Historic Daytona Beach
Influential visitors have been flocking to the Greater Daytona Beach area for centuries, and their contributions live on for all to enjoy!
- Famous explorer Ponce de Leon, during his 1513 search for the Fountain of Youth, discovered the now-popular DeLeon Springs, located just west of Daytona Beach.
- Matthias Day, a wealthy northern tycoon, was so completely enamored with the entire area that he became the founding father of Daytona (now called Daytona Beach) and built its very first hotel in 1874.
- Famous philanthropist John D. Rockefeller discovered Ormond Beach's immaculate golf courses and made his winter home at The Casements.
- Baseball legend Jackie Robinson played in the first integrated spring training baseball game in 1946 at the now-called Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Later he became the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. Today, Robinson's name identifies the stadium in Daytona Beach and a life-size statue of him has been cast at the entrance.
- Civil rights leader and educator Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune overcame great obstacles to found now-called Bethune-Cookman University in 1904.
Automobile racing became a regular pastime along the hard-packed beaches at the turn of the 20th Century. Ormond Beach became known as the "birthplace of speed" due to the various land speed records set there. In 1947, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing was founded in Daytona Beach. Motorsports gained new ground in 1948 when Bill France founded NASCAR and in 1959 with the opening of the Daytona International Speedway, which continues to satisfy hundreds of thousands of speed-hungry fans each year.
Today, the Daytona Beach area entertains nearly 8 million influential visitors each year! These visitors, who influence friends and family with their vacation stories, come from around the world to relax and enjoy the area's many treasures, both old and new.