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Ocean Walk Village is Daytona's New Fun Spot

Ocean Walk ShoppesHenry Flagler's new railroad created easy access to Florida for the wealthy northerners in the 1920's and gave meaning to vacations by the shore.  And 86 years later, the Ocean Walk Village on Daytona Beach is an excellent example of the best that a vacation destination can offer.

The unique Ocean Walk Village includes resorts, shopping, dining and entertainment establishments that have helped the site become in itself an attraction.  This is truly a place for the entire family, no matter what the ages and personal preferences for entertainment. Everything is here. Daytona's historical roots are immediately evident from the Clocktower and Bandshell built out of coquina rock in the mid 1930's. This historic landmark was built to stimulate economy into the area during the depression years and continues to be a focal point of the Village. Free open-air concerts are scheduled as a Summer Concert Series. For a complete schedule, visit http://www.daytonabandshell.com.

At the heart of the village is the Shoppes, a three-story complex of shopping, restaurants and entertainment options encircling an open-air atrium. Here you will find interesting places like Bath Junkie, where you can create your own unique bath lotion, body wash or shampoo. Or, after a hot afternoon on the beach, drop into the Planet Smoothie Café, where you will have difficulty narrowing down your selection. The popular, well situated Mai Tai Bar is excellent for appetizers or drinks, while next door the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. has a fantastic menu of ...you guessed it, shrimp dishes. You might also want to brush up on the trivia from the popular movie "Forrest Gump."

Trolley and Boat Amphibious adventurePerhaps one of the most unique entertainment options headquartered at the Villages is the Trolley Boat Tour. This is a great amphibious adventure which is highly recommended. The tour begins at the Villages and takes approximately 1 ˝ hours. The odd-looking vehicle was designed and built in Daytona. Shortly after boarding, the passengers are driven by the captain/driver to a nearby public ramp. Pontoons on the side of the vehicle are inflated to provide stability.

The vehicle speeds up as it heads down the ramp and splashes into the Halifax River. Viewing Daytona from the water is a way to learn some unique facts about this beach destination.  The guide points out several historic homes along the way, including a museum that houses the largest collection of Cuban Art, and then the tour ends after a short drive on "The World's Most Famous Beach." For information on the unique water/land cruise and a discount coupon, go to their website at www.daytonatrolleyboatttours.net.

Ocean Center and the villageAccommodations, of course, are numerous at Daytona Beach. But the location of the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, the Fairfield Resorts and the Ocean Walk Resort is ideal and is worth paying a little more if needed.  This is definitely where the action is!

The Fairfield Resorts and Ocean Walk Resort are twin "art deco" towers that combine timeshare facilities with hotel suites, and the ambiance is perfectly suited for families. The resort offers four outdoor pools and Jacuzzi, as well as two indoor pools. Accommodations can vary from a standard hotel room to a spacious two bedroom condominium unit with full living room, dining room and kitchen. No matter what your length of stay and the size of the family, you will find a budget that will suit you.

Ocean Walk Resort PoolUpon arrival at the resort, pick up a list of activities at the concierge desk, or you might miss out on something!  The youngsters will be thoroughly entertained in the bustling kids' activity center, while the parents can enjoy the luxury of a massage at the spa or a great round of golf at the LPGA nearby .  But activities are not just for the kids; adults can also enjoy a variety of scheduled food events, arts & crafts and dancing activities.  For complete information on the resort, visit www.oceanwalk.com.

Daytona HiltonOn the other side of the Village Shoppes is the Hilton Resort. With larger meeting space and regular guest rooms, this facility caters to the meetings and conventions business as well as leisure visitors.  A multi-million dollar renovation has upgraded the resort's lobby and guest rooms, giving a sweeping vista of the beach as you are checking in at the front desk.  Two pools and a large fitness room are available, and soon, a new spa will also provide guests with another way to relax.  Seven restaurants will give anyone lots of options for dining. At night, spend some time at the Clocktower Lounge, an intimate lobby bar overlooking the ocean. Or, in true Daytona tradition, have a drink in the Legends Bar right next to a real NASCAR stock car.  Clocktowr LoungeFor information on packages or group functions, visit http://www.daytonahilton.com.

Across the street from the resorts, the Ocean Center is undergoing a tremendous expansion to bring it to over 200,000 square feet of convention and exhibit space.  Adjacent to the Ocean Center, a multi-story  covered parking lot provides a walkway to the Shoppes or the beach.

A visit to Daytona is not complete without a stop at the Daytona USA attraction. Anyone who has not visited this facility is missing learning about a unique part of Florida's history and the history of racing. You can see an impressive life-size reproduction of the 31-degree high-banked turns and take a tour of the actual race track as well as stand on Victory Lane, where the winners receive their trophies.

The IMAX theater features a 3D version of the real thing, and you can take part in the 16-second pit stop challenge.  For the real strong of heart (and wallet), the Richard Petty experience can put you behind the wheel of a real NASCAR-style stock car.  With the expansion of the Ocean Center, this facility is sure to see more off-site events for groups meeting in Daytona.  For more details and a schedule of events, visit www.daytonausa.com.

The Ocean Walk Village is certain to please visitors who are looking for a large variety of options within a short distance. Whether you travel here for leisure or for a group function, it's difficult to envision getting bored or not having enough to do…or to eat!  For complete and updated information on this destination, visit www.oceanwalkvillage.com.



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