Port Orange, Florida

Port Orange, Florida

Port Orange is just south of Daytona Beach and for the first hundred years of its existence, it had not changed at all. Established in 1867 on the banks of the Halifax River, Port Orange in Volusia County is part of the Deltona-Daytona Beach metro area.

The Marinas in Port Orange, FL. File photo: ShutterStock.com, licensed.

About The Community

Today, Port Orange is a bit of everything, a happy mix of historical town, resort, business and planned development. The extension of Dunlawton Avenue from the FEC railroad to Interstate 95 in the1970s literally put Port Orange on the map and it grew into the large metropolitan community. As of 2020, Port Orange has a population of over 62,000 and about 150 distinct neighborhoods.


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Dunlawton Bridge
Orange Avenue Bridge, and Dunlawton Bridge, near Dayona Beach in Spring 2004. File photo: Frank J. Arena, Jr., Shutter Stock, licensed.

Port Orange had its beginnings in 1866 when Dr. John Milton Hawks, an abolitionist and United States Army Surgeon, brought 500 freed slaves to public lands along the Halifax River and formed the Florida Land and Lumber Company. He moved the community from Mosquito Inlet known as Ponce Inlet in 1867 and named it Port Orange. Unfortunately, the community did not prosper and only nine families stayed on after two years.

Important Links

The African-American roots of the settlement however remained and the place unofficially known as Freemanville, is located around the intersection of Orange Avenue and Charles Street. The local Mount Moriah Baptist Church built in 1911 is all that remains of this small, freed slave community and remains a place of worship of the descendants of the original settlers.

Aunt Catfish seafood restaurant
Aunt Catfish’s seafood restaurant is one of the most popular seafood restaurants in central Florida, featuring locally caught seafood. File photo: James R. Martin, Shutter Stock, licensed.

A lot of the city is new, built after 1985. Port Orange City Hall, regional library, YMCA, an outdoor amphitheater, a sports complex, a skate park, police headquarters, fire/rescue station and a civic center are all part of a105 acre city campus along an oak-lined boulevard on a picturesque lake.

Vicinity of Port Orange

Additional Details

An exciting new project that has got off the ground is the Port Orange Riverwalk. This is a master planned mixed-use new town center being created along the river Halifax. The City of Port Orange will retain ownership of 12 out of the 35 total acres, including of including six acres along the waterfront, which will feature an impressive public boardwalk stretching the entire length of the project. Port Orange Riverwalk provides an extraordinary environment to live, work, dine, shop, and play and combines the areas resources with creative planning. It will be a prosperous development that will increase property values, provide housing, create jobs, expand recreational, entertainment, and social opportunities within the City, for residents and visitors.

Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens
Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens contains the ruins of a 18th Century sugar mill, the ruins of a 20th century dinosaur theme park, and is currently a botanical garden. Port Orange, FL – July 2, 2019. File photo: Paul Juser, Shutter Stock, licensed.

Space has been earmarked for public facilities including a City-owned conference center and event plaza and wide main street, which will offer the perfect locale for festivals, community events, art shows, and concerts. The area will also house the Port Orange South Daytona Chamber of Commerce, Port Orange Historic Trust, ARTHAUS, Halifax Sport Fishing Club and a public-access marina. A mix of national and local specialty retail establishments for shopping and an array of restaurants and food kiosks will add to the attraction. An excellent park is designed for the area now occupied by Sweetwater’s Restaurant. Port Orange Riverwalk will truly reflect the past and future of the city in its ambience and architecture.

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