Orlando, Florida is a world-famous travel destination, welcoming over 50 million visitors each year. There is no shortage of family friendly fun in Orlando, but much of that fun can come with a steep price tag. If you are looking to add some budget friendly options to your next Orlando trip, here are 5 free activities your whole family is sure to enjoy.
Lake Eola Park is 43 acres of natural beauty located in the heart of downtown Orlando. Gather your family for a walk or jog around the .9-mile long sidewalk that circles the lake. Be sure to feed the resident swans along the way, then check out the fenced in playground. Each night at 8:00 and again at 9:00, the lake’s fountain comes to life with a choreographed light show set to music. Lake Eola Park is home to a farmer’s market each Sunday and often hosts free concerts and movies. Check their calendar for upcoming special events.
Fort Christmas Historical Museum and Park
Have a history buff in the family? Visiting Fort Christmas is like stepping back in time. Located about 20 miles east of Orlando, the park’s centerpiece is a full-sized replica of the fort, built at the start of the Second Seminole Indian War in 1835. Displays within the fort feature US military and Seminole Indian artifacts. The property is also home to 7 restored pioneer style homes and a one-room schoolhouse. Exhibits showcase aspects of pioneer life from the 1870’s through the 1930’s. After touring the historical buildings, let the kids burn off some energy at the playground, which includes a fort style jungle gym. And the next time your kids complain about being hot, remind them they could be living in an unairconditioned “Cracker” house.
Believe it or not, your family can have some free fun right on Disney property! One of the best ways to discover Walt Disney World without the hefty ticket price is by exploring Disney Springs. Parking is free, and once inside you can stroll through the eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, and Disney branded paraphernalia. You don’t even have to stay at Disney resorts in Orlando to enjoy what Disney Springs must offer. The Lego Imagination Center is sure to be a hit with kids, and kids at heart. Here, you can let your imagination run wild at the hands-on play tables and take a selfie with larger than life Disney creations. Then take a ferry ride and view some of the resort hotels from the water. Or if your littles really want to ride the world-famous monorail, catch a free bus to the Magic Kingdom (don’t drive, or you will have to be a steep parking fee) and ride the monorail loop. Change lines at the Transportation and Ticket Center to glide high above EPCOT on the track.
Day trip to the Beach
A trip to Florida is not complete without a visit to one of its world-renowned beaches. Just about an hour east of Orlando, Cocoa Beach features miles of pristine sand and surf. Four beachfront parks and the Cocoa Beach pier make for easy access to the sun and sand. Lifeguards watch over swimmers and beach rentals are plentiful if you decide to spring for a beach chair, umbrella, or boogie board. No trip east to Cocoa Beach would be complete without a detour through Ron Jon’s, the world’s largest surf shop. Take a break from the theme parks and spend some time soaking up the sunshine Florida is famous for!
OK, so technically you will pay admission to visit Kelly Park, but it is so inexpensive it’s practically free. Admission is charged by the carload and is just $3 for 1 or 2 guests. Cars of 3 up to 8 people pay just $5 to enter. Kelly Park features a free flowing natural spring, which is a brisk 68 degrees year-round. Visitors can float down a natural lazy river as they tube down the Rock Springs Run. So, skip the expensive water parks and the long lines while embracing the natural beauty that can only be found in Central Florida.
Even in Orlando, it is possible to add some budget friendly stops to your itinerary. Look beyond the theme parks to see what else Orlando offers and you just might find some free family fun!