What do you envision when you think of Daytona Beach? Racing, motorcycles, parties, food? Pop culture might have shaped this popular tourist destination, but there’s a whole lot more to discover in Daytona Beach than you ever imagined. This is the start of a Daytona Beach series here at Thrifty Momma’s Tips.
Florida is a popular destination for Canadians and snowbirds wanting to escape the cold for weeks, even months. Although I have been to a few different Florida cities, I recently had the chance to discover Daytona Beach for the first time. This month, I stayed at Daytona Beach luxury resort The Shores Resort and Spa. The fall season is quiet in Daytona Beach making it a great time to visit actually. This hotspot will pick back up closer to racing season in January and February.
I had no idea what to expect after the driver/ guide picked me up at the Daytona Beach airport (which is an efficient and small airport that is pretty much hassle free to fly in and out of. These are the kinds of airports I have grown to love. When you can find them, use them.) The road, South Atlantic Avenue, is pretty much entirely taken up by hotels, resorts and restaurants. The Shores was about 30 minutes from the Daytona International Airport. It is one of the nicest looking resorts along South Atlantic. The Shores has beachfront access and is accessible from the street as well. The accommodations were clean and lovely and the building was quiet. No noisy partygoers or anything of that kind to disturb you. Prices here per night, especially during the off season are very affordable in this boutique hotel. It’s not uncommon to be able to stay at $90 to $120 U.S. a night. That seems like a great price for this beautiful spot.
The lobby and breakfast area was clean and quiet enough that I could sit for a bit and relax as I waited to check in. Service was superb and despite arriving early I was able to check in quickly and relax. After leaving the Sheraton attached to Pearson airport in Toronto at 4:30 a.m. I was ready for some downtime. The room was well equipped and clean, with a large TV, a business area I used quite a bit, a spacious bathroom, walkout balcony with blackout blinds. Fresh bottled water was in every room, which is a welcome touch that should almost be the standard for every resort really. There’s a coffee maker in each room but that’s my only real small issue with this spot is the coffee makers are in need of a switch up. The in room coffee was not good.
The ocean view room at The Shores is magnificent and frankly after staying there I would never choose any other room. The view of the ocean right outside the balcony door transports you to a calmer place quickly.
Several people said they had seen dolphins early in the morning. I woke a couple of times and looked, but didn’t spy any. The week I was there the water was high and the waves were really rocking. Surfers were out immediately. And I spied them consistently trying their skill every day. That was admirable because the waves looked punishing to me.
The beach is active and you can walk on, or drive on. So you need to remember that if you bring small children it is a beach with cars and you should exercise more caution as a result. That said I rarely saw much traffic up and down the legendary strip of beach where stock cars once raced each other for fun and competition before the Daytona 500 was born.
The pool was spacious and never jam-packed. There was pool service and there was always an empty lounger to stretch out in. I took advantage of that in the early afternoon that first day because I really wanted to finish the book I took with me for the plane ride. Other guests were extremely friendly and I met a few couples visiting from various parts of the United States that day. By the way The Shores is on Facebook as well.
The palm trees in Daytona Beach are some of the biggest I have ever seen and they remind you this is a vacation destination, setting the right atmosphere for a good stay.
Grounds were well kept and colourful. There is a cute tiki bar near the pool and a hot tub as well. There is direct access to the beach from the resort.
The real story here at The Shores though beyond the incredible views and the beautiful tropical rooms, was the food. I checked in and posted to Instagram while there at The Shores and a good friend who also does social media consulting immediately recognized The Shores and told me the food was some of the best in Daytona Beach. I was intrigued and a bit skeptical. The restaurant doesn’t appear overly lavish from the outside. It is actually currently being renovated, but the menu was superb with a wide range of selections from seafood to steak and appetizers to die for. My advice: don’t eat lunch before you go and make a reservation to be sure you get in. Have dinner, a drink, and the apps too. Work it off later. Trust me, it’s worth it. Plus the sunset the evening we ate there was gorgeous. It rained a short time and then we spied a double rainbow as well from the outdoor patio part of Azure restaurant.
Azure, is the Shores award-winning restaurant and it is a must visit, even if you aren’t staying at The Shores. Service was great, but the menu was extraordinary. I am a seafood lover who enjoys sampling any and all shellfish when I travel. It is especially sweet for me because my husband has a shellfish allergy so we never cook shellfish at home. But when I travel it is my go to dish. It is the thing I enjoy most.
I have had shellfish all over the Caribbean and Mexico. Azure has amazing clams and the calamari was the best I have ever eaten. It is lightly breaded with candied walnuts. I had clams casino and calamari appetizers. There was also a warm goat cheese app that was fantastic. The entree I had was a special that evening with clams on pasta and a light creamy sauce that held hints of lemon. It was ridiculously delicious.
Azure, The Shores award-winning restaurant, set the bar extremely high for the rest of my trip to Daytona Beach. Before you leave don’t forget to have an Azure-tini. For more information or to book a trip visit The Shores web site.
Another unique feature of The Shores is the Smores Kit you can ask for when you check in. Around the resort there are a few open fire pits for socializing after dinner. On a chilly night, a seat around the fire is heaven. Smores Kits are included for any Florida resident when they check in. For others visiting, just ask at the desk and the Smores Kit ( well a voucher for the kit actually) will be given to you for use during your stay. A small fee applies. This was a really lovely touch and such a hallmark feature of the nicest resort in Daytona.
I was a guest of Daytona Beach on the Fantastic Fall Discoveries Media Fam. I highly recommend the Shores and am grateful I was able to stay there. My opinion is all my own. Stay tuned this coming week for more about Daytona Beach.