There’s no doubt that an Orlando vacation will be one your family won’t soon forget, but this theme park capital can take a toll on your wallet if you’re not careful. Here are a few ideas for enjoying an Orlando vacation on the cheap.
Coco Key Hotel & Resort
If you’re looking for a place to stay that is moderately priced, consider the Coco Key Hotel & Resort. It features an onsite water park and family-friendly food court, so you can spend a day or two just enjoying the onsite amenities. Plus, a free shuttle is ready to whisk you to nearby Universal Studios.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Orlando is probably the numerous theme parks in the area, but why not spend some time exploring the more natural side of the city? The Harry P. Leu Gardens offers nearly 50 acres of tropical plants, blooming flowers and 200-year-old oak trees. Admission is $10 for adults ($3 for kids), but you can score free entry by visiting the gardens on the first Monday of the month.
While Disney World may not top Orlando’s budget-friendly list, Downtown Disney certainly does. You’ll get the Disney experience without the hefty price tag at the World of Disney store, while the kids can let their imaginations run wild for free at the LEGO Imagination Center.
Speaking of theme park experiences on the cheap, don’t skip Universal CityWalk. It’s free to stroll through and soak up the vibe of this energetic district, and there are plenty of shops for browsing and restaurants when lunch or dinnertime rolls around. Many of the clubs also offer free admission on select days throughout the week. This year, the CityWalk expands to house new shops and restaurants such as the Hot Dog Hall of Fame, pizzerias and a Universal Studios store.
Orlando Brewing Company
For a more adult Orlando experience, you can take a free tour at the Orlando Brewing Company. After you see how they make their magic (which is totally organic, by the way), you can sample the brews for less than $5 during happy hour. Stop in on Mondays at 6 p.m. for free brewery tours and Fridays for cover-free live music.
Do you live for thrift shops and flea markets? Then don’t miss Flea World, the state’s largest flea market. You’ll find absolutely everything here, from fresh produce to antiques to electronics. If you’re searching for a bargain, you’ll find it at Flea World. Admission and parking are free. Don’t miss the B-Row eats at Cafe Latino for empanadas and pollo frito.
(Main image: Garth Vaughan/Walt Disney World)