5 Best Photo Opportunities in Daytona Beach

by Debi Lander, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 21st 2010 04:18 PM

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Photo Opportunities Daytona Beach

Lee Van Grack

Twenty-three miles of the world's most famous hard-packed sandy shore, as well as action adventures, botanical gardens and historic sites provide exciting photo opportunities. Daytona is known as the birthplace of speed and auto racing and home to the internationally acclaimed Bike Week.

Grab your camera and head into the land of surf, sand, sunshine and speed for a slew of unique shots. Here are a few of the best photo ops to capture the spirit of Daytona.


1. The Romantic Photo: Dunlawton Sugar Mill Ruins and Botanical Garden


On her soft side, one of the prettiest Daytona landscape photography options lies about five minutes south in Port Orange, home of the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens. The old Florida surroundings are crammed with centuries old live oaks trees, dripping Spanish moss, native plants and blossoming flowers like Birds of Paradise and orchids. Standing ruins of a sugar mill dot the terrain and make an unusual prop or backdrop to a photo.

Camera enthusiasts will find the soft light and exotic green setting ideal for portraits. Couples and brides adore these natural grounds for engagement and wedding photography.

Some of the best angles to capture are found by the 250-year-old Confederate Oak Tree, within Nature's Chapel, the Flower Circle, around the gazebo, or on the new bridge. Should the participants have a sense of humor, pose them by life-size dinosaurs lurking in the brush. These concrete creatures are remnants of an extinct 1940s through 1960s amusement park called Bongoland.

Professional photographers are welcome, but are asked to call for a reservation.

Dunlawton Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens
950 Old Sugar Mill Rd
Port Orange, FL 32129
386-767-1735
Daily 8AM-6PM
Free

2. The Quirky Photo: Posing on a Harley Davidson Motorcycle


No matter what your profession or lifestyle, many yearn to experience the freedom of a motorcycle. You owe it to yourself to visit one of two area Harley Davidson dealers and hop on a hog. The Daytona showroom provides a painted backdrop and a shiny new machine for those wanting to pose like a biker or biker babe.

Consider getting in the mood for your photo op by stopping next door at the Daytona Diner or imbibing at Boot Hill Saloon where the motto reads, "Order a drink and have a seat. You're better off here than across the street." Ironically, the cemetery rests on the other side of the road.

Daytona Harley Davidson
290 N Beach St
Daytona, FL 32114
386-253-2453
Hours and prices vary

Daytona Diner
290½ N Beach St
Daytona, FL 32114
386-258-8488
Mon-Sat 7AM-2PM

Boot Hill Saloon
310 Main St
Dayton, FL 32118
386-258-9506
Hours vary

3. The Family Fun Photo: Victory Lane


Visit the Daytona 500 Experience and take the 30-minute open-air tram tour of the track for the best photo of the kids or family. Ride through the garage area; pit road; onto the 31-degree, high-banked turns and then stop at Gatorade Victory Lane. Here's your chance to raise your arms as if you won the rugged race. Daytona 500 photographers will snap the group at one of the best photo opportunities Daytona offers, but you are welcome to use your own camera, too. This one will go into memory lane.

Daytona 500 Experience
1801 W International Speedway Blvd
Daytona Beach, FL
386-681-6530
Daily 10AM-6PM
Adults $24.99, seniors & children 6-12 $19.99, children 5 & under free

4. The Scenic Photo: Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station


Climb to the top of Florida's tallest lighthouse (175 feet), Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station, for one of the best scenic photos in Daytona Beach. You may need to catch your breath at the top of the 203 steps, but you're guaranteed breathtaking views of the Halifax River and the Florida coastline. First lit in 1887, the light station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the lighthouse, you'll find the original keepers' dwelling and outbuildings, all surrounded by a white picket fence. A lens exhibit building offers up-close views of first order Fresnel lens.

Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station
4931 S Peninsula Dr
Ponce Inlet, FL 32127
386-761-1821
Daily 10AM-6PM
Adults $5, children 11 & under $1.50

5. The Classic Photo: Sunrise or Sunset Along Daytona Beach


All camera buffs ought to have a portfolio photo of this famous beach. Take your pick from 23 miles of shoreline at sunrise or the magical sunset hour. The beach is very wide with, foam rolling in at the start of the day. Daytona is not besieged with shells, so don't expect to find many. Cars are permitted to drive along certain sections of the beach, which means photographers, often distracted when composing their shot, should be careful.

For the best photo ops of traditional Daytona Beach, consider starting at the historic pier.
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