Deland, Florida

Best Places to Retire in Florida


Deland (population 22,000) is located in central Florida, 20 miles east of Daytona Beach and 40 miles northeast of Orlando. It has a long and interesting history dating to 1876 when baking soda mogul and founder, Henry DeLand first came to this site. In 1880 it became linked by rail to Jacksonville and Tampa as the town continued to grow. It was incorporated two years later and by 1888 it became the county seat. Stetson College, named for the famed hat maker, started out as Deland Academy, and was housed in the First Baptist Church. It was re-named for John B. Stetson after he donated a very large sum of money to the institution in 1886. The Deland – West Velusia County area offers a small-town lifestyle with an interesting and wholesome quality of life, and outstanding access to unspoiled parts of Florida. It is easy to understand why it is an attraction to retirees.

Deland today is the county seat for Volusia County, and a busy commercial hub. The downtown section has been the focus of a major restoration effort to its many turn-of-the-century wood and masonry buildings. The oldest commercial structure dates to 1775. Many early pine buildings were destroyed by fire in 1886. Buildings that were once a hardware store, feed and grain store, newspaper office, steamship office, etc. have become craft shops, boutiques, antique shops, cafes, galleries and coffee houses.

The scenic 165-acre Stetson University campus blends into the natural beauty of this small city. Stetson also brings the many cultural benefits of a university community. The School of Music has many performing ensembles, including choirs, an orchestra, symphonic band, jazz, opera, and more. The community and the local area have a variety of popular events, including the season opener for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus, annual DeBary Hall Barbecue, Orange City Frontier Days, Manatee Festival, arts and crafts shows, and more. There are also great outdoor recreational opportunities with the many nearby lakes and the beautiful St. Johns River. These include exploring mile after mile of the river — navigable all the way to Jacksonville, kayaking, boating, or canoeing, great freshwater fishing, swimming or snorkeling in crystal clear waters, picnicking, hiking, camping, bird watching, or watching the manatees that winter in the area. There is also great hunting, good tennis facilities, and numerous fine golf courses within easy distance.

Deland has a number of restaurants, including fine dining, and there is good healthcare. Daytona Beach, which is less than 30 minutes away, offers outstanding amenities, including nightlife, many cultural activities and entertainment, and there are many miles of wide beaches all along the coast. Orlando, which has the amenities of a large city, is just 40 miles away via Interstate 4 and can be reached in less than an hour. Continue southwest on Interstate 4 for another 15 minutes and you reach Disney World and other theme parks.

Arts & Culture

Stetson University School of Music has many performing ensembles, including choirs, orchestra, symphonic band, jazz, opera, and more.

Deland Museum of Art offers exhibitions, collections and educational programs.

The Sands Theater Center is a restoration of the old Athens Theater, which was built as a vaudeville theater in 1922.

Bandshell Concert Series is held on the Boardwalk at Daytona Beach from April thru October.

Daytona Beach Symphony performs six concerts annually.

Daytona Beach is the summer home of the London Symphony Orchestra, which performs annually at the Florida International Festival in July.

Ocean Center, Daytona’s convention center, is host to a wide variety of events including numerous concerts throughout the year.

Peabody Auditorium is a 2,500-seat facility that is host to the Daytona Symphony, Daytona Beach Civic Ballet, Concert Showcase and the London Symphony Orchestra during the Florida International Festival each summer.

Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center hosts a variety of cultural events. This $20 million facility opened in 2003.

Daytona Playhouse offers community theater.

Little Theatre of New Smyrna Beach –

Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center is a 600-seat facility that hosts concerts, dance, community theater, touring troupes, seminars and more.


Blue Spring State Park is a 2,644-acre park located along the St. Johns River, just west of Orange City. It is the largest spring on the St. Johns River and is a designated manatee refuge. The West Indian manatees winter here from about mid-November until the end of March. The park draws visitors year round for picnics, sunbathing, swimming, scenic nature cruises by the Florida Park Service, kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling in the clear waters. There are also camping areas and six vacation cabins.

Hontoon Island State Park is a remote site on the west side of the St. Johns River, across from Blue Spring State Park. This 1,648-acre site is accessible only by boat or park operated ferry. The island’s unspoiled beauty was once home to pre-Columbian Native Americans. You can hike the island, kayak, canoe, picnic, camp, fish off its banks or simply enjoy its unspoiled beauty.

DeLeon Springs State Park, part of the community of DeLeon Springs, contains springs once thought to be “a fountain of youth.” The area has a history that goes as far back as 6,000 years. The Park offers a swimming area, shaded picnic area, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and fishing. There are rentals and there is a boat ramp. Boaters can explore 18,000 acres of lakes, creeks and marshes.

Stetson University competes in the Atlantic Sun Conference of intercollegiate athletics, which brings many opportunities for sports spectators. The school competes in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball.

Daytona International Speedway hosts world-class racing and some of the sport’s most prestigious events.

The Daytona Cubs are the Chicago Cubs’ Class “A” affiliate. Home games are played from April to September. Stan Musial played his minor league ball here. The team plays in a 4,500-seat stadium, which is also home to Bethune-Cookman and Florida All-State College Baseball Jamboree that brings in some of the nation’s top collegiate teams.

Golfers will find many championship caliber courses within easy driving distance of Deland. Nearby Daytona Beach is also the home of the LPGA.


Stetson University is a private four-year institution serving approximately 2,300 students. Its beautiful 165-acre campus with many turn-of-the-century buildings is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers major programs in business, social sciences, recreation and fitness, education and psychology.

Daytona Community College is a two-year institution with an enrollment of more than 18,500 college and vocational credit students. There are more than 13,000 adult and continuing education students.

Bethune-Cookman College at Daytona is an historically black college. It is a private institution, affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school’s main campus consists of 33 buildings and 60 acres of park-like land.

University of Central Florida at Daytona Beach, which is a state supported school, offers 19 undergraduate and 12 graduate programs.

Senior Programs

Wayne G. Sanborn Activities Center is used primarily by seniors. The David E. Disney Tennis Center is adjacent to the center.

Stetson University has been a provider of Elderhostel programs for more than 20 years. It offers traditional programs on the Deland campus and oceanfront in Daytona Beach. It also has a variety of golf and tennis programs at Palm Coast.


Florida Hospital – Deland is a 156-bed community hospital with more than 140 physicians and 550 healthcare professionals.


Daytona Beach International Airport has a modern terminal and is served by two major domestic airlines.

Orlando International Airport is a major flight center with dozens of air carriers, both domestic and foreign.

DeLand Municipal Airport has two runways.


Average temperatures for January are a high of 72 and low of 48 degrees. The averages for July are a high of 92 and low of 72 degrees.


Deland-Deltona Beacon –

Property Taxes

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


DeLeon Springs – 8 miles
Deltona – 13 miles
Sanford – 21 miles
Daytona Beach – 20 miles
New Smyrna Beach – 24 miles
Ormond Beach – 26 miles
Orlando – 40 miles

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