If you are interested in seeing even more of our shopping adventures in the Daytona Beach gift shops, head on over and check out the full adventure on our YouTube video here.
In our previous post we had visited the Museum of Arts & Science which you can read about here, but after we finished up at that museum we found some food and headed to our hotel which was a Hilton located right on Highway A1A and would give us instant access to the beach.
This was a very nice hotel, but we found out afterwards that there was a huge car show going on this week and it was very busy with guests. Also there was some parking at the hotel but it was for valet only, and trying to save a few bucks we opted for the self-parking option which was about 4 blocks away. Not very convenient when you have two younger kids and about 6 pieces of luggage, a ton of camera a equipment and a small fortune in quarters and pennies (wink wink).
Upon check in we received a nice surprise with a bit of a free upgrade to one of their beach front cabanas. Basically this is just a regular room but it is on the ground level so you have the beach only a few feet away. There was also a bit of a private patio area just out front of our door.
Now a few notes on this room. We definitely appreciated the upgrade but I’m sure it was due to the hotel giving away our room to someone else for whatever reason. Our little private patio didn’t have much privacy to it, but we did have a great view towards the ocean.
The easy access to the beach was great, but because of how close we were to the boardwalk there was a lot of noise and lots of traffic with people walking by. During the day this wasn’t too bad, but at night there was a lot of partying going on (goodness I sound like an old curmudgeon).
Above is a picture down Highway A1A right outside our hotel. It was a bit deceiving since the highway wasn’t too busy, but on the boardwalk and beaches it was pretty intense. Since we were here for a few days we just decided to get our bearings this first day in town and just walk around. There were plenty of restaurants, tourist attractions like those big crazy sling shot “rides”, but we spent most of our time checking out those classic Florida souvenir shops. I’m a sucker for these places and could spend hours inside them.
The first one that immediately caught my attention was the Big Shark gifts and souvenirs. Check out that big shark just jumping out of the building. How could we not go inside?
Inside was a pretty intense offering of t-shirts, mugs, shot glasses, bumper stickers and so much more. I’m sure you are familiar with the type of offerings in these stores. Even though I’ve seen most of this stuff before I still enjoy wondering through the aisles. This store was narrow but long and had a few different sets of doors along the sides. About halfway in just near one of these doors was a pressed penny machine. I’ve used this style of machine before and they usually work pretty well. Most of them that I have come across only have one design just like this one did.
I pressed my penny and then started to use some of the nearby souvenirs for a quick impromptu photo shoot. The staff inside must have wondered what I was doing, but I promise I didn’t make too much of a mess and put everything back after I was done. There is a lot of history in Daytona when it comes to automotive racing and that can be seen everywhere you go. The penny in this store had a fun design of a classic race car and included Daytona Beach around the dotted boarder.
We continued to walk all along A1A visiting plenty of other stores, and also stopped for a bit of a break for lunch at an IHOP we passed by. Not too unique but the syrupy pancakes hit the spot. With a jolt of sugar in our systems we started to head back towards our hotel and stopped in one last store called Ocean Blue Beach Shop.
You can see in the above picture these places are simply jammed with all sorts of things and sometimes it can be bit hard to maneuver inside the store.
I knew this shop was supposed to have a penny press inside but I couldn’t find it initially. Then my spidey senses eventually found it behind a cardboard display showcasing some sunset beach calendars. I politely asked the employee behind the counter if I could move the calendars to use the machine they he came right out to help me. Apparently from what he told me this machine doesn’t get used much which is why they kind of had it hidden. But hopefully now that I helped clear it off, maybe some other customers will use it.
I didn’t want to make a mess of their inventory, although by the looks of things inside they probably wouldn’t have noticed. Instead I put the coins in my pocket and we headed over to the boardwalk for a nice evening stroll on the beach before we crashed for the day. The penny designs that this shop included images of some dolphins, an alligator, a race car and a bike celebrating Bike week. I thought this was a great set as it kind of wraps up everything Daytona all in one set of coins. Well maybe not the Alligator but the other three definitely.
We had a pretty busy day of walking and shopping so we headed back to our room and crashed. Eventually I headed out and found a takeout pizza place so we could have some dinner in our room. Sometimes those are the moments I remember most on these trips when it’s just our family in our room with the cartoon Bluey on the TV, all of us balancing on the bed trying to eat greasy slices of pizza and just having a great time.