Down the coast, the tide and current problems begin to ease and soon you'll reach Rhodes Marine Service on the east side. The beautiful planned city of Palm Coast with its marina and golf course is farther south to the west. South of that is Hammock Beach Marina with every resort amenity — including transportation across to the beachside resort, with golf.
On down the coast, the ICW alternates between narrow Smith Creek and even narrower land cuts past Flagler Beach, finally entering the Halifax River around Mile 818. The Halifax broadens as the ICW works its way south, eventually taking us to the city of Daytona Beach. This beach resort town of long standing continues in its successful efforts to revitalize its tourist industry with the addition of several new high-end hotels, upscale restaurants and boutiques. New visitors are welcome and will be happily accommodated whether they are looking for quiet activities or collegiate hi-jinx, auto races and motorcycles! Of course, the world-famous beach itself remains one of the area's biggest attractions. And while the city is still (and probably always will be) better known for auto racing and spring break than for its marine involvement, Daytona Beach definitely welcomes cruising boatmen. And this is not a new attitude.
The spirit even extends to bridges! The Carlton Blank Bridge now with 65-foot fixed clearance has glass-tile mosaics lining the bridge with others placed on the piers along the underside so the view from the water is just as beautiful as topside.
There are half a dozen marine facilities spaced along the mainland side of the Halifax, including Caribbean Jack’s Restaurant, on site at Loggerhead Marina, where there's a pool, spa and much more. Then there's Halifax Harbor and Aquamarina Daytona, just a bit farther south with a Chart House Restaurant & Lounge on site. On the east side, above the Port Orange Bridge there's Seven Seas Marina with a restaurant. Also on the east, below the bridge, is Adventure Yacht Harbor and BoonDocks - a restaurant with casual dining and spectacular sunsets. The famous beach and other Daytona attractions are but a short two blocks away.
The Halifax River (where shoaling has been reported between Daybeacons 68 and 70 extending 40 yards from the west bank of the channel) ends at Ponce de Leon Inlet, Mile 842.
The lovely lighthouse that marks the inlet includes a museum and store. You can climb the tower for a magnificent view of the surrounding area, if you have the stamina! For more information call 386-761-1821.
Incidentally, Ponce Inlet was originally known as Mosquito Inlet. In 1927, the local PR types decided the name “Mosquito” wasn't conducive to commerce and that a change would be better for land sales! It worked. The inlet has been called Ponce de Leon ever since.
North of the inlet, near Live Oak Point, the ICW bears right (southbound) and a local channel runs to the left toward facilities on the barrier island that include the sheltered Inlet Harbor Marina & Restaurant (very popular with the locals), Lighthouse Boatyard, Sea Love Boat Works and Down the Hatch Restaurant. Note that because of shoaling around the junction (and this whole area is always subject to new shoaling ...) several temporary buoys have been installed and caution is required in transiting this area. This doesn't mean you should avoid the area but rather simply that you should pay close attention.
Ponce Inlet, which can be tricky, but usually not dangerous, should nonetheless be considered only a fair-weather passage. As with other similarly-oriented breaks in the barrier islands, it is at its worst when winds are onshore, especially with an outgoing tide. About ten years ago the problems were intensified by increased shoaling from some heavy winter storms. Though improvement projects have taken place in recent years, it still has a bad reputation so we continue to suggest you treat this inlet with respect — and caution.
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