Friday, May 20, 2011

Daytona Kitsch

If you've followed this blog, you know I'm a big fan of Florida kitsch and historically Daytona Beach has had more than its share. I have a brochure published by the Daytona Beach Area Chamber of Commerce in 1967 and sadly much of that Daytona no longer exists. The beach cottages, motor courts and mid-century Googie style motels are mostly all gone. But there are some great themed motels, probably from the 1970s, that are equally eye catching.

Having spent very little time there since my brother finished photography school there years ago, I recently drove up A1A to check out the current condition commercial beach side architecture. Despite lots of ugly recent additions and empty beach front lots caused by hurricanes and the economy, I found a few of my favorites still intact.

Miss Dixie graces the front of my 1967 guide to the "World's Most Famous Beach." I wish A1A was still lined with properties like these:

Here's some of my favorite kitschy survivors, the Hawaiian Inn, the Aku Tiki Inn and the Sun Viking Inn.

In addition to giant tiki idols, viking statues and viking boats, Daytona has one of my favorite pieces of sculptural signage, the Jantzen diving girl located near the boardwalk. The Oregon based swimwear company first started using the diving girl as it's corporate symbol in the 1920s and an updated version is still in use today. I'm told that the fiberglass beauty in Daytona is one of only a handful that are still intact. Perhaps her streamline form helps her slice through hurricane winds and any other adversity that blows her way...

Zebra image from the State Archives of Florida


  1. oh...i do love Daytona. My mom went to high school there and grew up. I kinda got to grow up there between the ages of infant to 13 - then we actually moved there and I got to go to HS as well. This place is home for me. So many memories. Thank you for the reminder of good times growing up!

  2. I will always associate Daytona with you, because the only time I went was with you and Marda. I still have the beaded belt I bought!

  3. great posting, i love the font on the brochure
    on the gulf coast here in pinellas county there is the same problem, older properties dissappearing being replaced by ones with less character, gones are the days of tikis , diving girls and vikings on the beach

  4. Really love this, it reminds me of the Florida of my youth. The tiki reminds me of a smaller tiki statue at the Beachcomber, a hotel my family used to vacation at in Venice. Great memories, thanks for posting this!

  5. Do you remember Kapok Tree Inn being in Daytona, Fl? If you have any info about it or where it was located, please let me know.
    It opened in 1979 and I have no idea when it closed. Most likely around 1989.