It is said that in 1513, Juan Ponce De Leon was exploring the land and waters around the inlet that today bears his name. In 1886-87, a 175 foot high lighthouse was built and named after Ponce de Leon.
Ponce Inlet was named after Antonio Ponce, who was granted land here during the Spanish occupation of Florida.
In 1963, the Town of Ponce Inlet was incorporated; the first town council was sworn in at the lighthouse office. The lighthouse still dominates this small, sleepy town of fishing boats, natural parks, and growing condominiums.
Ponce Inlet offers a humid, subtropical climate that is typical throughout Florida. Winters are dry and mild, marked by a constant series of cold fronts and warm-ups. Temperatures dip into the low 40s and upper 30s (°F) on occasion, although freezes are rare. Snowfall is very rare.
Temperatures in spring are famously pleasant with warm afternoons, cool evenings, and far less humidity. The summers are long, hot and humid, with temperatures frequently in the upper 90s F in July. Thunderstorms are frequent in summer afternoons. Dangers include hurricanes from June until November.
Ponce Inlet has no local airport. If you need to fly here, you will need to find a commercial flight arriving to either Daytona Beach International Airport (the closest), Orlando International Airport, or Jacksonville International Airport.
Amtrak offers the Amtrak Auto Train service with its southern Terminus located in Sanford (Florida), about 35 miles (57 km) west of Ponce Inlet. The Amtrak Auto Train carries passengers and automobiles between Sanford and Lorton, Virginia, effectively serving as a car-rail link from Florida to the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. You can easily drive your car into Ponce Inlet after departing from the Auto Train.
Amtrak offers regular passenger service with the closest stop being near the city of DeLand. This stop is rather remote and is not recommended as an option.
From Interstate 95, take Exit 256 to SR-421, east toward Port Orange. Use the Taylor Road ramp toward Port Orange/Daytona Beach Shores. Merge onto FL-421 East. FL-421 east becomes FL-A1A or North Dunlawton Avenue. Turn right on South Atlantic Avenue (Volusia County Route 4075) and drive straight to the Town of Ponce Inlet.
Greyhound bus has a stop in Daytona Beach at 138 South Ridgewood Avenue (U.S.-1). You'll need to catch the 17A bus to Ponce Inlet. The nearest bus stop for the 17A is on North Beach Street between Bay and West International Speedway Boulevard. Walk north along Ridgewood avenue, then turn right onto West International Speedway Boulevard. Walk east for two blocks until you reach beach street that runs next to the riverfront park. Turn left and walk towards bay street.
If you are staying at a hotel at the beach south of Granada Boulevard, you can catch the 17A bus south on South Atlantic Ave. Otherwise, you will need to take another bus or walk to the VOLTRAN bus transer plaza at Doctor Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard and North Palmetto Ave near North Ridgewood Avenue (U.S. Route 1) to catch the 17A bus there.
VOTRAN route 17A has limited bus service that goes North and South on Atlantic Avenue, but you really need a car to get around in Ponce Inlet. Buses run M-Sa 6AM-7:15PM. There is no bus service on Sunday. The bus does stop at the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum and the Marine Science Center.
- Lighthouse Loop, Port Orange Causeway, 3501-4900 S. Atlantic Ave. The Lighthouse Loop is a scenic drive, also used by walkers, bicyclists, and runners, which passes through the cities of Port Orange, Daytona Beach Shores, and Ponce Inlet. Check the web site for the exact route.
- 1 Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, 4931 South Peninsula Drive, ☏ . Florida's tallest lighthouse at 175 ft (53 m) (the second tallest in the US) sits at the end of the road south of Daytona Beach. It is one of only 10 lighthouses in the nation designated a National Historic Landmark. Climb the winding staircase for beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Halifax River. The lighthouse keepers' dwellings and other historic light station buildings are now home to a lighthouse museum, which features exhibits on lighthouse life, local history, lighthouse and Fresnel lens restoration, shipwrecks, and the lighthouse keepers and their families.
- 2 Marine Science Center, 100 Lighthouse Drive, ☏ . The Marine Science Center offers an experience where visitors can see some of the rich marine life of the area. One of the main goals of the Marine Science Center is sea turtle rehabilitation. Guests can overlook seven turtle hospital pools from the Turtle Terrace, located in front of the main facility. The MSC turtle rehabilitation area also includes care and treatment of freshwater turtles and land tortoises. There is also a gift shop where you can buy books and posters.
- Kay & Ayres Davies Lighthouse Park (City). Situated under the shadow of the historic Ponce DeLeon Light Station, this three-acre park has swings, a slide and a climber and is ideal for picnics and relaxing after climbing the steps of the Lighthouse.
- 3 Lighthouse Point Park (County). 6AM–9PM. The park consists of 52 acres of pristine land at the south end of the Town of Ponce Inlet. The 52-acre park features fishing, nature trails, an observation deck and tower, swimming and picnicking. A variety of wildlife call the Lighthouse Point Park home, including raccoons, possums, skunks, armadillos, shore birds and birds of prey.
- Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary, 100 Lighthouse Drive. Since its opening in June 2004, the Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary has treated more than 4,500 birds from more than 140 different species. This bird rehabilitation facility is equipped to care and treat injured and sick birds. Upon full recovery, a healthy bird will be released into its natural habitat. Some birds become ambassadors for their species and are a part of education programs and the guest viewing area of the Marine Science Center.
- Ponce Inlet Jetty. The Jetty is an outcropping of rock built up at the south end of the Daytona Beach Peninsula, which stretches about half a mile into the Atlantic Ocean. A paved walkway lets visitors walk out about half the distance of the Jetty to sightsee or go fishing. Dolphins can frequently be seen from the Jetty. The surfing is smaller than nearby New Smyrna Beach but has a nice swell.
- Ponce Preserve (City). The Ponce Preserve is the town's largest park with approximately 41 acres stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Halifax River. Sitting at the heart of this park is the Green Mound State Archaeological Site, an ancient Indian midden.
- Timucuan Oaks Botanical Garden, 4550 South Peninsula Drive, ☏ . Timucuan Oaks Botanical Gardens is an 8-acre site.
- Town Hall Park Complex (City). This park is next to the Fire Department and is the hub of much activity with its playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts.
- Critter Fleet, 4950 S. Peninsula Dr, toll-free: , fax: . Critter Fleet offers bottom fishing 15 to 35 miles out in the ocean. Full and half-day party boat excursions include equipment and bait. Private charters available.
- Fin-Addict Charters, ☏ . Capt. Chris offers half-day, full-day and big game gulfstream charters aboard a 32-ft custom contender, complete with an onboard restroom. Bait, tackle, ice and fishing license are included, and fish cleaning and mounts are available.
- Finest Kind II Sportfishing, 133 Inlet Harbor Rd, toll-free: . Offshore fishing has been a Nelson family tradition since 1955. Choose from half-day, full-day or night charters. Docked at Inlet Harbor Marina.
- First Class Charters, ☏ . Deep sea sport fishing for up to six passengers.
- Fish with Capt. Barry, ☏ . Capt. Barry specializes in back water fishing on the Tomoka River, Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River and St. Johns River. Fish for trout, redfish, snook, bass, crappie and tarpon.
- Fishin' Magician Guide Service, ☏ . Try inlet fishing for trout, snook, reds or bass from the Daytona Beach area to Mosquito Lagoon. This family-oriented guide can accommodate up to three people.
- Island Spirit Deep Sea Fishing, 133 Inlet Harbor Road, ☏ , fax: . The Island Spirit is a 46-ft Hatteras offering offshore fishing trips from 4 to 10 hr. This tournament machine can comfortably accommodate up to 6 anglers in air-conditioned comfort. Powered by twin 525-hp John Deere diesels she's fast & ready to fish.
- [dead link] Knot on Duty Sportsfishing Charters, ☏ . Fish aboard a spacious 29-ft boat with Penn and Shimano reels, star rods and the latest electronics. All bait, tackle and licenses are included. Half-day and full-day gulf stream trips are available. Special river, inlet and bay trips are also available.
- Sea - Ya Charters & Guide Service, Inc., ☏ . Sea - Ya Charters offers 4- to 12-hour deep sea fishing trips, specializing in bottom fishing and trolling.
- Sea Spirit Deep Sea Fishing, 133 Inlet Harbor Rd, ☏ , fax: . Sea Spirit offers full and half day party boat fishing trips and private charters for up to six for 4-10 hours. All bait & tackle is provided for a great day on the ocean whether bottom fishing for Snapper or Grouper, or trolling for trophy Dolphin or Sailfish. Reservations recommended.
- Adventure Yacht Harbor Inc., 3948 S. Peninsula Dr, ☏ . Daily 10AM-10PM. Fishing and sailing charters are available for adventure. Pontoon boat rentals and bait are available. 150-slips. Overnight docking. Fuel and pump out service also available.
- 1 Inlet Harbor Marina, 133 Inlet Harbor Road, ☏ . Sport fishing charters, marine store with bait and tackle. Restaurant, bar and gift shop. Designated a Clean Marina.
- Sea Love Marina, 4884 Front Street, ☏ .
- 1 Boondock's, 3948 S Peninsula Dr, ☏ .
- 2 Down the Hatch, 4884 Front St, ☏ . Upscale restaurant roughly where the inlet meets the Intracoastal Waterway.
- Inlet Harbor Restaurant, 133 Inlet Harbor Rd, ☏ .
- Lighthouse Landing Restaurant.
- Jerry's Pizza & Italian Restaurant. With Tiki Bar.
- 1 Racing's North Turn, 4511 S. Atlantic Ave, ☏ . 11AM - 11PM. On the Atlantic Ocean. The historic location is where Nascar ran its first sanctioned races. The restaurant walls are lined with vintage racing photo describing the history of racing. The cuisine is wonderful along with the service. Music nightly starting at 6PM. Outdoor 5000-sq-ft oceanfront deck.
There are no hotels or motels in Ponce Inlet. However, there are a lot of condominiums and private homes that you may be able to rent. Other lodgings can be found in the nearby City of Daytona Beach Shores.
Seven-digit dialing is in effect for local calls in Ponce Inlet. The local area code is 386. For calls within the US or Canada, dial 1+area code+number. There are some public pay phones scattered around the city, but they are becoming increasingly rare with the predominance of cell phones. It is not safe to assume you will be able to find a pay phone at any given time.
The ZIP code in the town of Ponce Inlet is 32127.
- The Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 126 East Orange Avenue, ☏ , fax: . The official sales and marketing organization for Ponce Inlet.
It is common for many of the larger hotels and lodgings in the area to offer free internet access for their guests.
Florida has a high occurrence of hurricanes. You might want to check the Hurricane safety page if you are visiting Florida. Beware of lightning in the central part of the state. The area is known for a high number of shark attacks, so be careful when surfing. Also, there is a high occurrence of tornadoes in Florida, so check the Tornado safety page.
Tourist areas rarely have violent crimes, but theft is an occasional occurrence. The 911 number for fire and police emergencies is in effect in Ponce Inlet.
- Daytona Beach - Ponce Inlet's famous neighbor about 10 miles to the North offers NASCAR racing and other special events.
- Daytona Beach Shores - A quiet, small city just north of Ponce Inlet along the beach peninsula.
- New Smyrna Beach - South of Ponce Inlet on the next barrier island. New Smyrna Beach lays claim to the best Florida offers - excellent backwater and offshore fishing, golf, historical sites, cultural events and eclectic shopping and dining experiences along historical Flagler Avenue and Canal Street.
- Port Orange - A quiet, but rapidly growing city northwest of Ponce Inlet on the mainland, where you can enjoy golf and tennis.