Florida is renowned for its stunning beaches, theme parks, and vibrant culture, but it's also a fantastic destination for budget-conscious travelers. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach getaway or an adventurous urban escape, Florida offers a plethora of affordable options. From the picturesque beaches of the Gulf Coast to the lively cities of Miami and Orlando, there's something for everyone in the Sunshine State. In this guide, we'll explore nine of the cheapest places to visit in Florida on a budget, so you can enjoy all that this beautiful state has to offer without breaking the bank.
9 Of The Cheapest Places To Visit In Florida On A Budget
1. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach is a fantastic budget-friendly destination known for its wide, sandy shores and vibrant atmosphere. With numerous free beach access points and a variety of affordable accommodation options, including hotels and vacation rentals, it's easy to enjoy a budget-friendly beach getaway here. The boardwalk is a hub of activity, offering shops, restaurants, and attractions like the Daytona Beach Pier. Visitors can also explore nearby natural attractions like the scenic Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens or take a drive along the iconic Daytona Beach Drive-In Christian Church.
2. Fort Myers
Fort Myers is another affordable gem in Florida, offering a mix of natural beauty and cultural attractions. The city is known for its beautiful beaches, including the family-friendly Fort Myers Beach and the secluded Lover's Key State Park. Visitors can also explore the historic Edison and Ford Winter Estates, which offer a glimpse into the lives of two of America's most famous inventors. For a budget-friendly dining experience, head to the River District, where you'll find a variety of restaurants offering delicious meals at affordable prices.
Gainesville is a vibrant college town that offers plenty of budget-friendly attractions. Visitors can explore the beautiful University of Florida campus, which features stunning architecture and lush green spaces. The city is also home to the Florida Museum of Natural History, which offers free admission to its permanent exhibits. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the nearby Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, which offers hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Gainesville also boasts a variety of affordable dining options, including local eateries serving up delicious Southern cuisine.
Jacksonville is a diverse city that offers a range of budget-friendly attractions. The city's beaches, including Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach, offer free access and are perfect for a day of sun and sand. Visitors can also explore the Riverside Arts Market, which features local vendors selling handmade goods, art, and food. For a taste of history, head to the Kingsley Plantation, which offers free guided tours of its historic buildings and grounds. Jacksonville also boasts a variety of affordable accommodation options, including hotels and vacation rentals.
5. Ocala National Forest
For nature lovers on a budget, Ocala National Forest is a must-visit destination. The forest offers a range of affordable outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can explore the Juniper Springs Recreation Area, which features a stunning natural spring and offers swimming and canoeing opportunities. The forest also offers a variety of camping options, including tent and RV sites, making it easy to enjoy a budget-friendly overnight stay surrounded by nature.
Pensacola is a charming coastal city known for its beautiful beaches and rich history. Visitors can explore the historic Pensacola Village, which features a variety of well-preserved historic buildings dating back to the 18th century. The city is also home to the National Naval Aviation Museum, which offers free admission and features a wide range of historic aircraft and exhibits. Pensacola Beach is a popular spot for budget-conscious travelers, offering free access and a variety of affordable dining and accommodation options.
7. St. Augustine
St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States and offers a wealth of budget-friendly attractions. Visitors can explore the historic district, which features well-preserved colonial architecture and historic sites like the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The city is also home to several beautiful beaches, including St. Augustine Beach and Anastasia State Park, which offer free access and a range of outdoor activities. For a taste of local culture, head to the St. Augustine Distillery, which offers free tours and tastings of its handcrafted spirits.
Tampa is a vibrant city that offers plenty of budget-friendly attractions. Visitors can explore the historic Ybor City district, which features well-preserved cigar factories and a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The city is also home to the Tampa Riverwalk, a scenic waterfront path that offers stunning views of the city skyline and access to a variety of parks and attractions. For a budget-friendly day out, head to the Tampa Bay History Center, which offers free admission on the first Saturday of every month.
9. The Florida Keys
While the Florida Keys are known for their luxury resorts and high-end attractions, budget-conscious travelers can still enjoy this beautiful destination. Camping is a popular and affordable option in the Keys, with several campgrounds offering stunning ocean views and easy access to the water. Visitors can also explore the many free or low-cost attractions in the area, including the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. For a taste of local cuisine, head to one of the many seafood shacks and roadside stands that offer delicious meals at affordable prices.
Exploring Florida on a budget is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. From its stunning natural beauty to its vibrant cultural scene, Florida offers something for every traveler, no matter their budget. By taking advantage of affordable accommodation options, exploring free or low-cost activities, and dining at budget-friendly restaurants, you can experience the best of Florida without breaking the bank. Whether you're strolling along the beaches of the Gulf Coast, exploring the Everglades, or discovering the vibrant nightlife of Miami, Florida's diverse attractions are sure to leave you with unforgettable memories, all while keeping your wallet happy.
Some affordable activities to do in Florida include visiting state parks, exploring historic sites, and enjoying free outdoor concerts and events. Many beaches also offer free access and parking, making them a budget-friendly option for a day of fun in the sun.
Yes, Florida offers a range of budget-friendly accommodation options, including motels, hostels, and campgrounds. Many hotels and resorts also offer discounts and deals, especially during the off-peak season, so be sure to shop around for the best rates.