Holidaying in Florida on a budget

When you’re visiting Florida, one of the big draws has to be the amusement parks mostly in the Orlando area. But with budgets becoming ever tighter and park tickets becoming more and more expensive, there has to be a better way to enjoy the Sunshine State! Luckily, there is. There are a great range of free attractions in Florida and they cater to all tastes – and there’s a whole lot of great cheap food around to cater to your taste buds too. Whether you’re after a trip out to get in touch with your natural side or a trip to a fascinating museum, it’s really easy to enjoy a great holiday in Florida without shedding too many pounds!

Florida has hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches, what better way to spend a day than relaxing by the ocean, soaking up some rays? While there are a lot of private beaches in Florida, the fees are nominal and you are guaranteed a much quieter time, but if you’re really pinching the pennies then one of the many public beaches should suit you just fine. The warmer waters are towards the south and west of the peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico, while there’s better surf to be had on the east coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

If you’re on a beach looking for a little bit of magic, why not search out a mythical mermaid? Manatees – or sea-cows, or mermaids! – are some of the world’s rarest marine mammals, and luckily for you they are freely available to see! There are a range of conservation projects in Florida, including the Manatee Viewing Centre in Apollo Beach. Your best chance to see the manatees is during the winter, but even if you’re here in the summer months there’s a host of incredible information about these amazing animals in the main museum, along with some great tid-bits about the local bird life and the incredible wetland landscapes. If you’re not in the Apollo Beach area, there are other manatee sanctuaries in Florida, but you will have to pay to enter!

For a bit of history – with a manatee connection – Manatee Village Historical Park is another great free stopping point. If you’re hiring a car (not the cheapest, but the easiest way to get around the state) it’s not that far from the Manatee Viewing Centre as it’s just over an hour’s drive so you can have a manatee filled day for the cost of a tank of gas. There aren’t actually any manatees here,
however, so possibly not the best use of your holiday! It is a great little historical park though, including a General Store from 1903 and a church from 1887. Tours are available of the Old Manatee Burial Grounds by appointment – and they’re still free!

So, despite what you may think about Florida as an expensive destination filled with amusement parks and high priced hotels, there’s really loads to do if you’re traveling to the Sunshine State on a budget.

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