Moving to DeBary, FLOctober 25, 2022 | By Chuck Shaver
Why Move to DeBary?
So you told a friend that you were thinking of moving to Central Florida and they said that you gotta check out DeBary, so let’s see what DeBary, Florida has to offer. DeBary is a sleepy little bedroom community, with many of its residents working in Lake Mary, Maitland or Orlando. The ride to these towns is modest, but the traffic down there can be atrocious, whereas traffic isn’t even a thing in DeBary. It’s a quiet little town with mostly small business, but there is a Wal-Mart marketplace, which I still don’t know how ever got approved to get in here. There are plenty of parks around, and it sits along the banks of the St. Johns River. There’s plenty to do AROUND DeBary, but aside from that, there isn’t much to do IN Debary.
I’m Chuck Shaver with The Shaver Group of Keller Williams Heritage Realty here in Central Florida and I’ve lived in this area for many years. Today I’m going to share a brief rundown of what DeBary, Florida does, and does not have to offer.
What is DeBary
First, let’s address just what DeBary, Florida, is. DeBary is a little community in Volusia County of about 21,000 people. DeBary is named after Frederick DeBary, a wine merchant from New York City, who came to town around 1866. He planted orange and pecan groves and contracted to deliver mail between Jacksonville and Enterprise. He played a big role as a shipping merchant with his fleet of steamboats via the St. Johns River, which flows along the southeastern side of DeBary.
Where is DeBary
DeBary is located at the south end of Volusia County, just north of Sanford in Seminole County. It’s south of Deland and Orange City and west of Deltona in Volusia County. From DeBary, Orlando is about a 30-minute ride down I-4 and the east coast beaches in New Smyrna and Daytona are about 45 minutes away. Some of DeBary’s residents use the SunRail station to catch the rail down into Orlando. It’s inexpensive, convenient, and ensures that you never have to deal with Orlando’s traffic!
Residential components of DeBary
Next, if you’re thinking of moving to DeBary, you may be wondering what your housing options are. The good news here is that residential housing is what DeBary is all about. There are a couple of mobile home parks that you own the land in, one of which is ON the St. Johns River, and a couple others that have lot rent. There are a couple of apartment complexes and they’re pretty nice. There are a couple of condo options and townhomes here too, mostly single-story types.
DeBary has quite a bit of very nice single family home communities too. Riviera Bella is very popular, it’s a gated community on the west side of town. A much larger community is the DeBary Plantation with the Golf and Country Club off of Highway 17-92. These are both good values when considering the price of real estate just across the St. Johns River Bridge heading down into Seminole and Orange Counties, where prices for real estate tend to be much higher.
DeBary Woods is another option for this type of lifestyle as is Glen Abbey, which also has a golf course, and a couple of sections of this community are gated. There are several other communities, but my goal here isn’t to tell you about all of them, rather just to provide an overview. All of these communities do have homeowner’s associations, but there are a ton of single-family homes in DeBary that don’t. Many of these tend to be older homes, a large group of them close to I-4 and another large group over near Highbanks Road closer to the river. I noted that they’re older, but don’t look down your nose at them. There are some very nice, moderately priced homes in a very convenient location.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in DeBary is comparably modest and I’ve read several articles that indicate that our area is slightly below the national average for cost of living. As I noted before, housing is less expensive up here than it is down in Seminole and Orange Counties. The housing cost is similar to that of the rest of West Volusia County and less expensive than it is over on the beaches. Gas prices tend to be slightly below the national average and, as of this recording, the tax rate for Volusia County is 6.5%. Florida has no state income tax, which, aside from the weather, is a big reason many come to The Sunshine State. Volusia County’s property tax rates are pretty close to Florida’s median according to one site I checked out, even though it seems like everyone’s always complaining about the taxes here.
What to do in DeBary
Earlier I noted that there wasn’t much to do IN DeBary, but I didn’t say there was NOTHING to do. DeBary has the St. Johns River, which flows north from all the way down in Indian River County and it empties into the Atlantic up in Jacksonville, so it’s quite a resource. The Highbanks Marina is a great place to grab a meal at the Swamp House Grill. They’ve got some good food here and you can pull your boat right up to the restaurant or even rent a boat from the marina. They’ve got quite a few camping spaces here, too. However, the river is currently above flood stage due to a recent hurricane.
DeBary has some amazing parks, too. Gemini Springs is one of my favorites. Back in the day we were able to swim in these beautiful springs. Today, it’s a great place to enjoy a nice walk, fish on the river, enjoy a festival, and it’s the head of the Spring-to-Spring Trail, which goes all the way up to DeLeon Springs. I believe you can go all the way over to the beach to the east on the East Central Regional Rail Trail, too. It’s great for walking, running, cycling, or whatever you’d do on a trail that long! There’s a Veteran’s Memorial Park right across the street from Gemini that’s a cool place, too. DeBary Hall is another great little park. They say that DeBary Hall is home to the first swimming pool in the State of Florida, it was apparently spring-fed. It’s got some good history to read about if that’s your thing. The River City Nature Park is another one of my favorites and you may catch me out here on this 18-basket disc-golf course. I know it’s just DeBary, but this is one of the best disc-golf courses within several hour’s drive. I LOVE disc golf, but I’ll spare you the details of my skills on the course! Gateway park is right off of 17-92 near Saxon Boulevard and they’ve got an amazing playground here. It’s home to the Gateway Center for the Arts. I’ve been to various activities on these grounds over the years. Bill Keller Park has tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, three baseball diamonds and some pavilions too. It’s a great place for birthday parties or to work on your pickleball game.
Riding a golf cart around DeBary is legal, too, (except on the highway) so that’s a pretty cool feature of this little town. If you’re just heading up to the grocery store or to one of these parks, the golf cart is a neat way to do that.
School zones are always prone to changing, so here’s a link where you can find out what school an address in DeBary is zoned for. As of today, I believe that most of DeBary’s youth are zoned for Debary or Enterprise Elementary, River Springs Middle and University High School, where both of my children attended.
Aside from a great big power plant, there isn’t too much commercial activity in DeBary. There are some small businesses along 17-92, but if it’s shopping or restaurants you’re after, you’ll likely head north to Orange City or south into Sanford, where you’ll find plenty of that. The fact that there isn’t much business in DeBary is what makes DeBary so nice. As I noted before, there is a Wal-Mart Marketplace, but there’s also a Winn-Dixie supermarket. There are a few mom-and-pop type restaurants that are pretty good, too. Like many small towns, growth is impacting DeBary. There’s a good bit of debate of what should, or should not happen, but growth is coming.
How about crime? Just the other day I actually left my truck unlocked and running for several hours! No, that wasn’t very smart! However, when I told a peer about it, she noted that I didn’t have anything to worry about in this area and I agreed with her. However, I’m not an expert on crime rates and I encourage everyone to do their homework online. But go beyond that and ask around to some people in the area as they’ll likely give you a better perspective than what you may find online.
Want to know more about the area? Check out one of my other blogs or videos of surrounding towns. Of course, this is not an all-inclusive rundown of what DeBary has to offer. If you have questions about the area, or have real estate needs, feel free to reach out to me directly.