Beyond the Obvious …Quality of Life Includes Great People
To evaluate Volusia County’s quality of life, you’ll want to consider its natural, economic, social and cultural offerings. And then, residents say, look beyond all that to the really important stuff: the essential character of the people.
Most people here agree on the big-picture quality of life elements. In Volusia County and Daytona Beach, a depth and breadth of choice is evident in every area, from music and art, to recreation and sports, from dining to shopping; and you don’t have to be over-burdened with money to enjoy many of these things. Housing is affordable, traffic is light, most attractions are reasonably priced (many are free), and getting out and doing things is easy.
“This is an unparalleled area for a high quality of life.”
~ John Albright,
President & CEO,
Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co.
John Albright, president and CEO of Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co., says Daytona Beach has all the backbone elements of a small city and many other advantages you might not expect to find, such as direct flights on large planes to Charlotte, New York and Atlanta, easy access to major interstates, universities offering continuing education, and two large hospital systems.
“In addition, there are miles of beachfront that you can access easily, and an environment that provides people with all kinds of recreational opportunities,” Albright says. “We have unique assets available to those living and doing business here.”
Music would be at the top of many people’s quality of life list.Think of Daytona Beach music and you think of the Allman Brothers, and lately, of Florida Georgia Line and Brian Kelley, or Kaleb Lee of “The Voice.” Music is in the city’s DNA, with great tribute bands playing free concerts all summer long at the historic Bandshell on the beach, at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona where Harley lovers gather, and at Victory Circle at One Daytona.
Clubs, restaurants and museums, too, are alive with music throughout the year, as are festivals celebrating everything from kites to classic cars to cats. In fact, there are more celebrations and festivals than weeks in the year. For international music stars, it’s the Hard Rock Hotel, the Peabody Auditorium, Ocean Center and the Country 500 Music Festival.
Classical music is alive here, too. “The Daytona Beach Symphony Society has brought classical and modern music, dance and opera to the Daytona Beach area since 1952,” says Shirley Okhovatian, board member and past president of the Daytona Beach Symphony Society. Outreach programs offer young people, seniors, and those with special needs a way to experience these world-class performances.
Athletes and sport fans enjoy a wide variety of amateur and pro options. Golf Digest named Daytona Beach one of the top 15 places for golf in the country, with great weather year-round and a choice of championship private and public courses. The Ladies Professional Golf Association chose this as its international headquarters.
In June, football fans saw the 2018 Super Regional Combine at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium and also watched the Stetson Hatters knock it out of the park in DeLand as they advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals. Fans of minor league baseball catch the Daytona Tortugas, the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
Whatever the watersport,it’s here, with a choice of the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway and inland lakes and rivers. Boats of all kinds and sizes are offered for rent at marinas, fish camps and most parks, letting residents discover the many unique ecosystems of Volusia. Offshore, scuba dive among artificial reefs, explore sunken wrecks, or charter a fishing boat and land that sailfish. For a land-based water experience, there’s the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, where everybody loves the stingray touch pool.
City, state and national parks are tucked into unexpected spaces: some as primitive as when the Timucuan Indians lived here. Some with historical oak trees reminiscent of Civil War boat works, others with remnants of Seminole Indian wars, sugar mill plantations and indigo farms to explore. Gemini Springs, Blue Spring or DeLeon Springs, where you can make your own pancakes from stone-ground flour at a tabletop grill in a historic mill. In Tomoka State Park, shelter in a hammock of live oaks, see a 40-foot shell midden created by long-ago Indian inhabitants, and see the 45-foot statue of Chief Tomokie, created by the late artist Fred Dana March. Art — natural and man-made — is an integral part of life here, with the Museum of Arts & Sciences, Daytona Beach, the primary art, science and history museum in Central Florida. The Root and Brown families, long-time Volusia residents, have played significant roles in supporting the museum through the years. The Root Family Museum, within MOAS, features restored railroad and antique cars and the largest collection in Florida of Coca-Cola memorabilia. New on the MOAS campus is the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, with the world’s largest collection of Florida-based art.