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Ormond Beach – Florida’s best kept Secret

Ormond Beach Florida is one of Florida’s best kept secrets.

Many people recognize places like St. Augustine, Tallahassee, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Miami or even Daytona. But mention other towns like Flagler, Palm Coast, Ponce Inlet or Ormond Beach and people will look at you puzzled.

Let me tell you about this well-kept secret!

Ormond Beach Florida is a quaint city located just North of Daytona Beach. It’s actually very popular with the Biker community because of its close proximity to Daytona. It’s home to Destination Daytona also. Outside of Bike week and BiketoberFest, the town is very quiet and laid back. Many of the residents have lived here for an extended amount of time and it is a second home-place for many Snow Birds.

Ormond Beach has had its share of celebrities as well. The city spreads from the main land across the Halifax River as far as Deltona and Deland, then over to the seaside in central Florida. Seaside Ormond Beach is where John D. Rockefeller chose his winter residence. He loved the area so much he purchased The Casements, a home built in 1913. This was no doubt one of his favorite places as he entertained friends such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and many others. Rockefeller gardens at the bay are beautiful yet modest considering the man they represent.

Rockefeller with his winter home The Casements

You see, Ormond Beach Florida was a proud Resort Town and remains so with a deep and rich history reaching back several centuries. The area was populated by Native Americans, developed by sugar cane farmers, ship builders, hotel operators and railroad tycoons. But from then till now, how did we get here?

Ponce de Leon and his crew discovered this area in 1513 although Spain and England bargained and traded with the land back and forth for some time before the United States took over. Florida was an organized territory in 1822 and a state in 1845.

John Andrew Bostrom was and still is considered Ormond Beach’s first settler. In 1869, he noticed there were a lot of visitors in the area yet they had nowhere to stay. He, his brother and 2 sisters opened their home to tourist.  Sometime in the 1880’s, word of their hospitality had travelled. Before they knew it, they had created a hospitality business. Talk about pioneers in the industry!

The Ormond Hotel

Building on the “Resort” mentality, the Corbin Lock Company in New Britain, Conn., purchased land on the west side of the Halifax River. They purposed it to be used for employee retirement and vacation homes.  A rush of settlers arrived to Ormond Beach from the Midwest soon after. In 1880, when the town was incorporated, the name was Ormond in honor of James Ormond II, whose 18th century plantation was north of town.  “Beach” was added to the name in 1950. So there you have it. Ormond Beach was and still is a Resort town.

Ormond Beach Condos now occupy the area where the grand Ormond Beach Hotel once resided.

In 1887, John Anderson and Joseph Price built a bridge to cross the Halifax River. They built the grand and luxurious Hotel Ormond next in 1888. In 1890, Henry Flagler (the railroad magnet) bought the hotel and expanded it. The Ormond Hotel hosted a special guest. What made this guest special was his idea.  J.F. Hathaway, suggested an automobile race on the tightly packed beaches of Ormond Beach.  Known as the “Birthplace of Speed,” Ormond Beach Florida was the place of the first timed automobile race in 1903. Some of the early racer were noted as: Ransom E. Olds, Alexander Winton, William K. Vanderbilt II, Barney Oldfield, Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet, Glenn Curtiss, and Sir Malcolm Campbell. These exciting races ended with the completion of the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach in 1959.

Beach racing Ormond Beach Circa 1961

What does Ormond Beach look like now? Here’s a before & after photo.

The lovely beaches are peaceful and quiet.

If you are seeking the loud and rowdy atmosphere, you could always head south to Daytona. Daytona Beach has always been popular with the more party minded crowd and that city hosts many large events throughout the year.


Why is Ormond Beach a Best kept secret?

The pace of life for the Birth Place of Speed is actually much slower than other beach towns. Speed limits are low and the conversations are light. This is the place to come for relaxation and quiet time. Families enjoy time in Ormond Beach as they walk to the Ocean and enjoy the soft yet firmly packed sand. People with disabilities like to come enjoy the beaches because Volusia County allows driving on public beaches making accessibility a plus. There are lifeguards stationed at most public beach access points too. Parents and paranoid swimmers alike appreciate this. Inland, Ormond Beach offers great shopping and dining opportunities. The best part is that the cost of living in Ormond Beach is not high. It has a great walking score as well as public transit if you prefer.  Overall, it has been one of the most enjoyable places we have vacationed and lived.



Have you been to Ormond Beach Florida? Leave me comments below and let me know.

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