Beach Driving

WARNING – Watch for soft sand (especially red sand)

In Volusia County beach driving has been and still is a source of controversy. Citing environmental reasons some resident want cars off the beach while others want to maintain beach driving. Over the years there has been several legal challenges to beach driving.

With only 1000 public off beach parking available for 47 miles of beach, banning beach driving would turn our beach in a de facto private beach for beachfront property owners. Reality is that once the 1000 beach parking are filled to capacity going to the beach would be a luxury only afforded to those within walking distance to the beach.

In addition, driving on the beaches of the Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach areas is a Volusia County tradition dating back to the early days of the automobile.

Volusia County has tried to balance the need for and history of beach driving versus concern for the coastal environment by dividing their beaches in three zone – Natural, Transitional and Urban.

  • Natural beach zones exist from the North Peninsula State Recreation Area to Granada Boulevard in Ormond by the Sea; from Emilia Avenue in Daytona Beach Shores to Beach Street in Ponce Inlet and from 27th Avenue in New Smyrna Beach to Canaveral National Seashore in Bethune Beach. Natural zones generally correspond to the areas where off-beach development is less intense. The dune habitats within this area largely are intact. These areas also have the highest concentration of turtle nests on Volusia beaches. Public driving and parking is not allowed in the Natural beach areas.

  • Transitional zones are those areas which have a mixture of natural dunes and some beach seawalls. The concentration of people in these areas generally is less intense most of the year. Sea turtle nesting in these areas is moderate. Public driving and parking is allowed in the Transitional zone 30 feet seaward of the dunes or seawall.

  • Urban zones are those areas where off-beach development includes hotels, high-rise condominiums and seawalls. The concentration of people is the most intense most of the year. Sea turtle nesting in these areas is minimal. Public driving and parking is allowed in the Urban beach areas 15 feet seaward of the dunes or seawall.

Approximately 1,000 public off-beach parking spaces exist at several locations adjacent to the beaches. Beachside parking facilities include Bicentennial Park on the North Peninsula; Ora Street and Revilo Avenue parks in Daytona Beach; Richards Lane and Simpson Street parks in Daytona Beach Shores; Inlet Harbor Road and Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet; Smyrna Dunes, Flagler Avenue and 27th Avenue parks in New Smyrna Beach and Bethune Beach Park in the unincorporated area south of New Smyrna Beach. Parking also is available in New Smyrna Beach on the west side of State Road AIA (Atlantic Avenue) at Matthews Avenue.