Florida can be an expensive place to live or visit (if you want to have fun), but it doesn’t have to be. Most people just don’t know about all of the free and affordable fun things to do. Here are a few of our favorites that are totally free (though some appreciate donations).
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Florida Beaches
Florida has some of the country's best beaches, where you can enjoy a perfect day for little to no cost. Siesta Beach, pictured here, has sand made of 99% quartz, so it's cool on your toes, even on the hottest days. With thousands of miles of coastline, it's easy to find the perfect beach near you.
2. National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola
Come check out more than 150 historic aircraft at this 35-acre indoor/outdoor naval aviation museum, which is the world's largest. It's fun and fascinating for kids and adults. Best of all, it's totally free!
3. Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando
On the first Monday of every month you can get free admission to this "50-acre botanical oasis" in Orlando. There's free storytelling for little ones on these days as well.
4. Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee
This museum will teach you everything you've ever wanted to know about the history and culture of Florida's many inhabitants, with artifacts and exhibits you won't find anywhere else. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
5. San Sebastian Winery, St. Augustine
This awesome winery in St. Augustine (along with its sister winery in Clermont, Lakeridge Winery) offers free tours seven days a week. There's also a lovely rooftop that features tasty food and live music.
6. Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
Admission is free to this natural history museum where families can learn all about the plants and animals of the beautiful Florida Keys.
7. Spook Hill, Lake Wales
Legend has it that anyone who parks at the bottom of Spook Hill and puts their car in neutral will roll up the hill. Spooky, indeed.
8. Wakadohatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach
There are plenty of free and affordable things to do in the Great Outdoors in Florida. Most state parks are beautiful and charge a small entrance fee, but there are also parks that are totally free. (Of course, most of them appreciate donations.) The Wakadohatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach is a nice place to walk on a boardwalk and view lots of native Florida wildlife. The park was once unused utility land that has been successfully transformed into a lovely recreation area.
9. Ideal Classic Cars Museum & Showroom, Venice
This 27,000-foot showroom is full of collectible cars dating from the 1920s through the 1970s, including hot rods, muscle cars and originals. And if you're looking to buy, they are all for sale.
10. Key West Garden Club, West Martello Tower, Key West
The way the garden has taken over the crumbling Civil War-era fortification gives it the feeling of a secret and sacred place. Not only is it full of exotic plants, including colorful orchids and massive banyans, the entire garden is located right on the beach, with breathtaking views of the ocean.
11. Wynwood Walls, Miami
This huge open street art museum in Miami features tons of graffiti and murals in the hip Wynwood Art District. Bring your camera for this unforgettable experience.
12. Sunset Celebrations
We love to have fun in Florida, and we'll find almost any reason to party. So in Key West and Clearwater, even the sun setting is good enough! Crowds gather a couple hours before sunset to watch performers and hear live music. And when the sun goes down, the party is just beginning!
13. Cummer Museum & Gardens, Jacksonville
The Cummer Museum is a Jacksonville landmark and costs only $10 for adults and $6 for children in kindergarten through college. Stroll through the beautiful gardens on the St. John's River and tour the ever changing exhibits. Visit Tuesdays after 4pm for free admission.
14. St. Augustine Distillery
Anyone who's ever wondered how spirits are made can catch a free tour every 30 minutes at this distillery in historic St. Augustine. Don't worry about finding a babysitter, children are allowed to tour (but obviously not taste).
How many of these awesome free things have you tried? Do you have any others to add to our list?