Tag Archives: Florida

Florida’s Sunpass


A SunPass is part of the electronic toll collections system The Sunshine State has enacted to enable drivers to pay for the roads they use. The tolls collected support the maintenance and improvement of Florida’s toll roads.

Without a SunPass transponder, a camera takes a picture of your license plate and mails you a bill. The bill consists of the toll and an administrative fee. For example: a $1.50 toll charge is assessed a $2.50 service charge, bringing the total to $4.00.

If you’re only visiting Florida for a week, it’s easier to let the rental car agency pay the tolls and add it to your bill.

If you’re a regular snowbird and spend several months in Florida, you will save about 25 percent on tolls. And you won’t have to stop at cash lanes and search for the right amount if you buy a transponder and set up your own SunPass account. For snowbirds, use the address associated with your credit card, most likely your home in Canada.

Some sections of Florida’s freeways such as The Miami section of the Turnpike, no longer accept cash. With a SunPass, you can also drive the less congested HOV lanes in Miami’s rush hour, which is a real plus.

CVS Pharmacy is one of the stores that carry the SunPass transponders. The stick and peel SunPass Mini is around 5 bucks and the re-useable one with suction cups is around 20 bucks.

The SunPass Mini goes on the inside of the windshield and cannot be removed without destroying it. If you plan on returning to Florida or think you might change rental cars, buy the re-usable transponder, which can be transferred between vehicles without damage. However, you will have to go to your SunPass account online and change your license plate information if you change rental cars. Make sure to take your transponder when returning your rental car and cancel your account. Request that any unused money be transferred back to your credit card.

SunPass is compatible with all other Florida state toll collections such as E-pass. SunPass now has interoperability agreements with North Carolina Quick Pass and Georgia’s Peach Pass.

As a side note, if you are using your own car insurance plan to cover the liability for the rental, check with your provider before renting longer than 30 days. Most insurance companies have a one month limit on the coverage of rental cars. A workaround is to book one car for 29 days and then take out a new contract for the next rental period.




Daytona Beach: Florida’s Car Connection


Daytona Beach is one of the few cities in the world to have a car named in its honor.

Not just one, but three famous and very collectible cars are named after this popular Florida city. When manufacturers were naming their new cars, the racing heritage of Daytona Beach provided inspiration.

World's Most Famous Beach, Daytona Beach
World’s Most Famous Beach – photo John Cameron

The iconic 1965 Shelby Daytona and the Dodge Daytona, a well-known marque on racing’s Nascar circuit from the late 60’s, are both named for Daytona Beach. As well the 1968 Ferrari 365 GTB4 almost immediately became known as the “Daytona”, after the Ferrari 1-2-3 victory in the Daytona 24-Hour Race in 1967.

Racing cars and Daytona Beach go back to 1936 when they created a race track from the wide, hard packed sand of Daytona Beach.  The beach course, located in the present-day Town of Ponce Inlet, was replaced in 1958 when William France Sr. and NASCAR created Daytona International Speedway.

Cars are still permitted on areas of Daytona Beach, but keep your speed to 10 mph (16 km/h). Enter the beach on E. International Speedway Blvd. below A1A.

Driving on Daytona Beach
Driving on Daytona Beach – photo Sherel Purcell

Where to Stay

Roomba Inn

A budget friendly motel with a seaside vibe. Daytona Beach is literally steps away from your front door. The pier and boardwalk are also within easy walking distance too.

Roomba Inn, Daytona Beach, Florida
Roomba Inn, Daytona Beach – photo John Cameron

Hilton Homewood Suites

The Hilton is perfect for race fans – it’s a short walk across International Speedway Blvd. to the track. They also have a great complimentary breakfast buffet.

Hilton Homewood Suites, Daytona Beach
Hilton Homewood Suites – photo John Cameron

Where to Eat

Joe’s Crab Shack

Joe’s Crab Shack is perched on the only pier in Daytona Beach. This two storey restaurant over the Atlantic has great seafood specials and one of the best happy hours in town. Try the Sam Adams Steampot – snow crab, a pound of clams, lobster claws and smoked sausage all boiled in Samuel Adams Lager. This can easily feed two with an added side.

Joe's Crab Shack, Daytona Beach
Joe’s Crab Shack – photo Sherel Purcell

Aunt Catfish

With great seafood prepared southern style, and a patio on the Halifax River, it’s no wonder Aunt Catfish is both a USA Today 10 Best pick and The Daytona Beach News Journal Reader’s Choice Awards Best All around Seafood Restaurant.

JB’s Fish Camp

A fish camp is a little pocket of individuality in the dominant sea of restaurant chains. Take a short drive south of Daytona Beach to JB’s Fish Camp in New Smyrna Beach for a great taste of Old Florida right on the river.

JB's Fish Camp, New Smyrna Beach
JB’s Fish Camp – photo Sherel Purcell

Things to do

Golf where the pros do at LPGA International. Here you have a choice of two championship 18-hole courses – one designed by Rees Jones and the other by Arthur Hills.

The City of Daytona Beach built these new golf courses for the Ladies Professional Golf Association when the LPGA chose Daytona Beach as the site of their new headquarters. Daytona Beach also renamed Eleventh Street to LPGA Boulevard.

The Hills at LPGA International
The Hills at LPGA International – photo Sherel Purcell

Stop by the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory in historic downtown Daytona Beach for a free tour, concluding with free samples. Angell & Phelps has been creating delicious chocolates treats on Beach Street since 1925.

Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory
Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory – photo Sherel Purcell

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida. For spectacular views of Daytona Beach, Ponce Inlet, and surrounding inland waterways, climb the 203 steps to the lighthouse deck. Make sure your camera strap is attached firmly to your wrist – at 175 ft. from the ground, it can get breezy.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse – photo Sherel Purcell