Scenic USA - Florida
Ormond Scenic Byway
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
Traveling north from Daytona, Florida sightseers, beachgoers and byway travelers may pick up the Ormond Beach Scenic Byway anywhere along the 34 mile loop. Beginning at Ormond Beach, the byway follows Ocean Shore Boulevard and
Volusia County's Route A1A. Here, Ocean Shore highway offers miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean views and beach access at two coastal parks. Shorebirds and dolphins are a common sight, and lucky byway travelers may spot northern right and humpback whales during migration seasons. Loggerhead, green and leatherback turtles may also be seen during nesting season when they come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. It's lights out on the beach from May 1st through October as the first step in reducing light pollution that negatively affects sea turtles and their hatchlings.
There's an opportunity to travel inland a short distance to pick up John Anderson Drive on High Bridge Road. This section of the byway follows the Halifax River and passes a string of beautiful riverfront houses and plenty of river views. It's not uncommon to see sailboats and powerboat cruising up and down the river. Anglers, bird watchers and cyclists love this leisurely drive, and so will byway travelers.
Arriving back in Ormond Beach, you may want to stop for lunch or track down the historic Orman Fire House. Built in 1937, the fire station was a Depression Era Works Progress Administration project. The two story station-house was built of brick and covered with coquina rock veneer. The design picked up elements of both the Mission and Spanish Colonial Revival styles. The station provided quarters for both fire department and police personnel until 2006.
Next up is the Tomoka State Park, and a chance to stop and enjoy a leisurely walk along the shores of the 900-acre peninsula park. Bounded by the Tomoka and Halifax rivers, the park offers nature trails, five picnicking areas, camping, canoeing and kayaking access, and wildlife viewing. Exploration of the wooded areas may surprise hikers with sights of white tailed deer, gopher tortoises, bob cats and a variety of snakes. The park's rich history offers a lesson about the Timucua Indians who once occupied this coastal habitat. Shell middens, some reaching 40 feet high, are all that remain from the Timucuan village of Nocoroco. A statue of Chief Tomokie, albeit a mythical character, honors the Timucua Indian Tribe and presents the chief, surrounded by bow-wielding Timucuan braves and Oleeta the Indian princess. Built in 1955, the chief's spear and brave's bows and arrows have disappeared over time.
After a visit to Tomoka State Park and finding your way back to the Old Dixie Highway, byway drivers may finished up at Bulow Creek State Park. Here you'll find one of the largest stands of southern live oak forest on Florida's east coast. The hallmark tree in this forest is the Fairchild Oak, one of the largest live oak trees in the South. The 400 year old tree (some say 2000 yrs) has weathered war, tropical storms, hurricanes, lightning and the woodcutter's axe. From this state park a seven mile Bulow Woods Trail allows hikers to stretched their legs on the way to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park.
The double loop scenic byway offers both beachside activities as well as stops at inland communities and river access. Exploring this byway may only take a few hours, but with its scenic views, tempting beaches and historic sites, plan on spending the day on the Florida coast.
Nearby Points of Interest
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