://daytonalagoon.com/

There's also a dog track there. When we go with extended family, the guys like to get together and go. It's a little seedy, LOL.
http://www.dbkennelclub.com/information.htm

Our favorite restaurant is the Ocean Deck. You can eat upstairs with a view of the ocean or you can walk in off the beach downstairs. If you like hot and spicy, try the rasta wings. We brought back a case of the sauce last time we went and Casie's Vanilla something is awesome! The seafood platters are enough to share, the bisque and chowder are great, and the kids meals come on a frisbee.
http://www.oceandeck.com/

The Oyster Pub is a sports bar, great for snacks, and if you're looking for somewhere to watch your "can't miss" football game. (They have a room and big screen just for Steelers fans, it's a blast!) The website is under construction
http://www.oysterpub.com/

For breakfast Steve's Famous Diner is good.

Billy's Tap Room is a famous little restaurant we tried last time. It's awesome, a little pricey...about $30 an entree.
http://www.billys-tap.com/

Aunt Catfishs is also a well known place, casual, kid friendly with comfort country style food.
http://www.auntcatfish.com/


Have fun planning!

Snoopymom
04-21-2006, 12:44 PM
I was curious, so I just called the Marine Science Center and the nice lady said that there is a public beach access close to the lighthouse. She couldn't remember the name of the street but there is a sign and you turn down it to the left and you can drive and park on the beach. I had no idea that you could drive on the beach that far down. It almost looks like a nature preserve area compared to the rest of the area. There aren't any public restrooms, but I'm sure you could change at the lighthouse or Down the Hatch.

ptrbryant
04-21-2006, 11:26 PM
I didn't have a chane to check back until now...!!! :Pinkbounc :Pinkbounc Thank you so much for all these links and for even making that call to Ponce Inlet! It's members like you who make the disboards so fantastic!

Thanks again!

Karla B. :goodvibes

p.s. I would love to go to St. Augustine, but again, I think it's not within DH's driving criteria for this trip!