Located just minutes south of Daytona Beach and about an hour northeast of Orlando is the quaint seaside town of Ponce Inlet.
Ponce Inlet is known for its rich history and small town atmosphere, but it still offers up all of the essentials for living right along the Atlantic Coast, as well as access to other amenities in the bigger cities nearby.
Ponce Inlet History
The area that would eventually become Ponce Inlet was first explored by Ponce de Leon all the way back in 1513. But the community is actually named after Anthony Ponce, who was one of the original settlers of the area in the early 1800s.
The famous Ponce Inlet lighthouse was built in 1887, but it wasn’t until 1963 that the town of Ponce Inlet was officially incorporated.
The iconic tower has been restored a handful of times over the years, and is still in operation today, listed as an operational private aid to navigation. It stands tall over the community and acts as a lasting symbol of the rich history this area prides itself on.
Ponce Inlet Demographics
At the time when it was incorporated, the town of Ponce Inlet was home to less than a few hundred people. The population moved north of 1,000 residents during the 1980s, and it has continued to rise ever since. During the 2010 census, there were a total of 3,032 residents, and that number is estimated to have grown even higher today.
Ponce Inlet Lifestyle
The lifestyle in Ponce Inlet is all about nature, quiet, and privacy. This is a community with a small town feel that loves to celebrate its rich history. The focal point of that history is the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, which attracts more than 80,000 visitors on an annual basis. It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and the second tallest lighthouse in the country, so it is visible from just about everywhere in the community.
In addition to appreciating the lighthouse and local history, the Ponce Inlet lifestyle also involves the open seas. There are multiple marinas in town where you will find all kinds of private and charter boats. So if you are interested in heading out for a sunset cruise or a fishing adventure, there is always one available here.
Ponce Inlet Culture
Just as the lifestyle in Ponce Inlet starts with the lighthouse, so do the local cultural attractions. The lighthouse museum is the most popular attraction in town, and people come from all over the world to visit. The former keeper’s quarters have been turned into exhibits that detail what life would have been like for those who were tasked with keeping the light on.
In addition to the lighthouse, there is also the Marine Science Center, which is a great place to learn more about our local aquatic wildlife.
Ponce Inlet Dining
When you are looking for a meal with a view in Ponce Inlet, the place that you want to start is Hidden Treasure Rum Bar & Grill. This fun and quirky restaurant specializes in unique local rums and delicious food that represents all parts of Florida.
Hungry history buffs and fans of stock car racing need to pay a visit to Racing’s North Turn Restaurant and Racing Museum, which sits on the exact location where racing history began in Daytona Beach.
From their website:
“The first races in Daytona took place on the beach starting in 1936 until World War II and then continued with the first Grand National Race in 1948. These great car races ran right here outside the door of Racing’s North Turn each year until 1958, when NASCAR relocated to the brand new Super Speedway.”
While the history on display here will blow you away, the food will knock your socks off too.
For pizza lovers in Ponce Inlet, Jerry’s Pizzeria Tiki Bar & Grill combines some of the best slices in town with the environment you would expect from a small town located right on the Atlantic coast. Since we are combining passions with this tiki bar pizzeria, you should definitely go out on a limb and try The Santa Maria, which is a pizza topped with shrimp, clams, scallops, and mussels.
Ponce Inlet Real Estate
Housing options in Ponce Inlet include a mix of condos, townhouses, and single-family homes, with a median home value in the $300k’s. Taking a look at what’s currently on the market will give you a good idea of what to expect.
A lot of people fall in love with Ponce Inlet and want to visit her often, but decide they’d rather live a little closer to town. For those people, Port Orange is a natural choice.
Over the bridge in Port Orange you have a bigger selection of housing and community options, but you’re still just 10-15 minutes away from everything Ponce Inlet has to offer.
As far as communities here on the central east coast of Florida go, the one you’ll hear most about in the coming years is Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach, a partnership between Minto Communities and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville brand.
The community began sales in late 2017 and so far more than 500 homes have been sold in this community planned for more than 6,000 homes.
As you might have suspected, Latitude Margaritaville is being designed to reflect the Margaritaville lifestyle, including the look and feel of its homes, which will feature an Old Florida/Key West architectural style. Some of the amenities residents will enjoy at Latitude Margaritaville include a fitness center with an aerobics studio, an indoor lap pool and spa, indoor and outdoor dining with signature Margaritaville food and beverage concepts, arts and learning programs for residents and guests, a resort pool area with beach entry, and a band shell for live entertainment.
The lifestyle in this area is absolutely perfect for anyone looking to retire to a small beachfront community that is just close enough to a couple of big cities that are filled with amenities.
If fishing during the day and taking a relaxing stroll along the beach in the evening sound like a dream retirement for you, then Ponce Inlet or nearby Port Orange should definitely be on your short list.