Located a short drive east of Eustis, sits Florida’s oldest college town. Not only is the historic town home to picturesque Stetson University, Florida’s oldest higher educational institution, but it also attracts visitors to its walkable downtown lined with historic buildings, interesting shops and diverse restaurants for every taste. For outdoorsy visitors, DeLand also offers sprawling parks with trails and plenty of waterfront for kayaking, canoeing and fishing.
Here are just some of the fun ways to soak up a day trip to DeLand.
SHOPPING , DINING & IMBIBING
ABOVE: Persimmon Hollow Brewing (photo credit: West Volusia County Tourism Advertising Authority)
Head to downtown’s Woodland Avenue for a unique shopping experience in stores like Anna Bananas, Groovy Records, Marketplace at Rivertown, The Anointed Olive and Scullery Kitchen Provisions. Make a pit stop at Sidecar Home Market and Bar for a cocktail and nostalgic Mid-century shopping.
Craft beer lovers can stroll down Artisan Alley to check out Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company located in the city’s SoNY neighborhood. The micro-brewery rotates some of its craft beers, which include a coffee porter, lager, blonde ale and IPA throughout the year and offers them on draft in its pet-friendly tap room. (111 West Georgia Avenue, DeLand, FL, 32720). If you need a nosh, you can walk over to Neighbors Artisan Taqueria or Bake Chop across the alley for fresh and flavorful food. For a more extraordinary dining experience, make a reservation at Cress, consistently rated among the best of Central Florida’s restaurants (103 West Indiana Avenue, DeLand FL).
ARTS & ARCHITECTURE
ABOVE: The Stetson Mansion (photo credit: West Volusia County Tourism Advertising Authority)
Downtown Mural Walk This self-guided walk takes visitors on a creative outdoor adventure through the scenic streets of the city’s historic downtown to view 15 vibrant murals. Maps are available for download.
Sculpture Walk Take the self-guided walk through historic downtown DeLand to enjoy more than a dozen sculpture installations. The Sculpture Walk features artwork that changes annually and features a variety of styles and media including bronze, concrete, aluminum, copper, stainless steel and PVC.
Museum of Art DeLand Established in 1951, the MoA-Deland has a permanent collection of more than 750 pieces, as well as special temporary exhibits. The venue also hosts special events including art receptions, gallery talks, and artist workshops. 600 North Woodland Boulevard, DeLand, FL, 32720, Phone: 386-734-4371
African American Museum of the Arts Founded in 1994 and located in historic DeLand, the seat of Volusia County Government, AAMA is a unique and vital resource in this part of Florida. This museum is dedicated to African American cultures and art. The museum has a permanent collection of more than 150 artifacts, including sculptures and masks, and its gallery features work of established and emerging artists. Visitors should call ahead for any changes in schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions. 325 South Clara Avenue, DeLand, FL, 32721, Phone: 386-736-4004
The Athens Theatre Originally designed by Murray S. King in 1921, this historic theater was named for the original vision of the city’s founder Henry DeLand, who envisioned the Central Florida town as the "Athens of Florida." During its historic heyday, the theatre came alive with films, vaudeville performances, and other events. Now the fully restored theater hosts live musical and theatrical performances, and also screens various films throughout the year. 124 North Florida Avenue, DeLand, FL
Stetson Mansion The three-story Victorian mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in approximately 1886, the home is touted as Florida’s first luxury estate with guests that included King Edward VII, Thomas Edison, President Grover Cleveland, and members of the prestigious Vanderbilt and Carnegie families. Today guests can opt for a 60- or 90-minute guided tour of the home. Visitors should call ahead for any changes in schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions. 1031 Camphor Lane, DeLand, FL, 32720, Phone: 386-873-0167
Stetson University Well known for its classic red-brick buildings and Greco-Roman inspired architecture, Stetson University was founded in 1883 as DeLand Academy, named in honor of its founder, Henry Addison DeLand. 421 North Woodland Boulevard, DeLand, FL, 32723
ABOVE: One of the many trails in the area (photo credit: West Volusia County Tourism Advertising Authority)
Blue Heron River Tours Bask in the beauty of the beautiful Hontoon Dead River and St. John's River during the eco-tours aboard the Great Blue pontoon vessel. Tour guides provide information on the local habitats and ecosystems and explore the manatee refuge of nearby Blue Springs. Passengers may snap a pic of alligators, various wading birds, turtles and anhingas. The river tours operate daily between autumn and spring, and have weekend tours available during the summer. 2999 West State Road 44, St. John's Marina and Resort, DeLand, FL, 32720, Phone: 386-873-4843
Hontoon Island State Park Located just six miles west of DeLand, this pristine waterfront park spans over 1,600 acres of wooded hammock across Hontoon Island. The natural park is only accessible by boat or ferry. Visitors can picnic, hike, fish, and cycle or paddle the waterfront via canoe or kayak. Fishing is permitted, but swimming is not. Guests that want to stay overnight can check out the rental cabins and tent campsite which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 2309 River Ridge Road, DeLand, FL, 32720
Highland Park Fish Camp Young and old fishermen will enjoy this historic Old Florida fish camp that sits along the scenic Norris Dead River near Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors can rent boats or seek help from experienced fishing guides to angle Largemouth Bass. Bait and tackle are available for purchase at the fish camp. The 23,000 acre camp also offers overnight camping accommodations that include cabins as well as RV and tent campsites. 2640 West Highland Park Road, DeLand, FL, 32720, Phone: 386-734-233
ODDS & ENDS
ABOVE: DeLand Wings mural (photo credit: West Volusia County Tourism Advertising Authority)
The Reptile Discovery Center This experience is one to remember, but may not be for the snake-fearing or squeamish. Reptile Discovery Center provides guests an up-close look at some of Florida's most dangerous reptiles, including deadly snakes. The Serpentarium includes exotic snake species from mature constrictors like Burmese pythons to deadly king cobras, mambas and coral snakes. Visitors can view alligators and other reptiles in outside habitats. Guests can watch live venom extraction demonstrations each Thursday through Sunday throughout the afternoon hours within the center's Medtoxin Venom Laboratories facility. This extraction or “milking” is to commercially harvest venom for antitoxin companies to provide hospitals with antidotes to treat patients with venomous snake bites. Visitors should call ahead for any changes in schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions. 2710 Big John Drive, Deland, FL, 32724, Phone: 386-740-9143
DeLand Naval Air Station Museum Operated as a U.S. military facility from 1942 to 1946, it was re-converted into DeLand Municipal Airport after World War II. The museum's aircraft collection includes an F-14 Tomcat, an H-13 Sioux M.A.S.H. helicopter, a USN PTF-3 and a Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber. The historic Chief Master at Arms House at the museum has housed numerous aviation exhibits. Guided tours of the museum are available by reservation Wednesdays through Sundays. Visitors should call ahead for any changes in schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions. 910 Biscayne Boulevard, DeLand, FL, 32724, Phone: 386-738-4149