Days out on a budget in Florida

Days out on a budget in Florida

As we all know, keeping all of the family entertained for the whole of your holiday can start to take its toll on your wallet. Fortunately there are plenty of low-cost days out in Florida that are great fun, and won’t leave your bank account groaning!

From a pleasant family picnic spot to high adrenaline fun, we’ve picked out 12 suggestions that we believe will offer something for everybody.

1. Putt it there!

Get competitive with your family and friends over at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, an award-winning mini golf experience with two locations in Florida. Putt your way through an elaborate, pirate-themed swashbuckling landscape filled with mysterious mountain caves, lush vegetation and tumbling waterfalls.

This is a perfect way for guests of all ages to spend a fun few hours, playing on either of the 18-hole courses – The Captain’s Course or Blackbeard’s Challenge – or why not try both with the 36-Hole Adventure! If you head to the Orlando site, you can even replay the course at a reduced rate; will you improve your score the second time round?

Lake Buena Vista location:

  • Adults: $11.95 - $17.45
  • Children: $10.95 - $16.45
  • Children 3 and under: Free

(Prices exclude tax)

Opening hours: 9am – 11pm daily

12545 SR 535, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Orlando location:

  • Adults: $13.50 - $22.50
  • Children: $11.95 - $19.95
  • Children 3 and under: Free
  • Replay: $9.50

(Prices exclude tax)

Opening hours: 9am – 11:30pm daily

8501 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Pirates Cove Adventure Golf Orlando

2. Track days

Set your heart racing at the indoor I-Drive NASCAR track, a perfect place to visit come rain or shine, which is open seven days a week! Hop into one of the state-of-the art electric SODIKART RTX karts and zip round the quarter-mile track, which is the fastest in Central Florida, at speeds of up to 45mph!

While waiting for your turn on the track, why not head to the entertainment section where you can try your hand at some of the many arcade games on offer, compete with your family in the bowling alley, or test your hand-eye coordination on the pool tables.

If you want to watch all of the action on the track and grab a bite to eat, stop off at The Grandstand, a bar and restaurant with stunning race views that offers all your favourite dishes!

  • Adult Race: $18.99
  • Junior Race (Under age of 16): $16.99
  • Racing N’ Gaming: $21.99

(Prices exclude tax)

All racers must be 4ft 7” (140cm) tall

If you sign up to I-Drive NASCAR’s newsletter you will also get a discount code for 40% off a race session when booked online† (you’ll need to input a US zip code to register, so you could enter your villa address here).

  • Monday – Thursday: Noon – 11pm
  • Friday – Saturday: 11am – Midnight
  • Sunday: 11am – 11pm

Location: 5228 Vanguard Street, Orlando, FL 32819

Subject to change at the discretion of I-Drive NASCAR.

3. Start your engines!

If a day at the karting track has left you with a new-found love of cars, take a trip down to Old Town, Kissimmee for all your petrolhead needs! Famous for its weekly car cruises and with the Saturday night event recognised as America’s longest-running weekly car show, enthusiasts are known to flock from far and wide to watch as a selection of classic and muscle cars drive along Main Street. With shows on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening, and the Wednesday show featuring a different theme every week, you’re bound to spot your dream drive in the line-up!

There is also free live entertainment on the Trophy Row stage on both Friday and Saturday evenings from 7pm. A schedule of all of the stage performers can be seen here. With plenty more to see and do in Old Town, including restaurants, amusement arcade and funfair rides, this is an ideal location to spend some quality time with the family. As it is a popular event, it’s best to arrive early and find suitable parking.

Location: 5770 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746

4. Market forces

Winter Garden Farmers Market

Pick up some local fresh produce at the Winter Garden Farmers Market, in the historic downtown Winter Garden area. Filled with popular shops and restaurants, there is plenty to see in the area and it’s a popular destination for cyclists, being on the 250-mile Coast to Coast Connector trail.

Every Saturday from 9am – 2pm you can see what local vendors have on offer at the market, from fresh fruit and veg, regional food and drinks, plants and flowers, to artisan craft goods that will make a great souvenir or gift for family back home.

You can even enjoy live music from 10am to 2pm!

Location: Downtown Pavilion Winter Garden, 104 S Lakeview Ave, Winter Garden, FL 34787

5. Chocs away!

Calling all chocoholics – the interactive 45-minute tour of the Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour will be sure to make your mouth water. Discover the journey of the humble cocoa bean as it is transformed into a delicious chocolate bar! You will be joined on your journey by a tour guide who will take you through the cacao tree greenhouse, a chocolate museum, a Mystical River of chocolate and a small artisanal factory set-up which makes use of traditional machinery and processes. You can taste some samples as you make your way around, and can even customise your own chocolate bar for a supplementary cost!

Chocolate Kingdom Kissimmee

  • Adults: $16.95
  • Children (4-12 years old): $12.95
  • Children 3 and under: Free

Location: 9901 Hawaiian Ct, Orlando, FL 32819-8102

6. Beach party

Take in the stunning Atlantic views with a trip to the famous Daytona Beach. Don’t forget to pack your bucket and spade and plenty of sun cream! You can park on the beach for just $20, but watch out for any sea turtles, and make sure you follow the local regulations.

Find yourself a spot on the pristine sands and enjoy a seaside picnic, build a fantastic sandcastle or take a dip in the water. You can even take a stroll along the boardwalk and pier, where you can grab a bite for lunch, go on the rides, head into the arcade or just look out across the vast ocean.

Explore nature in Florida

7. Nature trail

Get back to nature in the glorious surroundings of Lake Louisa State Park, a 4500 acre park just 30 minutes from Orlando. Pack a picnic and prepare to soak up the sun as you look for any signs of the park’s resident wildlife, which includes bald eagles, osprey, tortoises, deer and bobcats. This could be the perfect opportunity to try out your wildlife photography skills!

Open from 8am to sundown, experience the natural side of Florida, as you walk around the 20 miles of lakeside nature trails. Don’t worry – there are trails of varying lengths – starting from just half a mile. Follow the trail map to make the most of your day.

If you have youngsters in your party, take a break over at the playground area by the lake, which is designed for use by kids aged 2 – 12. This is near to the picnic area where you can grab a table and enjoy a bite to eat under the shady oaks. There are even charcoal grills for you to cook a BBQ on! If you have your swimming gear with you, you can take a dip in Lake Louisa at the designated swimming area. There are no life guards on duty here though, so make sure you are a confident swimmer before dipping a toe in the water!

Another picnic area is available over at Dixie Lake, where you can rent a selection of kayaks and canoes and head out onto the water.

All it will cost for a day out here is your parking – which is a very reasonable $5 per vehicle (2-8 occupants), $4 for a single-occupant vehicle and $2 for pedestrians, cyclists and extra vehicle occupants.

If you want to hire a kayak or a canoe this will incur an extra cost – for a minimum two hour rental, a kayak costs $20, a tandem kayak $25 and a canoe $30 (excluding tax). Book online to avoid disappointment!

Location: 7305 US Highway 27, Clermont FL 34714

8. Lake views

If you enjoy a little sightseeing, then get on board for the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour. Less than ten minutes from downtown Orlando, this 18-passenger pontoon ride around the stunning chain of lakes at Winter Park is a great way to relax and take in the views.

Look out for the native flora and fauna in and around three of the seven Winter Park lakes, as your experienced guide shows you the sights on an hour-long tour.

Catch the boat from 10am – 4pm daily, apart from Christmas. If you are a wheelchair user, tours are available at 9am and 5pm daily, but must be booked at least one day in advance.

  • Adults: $14.00
  • Children: $7.00
  • Children 2 and under: Free

(Prices include tax)

Payment is cash only. Group rates are available, contact the tour operator for more details.

Location: 312 East Morse Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32789

9. Garden of delights

Another relaxing day out awaits you over at Bok Tower Gardens, a National Historic Landmark. This is a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic, or just take in the sights of the stunning surroundings.

Open all year round, you can also enjoy bird-watching at this garden that spans 250 acres, designed by the famous landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., and where more than 100 species of birds reside. See if you can spot any wild turkeys roaming amongst the planting as you look out across the picturesque vistas, filled with seasonal colour.

Bok Tower Gardens

At the centre of the gardens is the stunning Singing Tower, which reaches 205ft into the air and has elements of Art Deco and Gothic Revival design. The structure holds a 60-bell carillon that gives the tower its name. Make sure that you are in the gardens at 1pm or 3pm to hear the bells being played!

If you are interested in historical buildings, then you might want to consider visiting the Pinewood Estate at the heart of the gardens. Explore an interesting 1930s Mediterranean-revival style mansion, which was built by Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Steel Company vice-president Charles Austin Buck as a winter retreat.

  • Adult: $15.00 / $21.00 (including Pinewood Estate)
  • Child (5-12): $5.00 / $10.00 (including Pinewood Estate)
  • Child 4 and under: Free

Opening hours: 8am – 6pm

Location: 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853

10. Science Stars

If you fancy an educational day out on your holiday that is also fun, then a trip to the award-winning Orlando Science Center should be on your itinerary.

With hands-on exhibits spanning four floors, there is a lot to inspire young minds. Learning is made fun with a range of interactive displays, big-screen 3D movies and live presentations!

  • Adult: $20.95
  • Child: $14.95
  • Children 2 and under: Free

(An online booking fee applies)

Location: 777 E. Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803

11. Funny bones!

SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology Orlando

More education and learning is to be had at the newest science museum in Orlando – SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology. If you are interested in bones, skeletons and anatomy, this is sure to be of interest. One of only two skeleton museums in the US, there are 500 animal skeletons on display in over 40 dioramas. Also included in admission is a fun scavenger hunt for guests to complete!

If you buy your tickets on the website in advance, you will get a saving on the entry fee. It’s also worth checking as there are often special deals on day passes, offering massive reductions. Book tickets here:

Opening hours: 10am – 10pm daily

Location: ICON Orlando 360, 8441 International Dr Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32819

12. High flying

While you are at the ICON Orlando 360 complex if you are a thrill seeker, you won’t be able to resist a ride on the Orlando StarFlyer – the world’s tallest swing ride!

After being securely strapped in with a friend, you will be raised up the height of the 450ft tall tower, rotating round at speeds of up to 45mph, and seeing a stunning view of Orlando as you soar through the air!

There is no age or weight limit to the ride, the only proviso is that you are a minimum of 44” (1.12m) tall, and can securely fit into the seat and fasten the belts properly.

  • Online ticket price: $10
  • Booth ticket price: $12.21
  • You can ride again on the same day for $7.51 if you are feeling brave!

(Prices exclude taxes)

Location: ICON Orlando 360, 8265 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

Is there anywhere that you have been to in Florida that you think should have made this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts so get in touch!

Prices correct as at February 2019. Most prices do not include tax. Check the company’s website before you go for up-to-date prices and information.