Home Travel Florida on a budget – Lonely Planet

Florida on a budget – Lonely Planet

Florida on a budget – Lonely Planet

From weeklong household journeys Mickey-ing it up at Walt Disney World to essentially the most lavish of weekends partying on South Seashore, the prices can spiral rapidly regardless of the place you end up in Florida.

However, amid the customarily sunny-meets-relaxed razzle dazzle, there are many alternatives for budget-conscious vacationers to really feel proper at dwelling within the Sunshine State. And these cash-saving measures can typically result in enriched experiences, be it taking in Fort Lauderdale’s skyscape by way of water taxi, laying out on considered one of Florida’s free seashores or seeing the southern half of the state by way of some of the fashionable, excessive-velocity prepare methods on Earth.

As you absorb the Florida solar, listed here are 13 methods to avoid wasting dough alongside the best way.

Choose the correct airport to chop journey prices

Florida has greater than 100 public-use airports. Sixteen of them serve worldwide passengers, with the airports in Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa being amongst these with essentially the most flight choices. When contemplating flight choices, look past the price of the person flights and contemplate the taxis and/or automotive leases required to get to your last vacation spot – it provides up rapidly.

Florida is sort of 500 miles north to south and, for instance, a drive from Jacksonville to Miami takes 5-plus hours. Selecting the most affordable flight you will discover with out contemplating location can put an almighty dent in your budget once you land.

Go for a free seashore

Roughly 90 p.c of Florida’s seashores are open to the general public and there are greater than 1350 miles of shoreline to discover. A few of Florida’s high white sand seashores that stay completely free to entry for guests embrace Clearwater Seashore, Daytona Seashore, Panama Metropolis Seashore, St. Augustine Seashore, Destin Seashore and Amelia Island.

Go to between September and October for the perfect offers

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 by November 30. For those who’re touring on this timeframe, maintain a watch on the climate forecast. Whereas lodge and tour bargains are available in the course of the entirety of hurricane season, September and October are way more nice temperature-sensible than their oft-sweltering summer time counterparts. The suitable journey insurance coverage can hedge towards a hurricane scuttling your trip plans, however it comes at an additional value – store round to get the perfect deal.

A man and his daughter running along a beach in Florida with arms outstretched
Carry all of your seashore necessities with you to keep away from paying a premium © Gary John Norman / Getty Photos

Pack solar-bathing necessities to keep away from paying closely upon arrival

Sun shades, sunscreen, a bathing go well with, a hat, a blanket and, in fact, sunscreen – all of it’s important for a Florida seashore journey and retains you protected and/or not wanting like a tomato. Brings as a lot of the aforementioned as you’ll be able to as something seashore-y is priced at a premium when you get wherever close to an entry level.

Skip the boat rental and go for a water taxi

If the price of a day at sea, on the river or alongside Florida’s Intracoastal waterway (somebody in your group must captain the vessel otherwise you’ll want to rent a captain) would implode your budget, contemplate a water taxi in areas with river and coastal landscapes. Amongst your choices are the Naples Bay Water Shuttle, Tampa’s Pirate Water Taxi and Fort Lauderdale’s Water Taxi.

Zip from Central to South Florida on the Brightline

When touring across the Sunshine State, getting from Orlando to South Florida used to contain both an hour-lengthy flight or an nearly 4-hour drive. In 2023, the Brightline excessive-velocity prepare drastically expanded its monitor from South Florida (with stops in West Palm Seashore, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Aventura and Miami) to Orlando, and the complete journey takes simply three hours.

One-manner tickets begin at simply $79 and, for an much more luxurious expertise, you’ll be able to go for a first-class ticket with free meals, drinks and premium lounge entry.

Discover Florida’s state parks for discounted outside actions

There are 175 state parks all through Florida starting from mangrove-clad to unobstructed ocean vistas. For $60 you’ll be able to snag a person annual move, or $120 for a household/group annual move for admission of as much as eight folks at one time.

Among the many state park highlights to discover are the Satan’s Millhopper sinkhole in Gainesville or embark on a glass-bottomed boat journey in Ocala. In most cases, on-site leases – like kayaks, canoes and e-bikes – are less expensive than what’s out there simply exterior their gates.

A man and two girls playing at a theme park pool in Florida
Guide your tickets upfront to get the perfect offers at theme parks © kali9 / Getty Photos

Guide theme park tickets forward of time for the perfect offers

From Busch Gardens in Tampa to WonderWorks in Panama Metropolis Seashore and, in fact, Walt Disney World, it can save you some critical cash by being strategic and well timed when buying Florida theme park tickets. Normally, reserving as far forward upfront can get monetary savings in comparison with at-the-gate transactions.

Contemplate weekday visits over weekend treks – you are extra more likely to get higher offers and it will not be as crowded. And, whereas a park hopper possibility might all the time seem to be a whole lot, think twice about whether or not you’ve got time to make use of it sufficient to make it well worth the cash.

Keep inland to avoid wasting on inns

Everytime you keep in a coastal Florida metropolis – Naples, Key West, Sarasota and extra – an ocean-view room will all the time include a premium worth. And inns subsequent to the ocean will often value considerably greater than their equal simply a block or two inland.

So until you propose to spend most of your journey sitting in your room, look past the seashore for bargains. For instance, The Freehand in Miami Seashore is tucked simply a block away from the ocean in among the best elements of city and has non-public suites, dorm rooms and one of many coolest cocktail bars on the town, The Damaged Shaker.

Embrace a low-cost Publix meal (or 5)

Keep away from spending a fortune consuming out day-after-day by snagging a to-go meal at Publix – Florida’s beloved, homegrown grocery store. Among the many favorites are the “Pub Sub” (a handmade sub from the Publix deli), its buffalo hen dip and bakery-made key lime pie. The shop itself is a cultural phenomenon and the cash you will save by eating al fresco is a budget bonus.

Take a stroll (or splash) by Florida’s most scenic landscapes

A few of the greatest views in Florida are discovered once you’re simply moseying round. Hollywood’s (sure, there’s one in Florida too) oceanfront boardwalk is dotted with impartial retailers and white sand views. In Daytona Seashore, the Volusia County Solar Splash Park has entry to beachside strolling paths and an interactive water fountain.

Discover Florida’s historical past in a free museum

Not all museums within the Sunshine State include a charge. Amongst them is the Nationwide Museum of Naval Aviation, dwelling to the US Navy Blue Angels, in Pensacola. On-web site are greater than 180 traditional plane, together with a handful that survived the Pearl Harbor assault. In Gainesville, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Artwork on the College of Florida campus is likely one of the largest artwork museums within the state, with pre-Columbian and African artifacts on show.

A multi-generation Hispanic family hiking together outdoors in the woods in Florida
Make the most of Florida’s many free parks and gardens © Getty Photos / iStockphoto

Hike Florida’s tropical landscapes with out an admission charge

Past Florida’s state parks and nationwide parks – together with Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park and Everglades Nationwide Park – there are many native parks with no admission charge. Amongst them are the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, that includes 50 acres of paths in addition to butterfly and palm gardens. In Kissimmee, the Disney Wilderness Protect has birdwatching, a self-guided nature path and mountain climbing choices, all with out costing you a dime.

Day by day prices

  • Fundamental room for 2: $150-200
  • A slice of key lime pie: $6-10
  • Self-catering condominium (together with Airbnb): $200-250
  • Brightline ticket from Miami to Orlando: $79-149
  • Espresso: $3-5
  • Tank high from a beachside memento store: $15-20
  • Recent seafood dinner for 2: $60-80
  • Craft beer pint at a Florida brewery: $6-10


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