Mazda MX-5: Kiwi Day Trip from Orlando to Daytona Beach and Daytona International Speedway

What do you do when a marshal friend visiting from New Zealand wants to get out of the Disney bubble and go exploring Orlando? Forget Orlando, you take her to Daytona Beach, Florida instead!

I was trying hard to decide what to show my kiwi friend around Orlando. Did a little research and the only things that came up were theme parks: Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens. Pfffff! Luckily, Daytona Beach is only an hour’s drive towards the Atlantic coast. And that’s exactly what we did.

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It’s not like there’s a whole lot to do in Daytona either, but the first stop on our trip was to check out the Daytona International Speedway. Not sure how much my friend was into NASCAR before coming to America but an iconic race track is a race track, and therefore definitely worth a visit. No matter how much I tried I wasn’t really able to sneak her into the lesser touristy bits of the track I was able to experience while volunteering. The money making machine at the Speedway is configured in a very efficient way to separate you from your money. But what we got to see was plenty. I even took the opportunity to take some beauty shots of the Miazda with the track… because: why not?

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The plan was to hit the beach after the track visit and I reached out to some American marshals that call Daytona Beach home to see if they’d join us for lunch, luckily they did and picked an awesome place to do it in Ponce Inlet.

Of all the times I’ve been coming to Daytona I never experienced this dining gem: Racing’s North Turn. I knew the history of NASCAR at Daytona and how initially they raced on the Beach, but I never knew there was a place like this restaurant still standing. What an awesome experience that was for me. And the food was good to boot! The clam chowder I had was excellent.

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The ambiance was great inside and out. Plenty of racing memorabilia on the walls and as part of the dining experience (like the fuel jug drink cups). And best part you can see the beach from the tables.

Afterwards we took a leisurely drive towards the light house and I jumped out to take some more pics of the car with the beach in the background. It was possible to drive the car on the beach but I figured that’s an experience I’ll save for next time.

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Back at the restaurant I noticed even the crosswalk was checkered flag theme:

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On our way out of town back to Orlando we picked up some Steak ‘n Shake milkshakes and made another pass by Daytona International Speedway where the sun was just in the right place for some more beauty shots:

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I noticed my cup was starting to leak and while I wiped two or three drops of the cup holder I dropped the damn cup… attempted to catch it mid-air with a swift karate chop which instead broke it and sent goops of milkshake flying all over my door, including the mesh around the door speaker… that wasn’t fun at all. I tried to wipe it but the damn thing went into the holes instead. As funny as it was I couldn’t wait to clean the milk out before it started to reek… the story will continue in the next thread from our visit to the Orlando Roadsters Get together at Miata’s and More shop in Longwood, FL

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I had a blast visiting Daytona Beach in the Miata, driving around with the top down and sharing the experience with my kiwi friend. Would love to do that again in the future!

 

PS. the best question of the day coming from a marshal friend who taught me how to use flags in New Zealand back in 2012 was: “Hey, what’s the Blue flag with the Yellow stripe?” lol