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A seaside picnic area in Ormond Beach. The city is home to a hard-packed sand beach with a rolling surf and plenty of seabirds. Driving on the beach is still permitted. 

Living on an island community such as Key Biscayne offers a lot of lifestyle perks, like the popularity of our beaches and natural beauty. But if you are longing for a quieter surrounding, a short 4 house drive north takes you to a small and serene beach town with an old Florida feel and tasteful attractions, and where you can still drive on the beach.

Start with The Casements, best known for being the winter residence of American oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. After his death in 1937, the building functioned as a women’s college before it was left in relative ruin for most of the 70s. It was then purchased by the city, restored, and refurbished as a museum, decorated with the Victorian-esque furniture Rockefeller was so partial.

If antique mansions are not your thing, Ormond Beach offers a variety of other activities for visitors. Residents are fond of the Ormond Loop, a 30-mile scenic drive that attracts auto tourists, bikers, motorcyclists, and those looking to go for a nice, lighthearted walk in the early morning. The road runs through Tomoka State Park, which offers canoeing over the Tomoka River.

Granada Boulevard, just west of the Halifax River bridge, offers an array of interesting shopping and dining choices. The website Travel Weekly mentions the short rib sandwich homebrewed beer at the Ormond Garage, a brew pub that re-creates a famous garage of the early pioneers of auto racing.

Then there is the beach which offers that “Florida charm of old,” leaving visitors flocking to the nearby hotels that offer calming ocean views of it. Driving on the beach is allowed, although at times it is limited to four-wheel-drive vehicles. There is a $20 fee to drive on the sand.

It’s been said that Ormond Beach invokes imagery of early Naples and Delray before both were developed, but the brilliant sand and the air of contentedness that the sapphire ocean inspires makes it well worth the drive.

For more information on Ormond Beach, click here.

For the Travel Weekly article, click here.

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