DeLand, Florida - The charming City of DeLand isn’t far from the Orlando metro area, which is the home to more than a dozen theme parks, but it can seem a million miles away. DeLand has its own personality. It's distinct and much quieter than its more famous neighbor just down the road.
DeLand is a pretty, historic central Florida town with a slower pace. Nestled between Orlando and Daytona on the St. Johns River, it was founded in 1876. There is history on every corner of town. Most of the buildings built in the 1870s are preserved and in use today. What was once a grocery store or the Western Union office is now a restaurant or hip boutique. Stetson University founded in 1883 is the heart of the city. DeLand is authentic Old Florida.
The city hosts an array of special events each year, including the Artisan Alley Farmers & Indie Market every Friday evening from 6 – 9 p.m., A Taste of DeLand every January, at which Local restaurants will serve up their specialties to raise funds to benefit the MainStreet DeLand Association, The DeLand Craft Beer Festival is the Premier Event of Volusia Beer Week, held every February. There is the DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, Voted "Best Florida Outdoor Fine Art Festival" by Florida Living, and showcasing the works of about 175 juried artists from across the USA. These events just tip the iceberg, as there are many more events and celebrations all year-long in DeLand.
DeLand boasts a historic downtown, and was voted America’s Main Street in 2017. There are many quaint businesses and restaurants downtown, including many with outdoor seating.
The art scene downtown is quite vibrant. DeLand boasts several museums, including the Museum of Art. The museum hosts many rotating exhibits, gallery talks, receptions, educational programming, workshops and special events throughout the year. The Gillespie Museum of Art is on the campus of Stetson University. It has been a center for earth and environmental science education for over 60 years. It houses a historic mineral collection, with 1000 of its specimens on display in rotating exhibits. . There are also galleries devoted to natural history, Florida ecosystems, fluorescent minerals and volcanic activity and phenomena. There are additional museums in DeLand, including the Deland Naval Air Station Museum. It may be small, but it’s packed with historic artifacts and information about those who’ve served our country in the military. The museum staff share wonderful stories gleaned from talking with the veterans who have toured the museum. There are several planes on site.
There is so much to see and participate in in downtown DeLand that it’s impossible to mention it all in one blog. But don’t fail to visit DeLand at Christmastime. I am smitten with the giant toy soldiers on the street corners and the extensive lights and decorations installed by the City, as well as the shop owners.
And, of course, awaiting down the road is Orlando. The attractions there shouldn’t be missed on any trip to central Florida. But travelers who choose to visit DeLand will certainly experience and interact with a slice of Old Florida that is difficult to find post Disney.
DeLand rentals for Stetson University or DeLand events and celebrations:
If you are planning a trip to DeLand, Florida for Stetson University Campus visits, commencements, reunions or other events and need a rental, consider a stay at our Flamingo Bungalow. It's a beautiful, comfortable vacation rental home in DeLand.
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