(Pictured: Spruce Creek Park in Port Orange)
If you are looking to move to the Daytona Beach area you may wonder what it's like for those who have made the decision before you. Here's my story...
My family and I moved to Volusia County in December 2006. At the time, my son was just 5.5 months old and my daughter had recently turned two. We came to this area, after first going to and considering the Tampa area, because I had vacationed in Daytona Beach with my grandparents for three weeks when I was 18 years old. They vacationed here every year for decades, and when I thought of Florida it was the Daytona Beach area that I always had in mind. I loved the place!
When we first moved to the area we lived in a new apartment complex off the freeway in Ormond Beach. It was nice, new, and a bit expensive. We knew we wanted to buy a home and we immediately began looking at houses and checking out the various cities in the area. We took a look at Ormond Beach, Port Orange, and New Smyrna Beach. We did not consider West Volusia, because I had my heart set more on being closer to beach access.
Ormond Beach was really nice, but most of the communities seemed out of our budget. I really liked some parts of New Smyrna Beach, but after looking into the schools I wasn’t all that impressed. Then we checked out Port Orange. I remember driving down Dunlawton, loving all the trees and the small town feel. We went to look at some houses in the Waters Edge community and we were hooked. We knew we liked that neighborhood and Port Orange, so our search was over (at least for the community, then our search began for the house).
What I love about Port Orange is that they have great schools, a city council that listens to the residents, and I think living here provides a great quality of life. We are within 15 minutes of the ocean, minutes from everything in Daytona Beach, the kids have plenty of activities to get involved in, and we enjoy an area with less crime. We are also surrounded by a lot of great things, such as all the beautiful outdoor parks and nature trails in the county, and we are only a short drive from places like Orlando, St. Augustine, and Merritt Island.
We did buy a home in the Waters Edge community (although there are many other nice neighborhoods in Port Orange). I still love my home and I enjoy living in Port Orange, but there are a couple of issues I’ve been disappointed with. I am disappointed by the number of rental units that are in the community I bought my home in. On my street I can look out the window and across the street from me four out of the five houses I see are rental units. All down my street there are rentals. People are always moving in and out. That’s not how I pictured the community to be when we bought, but that’s how it has been the eight years we have been here. I do love that we have a little produce stand nearby.
Another disappointment for me has been the growth of Port Orange. What drew me to this city, the small town feel and many trees, has been chipped away in recent years, making way for more and more fast food restaurants and businesses. They may bring more revenue to the city, but they are changing the feel and look of the city I thought was so beautiful that day I drove down Dunlawton.
Overall, I enjoy living in Port Orange, and I think it’s a great place to raise my children. I’m sure there would be a few cons anywhere, but there are a lot of pros to this city that makes me happy to call it home. We love living in Florida. It's a state that offers so much to do (especially for us nature lovers), and it's just a beautiful place.
- Jacqueline Bodnar
(Pictured below: My family and I enjoying the area we live in).