Moving To Daytona Beach Florida? (The Truth About Living Here)

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Located on Florida’s east coast, Daytona Beach is a vibrant city. It’s not only a great place to visit, but also an amazing place to live in. Along with beaches designed for relaxing and play, it boasts job opportunities you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re thinking about moving to Daytona Beach, here’s the truth about living there.

Daytona gained national attention in the 1900s, thanks to its hard-packed and smooth sandy beaches. The area was ideal for racing, and automobile speed tests and stills bring car enthusiasts in from all over the world.

Along with a passion for fast cars, residents also enjoy quieter pastimes. Fishing is popular, and it’s not uncommon to see them casting lines off of the boardwalk pier or from the back of a passing boat.

Due to the area’s geographical location, the risk of a hurricane making landfall is slimmer than in other cities along Florida’s eastern coast. Winters are mild, with January typically the coldest, at average temperatures between 68°F and 49°F. By April, temperatures are in the 80s and will steadily rise until October. The warm climate is a big draw for people moving to the beach.

Visitors often get the impression that Daytona is a small town. While it’s not on the list of the state’s most populous cities, it does have over 67,000 year-round residents, according to the 2019 census.

People are friendly and come from all walks of life. You’ll find bikers, car enthusiasts, retirees, career professionals, and everyone in-between. Whatever your interests, you’ll find another resident that shares your passion.

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What Are the Neighborhoods in Daytona Beach?

 

Daytona Beach is like most Florida cities on the East Coast. It has both a mainland and barrier island. The island is where you will find the beaches, boardwalk, and plenty of bars and hotels. The mainland boasts several builder-planned neighborhoods where you’ll find The Daytona International Speedway, along with condos and homes that sit on the Halifax River.

Main Street Entrance in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Several neighborhoods also surround Daytona Beach for those that don’t want to live next to the speed track or the often tourist-packed boardwalk.

South Daytona

Only 3-miles away from Daytona is the community of South Daytona. Homes are more affordable in the bedroom community. The cost of living is somewhere around 10% lower than in other U.S. cities. The unemployment rate is around the national average of 3.7% in 2019, with a population of 12,597. The neighborhood is also part of the South Daytona Independent School System.

Daytona Beach Shores

You can stay close to the action and live in a quiet community in Daytona Beach Shores. A little over three miles from the main beach, the neighborhood boasts a top-rated school system with a 93% graduation rate that’s 12% higher than the national average as of 2019.

Along with the beach, residents also enjoy the neighborhood’s green spaces. The cost of living is higher in The Shores, and this also includes median home prices.

Indigo Lakes

Located on the mainland between LPGA Blvd and International Speedway Blvd is the community of Indigo Lakes. Homes are affordable, at slightly lower than the state’s average sale price. It is part of the Mainland School system, and residents are within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and the medical complex.

Indigo Lakes is one of the city’s older golf communities, with home prices increasing the closer you get to the course and clubhouse.

Ortona Homes

The small, planned neighborhood is one of the few areas that are situated beachside in Daytona proper. Bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and the other by the Halifax River, it’s a fisherman’s dream community. Homes are a little older but are priced lower than other neighborhoods. Though this sounds good, you can still expect to pay up to seven figures for an oceanfront view.

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How Is the Job Market in Daytona Beach?

 

Visitors may think the only job opportunities are in the bar and restaurant industries, but there is so much more.

There is a small section near the boardwalk, where bars and small restaurants line the streets. Most have themes that appeal to bikers and NASCAR fans. During the weeks of the Daytona 300 and 500, the city is packed with professional drivers, their crews, and legions of fans.

The city’s bars and restaurants are slammed with visitors again during Bike Week that hits twice a year in the summer and again in November. During these four weeks, residents in the hospitality industry do bring in good wages, but they are not the only jobs available on the island or mainland.

NASCAR has its headquarters in Daytona Beach and is part of the area’s job market. Imagine being part of the excitement on race day and getting paid for it? Healthcare and real-estate are other booming industries, along with manufacturing opportunities that include everything from the aerospace industry to bowling balls.

Industries

Quite a few industries are thriving in Daytona Beach, including automotive and fishing. Retail is the largest employer, which isn’t surprising considering the large number of annual tourists. Along with gift shops and high-end boutiques, there’s also an expansive outlet mall located right outside the city limits, on the mainland.

Healthcare

Healthcare is the second-largest employer, with the medical complex located on the mainland. There are also satellite hospitals in the city’s surrounding neighborhoods, along with dental and medical offices. All types and fields for healthcare workers are always in demand, especially during the warmer months when out-of-state visitors flock to the beaches.

The older population in Daytona Shores and other areas is also driving up the need for qualified healthcare workers.

Hospitality

Along with the numerous restaurants and bars on the island-side and mainland are the hotels. Most of the wide and long beach fronts are lined with hotels, including Daytona Shores, situated just three miles away.

Other hospitality jobs include the city’s museums, art galleries, and the International Daytona Speedway that hires experienced individuals to greet guests, give tours, and lectures to paying visitors both during and after the racing season.

Education

Due to the numerous school systems in the area and a growing population, education is the fourth-largest employer in the city. Along with the mainland schools, some also serve the bedroom communities.

South Daytona and Daytona Shores each have separate schools covering all the grades from Pre-K to 12th grade. Along with janitors and cafeteria employers, teachers and administrators are all needed in Daytona’s Independent Schools.

Construction and Real Estate

New neighborhoods are in the works, and builders are hiring. The city is also repairing aging infrastructure, boosting the job market for professionals and non-specialists. Not only are new homes going up, but roads like A1A and the intercoastal highway are under repair. Many of Daytona’s older hotels are also under renovation, requiring more workers.

The newly constructed homes and a steady influx of people moving in have ensured a need for qualified real estate agents. There are several schools in the area that train and license new agents.

Manufacturing

Given the city’s smaller size, there are many manufacturing companies in Daytona Beach. Nesco and Randstad are two, along with Mnc, PGT, and Big Boy Industries. Penny Lane, a British manufacturing and export company, has a factory on the mainland, along with Frito Lay and Cardinal Detecto Scale Mfg Co. US Blinds has a 37+ year relationship with the city of Daytona Beach.

There are over 360 manufacturing companies of all sizes in the area, making it a large employer for residents.

Other Industries

Other industries that provide jobs and careers for Daytona Beach residents include entertainment, government, finance, and transportation. There is a small presence in the information and wholesalers’ fields, but it comprises less than 3% of the city’s workforce.

Top Companies to Work For

Pay rates vary, along with working hours, benefits, and company structure. Everyone wants to work for companies that have higher approval ratings from past and present employees. Daytona Beach has several across various industries.

NASCAR

You won’t be a professional driver working for NASCAR, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be in the midst of the action. Founded in 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing employs 1,750 people year-round. The pay scale is slightly lower than some other companies in the area, including Creative and Onewatermarine, a retail company with a global brand.

Even though you may make more working elsewhere, a job at NASCAR comes with perks. You’ll be there for race days and may even have a chance to meet and interact with the drivers.

Florida Health Care Plans

The medium-sized company is a one-stop-shop for Florida residents looking for affordable health insurance. Wages are lower than some of the company’s largest competitors but are still well above the area’s living cost.

The private insurance firm has a workforce of around 978 people, with employee longevity at 3.4 years. What sets the company apart is its diverse workforce. Over 60% of employees are female, and 42% identify as an ethnic minority.

Brown & Brown

One of Daytona Beach’s larger insurance companies, Brown & Brown, has around 9,590 employers and is headquartered on the mainland. Compared to competitors in other states like Southern California Mortgage and Bank of Bermuda New York, its pay scale is lower. It is still significantly higher than the cost of living in the oceanside city, making a great work opportunity for residents in the area.

The workforce is diverse, though not as much as other Daytona Beach insurance companies. Brown & Brown also concentrates on business, corporate, and government insurance instead of policies for individuals.

Embrey-Riddle Aeronautical University

There are plenty of jobs at the private university, including teaching and other fields. Pay depends on the position and time employed at the school. Research positions in space and atmospheric research are some of the jobs offered at the Daytona Beach campus. The university’s sports complex also hires coaches and coordinators for event operations and management.

Accountants and flight instructors are other available positions, along with A&P maintenance technicians. You can also find a job as an automotive technician and mechanic. Males comprise over 60% of the university’s current workforce, but it is diverse at 42%. Currently, the Daytona Beach campus employs 5,550 people.

International Speedway Corporation

The speedway, famous for the Daytona 300 and 500 NASCAR races, employs about 1,000 individuals. Pay is comparable to other racetracks and enough to live in the city. There’s a large range of positions at the track, from IT support and finance to maintenance and hospitality, including guest relations.

Automotive engineers and mechanics aren’t high on the hiring list. It is something handled by NASCAR and the individual drivers. Most employees stay for at least 3-4 years though others turn the job into a well-paying career.

DME Delivers

DME is a marketing services company for the hospitality industry in Daytona Beach. The company is known for its friendly staff that quickly provides marketing and IT solutions. Founded in 1982, the company has a workforce of 700 employees; many hired upon graduation from Daytona State College.

You do need a background in marketing and/or IT support. The pay is lower than larger out-of-state competitors, but DME employees tend to stay with the company and turn it into a well-paying career.

Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors

The association has been around since 1922, when development was starting in Daytona Beach. It is a large company with over 1,300 employees in various fields related to the real estate market. Like other area companies, the real estate association actively recruits recent graduates from Daytona State College.

The company hires a full support staff that includes financial and legal experts along with real estate agents. While anyone can become a solo real estate agent, working with the area’s oldest firms has its benefits. Some include access to early listings and preferred treatment from banks regarding escrow.

TopBuild

TopBuild is a Fortune 500 company in Daytona Beach founded in 2015. It has quickly become the top distributor and installer of insulation and other building materials in the U.S. construction industry. The public company has a workforce of 7,900, with many of the employees’ graduates of the University of Texas at Arlington.

The pay scale is higher than several other Daytona Beach industries, and its employees tend to stay with the company, even though it is relatively new. Along with manufacturing and delivery jobs, the company also has positions in IT fields and upper-level management.

Other Top Daytona Companies

Several automobile dealerships also have headquarters in Daytona, along with Metra Electronics, an automotive electronics company. The historically black Bethune-Cookman University is also in Daytona and a leading employer of academics, technicians, and other fields.

Flower shops offer employment opportunities, though on a much smaller scale. The City of Daytona Beach municipal department also hires IT personnel, as well as administrators, clerks, law enforcement officials, and others that keep the city running smoothly.

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How Is The Daytona Beach Real Estate Market?

 

Property values are rising in Daytona Beach, up 6.2% between 2019 and 2020. The average home value is $169,661, but this does not consider higher-priced properties. The statistics only include middle-priced homes. You can find some lower-priced, while beach and riverfront properties are at the higher end of the scale.

Where the property is located often determines how long it sits on the market. Desirable locations that often include easy beach access can sell in as little as 29 days for the asking price. It’s also not uncommon to get multiple offers, resulting in a bidding war between interested buyers. It is a sellers’ market when it comes to some homes in Daytona.

Homes that are considered less desirable due to their location stay on the market for an average of 58 days before a pending sale. These homes can also get several offers but tend to sell about 3% below the asking price. It is still a sellers’ market, but buyers have a better chance of purchasing a home below market value.

Higher priced homes are often found in Daytona Beach Shores at around $820K and up, while the mainland boasts affordable housing starting around $160,000 to $186,000. You’ll find homes starting in the $300,000 range and higher along the beach near Daytona’s famous boardwalk.

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How Much Does It Cost To Live In Daytona Beach?

 

You can find affordable homes in Daytona Beach city limits, though you might have to look on the mainland. However, being able to afford a home isn’t the only living expense you need to worry about. The cost of living in Daytona is a little lower than other cities along the state’s east coast, like Orlando, but you need to factor these expenses into your monthly and annual budget.

Food and Groceries

Mainland Daytona is less expensive than the island when it comes to food and groceries. There are only a few shopping options on the island. Since the island portion of the city caters more to tourists than residents, you should expect to pay higher prices for canned and fresh food. You’ll also find limited variety due to smaller storage space.

It is a different story on the mainland. Here you’ll find chain grocery stores, along with seasonal farmers’ markets. Compared to the national average, groceries’ cost is 3% lower, but it does depend on where you shop. Meals at restaurants are also more expensive on the island than on the mainland.

Utilities

It doesn’t matter where you live in Daytona Beach; utility rates are the same depending on the service provider. Some electric companies offer lower rates than others, so it’s best to shop around for the best rates. Florida Power & Light is the main energy provider, followed by Duke Energy and New Smyrna Beach Utilities.

The City of Daytona Beach Utilities Department handles water and sewage, inspecting and maintaining the canals, ditches, and storm drainpipes. The department is also responsible for keeping the inlets clear of trash and debris. Utility costs are 3% lower than the national average, though on par for the rest of the state.

Transportation

Daytona Beach does have a public bus system that is mainly limited to the mainland. There’s no public transportation on the island, other than a few bus stops along A1A. You can also get across the main bridge via bus. Fares are inexpensive and frequent riders can save money when they purchase a day or month pass.

Bicycles and foot traffic are frequent modes of transportation, especially on the island. Compared to the rest of the state and nation, using public transportation in Daytona Beach is 12% less expensive than in other cities nationwide. You will see more cars and motorcycles in the city, which is one of the reasons why there isn’t a large transportation network.

Healthcare and Medical

You’ll find most healthcare and medical facilities on the mainland, though the island does have a few. When it comes to emergency care, you will go to the mainland. It also includes most surgeries, even elective ones.

There are physician and dental offices island side, along with a few satellite emergency-room-style clinics. Most are designed to treat minor injuries that include sunburns, cuts, and broken bones. Along with the thriving medical insurance industry that helps keep out-of-pocket costs down, most residents can expect to pay around 2% less than the national average.

Taxes

Florida does not have a state income tax, which is good news for many residents. The sales tax for Daytona Beach city is the same across the state at 6.5% in 2021. It is lower than many other states that are up to 7% or 8%.

Property taxes are around 0.92% of the home’s value each year. The size and location of the home typically determine the tax rate.

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Is Daytona Beach A Good Place To Retire?

 

In 2017, U.S. News & World listed Daytona Beach as number 7 on their list of best places to retire in the United States. It looked at activities, shopping, restaurants, places to live, and expenses, along with medical care.

There are plenty of outdoor activities for retirees to enjoy. There are public and private golf courses, along with fishing. Dolphin watching along the Halifax River is another popular pastime, especially in the morning when the ocean animals are often the most active and visible.

Museums and art galleries aren’t hard to find. There are also antique malls and quaint shops. Theater groups and fine-dining restaurants ensure that seniors have plenty to keep them entertained indoors.

The Tanger Outlets Mall will keep anyone happily shopping for hours as they hunt for bargains. You’ll also find several restaurants inside, along with the International Speedway and its new complex across the street.

Along with several neighborhoods that include condos and apartments for sale and rent, Daytona Beach also has a number of 55+ communities. Entertainer Jimmy Buffet has a planned 6,900 home retirement community in development north of LPGA Blvd. Aptly named Margaritaville, it is higher priced but comes with plenty of amenities.

Other retirement communities include Westminster Canterbury on the Halifax River and Colonial Colony South in South Daytona on the mainland. Further inland is the assisted living community of Terrace of Daytona Beach. For those that want to get farther away from the tourist action, Bear Creek Community is 20 miles away, close to Ormond Beach.

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What Are The People And Culture Like?

 

Daytona Beach is a friendly city that welcomes everyone. It has a rich history that includes the native American Timucua tribe, along with its African American and racing heritage. There are several historic sites in Daytona that include the Deland Memorial Hospital Museum. The Fairchild Oaktree, along with the Coquina Clock Tower and Rose Room Gallery at the Peabody Auditorium.

You’ll find people from all walks of life, and it’s best not to try and guess their occupation. The biker sitting at a beachfront bar could be one of the city’s attorneys. It is a live-and-let-live attitude in the city, which is one of the several reasons people are finding Daytona Beach an appealing place to live.

What Are The Popular Things To Do In Daytona Beach?

 

The long sandy beaches are one of Daytona Beach’s top attractions, along with the International Speedway, even when it’s not race day. This isn’t all that the city has to offer.  There’s also the Museum of Arts & Sciences and the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens. You can tour the botanical gardens and see the ruins of a sugar plantation.

Tomoka State Park offers camping and boating on the Halifax River. It also gives you an idea of what the area looked like before development. The Main Street Pier is ideal for fishing or watching the boats go by. The pier has a carnival-like atmosphere complete with games, arcades, and street food.

A few miles outside of Daytona Beach, you’ll find the historic Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. At 175 feet, it is one of the tallest lighthouses in the world. Visitors can climb the 203-step winding staircase to the top and pick up a t-shirt when they make it back down.

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Pros And Cons Of Living In Daytona Beach

 

Daytona Beach living has its ups and downs like any other city. There are several reasons why you would want to move here and a few reasons why you may want to carefully consider your decision to relocate to this sunny Florida city.

Pros

  • Friendly people on the mainland and island
  • Lower living expenses than most U.S. cities
  • 23-miles of sandy beaches plus access to the Halifax River
  • Close to major cities, Daytona Beach is 51 miles away from Orlando and 86 miles to Jacksonville
  • Unique job opportunities in several industries, including automotive and aerospace
  • Several universities have campuses in Daytona, including historic Bethune-Cookman college
  • Plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, including museums, galleries, fishing, nature trails, theater, restaurants, NASCAR, and Bike Week

Cons

  • Daytona has a higher than average crime rate compared to other U.S. cities of comparable size. According to 2019 statistics, the current rate is53 per 1,000 residents. Residents and tourists have a 1 in 19 chance of being a victim of property or violent crime.
  • Public transportation is not great, especially on the island. In both city areas, transportation is limited to bus routes.
  • The island lacks medical facilities; serious health problems require a ride across the bridge to a hospital on the mainland.
  • Even though the average wage covers the cost of living, it is still lower than most competitors in other cities.
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Fun Facts About Daytona Beach Florida

 

Daytona Beach is a unique city divided by the Halifax River. Bridges connect the two halves, but this isn’t the only interesting fact about Daytona.

It is one of the few places where it’s legal to drive a car on the beach. The hard-packed sand will support most vehicles’ weight. It is one of the reasons the area first drew racing enthusiasts in, including NASCAR in the 1940s.

It’s pristine beaches also earned the city the nickname of the “World’s Most Famous Beach” in 1920, a title it still proudly advertises today.

It’s impossible to think of Daytona Beach without racing involved, and the Daytona 500 is the world’s largest and most famous stock car race. The Speedway opens its gates during race week so fans can watch practice laps and time trials for free.

Tickets to the race aren’t pricey, allowing fans to participate in the event without blowing their budget. It’s one of the few NASCAR tracks that encourages fans to come by without paying an admissions fee.

Adding to the beach and the city’s fame is the music channel MTV. Not many people realize the station’s first reality show was filmed during Daytona Beach’s annual Spring Break Week in 1986.

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Further Reading: Looking For More Moving To Florida Resources? Check These Articles Out!

 

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