True hospitality and Southern charm can be hard to come by these days, but resting just along the St. John's River lies small-town DeLand
and surrounding Deltona. Downtown DeLand, a unique little town nestled in central Florida, is located approximately 35 miles east of Orlando, making it the perfect suburban getaway from the city life. Home to a lovely historical district with unique boutiques, lush landscaping and weekly events, many visitors stroll down the streets while practically taking a trip back in time to simpler days. DeLand is also home to the Hatters, the colloquial term for students at Stetson University, a prominent private university dating back to the 1800s. The area is rich in culture with common performances in the historic Athens Theater and multiple museums recounting the neighborhood's rich history.
Schools in Outer Deland/Deltona
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Where are the most common eateries in any small town America? That's easy: Main Street. Mainstreet DeLand is actually a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the areas of downtown DeLand that are rich in history and promote Southern hospitality.
The Bill & Frank’s Brickhouse Grill is located just down the street from the intersection of New York Avenue and Woodland Boulevard. Its specialties include hand-cut steaks and live entertainment on the weekends. With the combination of food and nightlife, it is the perfect destination to grab a bite to eat with the gang before sipping on drinks at the bar for the evening.
While you won't find many fist-pumping nightclubs in the DeLand area, you will find eclectic wine bars and down-to-earth venues for local bands. Cafe DaVinci calls itself Central Florida's Best Original Live Music Venue and hosts live concerts every Thursday through Sunday in its 5,000 square foot outdoor courtyard. Patrons enjoy the open air, great drinks, and festive lights overhanging the courtyard for an ambiance similar to what would be found in New Orleans. For a quieter experience, guests enjoy Abbey Wine and Beer Bar, which delivers a cozy atmosphere with a friendly staff and a varied selection of craft beer and wine. Whether it is day or night, the aura of Southern hospitality never leaves downtown DeLand.
History & Culture
Once called Persimmon Hollow, the area of Deland was covered in wild persimmons and lush forests along the banks of the St. Johns River. Deland was originally settled by Native Americans until the second Seminole War in 1841, and many Native artifacts are on display throughout the city. Later, in 1871, Henry DeLand visited and had visions of creating a citrus and tourism epicenter. By 1882, the city was officially under development and named after its founder. Not long after, in 1884, DeLand Academy was inaugurated and opened its doors to students. Today, DeLand Hall, the first academic building built on the campus remains the oldest building in Florida continuously used for higher education. In 1889, the school was renamed John B. Stetson University and later developed Florida's first law school in 1900. Today, many of the original buildings still house students for classes daily.
Public transportation is uncommon in DeLand, and most residents and visitors travel by personal vehicle. The downtown area is very walkable, but getting to and from anywhere else requires a vehicle. Free parking is readily available, however, on-street parking is limited to two hours and some lots are only open during specified times, so be sure to read the signs or face being towed. If you're looking to get out of town, DeLand is home to an Amtrak train station with routes servicing Georgia, the Carolinas and up through Washington DC and New York City. In the city, a public bus system is available, known as the Votran, which costs $1.50 per ride. The service is not often used by locals, which means buses are not overly crowded. Interstate 4, the major highway connecting DeLand to Orlando or Daytona Beach, is nearby and allows easy access to larger cities in either direction.
Not surprisingly, the cost of living in DeLand is lower than the national average by about 10 percent, with the only exceptions being transportation and grocery. With the lack of available public transportation, it is not surprising that these numbers are higher. The median price of a home in DeLand is $130,000 while the average rental rate is $660 per month, with one-bedrooms
going from $678 to $750. Going out for drinks on the weekend definitely will not break the bank, so it is the perfect neighborhood for college students or small families. A beer at a pub will run from $3 to $6.
Mainstreet DeLand shopping is one of the most common reasons for anyone to visit DeLand. The 19th century buildings that line Woodland Boulevard are filled with unique shops and boutiques that make the perfect destination for window-shopping. If you're in search for the perfect gift, you will have no problem finding it at one of the many specialty shops in downtown. Funky Trunk Treasures features crafts and artwork by local artisans including handmade jewelry, wallets, and art. An abundance of home decor stores include Pretty Little Things and Nest, while fashion-forward shoppers will enjoy the clothing selections at Lace and Accessories or Dressed Boutique. Searching for goat milk soap? There's even a shop dedicated to the specialty at La Petite Ferme Consignment shops are also a popular-visit choices and thrifting is a favorite activity of the local college students.
DeLand's parks make the perfect destination for a lazy Sunday with the family or for the college students to scope out a spot to study on the grass. Bill Dreggors Park and Freedom Playground is a popular choice and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Complete with a butterfly garden, veterans' memorial wall and apothecary exhibit, the park is one of the best choices for relaxation and entertainment. For animal lovers, Barkley Square Dog Park is a fully fenced off-leash dog park complete with a beautiful pond in the center, so your furry friend can jump in for a swim to cool down. Other local parks and walking paths include Sunflower Park, Highland Park and Eastside Park, which is complete with a basketball court and horseshoe pits.
Just outside of DeLand, there lies the summertime treasure of DeLeon Springs State Park, which is a local favorite to beat the central Florida heat. The natural fresh water spring, which is a constant 72 degrees year-round, allows for swimming and kayaking. The area has been known to be the home of gators, so keep an eye out when paddling The park is also famous for the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant, which allows patrons to cook their own pancakes on the in-table griddle. Come hungry, because the pancakes are unlimited and offer original buttermilk or five-flour flavors, also complete with your choice of mix-ins Admission to the state park is $6.00 per vehicle. DeLand is full of events including Tropical Nights in the summertime, full of steel drums and limbo contests, while the fourth Friday of every month brings out local artisans and bands for a night of fun in downtown. No matter what time of year, DeLand will most likely always have some sort of small-town event going on, which is what makes the neighborhood so lovable.