My Weekend in Downtown DeLand and West Volusia Trip Report

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Like many Floridians, I have enjoyed a day at Blue Spring State Park and Downtown DeLand. However, I recently learned that these are just part of the areas that make up West Volusia, Florida! Just north of Orlando, this part of the county is a hidden gem with all sorts of restaurants and attractions.

Thanks to West Volusia, my sister Nancy and I got to spend a weekend here experiencing all the exciting attractions in Downtown DeLand and beyond. This includes, nature trails, freshwater springs, cafes, breweries and much more! I will share everything I was able to do during my trip to West Volusia, Florida and why its worth experiencing for yourself in this trip report.

Full Disclosure: I received a sponsored trip to West Volusia because of my blog. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

central florida hidden gem

Things to Do in West Volusia

We only had a weekend to spend here and that barely scratched the surface of things to do in Downtown DeLand and West Volusia! We focused on nature activities during the day and experiencing the downtown scene in the evening. I recommend following that format for your own trip and you can easily find enough experiences to fill a whole week! Here are some of the highlights.

Blue Spring State Park

One of the two freshwater springs to explore in West Volusia is Blue Spring State Park. I have been here before, both in the summer for swimming and in the winter to check out the hundreds of manatees that flock here. You can also hike the 3.6-mile Pine Island Trail, scuba dive in the caverns and visit the Thursby House Museum at this exhilarating state park.

Saint Johns River

Conveniently next to Blue Spring is the Saint Johns River. On this visit, we went rented a kayak and spent an hour paddling around the island here. For October, this is a refreshing way to get a taste of the wildlife. The lack of shade makes it more of a challenge in the summer, but you can take a boat tour instead! The shaded pontoon provides a two-hour tour complete with fun facts and more often than not, manatee sightings!

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

Another nature spot you won’t want to miss is the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. This 1,000-acre refuge is home to alligators, bald eagles and over 215 species of birds. Because of that, it is one of the best bird watching spots in Florida. If you want to get some exercise, there are also fifteen miles of biking and hiking trails. Make sure to look out for the Wings of the West mural hidden here too!

De Leon Springs

The other spring that West Volusia is home to is De Leon Springs, just north of DeLand. This is another excellent state park for swimming in the cool water. However, the main attraction here is the Old Sugar Mill. They serve a griddle your own pancake breakfast! We had a blast making our own pancakes and adding toppings like chocolate chips and blueberries. Other activities here include a boat tour, nature trails and fishing. You can spend a whole day at De Leon Springs!

de leon springs west volusia

Downtown DeLand

A visit to West Volusia would not be complete without some time in Historic Downtown DeLand. This is where we stayed and it is the center of all the action. There are so many restaurants, bars, shops and attractions like the Athens Theatre all within walking distance.

Artisan Alley Farmers Market

If you happen to be in Downtown DeLand on a Friday night, then you must check out the DeLand Artisan Alley Farmers Market. Every Friday, this downtown road is lined with local artisan wares, fresh produce and food vendors. I was especially charmed by the Rockburn Woodwork signs and the Centro tea stand!

Wings of the West Mural Tour

I am a huge fan of street art and love discovering murals all over Florida. That’s why I was thrilled to learn about the Wings of the West murals spread throughout West Volusia. In addition to the popular angel wings downtown, they have spread more winged murals throughout the county, including bird, butterfly and biplane wings! There are six total and you can make a fun scavenger hunt out of getting photo ops with these.

wings of the west pic

More Things to Do in DeLand and West Volusia

Nancy and I had a very full three day weekend, but there were still a lot of things we didn’t get to do in West Volusia! Nature lovers should also check out Hontoon Island State Park, the Lyonia Preserve or take an airboat ride. History buffs can also find interesting things to do in DeLand, like tour the Stetson Mansion and the Cassadaga Historic District. Lastly, adrenaline junkies have a chance to skydive here!

Deland Historic District Restaurants

The Downtown Deland Historic District is known for a variety of excellent restaurants of all sorts of cuisines and price ranges. Though you can find tasty places to eat across West Volusia, Florida, we mainly stuck to this area due to its concentration of restaurants near the Courtyard DeLand we were staying at. Here are all the restaurants in Downtown DeLand we tried during our weekend trip.

The Table

We started off the trip with an amazing dinner at The Table on Friday night. This cozy Downtown DeLand restaurant offers upscale Southern cuisine for brunch, lunch and dinner. We enjoyed a cheese board, shrimp and grits and vegetarian croquettes on the outdoor patio. This is a must-visit for foodies and they have a lot of vegetarian options too!

the table downtown deland

Trilogy Coffee

The next morning, we visited Trilogy Coffee for some caffeine and found out they served breakfast too! This adorable café has a large assortment of coffee and tea. We liked their cold brew and lattes. We also found breakfast to be affordable and tasty. The avocado toast on sourdough was delectable and Nancy loved their breakfast sandwich.

Santorini Greek Cuisine

Many locals recommended Santorini for lunch in DeLand and I am always down for some Greek food. I was worried there would be a long wait for this little eatery, but they served us fast and efficiently. Even better, the food was fantastic. I had the best falafel gyro I have had in ages here along with a zesty Greek salad. They also had some unique options you don’t usually see in Greek eateries. Whether you are feeling traditional or adventurous, you will have an wonderful meal here!

Urban Brick

For our last night, I was in the mood for pasta. There are a few options to choose from, but Urban Brick stood out to us with its artisanal, Italian menu. We split the spicy penne alla vodka, the meatballs and the caesar salad, which is just what we were seeking in fall meal. They even had a refreshing caramel apple sangria to go with it!

urban brick deland

The DeLand Best Restaurants We Didn’t Try

With just a weekend trip, we barely scratched the surface on where to eat in Downtown DeLand. I was so happy with all the places we did try, but I know I missed some of the other DeLand best restaurants. This includes De La Vega for tapas, Chica’s for Cuban food, BakeChop for sandwiches and Artisan Taqueria for Mexican food in DeLand.

The West Volusia CoolCraft Beverage Trail

If you are looking for things to do in DeLand at night, or even during the day, there is no shortage of bars and breweries to have a drink at. We found the nightlife here to be right up our alley, with plenty of live music and unique concoctions at bars throughout Downtown DeLand. There are over a dozen establishments to check out on the CoolCraft Beverage Trail for a fun beverage and you can even get a free coozie if you visit five of them! Here are my favorite bars in DeLand.

Persimmon Hollow

For craft beer lovers, Persimmon Hollow is the must visit brewery in Downtown DeLand. This spot has been distributing their Beach Hippie IPA and other Florida favorites for a while, but only at the brewery can you taste their full selection of brews. My sister and I loved the Gypsy Hike New England IPA and the Hollowtoberfest Marzen, but they had a tap list with something for everyone, no matter what beer style you prefer.

persimmon hollow deland

Hemingway’s 442

Located in the DeLand Hotel, Hemingway’s 442 is a classic Old Florida spot. The bar has a refined feel with wood and a definitive chandelier. It felt like something out of the 1920’s and the menu reflected that as well. I had a handcrafted tequila cocktail that was simple, yet elegant. They also serve wine and beer in addition to their speakeasy cocktails.

Odd Elixir & Abbey Bar

It’s rare that one finds a mead bar in a small town like DeLand, but Abbey Bar, serves not only house made mead, but also craft beer and wine. Even if it is out of your comfort zone, I recommend trying a flight of mead that is made on site by Odd Elixir. I was blown away by the flavors of both their pumpkin mead and key lime mead! Between flavorful beverages and the cozy bar, Abbey Bar is an essential DeLand experience.

The Elusive Grape

On the other hand, wine enthusiasts need to visit the Elusive Grape, especially on weekend nights. We came on a Friday and were impressed by both the wine selection and the live music. You can also get cheese, charcuterie and appetizers if you want a snack or simply enjoy the variety of California and Washington wines like we did.


Of all the West Volusia CoolCraft Beverage Trail options, Sidecar Bar & Market really stood out to me. This bar is completely on theme with a midcentury feel and vintage shop to go with it. You can find a vast selection of Florida craft beer here, as well as wine, hard seltzers and cocktails. Between the appetizing drinks and delightful shop, we stayed at Sidecar for hours!

sidecar deland

More West Volusia Bars to Try

There are still so many places to drink at in DeLand and West Volusia that we didn’t get to try, but of course, we will be back for more soon! For breweries in West Volusia, Central 28 Beer Company and Blue Spring Brewery always have top notch beers on their tap lists.  Café DaVinci is the place to go for dancing in Downtown DeLand, along with the Blind Pig for nightlife. For nonalcoholic refreshments in West Volusia, be sure to check out Kermit’s Key Lime Shop.

Where to Stay in Downtown Deland

If you want a fun filled weekend in West Volusia like we had, I recommend staying for at least two nights. Getting a hotel in Downtown DeLand is ideal, since it is a central location. We stayed at the Courtyard DeLand Downtown. This was an excellent spot with spacious rooms, a pool and fire pit area and a modern style.  Rates are around $150 per night, or about 20,000 Marriott points.

downtown deland courtyard mariott

Other hotels in Downtown DeLand include the DeLand Hotel and the Historic Artisan Downtown hotel. Both are also within walking distance to Main Street DeLand and offer a boutique setting. If you are feeling extra adventurous, you can even book a stay on a house boat!

Know Before You Go: West Volusia and DeLand Trip Tips

Whether you are a Floridian looking to try something new or from out of state and eager to explore an authentic part of Florida, West Volusia is an awesome place to visit! I hope this trip report provided some ideas for where to eat and things to do in Downtown DeLand and beyond. Before your own West Volusia trip, keep these tips in mind.

  • Downtown DeLand is an hour from Orlando International Airport and half an hour from the Sanford airport.
  • Though you could walk to many restaurants and shops in DeLand, I recommend bringing or renting a car so you can explore the surrounding nature areas.
  • The best time to visit West Volusia is October through May, when the weather isn’t as humid. If you do go in the summer, be sure to cool off at the springs!
  • My favorite Downtown DeLand restaurants were The Table, Santorini, Urban Brick and Trilogy Coffee.
  • Things to do in DeLand and West Volusia include Blue Spring State Park, De Leon Springs State Park, The Artisan Farmers Market, Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge and kayaking or boat tours on Saint Johns River.
  • My favorite CoolCraft beverage stops were Sidecar, Persimmon Hollow Brewing, Odd Elixir and the Elusive Grape.

Have you been to DeLand before? Let me know what your favorite things to do here is if you have! To find out more things to do in Central Florida, check out my guide to Orlando Things to Do here!

things to do in downtown deland florida