Volusia County in East Central Florida is bordered on the west by the historic St. Johns River, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and therefore is found within a fairly compact area. But as a county with a substantial population, it's substantially varied from one city to another, and could almost be seen as a miniature Florida — urban areas, palm trees, beaches, golf courses, motorsports, and forested wilderness are all found within a few miles of each other.
- 1 Cassadaga — hardly typical of Volusia County, it's best known for having a large number of psychics and "Spiritualist Mediums."
- 2 Daytona Beach — the de facto capital of the county, it's famous for speedway and baseball player Jackie Robinson, and is the location of Volusia County's main airport, with regular flights from DAB IATA to the Delta hub in Atlanta.
- 5 DeLand — the actual capital of the county, with a relatively long history and a private university
- 6 DeLeon Springs — location of Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge and DeLeon Springs State Park
- 7 Deltona — in the southwest closer to Orlando
- 8 New Smyrna Beach — during most of the year, the most important destination for tourists due to the beach; "NSB" — as the city is called — is on the southern side of the county closer to Cape Canaveral.
- 9 Orange City — a small city south of DeLand.
- 10 Ormond Beach — an upscale suburb north of Daytona Beach
- 11 Ponce Inlet — it and several villages to its north include upscale homes and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.
- 1 Blue Spring State Park — famous for manatees
- 2 — to the south of New Smyrna Beach, it lies between Volusia County and the Space Coast.
Volusia County is named after the community of Volusia, which today is a tiny, unincorporated community on the east bank of the St. Johns River where State Road 40 crosses. However, when Volusia County was carved from Orange County by the Florida legislature in 1854, the community was a prosperous steamboat landing and the largest town in the county, with the entire population of Volusia County barely exceeding 600 people at that time.
The community of Volusia began as a trading post sometime in the first or second decade of the 1800s. It was located where an Indian trail intersected with the St. Johns River. This location was later developed as an important supply depot for the military during the Second Seminole War in 1834-35. When commercial steamships started to travel up and down the St. Johns, the community grew and was listed as one of four post offices in the County. With the introduction of regional railroad systems in the 1880s, the community of Volusia was bypassed, and thus, its era of prosperity ended.
There are three theories describing the origin of the word "Volusia":
- The name derives from a word meaning "Land of the Euchee." When the Timucuan Indian cultures died out in the early 1700s, the land in the area was uninhabited until some of the Indian tribes to the north began to migrate into the area (much like the people that have become known as Seminoles). The Euchee Indians were a tribe originally from an area in South Carolina.
- The name was taken from the name of a British plantation which was located on the St. Johns River in the late 1700s. However, no one has explained where the plantation owner came up with the name.
- The name is derived from the last name of one of the employees at the trading post. He is described as being well-liked and of Belgian or French descent. The story goes that his name was something like "Veluche," which was pronounced "Va-loo-shay." The post became known as "Veluche's Place," hence the eventual creation of "Volusia."
There have been proposals by county officials to rename Volusia County to either "Daytona County" (similar name to its most famous city) or "NASCAR County" (reflecting its famous attraction, Daytona International Speedway). These proposals have been opposed by county residents.
Roughly the size of Rhode Island, the county is northeast of Orlando, north of the Kennedy Space Center, and south of Jacksonville.
English is the official language of the state. However, the Spanish language is making inroads throughout the state and a minority of Volusia County residents speak Spanish.
Native-born Floridians will usually speak in a southern accent. However, after the migration of millions of Americans from other states to Florida, the southern dialect is becoming diluted with other American-English accents.
- Refers to Daytona Beach and suburbs, and not specifically to the city of Daytona Beach.
- Fun Coast
- The name for Volusia County's Atlantic coastline, referencing the fact that the area code "386" spells "fun."
The largest airport in Volusia County is Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB IATA), which is served by Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Some other cities in the county have municipal airports — such as DeLand, New Smyrna Beach, and Ormond Beach — but these are used by private aircraft. Spruce Creek, a neighborhood in Port Orange, is well-known locally for its "Spruce Creek Fly-In," a private airport which most tourists are unlikely to visit.
Amtrak offers the Amtrak Auto Train service with its southern Terminus located in Sanford (Florida), a few miles west of Volusia County. 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 Volusia County 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.
Volusia County is served by Greyhound Bus Lines, which has scheduled stops in Daytona Beach. The bus depot in DeLand has ceased operation and is now a coffee house called the Stetson Station. The Greyhound routes connect with hubs in Jacksonville and Orlando.
It is easy to drive to Volusia County, as several major highways pass through the area.
From Tampa and Orlando, I-4 leads northeast, reaching its eastern terminus in Daytona Beach. I-95 passes through the eastern portion of the county, connecting it with Jacksonville to the north, Miami to the south, and various other cities along the Eastern Seaboard. It parallels US-1, though of the two highways I-95 is significantly faster. US-1 is a local route with direct access to lodging and restaurants, and therefore goes by local names as well as a highway designation, such as New Smyrna Beach's "Old Dixie Highway" and Daytona's "Ridgewood Avenue."
US-17 and US-92 are also important U.S. highways in the area.
- Votran is the name of the local Volusia County bus service. It is a cheap way to get around and is handicap accessible. The buses offer service throughout the county, Monday through Saturday, from 7 AM to 7PM. Some limited bus routes are offered in East Volusia in the evenings and on Sundays. The website provides maps and timetables. Buses travel to most sites and places of interest. Cost: $1.25 per trip, or $3 for a one-day bus pass (Valid for all routes).
- A1A Beachside Trolley operates from January to Labor Day (September) along Atlantic Avenue on the beachside. They are air-conditioned and handicapped accessible. $1.25 for one trip, or $3 for a one-day pass (can be used on all Votran buses).
- Sun Rail, ☏ . M-F 5AM-11:30PM. Sun Rail is a north-south train on weekdays through Sanford, Orlando, and Kissimmee, from Poinciana at its southern end, and DeBary at its the northern end. Bus connection is provided from Orlando International Airport to the Sand Lake Road station by Links 11, 42 and 111; and from Orlando-Sanford International Airport to the Sanford station by Link 46E. $2-5 one way, with discounts for round-trip tickets, and 50% off for seniors 65 and over, and youth between the ages of 7-18.
- Kings Transportation (Daytona Beach), ☏ .
- Southern Komfort Taxi (Daytona Beach), ☏ .
- Deland Taxi, 236 S Alabama Ave, ☏ .
Roads are usually paved and several state and county highways wind through the area, although the county has more than its fair share of reckless and aggressive drivers, especially on interstate routes, and drivers often ignore speed limits.
FL-A1A connects destinations along the coast within towns, but unfortunately it does not cross Ponce Inlet, and therefore is not a continuous route following the coast. US-1 connects the cities immediately west of the Intracoastal Waterway — such as Daytona and New Smyrna Beach — but does so with average speeds around 40 miles per hour due to intersections, entrances to businesses and traffic.
A large number of other state routes exist, including FL-40, FL-44, FL-5A, FL-421, FL-11, FL-400, FL-483, and Volusia County Road 4164. Florida has designated many of the major roads in the county, and some of those that were missed by the state received the designation of "county route," which in practice is little different from a state road; and in practice, as there are many wide roads throughout the county, whether or not they are designated by the state/county makes little difference to their use by vehicle traffic.
The Volusia County Parking Garage is located at 701 Earl Street at North Atlantic Avenue (A1A) in Daytona Beach. The garage is strategically located, next to the Ocean Center, Daytona Lagoon, and across the street from the Hilton Hotel and Ocean Walk Shoppes. Over one thousand parking spaces are available inside the garage. Price for parking varies at different times of the year.
There is also a VOTRAN transfer station (Intermodal Transit Facility - ITF) located inside the garage area.
1 Daytona International Speedway and its Daytona 500 Experience motorsports attraction are in Daytona Beach and are world-famous, and are a crucial factor bringing tourists to the area. However, speedway is not limited to Daytona Beach, as 2 New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach and 3 Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville are also within the county.
Jackie Robinson was from Daytona Beach, and therefore the 4 Jackie Robinson Ballpark is named after the African-American baseball player. The Bethune-Cookman University is named after Mary McLeod Bethune, as is a beach in New Smyrna. This university and others in the county, although not particularly notable to tourists, are an important part of the region's economy, as demonstrated by the picture of the Emery-Riddle University.
Other points of interest include 5 Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum in Ponce Inlet and 6 The Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. The lighthouse is named after the explorer Ponce de Leon, who visited the region and is associated with St. Augustine's "Fountain of Youth" in North Florida.
There are various other, lesser-known points of interest throughout the county, and details about these can be found in the individual city articles.
The beaches of Volusia County are its major attraction. The beaches are found along the Atlantic Ocean's coastline, and especially in Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach. Many of the beaches, though not all, are large and some even allow cars as of 2020, while going south toward Cape Canaveral the beach is narrower, with more varied topography.
Boats can be rented at several marinas, located along the Halifax River and St. Johns River, and boat tours from New Smyrna Beach along the Intracoastal Waterway are available. Fishing boat charters usually originate from Ponce Inlet or New Smyrna Beach.
The area has an extensive artificial reef program just off the Atlantic coast, and several inland springs offer freshwater and cave diving opportunities. Beware of sharks and alligators.
Over two dozen golf courses can be found throughout Volusia County, including the LPGA golf course in Daytona Beach. Golf courses are typically found in urban and suburban areas of the eastern portion of the county.
Horseback riding and hiking
Several parks and recreation areas in Volusia County, especially inland, offer horseback trails. A region between the coastal cities and metropolitan Orlando includes forested land in which there are some horseback riding possibilities, such as Pioneer Trail in Samsula. Hiking is possible in the region with several parks and preserves found throughout the county.
If you swim in the Atlantic Ocean or in the several rivers that pass through Volusia County, you do so at your own risk. The dangers presented by sharks and alligators are serious, and preferably you should not swim in any body of water. Alligators live in even the smallest, innocent-looking lakes, which should be avoided whenever possible.
You're unlikely to suffer a shark attack if you go a short distance into the water, that being when you can stand and your head still be above the water, but going out farther is dangerous due to the relatively high chance of shark attacks, especially in the world's shark attack capital New Smyrna Beach; rip currents are also a danger.
The area has plenty of surf schools and shops, and New Smyrna Beach has a small surfing community.
ATMs can be found throughout Volusia County. Usually larger hotels and convenience stores will have a "generic" ATM available; however, be forewarned about hidden service fees.
Cuisine across Volusia County is generally a mix between traditional "Southern" style and "Caribbean" style cooking. Sometimes a blending of the two styles is found, called "Floribbean." The area has easy access to fresh seafood and many eateries offer a wide variety of seafood dishes.
Some favorite dishes in the area include:
- Conch (pronounced "conk") - These chewy clams are served tenderized with lime juice, raw, and chopped in salad. Also chopped, breaded, and fried as conch fritters and in conch chowder (usually red and spicy).
- Mahi Mahi - A firm, white fleshed fish; delicious when served grilled, blackened or Cajun-style.
- Grouper - One of the mildest fishes available; served fried, blackened, broiled, or grilled as an entree. Fried grouper sandwiches are also popular.
- Yellowfin Tuna - A firm, flavorful semi-dark meat fish often served grilled, broiled, or blackened.
- Florida Lobster - Known as a spiny lobster, the Florida lobster has no claws like Maine lobster. Florida lobster tails are broiled and served with melted butter.
Volusia County is a "wet" county in Florida. Alcoholic beverages are sold in both taverns and liquor stores. The Florida State Alcoholic Beverage Control (Police) frequently conduct raids for underage drinking in tourist areas, particularly during Spring Break. There aren't many places around the county for clubbing, except in the beach tourist areas. However, there are many biker bars around the area because of periodic motorcycle rallies.
Some tropical drinks that are popular in Volusia County include:
- Planters Punch - 1 oz. lemon juice, 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. passion fruit juice, 1 oz. pineapple juice, 1 1/2 oz. rum. Combine ingredients over shaved ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
- Rum Runner - 1 1/2 oz. rum, 3/4 oz. blackberry brandy, 3/4 oz. creme de banana, splash of grenadine, splash of lime juice.
- Bahama Mama - 1 oz. orange juice, 1 oz. pineapple juice, 1/2 oz. grenadine, 1/2 oz. rum, 1/2 oz. coconut flavored rum, 1 cup crushed ice. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry.
- Pina Colada - 1 shot rum, 2 oz. coconut milk, 3 oz. pineapple juice, 1 cup ice. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Cuba Libre - 2 oz. rum, Coca Cola, lime wedge.
Florida has a high occurrence of hurricanes which may produce heavy winds and rain between, mostly in the summer months. You might want to check the Hurricane safety page if you are visiting Florida. Beware of lightning in the central part of the state. Also, during severe weather, there may be tornadoes, so check the Tornado safety page.
Volusia County is known for a high number of shark encounters, most of which are minor in nature and due in large part to the large number of swimmers on this highly-accessible shoreline. Steer clear of fishermen and schools of baitfish, which swimming.
As in all areas, Volusia County has varying crime intensity from city to city, so it's always a good idea to travel in pairs/groups. Tourist areas rarely have violent crimes, but theft is an occasional occurrence, so be sure to lock your car and hotel room.
The Volusia County Sheriff is in charge of law enforcement throughout the county, which includes Sheriff's Deputies and Beach Patrol Officers. The Sheriff's Department provides patrols where there are no city police forces organized.
The 911 number for fire, police, and medical emergencies is in effect throughout Volusia County.
The Volusia County Tourism Authority promotes the area as being the "Fun Coast." The local area code (386) spells out the word "fun."
Seven digit dialing is in effect for local calls within each of the three regions in Volusia County. "1" and the Area Code must be used when phoning into a different region. The local area code is (386).
- The Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 126 East Orange Avenue, ☏ , fax: . Daytona Beach, Florida. The official tourism, sales and marketing organization for the East Volusia region (Daytona Beach and surrounding area).
- New Smyrna Beach Visitors Bureau, 2238 State Route 44, New Smyrna Beach, toll-free: . The official tourism, sales and marketing organization for the Southeast Volusia region (New Smyrna Beach and surrounding area).
- West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority, 336 North Woodland Avenue, ☏ , fax: . DeLand, Florida 32720. The official tourism, sales and marketing organization for the West Volusia region (St. John's River Country).
It is common for many of the larger hotels and lodgings in the area to offer free internet access for their guests.
- Daytona Beach News-Journal - Online edition of daily newspaper covering the Greater Daytona Beach Area.
- DeLand Beacon
- Avion Online Newspaper - Student college publication of Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach.
- Daytona Beach Pennysaver - Weekly publication with coupons and classified ads.
- Volusia/Flagler Business Report - Biweekly publication that covers the business community in Volusia and Flagler counties.
- WNDB, 1150 AM, Daytona Beach, News/Talk/Sports
- WSBB, 1230 AM, New Smyrna Beach, Standards
- WYND, 1310 AM, DeLand, Religious
- WROD, 1340 AM, Daytona Beach, Standards
- WELE, 1380 AM, Ormond Beach, News/Talk
- WMFJ, 1450 AM, Daytona Beach, Religious
- WTJV, 1490 AM, DeLand, Spanish Language
- WPUL, 1590 AM, South Daytona, Talk
- WEAZ , 88.3 FM, Holly Hill, Contemporary Christian
- WKTO, 88.9 FM, Edgewater, Religious
- WJLU, 89.7 FM, New Smyrna Beach, Religious
- WAPN , 91.5 FM, Holly Hill, Contemporary Christian
- WKRO , 93.1 FM, Edgewater, Country
- WCFB, 94.5 FM, Daytona Beach, Urban Adult Contemporary
- WLGM, 95.3 FM, Edgewater
- WHOG , 95.7 FM, Ormond-by-the-Sea, Classic Rock
- WJLU, 97.3 FM, Deland, Religious
- WJHM, 101.9 FM, Daytona Beach, Mainstream Urban
- WVYB , 103.3 FM, Holly Hill, Pop music
- WOCL, 105.9 FM, Deland, Alternative rock
- Space Coast — Brevard County to the south
- Lake County — to the west
- North Central Florida — encompasses Marion County
- Northeast Florida — encompasses Flagler and Putnam Counties
- Greater Orlando — to the southwest