Daytona Beach (dātōˈnə) [key], city (1990 pop. 61,921), Volusia co., NE Fla., on the Atlantic coast and Halifax River (a lagoon); inc. 1876. Center of a rapidly urbanizing area, in a region settled by Spanish Franciscans in the 17th cent., Daytona Beach is a popular year-round resort, now noted as a spring-break mecca for collegians. Its economy has diversified to include aerospace industries. Noted for its hard, white beach, the city has been the scene of automobile racing since 1902; the annual Daytona 500 is an important event. Daytona USA, an interactive motor-sports museum, opened in 1996. Institutions of higher education include Bethune-Cookman College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ.