Best Things To Do In DeLand Florida
We independently research and recommend any products or places but we may earn a commission if you click on links we provide. Learn More.
DeLand is a charming town that is located in Central Florida. It was once known as the Persimmon Hollow because of many wild persimmons growing there. Today, you can find traces of its historic past dating all the way to the 1800’s. Part of this history is Henry Addison DeLand, a magnate from New York who envisioned building a citrus and tourism center in the area. He bought the land and established the town, naming it after himself. After the center didn’t work out due to a freeze destroying the citrus crops, DeLand went back home to New York but the town remained.
DeLand is a short drive away from Orlando and makes a great day trip if you’re visiting the area. It is one of the best small towns in Florida and perfect if you’re looking for a quiet getaway from the crowds. While it is a small town, there are plenty of things to do in DeLand.
1. Downtown/Main Street
One of the best ways to spend time in DeLand is to roam around the main street. There are many shops and restaurants that are fun to stop by, murals to find and little places where you can just sit back and enjoy the outdoors while people watching.
Since DeLand is a historic town, be on the lookout for historic buildings and unique architecture. One of these buildings is The Opera House. Although now it houses businesses and apartments, the historic building was once a center for plays and entertainment. There are other nearby markers to see such as the Circa 1885 and the Early Grocery Stores marker which is the site of the first grocery store.
2. Athens Theatre
You can’t miss the Athens Theatre while in DeLand. Not only is it one of the buildings that stands out architecturally in the town, it is an important part of the town’s history. The theatre was designed in 1921 by a prominent Orlando architect in an Italian Renaissance style.
After the theatre opened, it became the center of the town and one of the main entertainment hubs for people in the town. Opening night drew in people with a movie and a thrilling live theatre performance. Over the years, touring performers got to feature live stage shows in the theatre as well as many movies and even hosted community parties.
In the late 1900’2 the theatre fell into disrepair but has since been restored to its former glory. The theatre today has a theatrical season featuring various productions, concert performances, and other events and movies. The tickets are available to purchase online if you want to see a show at the DeLand Theatre.
3. Explore The Shops
One of the all-time favorite pastimes in DeLand is to roam around the shops. There are many shops with unique items whether you are looking for chic décor for your home, a unique gift for a loved one, or a new book to read.
For books, visit Cliff’s Books or the Muse Book Shop where the large variety of used books will help you find your next read. At Anna Bananas Home Market and Baker & Co Home Mercantile you can get a beautiful décor item to make your home look stunning.
If you love the hunt for special antiques there are many antique and collectible shops. One of these places is the Marketplace at Rivertown where you will find a little bit of everything. The shop is a few stories high and filled with collectibles including clothing, dishes, furniture and other vintage finds.
4. Get Delicious Food
While there may be more great places to eat in DeLand, our surprising favorite is the little café, Boston Coffee House. This popular little place is brimming with customers and it’s no surprise after trying the food, it is delicious.
This quaint coffeehouse chain serves up coffee drinks, breakfast items, and sandwiches. The sandwich bread is infused with herbs which takes the sandwich to the next level, the lobster bisque is one of the best in the area, and you can’t leave the café without trying one of the decadent pastries. It is a great spot for breakfast or lunch in DeLand.
Other restaurant favorites in DeLand include The Table that serves Southern inspired elegant dishes, Cress Restaurant, and Bake Chop which are all excellent options for dinner in DeLand. For dessert, be sure to stop by Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe for a taste of Key Lime Pie that is just like in Key West.
5. Do The Mural Walk
Did you know DeLand has its very own angel wings mural? The beautiful angel wings mural is one of the top places where you can take an Instagram photo capturing your visit to DeLand Florida. However, there are many more murals to explore on the DeLand mural walk that are just as beautiful.
One of the largest, colorful and detailed murals to see is the Pioneers at the Parceland mural which is located on the wall of a building at Rich Ave. and Woodland Blvd at the Pioneer park. Along with the murals, be sure to be on the lookout for sculptures as you walk around the town.
6. Historic Volusia County Courthouse
One of the most recognizable buildings in DeLand is the county courthouse. The Historic Volusia County Courthouse dates all the way back to 1929 when it was first built. The land was previously donated by Henry A. DeLand in 1888 in order to build a courthouse. The building was designed in a Neoclassical style featuring Corinthian columns, vaulted arches, marble staircase, and the distinctive copper clad dome.
The county courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a part of the historic downtown. It is located next to the Athens Theatre and a few steps away from the main street. If you decide to pick up a postcard from DeLand, there are many postcards that capture the beauty of this building.
7. The Art Museum
There are two locations of the Museum of Art in DeLand that are open to visit. One is located in downtown DeLand and the other one is further along the same street. The museum hosts rotating exhibits with different artists and artwork styles, gallery talks, workshops and other events. It is dedicated to collecting, preserving and displaying fine arts as well as being the source of cultural focus.
If you only have time to visit one branch, the museum in downtown DeLand is close in proximity to all of the other worthy stops. Once you visit the museum on the second floor, be sure to stop by the shop on the first to peruse the unique items in their store. The museums are closed on Mondays but are open from Tuesday to Sunday.
8. Stetson Mansion
Having been built in 1886 by hat magnate John B. Stetson, the Stetson Mansion is Florida’s most historic mansion of its size. It was built during what is known as the “Gilded Age” and was the most innovative luxury home of its time.
The mansion is a blend of a variety of styles but has classic details that shine throughout the years. The large home is three stories high and sits on acres of land along with a school house that first served as a kitchen and then as a school house once a kitchen was added to the main house.
Being from an affluent circle, the Stetson family held many parties and get togethers that hosted well-known names such as Henry Flagler, President Grover Cleveland, the Vanderbilts, the Carnegies, and many others.
Another noteworthy friend of the family was Thomas Edison who supervised the electrical install at the mansion. Stetson Mansion was one of the first homes to be built with electricity designed by Edison. Not only was the home designed with electricity, there was also steam heat, indoor plumbing, and a call bell system.
The mansion is only open for tours certain times of the year so be sure to look ahead on their calendar if you want to visit. At Christmastime, the mansion transforms into a glistening festive home, decorated beautifully complete with a Christmas tree making it one of the best places to visit for Christmas in Florida.
9. DeLand Farmer’s Market
Deland has a vibrant farmer’s market that is open every Friday. The marketplace gets filled up with over 80 vendors selling fresh local produce, plants, honey, baked goods, art & crafts, jewelry, clothing, and various other goods. This is one of the few farmer’s markets that is open in the evenings from 6 to 9 pm. and is located in the Artisan Alley. Be sure to stop by Midnight Sun Ice Cream truck for some delicious ice cream treats.
10. Bill Dreggors Park
Another place in DeLand that is on the National Register of Historic Places is the Bill Dreggors Park. It was named after William J. “Bill” Dreggors who worked on preserving the area’s history. The park is a hidden gem in DeLand that is perfect for a family-friendly outing and a great place to get out into nature.
The beautiful butterfly garden is a great place to sit and watch for butterflies. There is a themed butterfly sculpture and a butterfly bench that complete this garden. The park also has a large playground for kids, pavilions for parties, a paved loop for jogging, public restrooms, and plenty of grass for a nice picnic.
11. Naval Air Station Museum
What started out as a municipal airport later became a Naval Air Station. After years of operating as a military base, it was eventually shut down and around 50 years after the opening of the base, the museum came to be. The building that the museum is housed in, is the former Chief Master at Arms House and was restored in 1995.
The museum focuses on the history of the Naval Air Station in DeLand and has many exhibits including various military artifacts, vintage photographs, military art and the impressive Navy F-14 Tomcat. To go on a tour of the museum, get to the museum early on Wednesday or Saturday from 8am to 12pm.
12. Skydive DeLand
If you’re someone who loves thrilling adventures, then going skydiving in DeLand might be the perfect activity. This skydiving base has been operating since 1982 teaching and enjoying this action-packed sport. They work with skydivers of all levels so whether you are experienced or a first time jumper, Skydive DeLand has experienced instructors for every step of the way. There are two training options which include a tandem jump going right into the freefall training program. The jump is from nearly 14,000 feet and you can expect to spend around 3-4 hours for the whole process.
13. Reptile Discovery Center
The Reptile Discovery Center is about 15 minutes from downtown DeLand but it is worth the drive. With over one hundred 5 star reviews this place is fun for the whole family. There, you will get to see all kinds of reptile species including lizards, alligators, tortoises and more on the outdoor exhibits. Stepping into the indoor exhibits you will see a large variety of snakes like cobras, mambas, python, rattlesnakes, and a taipan.
However perhaps the most fascinating part of this visit is seeing the venom extraction program. The center is a facility that collects venom from a wide variety of snakes and ships it around the world for making anti-venom and for use in medical research. The live program is given at 11:30am and 3:00pm Thursday through Saturday and once at 11:30 on Sunday. If you choose, there is also an option for an interactive experience with some of the snakes where you can pet or hold the snake.
14. Stay At DeLand Hotel
This 1925 boutique hotel is the oldest operating hotel in DeLand. The DeLand Hotel retains its original architecture and charm while delivering upgraded and modern room amenities. Marvel at the classic red façade, the vintage furniture, vaulted ceilings with chandeliers, and the clawfoot tubs which all give extra charm to this historic hotel. Located just minutes away from the Stetson University and downtown DeLand, the hotel is one of the best places to stay in DeLand Florida.
15. Visit Nearby Springs
DeLand is surrounded by some of the most stunning springs in Florida. The DeLeon Springs State Park is a short drive away from DeLand making it a great day trip to see the stunning clear blue water. The entrance fee to the park is just $6 per vehicle after which you can spend the whole day at the park. You can swim and snorkel at the springs or launch a boat or kayak and slowly make your way through the water. While the DeLeon Springs are located on the north side of DeLand, another fantastic option is the Blue Springs State Park south of DeLand. There, the water is mesmerizingly beautiful and you have a high chance of seeing manatees in Florida.