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We recently went to Daytona Beach for 3 weeks. You can read all about our awesome trip here! We had a blast! Since we were there for so long, we decided to take advantage of some Groupon deals and have a little more fun than usual!
We bought 6 Groupons:
1 full day pontoon boat rental
1 full day fishing boat rental
1 couples massage
1 hour long facial
1 pottery throwing class
We also had an expired Groupon to a brewery in St. Augustine that we did not get around to using last year, so we were able to apply the cost paid for that Groupon to our bill.
The boat rentals were particularly appealing because last year we had a 6 hour boat rental that was so much fun we couldn’t wait to go out on the intercoastal waterway again! Last year we paid $350 for 6 hours. The Groupons were $180 each for a full 8 hour day! (Which is why we bought two, since it was almost 2 for 1 based on last year’s cost.)
The pontoon boat rental was so much fun! We rented from Sand Dollar Boat Rentals and they were very professional and helpful. It was the perfect little boat for us and we had a blast tooling around the intercoastal waterway. We stopped for lunch at Hidden Treasure Rum Bar in Ponce Inlet, where you can dock at the public launch next door. It is always fun to stop for a bite and a beverage!
We also discovered a private tiny island that we were able to beach at, set up our chairs and relax in the sun for awhile. It was a beautiful day! AND, we made a new friend who hung out with us at the island and then followed us after we left for awhile. I had to name him, of course.
The intercoastal waterway is filled with “disappearing islands,” depending on whether it is high or low tide. It is pretty cool to have an island pop up that was covered in water just a few hours earlier! Lots of people brought their dogs out to these islands that were perfect dog beaches because there was really no where for a do to run off! The whole day was so much fun- definitely rent a boat if you have an opportunity! Sand Dollar Boat Rentals had really good rates without a Groupon, so they are worth checking out!
The fishing boat rental (different company than above!!) was a different story, and a bit of an ordeal for two reasons. One was that the location, even though it was in the Daytona section on Groupon, ended up being 300 miles away in the Keys. Yeah – that was not going to happen. The second issue is that when I called to make the reservation, the proprietor asked for the Groupon number, which I gave him before I realized we would not be redeeming it. Even though I made it clear to the proprietor that we would be 300 miles north and I would be returning the Groupon, he still redeemed it. Shady, shady…this is still being resolved with Groupon, but since it was purchased in my husband’s name and my husband was on a flight to Chicago at the time it was allegedly redeemed, and the proprietor cannot produce the waiver we would have had to sign to rent the boat, I am confident this will be resolved in our favor. Lesson learned: double check the location before purchasing, and do not give the voucher # until you are actually redeeming the Groupon in person. (Update: Groupon credited us the amount of the Groupon. Works for me! Now I have more Groupons to use in Michigan and Illinois!)
Down to Earth Pottery is located in nearby Flagler Beach. It was hands down one of the most fun art experiences of my life! The studio is located on the beach and Heather, the owner, is a lovely, friendly, hugely talented potter who has the best little shop that offers pottery classes. The class was one-on-one and once Heather gave me a visual tutorial it was my turn. I made a fantastic bowl that I love to pieces! I was going to give it to my mom, but now I am keeping it. I wish there was a location near our house in Michigan to take classes because I surely would. If we come back to Daytona for an extended time again I will look into taking Heather’s 3 or 4 week class – it was that much fun! I loved working with the clay and getting dirty. Creating something that started out as a dry, hard ball of clay was nothing short of amazing. Heather made it easy and I would love to hone the technique. If you are in the area I highly recommend taking a class. You won’t be disappointed!
The mani/pedi was a bust because even though I called at the beginning of March to schedule, the nail tech is booked through April. That’s ok, though, because I will redeem the Groupon for the amount I paid on our next trip and book well in advance. I always get a pedicure before going to the beach, so next time I will just get one upon arrival. No biggie!
Two of our Groupons were for spa services at Daytona Spa & Wellness. I had a facial and together we had a couples massage- something we had never done before! My facial was a-maz-ing. 45 minutes of absolute peace. My esthetician, Amira, was wonderful and I might miss her forever. The whole experience was very calming, which is exactly what I was looking for. The added head, arm and leg massage was a completely unexpected, and awesome, too!
A few days later was our couples massage. The last time my husband went for a Groupon massage, the therapist told him, and I quote, “I’ve had a really bad day,” and then proceeded to work all of her frustrations out on him. That was about 5 years ago and he was not quite over it enough to try a Groupon massage again, but in the end he was *very* happy I dragged him along with me. It was an hour of complete relaxation and our therapists, Nina and Alicia, were awesome. We weren’t sure if one therapist would work on both of us, or if we would have two, so when it was two we were very pleased! It was great to spend an hour together in completely relaxing quiet, with nothing but the calming sounds of Indian music and scent of lavender. Every Monday since then I’ve said to Hubby, “‘x’ weeks ago we were getting our couples massage today….” I can’t wait to go again- what a great treat for the two of us!
We are big craft beer lovers, so we are always happy trying a new brewery and Ancient City Brewing in St. Augustine did not disappoint. As I said earlier, this was a Groupon purchased for last year’s vacation that we didn’t get around to using. As with all Groupons, if your voucher expires before you are able to use it, you can apply the amount you paid for the voucher towards your purchase total. We got to try a couple new beers before we were off to explore St. Augustine. This is a great brewery!
And that is how we used Groupon to make the most of our vacation to Daytona Beach, Florida! Normally we would not have a facial AND a couples massage AND rent a boat AND take a class- maybe one or the other, but not so many activities. Because of those extra experiences we had a FANTASTIC vacation!
I almost forgot! Groupon is on Ebates, so be sure to go through Ebates when you purchase Groupon vouchers to maximize your savings! (You can read my post about using Ebates to save money here.) Save, save, save!
After three weeks in Florida, I definitely have a case of wanderlust! Until our next vacation I will be dreaming of a dream trip to Iceland! You can ready my Iceland post here. Maybe Groupon will have a trip to Iceland…. 😉