If you are interested in seeing even more of our Beach Day and visit along the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, head on over and check out the full adventure on our YouTube video here.
I remember years ago when my wife and I would go on vacation just the two of us, staying out late and then sleeping in until noon. Well those days are long gone, and we now have two active daughters who are up before the sun on most days even when we are not on vacation. This trip however I actually wanted to be up before the sun so I could catch it rising above the Atlantic. The night before I asked if anyone would get up with me and they all shot me down. So I set my alarm and was up and out on the Boardwalk with many other visitors to catch the most amazing sunrise.
I had my camera all setup on a tripod and just sat on a nearby bench enjoying the show. The sound of the waves crashing into the beach was just so relaxing and zen I probably could have almost fallen sleep out there. But here in Florida once the sun is up the temperature rises and it’s time to jump in the water.
I did head back into our hotel room to help pack up our beach things, like blankets, towels, sand castle building equipment and a truckload of sunscreen. Thankfully we didn’t have far to walk and headed down on to beach.
Once perk up getting up early and heading to the beach is you get the primo spots nice and close to the water before the beach fills up. I did find that crowds were pretty manageable during the day, but in the afternoon and into the evenings they got much busier. The water was perfect and after setting up our temporary home on the beach, then slathering on the sunscreen we all ran into the ocean. The waves weren’t too high during this day which was nice since our girls always want to go further and further out.
We spent the entire morning switching between swimming, building an terribly designed sand castle, sun bathing, and snacking. It was fun to just be here together with no agenda. Laughing at me for dropping my hot dog in the sand, but most importantly just being a family and enjoying each others company.
Eventually we were all pretty tired and decided to pack up all our things. We headed back to our room to try and remove as much sand from ourselves as we could and took a bit of a nap. Then in the early evening we were all pretty hungry and found an intriguing place nearby called Sloppy Joe’s.
The restaurant was located on the second floor of an outdoor shopping complex. They had huge windows open allowing that wonderful sea breeze to flow through and that sound of the ocean was just hypnotic. The food was a mix of coastal favorites like fresh seafood but also had plenty of sandwiches and burgers. I opted to try their namesake Sloppy Joe sandwich was just as I remembered from my high school cafeteria, but a little more upscale. It won’t be winning any awards but after a long day at the beach this classic comfort food really hit the spot.
After dinner we decided to walk around a bit more and just enjoy the evening. Nearby we found another gift shop that we didn’t know about called Beach Express.
As soon as we opened the front door I was met with a wonderful sight a pressed penny machine. Now I will admit this was in a terrible location. My family headed inside to do some shopping while I attempted to use the machine. I’m not sure if the above picture does it justice, but to use the machine I basically needed to keep the front door open otherwise the hand crank would hit the door. Plus people were coming in and out of the shop while I was blocking their way. Anyways, I eventually got the pennies pressed and headed inside to see what my kids had picked out.
This was another great set of pennies that included similar designs we had seen before of Bike Week, Racing Capitol of the World, but then had a one of a Dolphin with a Lighthouse stating Daytona Beach as the World’s Most Famous Beach, and a cute couple walking on the beach.
We finished our shopping in the store for a few items we wanted to bring back for our family and friends, and then headed back out to the Boardwalk. I’ve mentioned in the past I lived in New Jersey for over 20 years and am no stranger to Boardwalks. This was a far cry from some of the ones I’m used to like Point Pleasant or Seaside, but this was still a fun experience. Plenty of places to sit, eat and even play.
One place I wanted to visit was the Joyland Arcade. As I’m sure you can surmise there was indeed a pressed penny machine inside but first I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce our kids to a classic arcade. I remember when I was young and would spend all my spare quarters at an arcade near my house. They were dark, smokey and kind of seedy now that I think back on them, but I absolutely loved being in there and playing all those games.
Thankfully this arcade was not dark, smokey or seedy but instead it was extremely hot inside. I don’t think they had any a/c inside, plus they had a to go window where they were selling all sorts of fried foods which I’m sure added to the heat inside. That all disappear from my mind as soon as I we started playing some games. My kids were looking to play things like Angry Birds. For my choice however I headed into the back to play things like Ms. Pac-Man, POW and Cruisin’ USA. I was in nostalgia overload and was enjoying every moment of it.
After awhile my kids and I had spent all our allotted quarters and were ready for a sweet treat before heading back to our room. First however I needed to pressed another set of pennies at the machine inside the arcade.
This set continued the trend we have been seeing of designs themed around Racing, Bike week and Dolphins with slightly different images than before but the fourth design was a great way to top of our day as it showcased The Daytona Beach Boardwalk. Oh and incase you are wondering about those sweet props in the picture above, those were our prizes from the arcade! Needless to say we weren’t very good.
As we walked back towards our hotel the sun had set, the temperature was perfect, and it just made for an amazing evening. By the time we got back to our room everyone was ready to crash which I took as a good sign that we had another amazing day.