Destination Daytona: 75th Annual Bike Week
What started on January 24, 1937 as the inaugural running of the Daytona 200 is now in its 75th year and is known worldwide as Daytona Bike Week. Bike Week is now a 10-day festival with a variety of events spread throughout Volusia County. This year more than half a million motorcyclists and 2-wheel enthusiasts were expected to attend and I was one of them! After 10 years of telling my better half I wanted to be his shadow while he worked Daytona Supercross I would finally have my chance to do that and party at Bike Week!
Business owners and hotel owners up and down A1A on "Hotel Row" all agree that this event was a huge financial success. Typically the event brings in 75 million dollars and this year it was expected to bring in more. Yes, you read that correctly. It's no wonder, Daytona Beach is absolutely beautiful! Plus, it's 51 miles from Orlando (WDW & Universal territory). This being the 75th anniversary year of the event made it that much more special.
This bucket list adventure began at 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night in San Francisco and ended at 2:00 a.m. the following Tuesday in San Francisco. It was a short but exciting trip for me, another day at the office for him.
On my final day in Daytona I woke up early, packed my camera bag with freshly charged batteries, ID, cash and a bathing suit and hopped in an Uber from Daytona International Speedway to Main Street. That's where my Bike Week adventure begins. (I'll be sharing my Daytona International Speedway adventure later this month.)
Bikers were up early and happily cruising Main Street under the morning sunlight. By 10:00 a.m. the local watering holes were beginning to fill up with onlookers who enjoyed cocktails while watching the parade of motorcycles pass by.
I took in all the scenery, walked into ALL the shops and gawked at the cool outfits, jewelry and souvenirs. I made my way down one side of Main Street and walked to the Daytona Beach Pier then climbed up onto the top floor of Joe's Crab Shack to snap photos. Afterwards I headed to the beach where I played in the Atlantic and relaxed for a while. The weather was fabulous...warm in the high 70s but not humid or terribly hot. I walked along the boardwalk shopping and snapping photos, then asked a local for a lunch recommendation. Five minutes later I was back on Main Street eating fish tacos in a sweet little tiki bar (review to follow this week).
As I made my way back up the other side of Main Street I noticed the crowds had grown thick. There were vendors, food and drinks everywhere. It was so much fun! Although the sidewalks were crowded and people were drinking, everyone was super nice and polite. It's the best place to people-watch, hands down. I shopped, I watched, I talked, I sipped, I smiled and I danced to the music that filled the streets. Eventually I made my way back to the bridge and hopped in an Uber back to DIS.
In keeping with my goal of traveling within my means and without inuring debt, I began saving for this trip in late December and was able to find a round-trip flight from San Francisco International Airport to Daytona International Airport for about $320.00. I did not have to pay for my hotel room as I shared with my better half who was there working while I went to the beach. Food costs were minimal, I ate mostly at the hotel deli and once on Main Street. I did all of souvenir shopping at a small shop near the beach where everything was fairly priced.
Stay tuned for the second part of my Daytona trip report which will be all about Daytona International Speedway!