We were in Ormond Beach from 1/26 to 1/28/2022 as part of our Florida in January trip.
Most of our Florida trip was planned out way in advance, by necessity: many popular campgrounds and state parks get booked up as soon as the campsites are reservable, a year or eleven months in advance. So we booked what we could, and then filled in the holes as we were able.
There was a hole between Gainesville and St Augustine that we just could not find a destination for. I really wanted Titusville, near Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, but no. We tried eight other towns not terribly far from both Gainesville and St Augustine and landed a reservation in Ormond Beach, north of Daytona.
We found ways to entertain ourselves there, but overall we didn’t like Ormond Beach, and managed to escape a day early.
We stayed at Coral Sands RV Resort, which I guess is pleasant if you get one of the few beachfront sites. Our site near the noisy road was dumpy and full of trash. The RV park is part of a hotel, and campers can use the pool and laundry facility, but we can’t report on either.
There’s not much in walking distance from the campground and sidewalks are inconsistent, but we were able to take Bugsy for a long walk through a neighborhood, go for a run to a park, and we had planned a bike ride all from the campground. It’s under ten minutes to drive to the little downtown part of Ormond Beach.
It was cold, windy, and rainy the entire time we were in Ormond Beach. The weather ruined our planned bike ride, but it also improved Bugsy’s beach experience, so maybe we shouldn’t complain!
Ormond Beach–the beach itself–is not dog friendly. You have to drive fifteen minutes north to Flagler Beach to walk your dog on the beach, which we did. But sometimes the weather is total crap and nobody at all is on the beach and you are staying at a campground with beach access and you have a dog who loves the beach and so you take your dog onto freaking Ormond Beach.
Downtown Ormond Beach is cute! Across the Halifax River from the campground, less than a ten-minute drive, there’s a strip of restaurants, bars, and shops. There’s a second commercial cluster on the beach side of the river, but it’s more chain-heavy and strip mall-y. We spent both evenings at different establishments downtown, and returned during the day Thursday for the City Hall farmers market, which was underwhelming–presumably due to the unfortunate weather.
The main activity we had planned for our stay here was a bike ride on the Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail, a 30+ mile loop/figure 8ish shape that runs through three state parks. High winds, spitting rain, and chilly temps nixed our ride, boooooo.
Closer to home, we went for a run up to Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park, a large city park with ball fields, a dog park, trails, beach access, and a fishing pier. Running from the campground through the park to the fishing pier and back was about 4.5 miles.
And finally, our least active Ormond Beach activity: since our outdoor activities were curbed by bad weather, J went for a haircut. He had a good experience at A1A Barber Shop, just a couple blocks north of the campground.
I drove fifteen minutes north to the southern end of Flagler Beach the afternoon we arrived because they allow leashed dogs on the beach south of S 10th St and north of N 10th St. The beach is lovely, and because of the weather we didn’t see another soul.
On the way to our next stop, St Augustine, we drove through Flagler. It’s kind of funky and old-school, with beachy shops and restaurants and overall more character than Ormond Beach. Beverly Beach Camptown RV just to the north of Flagler looked nice; it has a bigger oceanfront area than Coral Sands, and direct access to a dog-friendly beach.
We thought it would be fun to check out Daytona Beach, only about 20 minutes south, so we parked by the pier and walked a bit of Main St and the boardwalk. Ugh. We were disappointed. It’s all big ugly hotels and crappy souvenir stores… maybe we missed the secret cool spots. We considered going to Daytona International Speedway to watch some preliminary heats for a big 24-hour race that weekend, but between the expensive tickets and half hour drive, we decided we didn’t care enough.
Eating and drinking
Red Pig Brewery, just south of Ormond Beach, has a small dog-friendly tasting room and a spacious garden area in a weird little office park environment. We were excited to see a collaboration brew with Birds Fly South, our favorite hangout in Greenville SC, but we thought the beers we tried were ho-hum. And J just pointed out that the real reason we like Birds Fly South isn’t for their beer, it’s for the White Duck Tacos next door.
Ormond Brewing Company is another popular spot with a dog-friendly taproom. They had a key lime sour, so I was happy–I guess I recovered from my Key West key lime overdose. J didn’t like his hazy IPA.
Ormond Garage is a hybrid craft brewery/sports bar. We went for a beer and ended up eating dinner and staying a while to watch a USA soccer game on the big screen. Beer-wise, the triple berry sour was fine, and J’s hazy IPA was quite good, and food-wise, my fish tacos were too charred, and J liked his fried chicken sandwich. It’s a fun place to watch a game.
31 Supper Club is a super cool 1930s Havana-themed cocktail bar and steakhouse in downtown Ormond Beach. We stopped by for a cocktail at the bar and got a real kick out of it. The decor is wild, the jazz duo was talented, and the drinks were delish.
After a day of exploring in the chilly windy rain, we wanted to hunker down in the Airstream with yummy delivery food. We ordered sushi from Sushi99 and it hit the spot! It’s between the campground and downtown Ormond Beach, so picking up food there would also be convenient.
The morning we left town, J had a work meeting so I surprised him with treats from Donnie’s Donuts just down the road towards downtown Ormond Beach. They offer creative flavors (or you can build your own donuts, but that’s a lot of pressure), along with coffee drinks. I picked a couple of the pre-built donuts and they were yummy!
Writing this post made me think more fondly of our time in Ormond Beach, but when I said that to J, he said “no–it’s terrible.” So we don’t plan to go back, but if we find ourselves in the area again, I’d try to:
- Go for that bike ride
- Visit the state parks in the area: Bulow Creek, Tomoka, and Addison Blockhouse
- See The Casements, a former winter home of John D. Rockefeller, now a community cultural center