West Volusia At-A-Glance
For more info:
Renee Tallevast, West Volusia Tourism Bureau
DeLand/Deltona - Greater West Volusia County Region
West Volusia At-a-Glance
The Perfect Getaway
Centrally located between Orlando and Daytona Beach, the DeLand/Deltona - Greater West Volusia County Region encompasses 14 distinct communities along the St. Johns River, each thriving with historical, cultural and natural charm. Historic landmarks, cultural attractions and a variety of unique accommodations and eclectic restaurants make this a popular spot for visitors and residents alike. The area is known for its many unique vacation experiences, including houseboating excursions, skydiving, the Southeast's oldest active religious community, day trips to area springs, and endless outdoor recreation on the St. Johns River.
West Volusia Tourism Bureau Visitor Center
116 W. New York Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720
Visitors have many choices when it comes to lodging in West Volusia whether they want to sleep under the stars, in a king-size bed or in the comforts of their own RV. Choices range from flagship hotels to charming bed-and-breakfast inns, campgrounds and cabins to marina resorts and more.
Florida's waters provide an endless supply of the freshest seafood around, and this bounty can be had in West Volusia. Visitors can enjoy unique recipes or choose home-style dishes from an array of dining locales, from fish camps overlooking the St. Johns River to sidewalk cafes along MainStreet DeLand. Restaurants throughout the region dish up other appetizing cuisine, including Continental, Thai, Chinese, German, Italian, Mexican and more. Several locations have received superior recognition for their excellent food and charming atmosphere including Boston Gourmet Coffeehouse, voted Best Coffeehouse in Florida by Florida Living Magazine and Best Coffee Shop in Florida by Florida Monthly Magazine, and Karling's Inn Restaurant, voted a Florida Trend Top 500 restaurant and 2002 Zagat award winner.
The West Volusia County Region is conveniently located between Daytona Beach and Orlando. Daytona Beach International Airport is located only 30 minutes east on US 17-92. Delta Airlines, U.S. Airways and several rental car companies service this location. Orlando-Sanford International Airport is 45 minutes away and Orlando International Airport is one hour west off Interstate 4. Most major airline carriers and rental car companies service these airports.
Amtrak provides regularly scheduled service to DeLand's restored historic train station in the heart of West Volusia.
From Interstate 95 South, take Interstate 4 westbound to exits 118 through 108. From Interstate 75 South, take Interstate 4 eastbound to exits 108 though 118.
Approximate mileage from major U.S. Cities
Daytona Beach, FL 20 miles
Orlando, FL 40 miles
Tampa, FL 125 miles
Atlanta, GA 450 miles
Chicago, IL 1,165 miles
New York, NY 1,050 miles
Blue Spring Manatee Festival January
Mardi Gras on MainStreet February
DeLand Bike Rally February
DeLand Outdoor Art Festival March
Florida Wildflower Festival March
Deltona SpringFest April
Florida Cracker Day April
Wild Game Feast May
Juneteenth Celebration June
Tropical Nights July
Civil War Reenactments August
Old Enterprise Festival October
DeLand Original Music Festival November
DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts November
Fall Country Jamboree November
Holiday Tour of Historic Homes December
St. Johns River Christmas Boat Parade December
Month High Low
January 70 44
February 72 46
March 77 50
April 81 56
May 86 63
June 90 70
July 91 71
August 91 72
September 89 70
October 83 62
November 77 54
December 71 47
Each of our 15 diverse communities has its own small town character, and reveals a glimpse of its place in Florida's fascinating history.
Barberville - Founded in 1763 as a trading post on the east side of the St. Johns River. Today, it serves as the center of heritage for the Northwest Volusia region and home to the Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts.
Cassadaga - The oldest active religious community in the Southeast and home to the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, visitors can enjoy the history here as well as explore their inner spirit through services and appointments for readings and healing services with resident mediums.
DeBary - Named for Frederick deBary, a wealthy wine merchant from New York who welcomed some of the first tourists to the area in the late 1800s. DeBary Hall Mansion, his hunting retreat, has been restored and is open to the public for tours and exhibits on the area's history of steam boating and the citrus industry. The mansion also offers children's programs, art exhibits and other exceptional activities and programs. Nearby Gemini Springs is a popular spot for outdoor recreation and nature discoveries.
DeLand - Known as the 'Athens of Florida,' DeLand serves as the county's epicenter of cultural, educational and historical treasures. It is home to Stetson University, the Athens Theatre, the Museum of Florida Art, the Cultural Arts Center and the Volusia County Fairgrounds. Bordered by the St. Johns River, DeLand features a renowned MainStreet with unique shops, outdoor cafes and art galleries.
DeLeon Springs - Named for Ponce DeLeon, and home to DeLeon Springs State Park and the charming Old Spanish Sugar Mill Griddle & Restaurant. Visitors also enjoy Spring Garden Ranch Training Center, a year-round training ground for pacers and trotters, and Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, home to many of Florida's native species.
Deltona - One of the newest cities in the county and the largest, Deltona enjoys influences from many diverse cultures and is home to the Deltona Arts & Historical Center, Lyonia Preserve Environmental Learning Center, several parks and a sports complex.
Enterprise - Founded in 1841 on Lake Monroe, this town thrived as a steamship port and served as the first county seat. Today, the community is involved in many preservation projects to reclaim their historical presence.
Glenwood - Primarily a residential community today, Glenwood was originally founded in 1872 and named Spring Garden.
Lake Helen - Established by Henry A. DeLand in 1883 and named for his daughter. Today, the town boasts more than 70 structures from the period of 1885-1940, earning it a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
Orange City - Founded in 1874, and most noted for Blue Spring State Park and the hundreds of manatees that call this spring home in the winter months. The United States Postal Museum and the historic Alling House B&B are also located here.
Osteen - Located in Southwest Volusia County, this community is home to several agricultural and eco-heritage endeavors as well as the Volusia Conservation Corridor. The corridor encompasses 4,000 acres to protect the threatened populations of the Florida Black Bear, and other wildlife and plant species.
Pierson - "Fern Capital of the World," best known for its many ferns grown and exported worldwide for floral arrangements and other specialty decorations. Also home to the annual Pierson Lion's Rodeo.
Samsula - Originally known as Briggsville, the area was renamed Samsula in 1922, in honor of Lloyd Samsula, the first veteran to return to this community from World War I. Samsula's earliest settlers were Slovenian immigrants lured here by the vast land available for homesteading.
Seville - Established in 1885, Seville was the temporary headquarters for the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Railroad. Once known as the "Tangerine Capital of the World," the area is mostly known for its ferneries today.
Volusia - The oldest of the St. Johns River Country communities, founded in 1823 and served as the largest trading post in the area. Volusia was the second community established in Volusia County.
EcoTourism and Outdoor Recreation
Visitors enjoy many forms of recreation in the West Volusia County Region, but should first begin their journey by acquainting themselves with the St. Johns River. At 310 miles in length and Florida's longest river, the mighty St. Johns is one of only three rivers in the U.S. to flow south to north. It is Florida's only federally designated American Heritage River. The river feeds into Lake Beresford, Lake Dexter, Lake Monroe and many others, making it nature's ideal playground.
Dominated by a shady assortment of live oaks, magnolias, pine, and palmetto, the lush scenery provides an ideal home for native wildlife such as white-tailed deer, bobcat, gray fox, wild turkey, manatees, alligators, gopher tortoise and more than 250 species of birds. Birding enthusiasts from around the world flock here to enjoy sightings of kingfishers, wood storks, sandhill cranes, warblers, terns, loons and ducks along the St. Johns waterfront. The wetlands at Lyonia Preserve are alive with wading birds and ducks and also serve as a great location to see endangered Florida Scrub-Jays and redheaded woodpeckers. Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, home to the second-largest nesting colony of the Southern bald eagle, is also the second-largest pre-migration roosting population of Swallow-tailed kites.
For an up-close and personal experience with the area's wildlife, several river tours allow visitors a sneak-peek. Fountain of Youth ECO/History Tours at DeLeon Springs State Park and St. Johns River Cruises at Blue Spring State Park provide one- or two-hour excursions that reveal interesting tales of the river's history and ecology.
Hontoon Island State Park sits on 1,650 acres and is only accessible by private boat or free passenger ferry. The park includes a winding nature trail where explorers can spot Mayaca Indian mounds, evidence of the area's first inhabitants. Primitive camping and cabins are also available. Blue Spring State Park, winter home to Florida's endangered West Indian Manatee, or 'sea cow,' provides ample recreation opportunities with canoeing and swimming in the Spring Run as well as picnic and camping areas and cabin accommodations. DeLeon Springs State Park, one of Florida's most popular springs, delivers 19 million gallons of water daily and offers visitors swimming, diving and hiking adventures with access via paddleboat, canoe or kayak to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge.
Anglers from around the world visit West Volusia for its trophy black bass fishing. Abundant freshwater fish are found in the area's lakes, springs, and, of course, the mighty St. Johns River, including crappie, blue gill, shell cracker, catfish and the ever-popular largemouth black bass. Several state parks offer boat slips, and area marinas offer boat rentals, guided fishing trips and the necessities for a day's excursion on the water, including tackle, rods, reels and licenses.
DeBary, DeLand and Deltona are home to some of the most pristine golf courses in Central Florida. Designed by golf's finest architects including Ron Garl, Lloyd Clifton and Pete Craig, these championship courses are more similar to courses found in the Carolinas than Florida. Often ranked in Golfweek, Golf Digest and Travel & Leisure Golf, area courses offer rolling hills, lush fairways and an abundance of trees, not to mention the pristine lakes that serve as water hazards.
Like many parts of Florida first populated by Native American Indians, the West Volusia region was first settled by the Mayaca tribe. With the birth of the steamboat in the late 1800s and the expansion of the railroad afterwards, tourism came in waves via the area's 'first highway,' the St. Johns River. Frederick deBary, a European-born wine merchant, built a winter retreat in DeBary in the late 1880s and ventured into orange growing and commercial steam boating. Henry A. Deland founded DeLand and Lake Helen, two of the 15 communities that thrive here today. Visitors can discover traces of these original inhabitants through historical and archaeological sites, artifacts, plantation homes, sugar mill ruins and much more.
Cultural and Historical Attractions
DeLand is home to a wide variety of historic and cultural sites to explore. The DeLand House Museum is home of the West Volusia Historical Society. Only a short walk away is the historic campus of Stetson University, which was established in 1883 and is Florida's oldest private educational facility. Stetson is home to Elizabeth Hall, offering year-round classical, jazz and operatic performances as well as the Gillespie Museum of Minerals, a unique museum focusing on earth science with a collection of over 25,000 mineral specimens. The African-American Museum of Art and the DeLand Memorial Hospital Museum, which was a working hospital from 1920 to 1948, are also popular stops. For some aviation history, the DeLand Naval Air Station Museum serves as a tribute to all military wars and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1928 Volusia County Courthouse, with its marble rotunda, art glass dome, art exhibit and murals, and the newly restored 1921 Italian Renaissance-style Athens Theater are marvels to visitors as well. The Athens Theatre serves as the main stage for the Sands Theater Center, an organization that wows the community with five professionally directed theater productions each season as well as a touring company, community orchestra and youth theater programs. The Museum of Florida Art offers many visual art exhibitions, collections and educational programs for the community at-large. MainStreet DeLand, a revitalized, nationally award winning downtown district, offers many unique shops, art galleries, sidewalk cafes and restaurants.
Early pioneer heritage is celebrated at the Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts, a living history museum in Barberville. The facility is alive with festivals and demonstrations throughout the year, paying tribute to the area's pioneer and agriculture industry. Arts and crafts, historical displays, music and dance tell the story. Visitors can take a seat in the stands and enjoy horseracing from February through April at Spring Garden Ranch, training grounds for championship trotters and pacers from around the world.
Lake Helen boasts the Shoestring Theater that houses numerous popular plays and musicals throughout the year as well as a unique concentration of historical homes. The United States Postal Museum, one of only three in the United States, is open to visitors in Orange City. More than 440 artifacts relating to the postal service are displayed here. The Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a residential religious community featuring homes of the frame vernacular and Queen-Anne styles. Visitors can attend services and set appointments for healing services and readings with resident mediums.
Visitors can experience a simulated riverboat journey detailing the St. Johns River's history and its significance at DeBary Hall. The restored estate of Frederick deBary tells its story of steam boating and the citrus industry through period rooms and interpretive exhibits.
Deltona, the county's largest city, is home to the Deltona Arts & Historical Center that pays tribute to the area's diverse history through art exhibitions, performing arts and cultural events. Deltona's newest attraction is Lyonia Preserve Environmental Learning Center, home to a thriving Florida scrub jay habitat.