Outrigger Beach Club
Outrigger Beach Club is in the amazing Ormond Beach Florida area, which is right in the Daytona Beach section. As with most of my Florida vacation, I started this trip with a drive down from my home in Virginia. I love the long drives down Interstate 95.
On my drive down (about a 12-hour trip) I had plenty of time to think about my previous vacations in the Daytona Beach area. Each previous trip brought to mind great beach visits, sunrises, and beach areas that were not jam-packed which is very nice.
Day One Arrival at the Outrigger Beach Club
I had left around 1 AM in Virginia, which meant I would be driving in tired but a little early for check-in time. I was hoping that I could park, hit the beach, and then take a nap right on the beach until time for check-in.
My grand plan worked. I was able to park close and even stepped into the office and let them know about my clever plan. The staff was nice and gave me a nod on parking a little ahead of check-in. The young girl at the desk also offered to send someone if I could check in early. I said that would be fine, but I just planned to lay on the beach so no hurry.
I have always found it is best to not provide any stress or aggravation for the resort staff. My goal on my vacation stays is always to be easy to want to help and be glass half full. For you it is a vacation for the employees it is their everyday hassle and life.
This approach of not being a pushover, but easy to deal with has served me very well over the years. It has gotten me free upgrades, special treatment, and real help on more than a few occasions. I think looking back I have benefited by far more than just good karma.
In this case, my alarm on my phone went off, I scooped up my beach pillow and towel, and put them back in the car, then went and checked in. I had a large one-bedroom villa that was around 430 square feet. So not giant but a good size, especially for a beachfront room.
The resort is in the shape of the letter C (the resort refers to this as a boomerang shape, which is a better way to describe it) so that all the rooms have a great oceanfront view. The view is through the main window of your room in the front. The views are solid here with a look over the pool directly to the beach and the ocean.
The rooms here are clean and maintained. This feels like a mature resort. Not an overdone, modern resort, but more of an old-school feel that I liked. Sometimes when traveling old school is cool, and this was one of those. On other occasions, I have stayed somewhere that made me feel like it was an interstate trucker hotel, with rooms for semi-parking just outside. This was not the case here.
The pool deck has a nice kid pool, hot tube, and full-sized pool. There are also grills, shuffleboard, and more available.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Whirlpool Bath
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- BBQ Grills
- Business Center/Fax
- Fitness Room
- Game Room
- Hot Tub
- Internet Access
- Kid’s Activities
- Laundry Facilities
- Movie Rentals
- Outdoor Pool
- Business Center
After reading the villa features the only thing I missed was the washer and dryer in the unit. That at a beach is a nice option if you are staying longer than a few days. It is nice to wash the saltwater out of your bathing suit and dry them quickly before the next day. I just went old school during my stay and washed out my bathing suit in the shower, then hung it to dry for the morning. Not a problem.
When I caught myself doing this on the first day it brought back childhood memories, because no matter where we stayed in the 70s-80s, not a single resort had a washer and dryer in the unit.
After the check-in and resort tour, it was time to get something to eat. It was 4PM, and I had not eaten since I think 7PM the day before. I should have been starving, but I think my nap had stopped me from feeling too hungry.
A few blocks away from the resort I found Beach Side Johnny’s it looked like a neat little beach spot. The menu was just what I was looking for. For me, this meant a Louisiana Boil. It offered a little of almost everything with some nice seasonings and flavors. Great seafood and even sausage.
The meal was great, and one I would recommend to anyone. I washed it down with some sweet tea. I was full to the brim,, but I still took some dessert back with me to the resort. What is the point of having the in-room fridge if you do not use it?
Day Two at Outrigger Beach Club
I rarely do this anywhere I go but the night before I had seen the breakfast menu at Beach Side Johnny’s so in the morning I went back. I ended up with the same great waitress and joked with her that she must always work.
It was the end of the month so she was likely pulling some doubles to pay some bills. I had done the same in the early 1990s when I waited tables and or bartended some.
I ordered some Baklava Pancakes (never had them before, had to try them) and a ham and cheese omelet. This place even has kids’ breakfasts, which means they get two thumbs up family recommendation from me.
The pancakes were a neat take, and very good flavor.
It had been over a year since my last trip to the area, so today I wanted to drive around after breakfast and take things in. I started my walk down memory lane with a visit to The Casements. A property formerly owned by John D. Rockefeller and was his winter home. You can take a tour of the home and property and it is worth the visit if you like history and grand estates.
Next it was a short drive to Daytona’s Boardwalk which is a kind of old school grand central. With little beach shops, sky wheel, game rooms, go-karts, and much more. This reminded me of a much smaller boardwalk area in Hampton Roads that I used to go to with my father during my earliest memories. I searched out skeet ball and stopped and played for at least a half an hour. Finally, returning to my skill of youth. I did not win as many tickets as I once would have, but I did get the high score for the day on 3 lanes before quitting.
After playing some games and walking around, I stopped for a snack or two with some of the vendors. Kind of reminds me of state fair food truck items, which is fun.
I headed back towards the resort after a while to chill on the beach for a while until time for dinner. That is when I went to a local spot called Jimmy Hulas who’s menu is an amazing collection of yummy.
As I often enjoy, I ordered several items to get a wide idea of the menu, then if I could not eat it all. I could just take the leftovers back to the room and the fridge awaiting me. I loved the fish tacos, and the nachos I ordered. I noticed that Jimmy does a brunch on Saturday and Sundays that had its own special menu. Something to consider either on this trip or my next.
Most people do not realize that Daytona Beach was founded in 1870 and started by one man as a land investment of $1,200. Matthias D. Day purchased 3,200 acres of land including some of the now famous beach that year. In just 50 years these hard packed wide beaches would be known as the World’s most famous beach in 1920. Later in 1959 the Daytona Speedway here would hold the first Daytona 500, a racing institution for NASCAR fans the world over.
They are hosting much more than the Daytona 500 though with Bike Week, and a large annual art festival to its credit. I personally avoid bike week, not out of any concerns over the bikes or riders. I prefer the smaller seasonal crowds to the rush of bike week.
For me, the best day at the beach is one that you have the beach almost entirely to yourself. A perfect weather day, that starts with a great sunrise over the ocean.
It is easy to understand why others like the more party atmosphere of bike week. The fun in the sun is also peppered with people watching on an epic scale. I was down in the area closed to the time of year for the art festival. The Halifax Art Festival is the 2nd oldest continual art festival in the state of Florida. It offers a rare look at artists from around the United States that offer their art for sale to the public. Because of the wonderful weather in Florida, it is often held in November, so it is a great late season stop for artists to share their work.
One of these days I hope to have the time available from my business to show my own art at the festival. It is a great opportunity for artists to meet their ideal customers and talk with them about the art.
Day Three Outrigger Beach Club
Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach offer nearly 30 miles of sand and fun in the sun. This area offers some of the best wide beaches on the entire East Coast. I love Myrtle Beach South Carolina, and that is a great location. But Florida offers almost 12 full months of fun in the sun. Those extra few hundred miles towards the equator make a ton of difference in the temperatures.
Today it was the month of October, but the outside temperature for a weekend was 80 degrees. This is a full 15 degrees warmer than South Carolina today. That is the difference for me between just barely warm enough for the top to come down on the convertible to having it down all day and even being able to drive with the top down at night.
These 80-degree days in October also mean higher ocean temperature in the area as well. Which for most means you can still enjoy the ocean without a wet suit for a limited time. The ocean temps today were about 79 degrees, which is refreshing. The end of October some years may be the latest in the year some want to swim as it can dip down to 75 degrees for the water temperature. I find I am OK with temps as low as 72 or so, and that means most of November in Florida is good for an ocean swim or splash as well. The average water temperature in Daytona Beach in winter reaches 68°F, in spring 71.6°F, in summer the average temperature rises to 80.6°F, and in autumn it is 78.8°F.
You likely have guessed how I started the day then. I found myself swimming and jumping into the waves. I really like playing in the waves of the ocean. It goes back to my childhood when I was too clumsy to learn to surf and instead found myself imagining I was fighting the waves. Putting this into context I was like 8-12 and during those years I also watched more than a little wrestling, and even martial arts movies.
These days if I think there is a chance anyone living may see me, I may not do a crane kick into a wave, but I do like wading into an oncoming wave, or even (if they are large enough) diving below them and having them crash just beyond my current position. Close enough to feel the undertow created by the wave.
I spent nearly half a day playing in the ocean like a child. Any care I had about work, relationships, or the day-to-day, was beaten out of me. I was so tired when I finally pulled myself out of the sea that I flopped right out for a beachside nap around the pool at the resort. Just first saying a little prayer that I did not snore very loud and disturb others.
I woke after a while, a felt a shower was needed before heading out to get something to eat. For this lunch, I just wanted something simple because I had dinner planned at Tiki bar close by. This meant I was on the hunt for a great sandwich.
I headed for Larry’s Giant Subs. I picked sausage and peppers for my sub and was a happy man.
Next, it was time to head to Tomoka State Park to visit the area and get the feel for the untamed wild aspects of Florida. I took the path highly traveled her and went on their hike. Tomoka State Park has a half-mile interpretive trail that winds its way through a hardwood hammock that was once inhabited by Timucuan Indians. Visitors will pass through the ancient Timucuan village site of Nocoroco, a once-thriving community along the banks of the Tomoka River.
It was a nice hike for non-hikers like me. Just a half-mile, and all at sea level. It does not get much easier than that folks. After the hike, I was hungry again and it was almost time for my dinner plans with live music nearby.
If you have read my blogs before you know I love all things Polynesian. I was tempted to go right back to Jimmy Hula’s it was that good, but I wanted to try another Tiki place nearby instead.
I pointed the convertible towards Grinds Gastro Pub is having an odd name but a great feel and menu. I ended up with a Lobster Mac and Cheese that was great, and I had an appetizer brought out with the meal which was the Coconut Shrimp.
Sometimes when you eat Coconut Shrimp, you just hope it is not some frozen mess. This was great and had a nice pop of flavor. When combined with the Lobster Mac, the only thing that could have tasted better is my sister’s crab casserole. She makes a cold crab casserole that has great crab, and fresh seashell pasta with mandarin oranges. I will not give away the family recipe here, but it is great.
This was a warm version of wonderful seafood and pasta love in the Lobster Mac and Cheese. Something I would recommend to any carb addict like myself.
Another neat feature of this great joint is the live music. Most nights they have local live music. The music is great, with some talented local artists. If I owned this spot, I would stream the live music each night and use it for marketing purposes. It is that good.
After some great food, a few drinks, and the live music, I was happy to head back to the resort for some rest before my long drive home. This trip I was going to stay with a friend in Myrtle Beach one night on the way home. It is a little out of the way but almost a midway point in the trip, so that should make the trip home easier, doing it in two parts.
I was sad to leave this resort because of the beachfront access and the old-school look and feel. Sometimes it is really nice to go back in time, a little from some of the overdone resorts, and it is always great to save with TZort.