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Daytona Beach: Most Affordable Oceanfront Stretch in Florida (via Points or Cash)

After my “fancy pants” post on Tuesday (the overwater bungalow in Tahiti! Park Hyatt in Sydney!), let’s get back to reality, shall we? And the reality is, many families in America can’t afford any sort of travel beyond visiting relatives in a neighboring state. So, if you are that family, I hope you don’t get discouraged by the barrage of posts on exotic trips you are unlikely to be able to afford for years to come, if ever.

Instead, let me highlight a strategy on staying near the most affordable beach in Florida, if not US. I’m talking, of course, about Daytona beach. But wait, what about wet t-shirt contests and drunken college students? As long as you avoid the months of March and April, you don’t have to worry about any of it. In addition, even if you decide to go during spring break season, there are areas that have a reputation for being less rowdy during that time period. A safe bet (relatively speaking)  is Daytona Beach Shores, the southern portion of this famous stretch of Florida coastline.

Daytona beach is where my husband and I spent our first wedding anniversary. Why? It was all we could afford! I wanted to stay near the water, and I found a hotel listing in one of my travel magazines, called Dream Inn. It cost us $55 per night during hurricane season and promised a room with an ocean view. The room turned out to be right by the pool, with a glimpse of the ocean, but oh well. I felt it was a good enough deal that I ended up bringing my mom and her friend when they visited us here in US.

My husband and I were broke, so we just stayed one night in Daytona beach, went to St. Augustine the next day, and drove 3.5 hours back to our apartment in central Florida. Those were the days. We also all shared one room. Keep in mind, my husband had just met my mom and her friend few days prior. He did NOT like it and asked me to please get our own room from then on.

I remember my mom hinting how she sure would like to spend another night in Daytona beach, but we just couldn’t swing it. I still feel bad about it, but hopefully I made up for it after taking her to many beachfront hotels in Florida. So, here is why you should consider taking your family here as well.

1) Location, location, location

I’ve already mentioned being able to visit St. Augustine which is only one hour away. I honestly believe every family in US should go here at least once (see my short trip report). Can’t afford to go to Puerto Rico? This is the next best thing. You can tour a real fortress and wonder the old streets dating all the way to 16th century.

Daytona beach is also only one hour from Orlando, so you can tack on few nights on Atlantic coast after your visit to Disney. Since MCO airport is close, you don’t need to worry about missing your flight as long as it doesn’t leave  early in the morning.

2) Affordable price (points wise) on oceanfront properties

If you decide to visit during spring, using points may be your best bet. Here are a few decent options:

Holiday Inn Express and Suites Oceanfront Beach Shores

The cost is 25,000 IHG points per night. In exchange, you get an oceanfront room with two queen beds and a free breakfast. Most IHG properties will add rollaway for around $10 per night, so be sure to call and ask. If you happen to have a Chase IHG co-branded credit card, the cost will come down to 22,500 points per night due to 10% rebate.

The card to get: Chase IHG MasterCard.

Hyatt Place Daytona Beach Oceanfront

It costs 12,000 points per night and comes with free breakfast. The rooms fit up to 6, but it would probably feel cramped. Sure, 12,000 points isn’t exactly cheap, but it could make sense to redeem them at this place during holidays and high season. The rooms go for at least $200 per night in March. Nancy  wrote a review of this property  on her own blog, with lots of photos.

The cards to get: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred and The Hyatt Credit card (with new offer of 40K points). 

Oceanfront Hilton properties in Daytona Beach

There are several options and the price varies according to season. In general, you’ll get about 0.5 cents per Hiton point. Here are the rates for November of this year:

Spending Thanksgiving holidays in Daytona beach, anyone?  Hampton Inn Daytona Shores-Oceanfront property seems like the best deal, and you’ll get free hot breakfast. If you happen to have a co-branded Hilton credit card, you’ll get fifth night free. So, 88,000 points will take care of 5-night getaway for your whole family.

The cards to get: Right now I would only consider Hilton Honors Surpass Credit Card from American Express. You can apply before 7/27/2017 via my personal referral link   Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. The annual fee of $75 is not waived. See more details on this and other hotel cards here

Other hotel programs are represented as well, but these IMO are the best options.

3) Affordable vacation rentals, even during high season

Daytona beach is overbuilt with condos and timeshares, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a semi-affordable place. While most 2 bedroom/2 bath beachfront rentals in Florida will set you back $300 per night or more during March, in Daytona, you can usually find something decent for less than $175 all-in.

There are many options, and I recommend sites like SkyauctionVRBO.com or AirBnB (my referral link, you’ll get $40 off your first $75+ booking). Last week I saw a really good post on DoC site: Complete guide to renting timeshare properties on the cheap  which you should check out if you intend to go that route. Remember, you don’t have to attend a timeshare presentation.

In general, if you avoid spring months, you should be able to score a bargain no matter which site you use. Here is just one example from  Leisureloyalty (Skyauction affiliate):

Yes, it’s a studio and yes, the kids are in school during that time period. But still, $299 for a week at a beachfront hotel with a pool and a hot tub? Come on. There is definitely an opportunity here for those who have some flexibility in their schedule. Homeschooling families, I’m looking at you! Note that you usually don’t have to stay the entire week if you don’t want to (though YMMV, of course).

Cards to get: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, Capital One Venture Rewards and Wells Fargo Propel World are all good options. You can read more about them in my Hot Deals page. Reportedly, AirBnB and Skyauction are coded as travel, while VRBO is not. However, you can always call your card issuer and ask them to apply points manually. At least one of my readers was successful in doing so. Of course, YMMV.

Note that many of the mentioned offers  currently happen to pay us commission. Thanks for your support! 

Bottom line

While I don’t think Daytona beach is the prettiest location in Florida, it’s a good place for families on a budget. If you love waves and  laid back atmosphere, this is the beach for you. Check this TripAdvisor page for top tourist attractions in the area.

If you can come during off season (which you probably should anyway), you can score some crazy bargains on lodging. And historic city of St. Augustine is just a stone throw away. How can you beat that?

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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10 thoughts on “Daytona Beach: Most Affordable Oceanfront Stretch in Florida (via Points or Cash)

  1. It’s been two years since we visited Daytona Beach for 3 nights, and my kids have been begging to go back the entire time, despite visiting several other beach locations since then. We loved the sand and surf at Daytona Beach, and there was so much to do nearby! We are 90% sure we are going to return next summer. I will either use Hilton points or apply for the Hyatt credit card when it switches to a points bonus. While we are there, I want to visit St. Augustine and Silver Springs State Park (I have many fond memories of Silver Springs from when I was a child visiting Disney World–we always made a side trip to Silver Springs).

    • Nancy, I really hope we can stay in Daytona with kids one of these days. It’s a bit of a drive from our house, so we usually end up staying in a closer beach destination.
      But yeah, I think they would love it. The new offer on Hyatt credit card will cover almost 4 nights at that place. Not a bad deal at all, especially factoring in free breakfast. I will be eligible for the bonus in October, so I might go ahead and apply with the idea of using the points at this place.

  2. Thank you for posting affordable vacation info for the average person! And don’t feel bad about your dream trip post, I like how you plan to include all the costs. The other sites list free flight and hotel and act like the vacation is free. That is so not true as there are lots of other costs like parking, airport transfers or car rentals, excursions, flight taxes, meals, and tips!
    I would have never considered Daytona because of the party reputation. Thanks for the tip to just avoid March and April, and for the reminder of the 5th night free Hilton perk!

    • @Clyn6 Thanks! I’m glad you found it beneficial. Definitely don’t go out of your way to avoid Daytona beach aside from spring months. It is a very affordable destination and there is lots to do in the area.
      The location is what makes it worth it. You get the beach and St. Augustine is nearby. Plus, you can fly in and out of Orlando, which is a major hub. And it’s cheap!
      As far as “free” travel goes, that is a fallacy that I try to avoid at all costs on this blog. It seriously drives me bananas when I see it, and it’s one of the reasons I started blogging. Yes, it’s possible to travel on the cheap, but free? I think not.

  3. My husband applied for HHonor, went pending, and got decline 10 days ago saying the card is no longer offered.

    • @Agnes That’s odd! Are you by any chance referring to Citi Hilton cards? Those have been discontinued, and Amex is now the sole issuer. There are two versions, and Surpass currently offers 100K points bonus through personal referral links. That’s the offer I’ve mentioned in the post and it’s valid through July 27th.

      • Oops you are right Leana. It was citi. A question, is Orbittz the best channel to buy refundable disney world 3 days tickets?

    • @Agnes No worries! It’s hard to keep these things straight. On buying Disney tickets through Orbitz, I’m not really sure. I’ve never used a travel site to do this, but I imagine it’s perfectly fine. One advantage to doing so is the fact that the purchase will code as travel, so you can potentially use the bonus from cards like Arrival Plus etc. I know http://www.UndercoverTourist.com is usually recommended as well. Maybe someone else who has experience can chime in.

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