The gorgeous city of DeLand, Florida was originally founded in 1876, modeled as the "Athens of Central Florida." Today, the historic town is best known as the home of the National Register of Historic Places-designated Stetson University, the state's oldest higher educational institution, known for its majestic red-brick buildings and Greco-Roman architectural elements.
Outdoor recreational opportunities abound, ranging from the expansive Hontoon Island State Park to the stunning Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. Art and history buffs can peruse collections at the Museum of Art DeLand, the African-American Museum of Arts, or the WWII-focused DeLand Naval Air Station Museum.
© Stetson Mansion
Stetson Mansion is a gorgeous National Register of Historic Places-listed estate in DeLand, originally constructed circa 1886 by John and Elizabeth Stetson. As Florida's first luxury estate, the home once entertained the likes of King Edward VII, Thomas Edison, President Grover Cleveland, and members of the prestigious Vanderbilt and Carnegie families. Today, the three-story Victorian-style home is owned and operated as a living history museum and can be toured as part of 60- or 90-minute guided tours. All rooms within the home are showcased on tours, featuring exquisite design elements such as Tiffany stained-glass windows, 3D-patterned parquet floors, a Dali lithograph, and an original Edison light fixture. During the winter holidays, the home is lavishly decorated as part of an annual public Christmas celebration.
1031 Camphor Ln, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-873-0167
© Drobot Dean/stock.adobe.com
Stetson University was originally founded in 1883 as DeLand Academy, named in honor of its founder, New York-based philanthropist Henry Addison DeLand. Today, the university operates four branches across Central Florida, including its historic central branch north of DeLand's downtown district. Campus visitors can explore the university's beautiful historic buildings, which have been designated as the Stetson University Campus Historic District and preserve the state's oldest collection of higher educational buildings. Museums such as the Hand Art Center and the earth and environmental sciences-focused Gillespie Museum offer rotating public exhibits, while campus organizations and ensembles such as the Sandhill Symphony frequently present live performances.
421 N Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32723, Phone: 386-822-7000
3.Bill Dreggors Park
Bill Dreggors Park is a National Register of Historic Places-listed park in DeLand, named in honor of preservationist and historian William J. "Bill" Dreggors, Jr. The park is home to a lush sensory butterfly garden, overseen by the DeLand Garden Club, which showcases sensory-focused plantings of native and exotic flora as exhibits for visitors with neurological and physical disabilities. A 7/16-mile paved loop path offers a route for walkers and joggers, while a Freedom Playground serves as a great spot for young ones to play throughout the day. Four picnic pavilions can be rented for private special events, including birthday party packages offered by the city's Parks and Recreation Department. Inside the park's 1920 Memorial Hospital Building, a number of museum exhibits highlight the region's cultural and economic history, including an historic toy exhibit.
230 N Stone St, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-740-5800
4.The Reptile Discovery Center
The Reptile Discovery Center is one of DeLand's most unique interactive nature experiences, giving guests an up-close look at some of Florida's most dangerous reptile species. The facility's acclaimed Serpentarium is home to dozens of exotic and deadly snake species, including massive Burmese pythons, mambas, and king cobras. Outside along the center's nature trail, visitors can view alligators and lizards in their natural habitats from a safe distance within enclosures. Each Thursday through Sunday, live venom extraction demonstration are showcased throughout the afternoon hours within the center's Medtoxin Venom Laboratories facility, which produces commercially-harvested venom for anti-toxin companies around the world.
2710 Big John Drive, Deland, FL 32724, Phone: 386-740-9143
5.Hontoon Island State Park
Hontoon Island State Park spans more than 1,600 acres throughout Volusia County's Hontoon Island, which was originally inhabited in pre-Columbian times by the Timucuan indigenous tribe. The park, which is located six miles west of DeLand, is accessible via ferry service or private boat launch and is home to beautiful natural oak and palm hammock, pine flatwood, and bald cypress swamp habitats. Outdoor recreational opportunities offered along the park's waterfront include canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, though visitors should note that swimming is not permitted. On land, visitors can enjoy opportunities for hiking, cycling, wildlife watching, and nature photography. Tent campsites and rental cabins are available for overnight stay, while day-use picnic sites are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
2309 River Ridge Rd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-736-5309
6.The Athens Theatre
The Athens Theatre is one of Central Florida's most spectacular preserved historic buildings, originally designed by architect Murray S. King in 1921. The Italian Renaissance-style theater is named in honor of the original city planning vision of town founder and namesake Henry DeLand, who envisioned the city as the "Athens of Florida." Throughout the 20th century, the gorgeous theater hosted vaudeville performances, film showings, and community events such as school dances and teen hangout nights. In 1994, the theater was fully restored to its historic glory by the MainStreet DeLand Association. Today, visitors can enjoy showings of classic and independent films throughout the year, along with live musical and theatrical performances by local troupes.
124 N Florida Ave, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-736-1500
7.Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company
© Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company
Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company was the vision of homebrewers Andy Sistrunk and Robbie Carelli, originally opened in 2014 within DeLand's SoNY neighborhood near the hip Artisan Alley corridor. The brewery, which revolves around a motto of "Drink Sensibly, But Get Weird," crafts unique and experimental American and Belgian-style beers, which are available on draft at the company's tap room or at a number of restaurants and distributors throughout the Orlando and Daytona Beach regions. Rotating brews throughout the year include the company's Daytona Dirty Blonde Ale, Lake Time Lager, Three Guys Wise Coffee Porter, and Beach Hippie IPA. Wines are also served up at the company's pet-friendly tap room, which is open to the public seven days a week. Though no food is offered on site, guests are welcome to bring in food from nearby restaurants, including adjacent partner Artisan Taqueria.
111 W Georgia Ave, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-873-7350
8.Lake Beresford Park
Lake Beresford Park is a charming 211-acre public park located along the Lake Beresford Greenway, which was originally developed by the Florida Communities Trust in 1991. Walkers, runners, and cyclists can make use of the park's 1.8-mile multipurpose trail, which follows the perimeter of the park and connects it to the nearby Spring-to-Spring Trail and ends at Blue Spring State Park. Two nature trails are also open to hikers within the park's northern section, showcasing gorgeous natural habitats and native wildlife. Two children's playgrounds provide safe play experiences for young visitors, while two day-use picnic pavilions are available for day use or special event rental.
2100 Fatio Rd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-736-5953
9.Highland Park Fish Camp
Highland Park Fish Camp is an authentic Old Florida-style fish camp located along the banks of the scenic Norris Dead River, spanning more than 23,000 acres near the borders of Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. The historic fish camp has been preserved in its original condition and converted into a fishing site and unique overnight accommodation venue. Visitors can rent boats and purchase bait and tackle for angling for largemouth bass on the river's waters, with expert fishing guides on hand to aid with catches and technique. 50 RV and six tent camping sites are available for walk-up use, while seven modernized cedar cabins offer amenities such as full kitchenettes, charcoal grills, and screened-in porches.
2640 W Highland Park Rd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-734-2334
10.Museum of Art - Deland
© Museum of Art - Deland
Museum of Art - Deland is a nonprofit community visual arts museum in DeLand, originally established in 1951 by the American Association of University Women. The museum, which is a partner organization with the American Alliance of Museums, strives to preserve and promote the fine arts throughout Central Florida, holding a permanent collection of more than 750 pieces and showcasing rotating special exhibitions by artists such as Stephen Althouse, Sandro Chia, and Fernando Botero. Its Evans C. and Betty Drees Johnson Children's Art Center, opened in 2010, offers educational programming and workshops for young visitors. Public special events offered throughout the year include gallery talks, receptions, and master artist workshops.
600 N Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-734-4371
11.The DeLand House Museum
© The DeLand House Museum
The DeLand House Museum preserves the historic home of DeLand city founder and namesake Henry Addison DeLand, originally constructed in 1886. The spectacular Victorian-style mansion was donated to the City of DeLand in 1988 for use as a living history home museum, opening to the public four years later in 1990. Today, guests can take guided tours of the home throughout the week, operated by volunteer docents from the West Volusia Historical Society. Restored interiors showcase period-appropriate furnishings, while exhibits of regional photography recollect the Volusia County area's social and cultural history. Outside, the Lue Gim Gong Memorial Gazebo serves as a tribute to the prominent area horticulturalist, known as the "Citrus Wizard" for his contributions to Central Florida's orange production industry.
137 W Michigan Ave, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-740-6813
12.DeLand Naval Air Station Museum
© DeLand Naval Air Station Museum
DeLand Naval Air Station Museum preserves the historic facilities of the Naval Air Station DeLand, which operated between 1942 and 1946 as a United States Naval Air Station. Following World War II, the former airport space was converted back into DeLand Municipal Airport, which some facilities used by the Florida Military School during the mid-2oth century. Since 1995, the airfield's National Register of Historic Places-listed Chief Master at Arms House has showcased extensive exhibits on United States Navy and aviation history, including exhibits detailing the air station's World War II operations. Aircraft collections include an F-14 Tomcat, a Korean War-era H-13 Sioux M.A.S.H. copter, a Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber, and a USN Nasty-class PTF-3. Guided tours of the museum are available with advance reservation Wednesdays through Sundays.
910 Biscayne Blvd, DeLand, FL 32724, Phone: 386-738-4149
13.The Gillespie Museum
© The Gillespie Museum
The Gillespie Museum is one of Stetson University's premiere public museums, originally founded to house the university's environmental sciences collections in 1958. Today, the museum is known as the home of one of the American Southeast's largest mineral and gem collections, holding more than 15,000 specimens. Exhibit galleries showcase artifacts from Florida's diverse ecosystems, along with collections of fluorescent minerals and volcanic rocks. Outdoor classroom and workshop space at the Hatter Harvest Garden, the Stetson Beekeeping Center, and the Native Florida Plant Landscape provides additional space for educational and community programming throughout the year. The museum is open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays during the afternoon hours, with additional Saturday morning hours offered once a month as part of Science Saturdays.
234 E Michigan Ave, DeLand, FL 32724, Phone: 386-822-7330
14.The Volusia County Fair and Youth Show
© The Volusia County Fair and Youth Show
The Volusia County Fair and Youth Show is Volusia County's premiere annual community fair, held each year over the first week in November since 1923. The fair, which is housed at the Volusia County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, offers a full midway of exciting rides and games, including thrill and mild family rides. Classic fair food is served up from a wide variety of vendors, ranging from corn dogs and cheese curds to cotton candy and funnel cakes. Agricultural and livestock exhibits draw local 4-H groups and farmers for competitions, while art, music, and photography contests solicit entrants from the broader community for display throughout the week. Throughout the rest of the year, the fairgrounds host special events such as trade shows, live music performances, and a weekly farmer's market.
3150 E. New York Ave, DeLand, FL 32724, Phone: 386-734-9515
15.Blue Heron River Tours
© Blue Heron River Tours
Blue Heron River Tours offer a unique way to experience the beautiful ecosystems of DeLand's Hontoon Dead and St. John's Rivers. The touring company offers eco-tours and nature boating trips throughout the year aboard its custom-constructed Great Blue vessel, which was specifically designed to traverse Central Florida's shallow backwater habitats. United States Coast Guard-certified tour guides provide interactive tour information on the region's habitats and ecosystems, exploring areas such as the manatee refuge of nearby Blue Spring State Park. Alligators, turtles, and wading birds are frequently sighted, making for great wildlife photography opportunities. Tours operate daily between autumn and spring, with weekend tours available during the summer months.
2999 West State Road 44, St. John's Marina and Resort, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-873-4843
16.Spec Martin Municipal Stadium
© Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
Spec Martin Municipal Stadium is DeLand's premiere sports venue, serving as the official home of the Stetson University Hatters and DeLand High Bulldogs football teams and the Central Florida Warriors rugby team. The 6,000-seat stadium, which was originally constructed in 1941, has recently been fully renovated to include new features such as an updated press box and premium seating areas for patrons, including newly-updated handicap seating areas. The stadium is best known as the filming site for 1998's feature film The Waterboy, starring Adam Sandler, making it a great tourist destination for pop culture buffs and football fans alike. Major international events are held periodically, including Rugby League World Cup events.
260 East Euclid, DeLand, FL 32724, Phone: 386-736-5389
17.St. Francis Trail
St. Francis Trail is a charming 7.9-mile trail meandering along the floodplains of the St. Johns and St. Francis Dead Rivers, offering moderately-strenuous hiking experiences for area history buffs. The trail traverses along lands once occupied by the ghost town of St. Francis, which was originally founded as Old Town in 1887 and was home to a health resort, hotel, post office, general store, and newspaper headquarters during its heyday. By the turn of the 20th century, the implementation of railroads in the region led to the town's demise, leaving only remains today. Trail hikers can traverse through six Florida ecosystems and observe a wide variety of bird species, including red-tailed hawks and pileated woodpeckers.
45914-45978 River Forest Blvd, DeLand, FL 32720
18.Clark Bay Conservation Area
Clark Bay Conservation Area is a 4,795-acre conservation stretching throughout DeLand, protecting significant expanses of mesic and wet flatwoods. The conservation area strives to restore Central Florida habitats that were harmed in the past by the tree farming industry and significant wildfires during the late 20th century. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound for park visitors, including opportunities for wilderness hiking along the wetland swamp basins of Deep and Little Haw Creeks. Visitors can also spot a plethora of native Florida wildlife, ranging from black bears and deer to bald eagles, sandhill cranes, swallow-tailed kites, and migratory songbirds. Other recreational opportunities include equestrian trails and seasonal hunting sites.
DeLand, FL 32724
19.The African-American Museum of Arts
© The African-American Museum of Arts
The African-American Museum of Arts was established in 1994 as Central Florida's primary museum dedicated to the culture and art of African-American populations of the American South. The museum, which was founded by Irene and Maxwell Johnson, serves as a community resource for young African-Americans in the DeLand region, striving to shape their artistic output and creative thinking in positive, self-affirming ways. Guests can visit the museum for free each Wednesday through Saturday afternoon, with group tours available with advance reservation. A rotating exhibit gallery showcases the works of both emerging and established artists, while a permanent collection features 150 artifacts, including anthropological artifacts from the African continent. Theatrical productions are presented regularly by the museum's Little Theater of DeLand, which was founded in 1999.
325 S Clara Ave, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-736-4004
20.The Stockton-Lindquist House
© Aaron Kohr/stock.adobe.com
The Stockton-Lindquist House is DeLand's oldest preserved historic home, originally constructed in 1870 along East Beresford Avenue. The designated Florida Archaeological Site the home sits on has been recognized by the Florida Bureau of Folklife for its significance to the region's indigenous history. Since 2004, the home has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also listed on the Volusia County Register of Historic Places for its significance to Central Florida's history. Free living history home tours are offered throughout the week by the Stockton-Lindquist House Foundation for Historic Preservation, showcasing the home's interior and exterior. A variety of public special events are also offered throughout the year by the SLH, including Halloween haunted house tours and decorations for the community's biannual Christmas parade of Historic Homes.
244 E Beresford Ave, DeLand, FL 32724
© Urban Brick
Urban Brick is a delicious artisanal pizza joint in downtown DeLand, offering all-natural pizza selections crafted with the finest imported Italian meats, cheeses, and San Marzano tomatoes. The restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner service Wednesdays through Mondays, offers beautiful indoor and seasonal outdoor patio seating, accommodating diners of all ages into the late night hours. Pizza options range from classics like quattro formaggio and bianca to clever flavors such as chicken artichoke, portobella, and signature sweet and salty pizzas topped with candied figs, gorgonzola, and prosciutto. Italian-style sandwiches, strombolis, and pastas are also served, along with a full selection of craft and imported beers, fine wines, and espresso-based beverages.
112 N Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-337-7040
© Syda Productions/stock.adobe.com
Angelina's Pizzeria has been serving up health-conscious gourmet pizzas since 1998, prepared with lean natural meats, non-hydrogenated oils, and high-quality imported part-skim cheeses. The restaurant is open to the public for lunch and dinner service Mondays through Saturdays, with late-night service available Thursday through Saturday. Hand-tossed Neapolitan and thick-crust Sicilian pizzas are available with a variety of toppings, ranging from traditional margherita and alfredo variants to artisanal options such as Philly cheese steak and barbecue chicken white pizzas. Traditional Italian-style pasta entrees are also served up, including favorites such as eggplant parmesan, fettuccine alfredo, baked ziti, and clam sauce linguine.
2687 S. Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-736-6999
23.De La Vega Restaurante y Galeria
© De La Vega Restaurante y Galeria
De La Vega Restaurante y Galeria is one of DeLand's most creative restaurant offerings, serving up vibrant Latin fusion fare with a focus on vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner service Tuesdays through Sundays, is known for unique gourmet entree offerings such as its signature hibiscus tacos, which infuse corn tortillas with hibiscus flower puree, green and Spanish onions, mozzarella cheese, and red pepper sauce. Creative tapas choices include stuffed avocado rellenos, chicken rice mole balls, and plantain enmoladas smothered in mole sauce and topped with sesame seeds. A selection of regional Florida craft beers are available from the restaurant's bar, served up alongside signature fishbowl sangrias and cleverly-flavored margaritas.
128 N Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-734-4444
© Boston Coffeehouse
Boston Coffeehouse was the vision of Boston University graduate Joe Valente, who moved to the DeLand region in 1996 following the completion of his master's degree. Today, the coffee shop offers five locations throughout the Central Florida area, including two locations in DeLand's downtown district. Award-winning food and drink selections are served up throughout the morning and afternoon hours, including delicious craft espresso drinks such as Coco Mocho Joy, Nutty Irish Lady, and Mocha Mint lattes and mochas. Fresh-brewed light, medium, and dark roast coffees are also available throughout the day, along with chai teas, hot chocolate, and protein-packed smoothies. Hearty breakfast selections include breakfast burritos and eggs Benedicts, while lunch menus focus on clever wraps and paninis.
109 E. New York Ave, DeLand, FL 32724, Phone: 386-738-2326
25.Cook's Buffet, Cafe and Bakery
© Joe Gough/stock.adobe.com
Cook's Buffet, Cafe and Bakery is a homestyle restaurant in DeLand, housed within the historic Holiday House Restaurant building, originally opened in 1959 by Bob and Willa Cook. Since 1983, the restaurant has been rebranded and operated by second-generation Cook family members Michael and Star, carrying on the restaurant's tradition of serving up hearty comfort fare in a family-friendly environment. Lunch and dinner buffet service is offered throughout the week at the restaurant's 20-foot buffet, which offers bountiful seasonal vegetable and salad dishes accompanied by diners' choice of meats from the restaurant's carving station. A selection of soups and sandwiches are also available at lunch, including pulled pork sandwiches, open-faced roast beef sandwiches, and classic reubens.
704 N. Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32720, Phone: 386-734-4339
25 Best Things to Do in DeLand, Florida
- Stetson Mansion, Photo: Stetson Mansion
- Stetson University, Photo: Drobot Dean/stock.adobe.com
- Bill Dreggors Park, Photo: finwal89/stock.adobe.com
- The Reptile Discovery Center, Photo: Sasint/stock.adobe.com
- Hontoon Island State Park, Photo: petert2/stock.adobe.com
- The Athens Theatre, Photo: pokpak/stock.adobe.com
- Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company, Photo: Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company
- Lake Beresford Park, Photo: Venera/stock.adobe.com
- Highland Park Fish Camp, Photo: schankz/stock.adobe.com
- Museum of Art - Deland, Photo: Museum of Art - Deland
- The DeLand House Museum, Photo: The DeLand House Museum
- DeLand Naval Air Station Museum, Photo: DeLand Naval Air Station Museum
- The Gillespie Museum, Photo: The Gillespie Museum
- The Volusia County Fair and Youth Show, Photo: The Volusia County Fair and Youth Show
- Blue Heron River Tours, Photo: Blue Heron River Tours
- Spec Martin Municipal Stadium, Photo: Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
- St. Francis Trail, Photo: icarmen13/stock.adobe.com
- Clark Bay Conservation Area, Photo: yanikap/stock.adobe.com
- The African-American Museum of Arts, Photo: The African-American Museum of Arts
- The Stockton-Lindquist House, Photo: Aaron Kohr/stock.adobe.com
- Urban Brick, Photo: Urban Brick
- Angelina's Pizzeria, Photo: Syda Productions/stock.adobe.com
- De La Vega Restaurante y Galeria, Photo: De La Vega Restaurante y Galeria
- Boston Coffeehouse, Photo: Boston Coffeehouse
- Cook's Buffet, Cafe and Bakery, Photo: Joe Gough/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: City of DeLand, FL