Rockets, Racecars, and Rip Currents
Sure, some people want to come to Florida to relax, or to retire. Others might want to get their pulses racing with a little more activity than a day on the beach or the back nine. This quick itinerary focuses on a handful of exciting and unique attractions on Florida’s east coast.
For NASCAR fans, Daytona Beach is the ultimate pilgrimage. The city’s legendary Daytona 500 race kicks off the stock-car season every year, and the city is the site of the racing organization’s birth. Even if there’s no race happening, the Daytona 500 Experience is an essential stop for fans of the sport, as it combines Hall-of-Fame tributes with racing simulations as well as the opportunity for well-heeled guests to drive a stock car on the hallowed track.
If the speed of a race car isn’t quite fast enough for you, try the nearly 8 million pounds of thrust that propel the space shuttle into orbit at nearly 3,100 mph. At least you can get a sense of it at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center, about 90 minutes south of Daytona Beach, which offers exhibits and simulators as well as tours of the NASA facilities.
Instead of watching it or dreaming about it, why not get into some action yourself? Florida’s mid-Atlantic coast is home to some of the best surfing in the state. If you happened to miss the innumerable billboards for Ron Jon Surf Shop as you drove into the state, just know that even if you show up in Cocoa Beach with no board, there’s a 24-hour store here that can serve your needs. In fact, there are two 24-hour shops (the other is Cocoa Beach Surf Company), which gives you some indication as to how seriously this part of the state takes its wave-riding.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition