The city of Daytona is a popular vacation spot in Volusia county, Florida. The entire area has lots of recreational activities dotting the city landscape. It is a 'pilgrimage' place for every devotee of motor sports and is the single largest attraction with excellent facilities for racing. The place has evolved as a paradise for all the fun lovers with its warm and vibrant culture. Tourists visiting the city swear by the love and affection of the local population. This city had a modest beginning that can be traced way back to the 1500s, when European culture mingled with the local inhabitants.
The Daytona Beach area was initially inhabited by Timucuan Indians, who were village dwellers and lived in enclosed wooden compounds. They were a muscular group of people usually exceeding six feet in height. The society was largely dependent on agriculture and allied activities for its livelihood until the advent of foreign powers. During the colonization era, Spain had established its influence over Florida. The early 1500s witnessed a range of diseases, war, and forced labor marring the local population which eventually came under Spain's suzerainty. In the beginning of the 1800s, a lot of Europeans settled in this area. The U.S. got hold of this area in 1821, after defeating the Spanish rulers. The Seminole Wars were a cause of great unrest until the late 1800s. Once the Civil War ended, the state of Florida was abuzz with a lot of tourist influx in the region. This Beach was seen as an ideal holiday spot by many. The rich and famous from North America, realized the potential of this place and started investing in its development. Matthias Day, a business tycoon, is credited with founding and developing the Daytona area. He built the first hotel, 'The Palmetto House', along with many other commercial complexes.
Henry Flagler purchased the St. John and Halifax River Railway in Daytona and incorporated it in his Florida East Coast Railway in the year 1889. The scenic environs of this place with good accessibility through the rail and road, served as a great appeasement for the town's new inhabitants. The famous John D. Rockefeller, had his winter home 'Casements' built in the pristine surroundings of this beach city. It is a popular attraction till date. In 1926, the three towns of Daytona, Seabreeze, and Daytona Beach were merged to form 'Daytona Beach City', leading to the centralization of the administration. This process ensured rapid flow of funds and faster development.
The beaches have peculiar compact and hardened sand, which holds together for a longer duration of time. Hence, automobiles can be driven with ease at certain places near the shore. This aspect has been developed into the permanent association of this city with automobile and motorcycle racing. Beach racing was a regular feature of local attractions and in 1959, Daytona Speedway, a world-class racetrack was built by Bill France. The first Daytona 500, the most famous NASCAR race was held on this track. In addition, this place has its own special contribution in the civil rights movement of America. Jackie Robinson, the famous baseball player, Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune, a big civil rights figure, basketball player Vince Carter and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte are some of the prominent names from this city who have brought glory and acclaim to the land.
It has also inspired a number of authors and filmmakers with its breathtaking views and natural beauty. The city has a distinctive charm in its friendly people, natural attributes, beach hotels, and automobile racing; making it a must visit destination for people with varied interests. Daytona Beach is a tribute to the human spirit and a place where human ingenuity meets nature in all its glory.