Wanderlsuters who pick Florida as one of their must-see travel destinations have got their work cut out for them. Florida is a conglomerate of entertainment, with theme parks and beach visits being the go-to excursions.
But for those budget-savvy travelers, don't fret. There's still plenty of fun free things to do in Florida! Florida is full of unique places to explore. Some tropical, some historical, but most of all modern. And if you're a fan of the outdoors, get ready because you'll have a plethora of choices at your disposal.
10 10. Pick A Beach Any Beach
More than likely you've heard of these hot spots before so let's just take a look at the finer details when it comes to the most popular Florida beaches:
Daytona Beach is the pinnacle of spring breakers. Located on the East coast, it gives Florida vacationers direct access to the Atlantic ocean. Perfect for surfing, partying, and sunbathing. Miami Beach is where the city meets the beach. Every other building on the boardwalk is either a club or a bar, making Miami's nightlife one of the best. But before a night out on the town, you can spend the entire day jet skiing, parasailing, or simply lay out under the sun.
St Pete Beach is more of a quaint, quiet oasis, but you won't find a more beautiful setting. Clear Waters and soft blankets of sand come with the best sunsets on this side of the Gulf. Other favorites when it comes to Florida beaches are Coco, Panama City, and Siesta Key.
9 9. National Naval Aviation Museum
If you're into aircraft, the National Naval Aviation Museum can't be beaten. It has thousands of restored aircraft from the Navy, Maine Corps, and the Coast Guard Aviation.
The exhibits are totally free, but if you're looking for a complete and immersive experience, there are also flight simulators, Apollo 11 Virtual Reality, and a giant screen theater aircraft attraction available for a small fee. The famous Blue Angels also practice at this Pensacola location on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from March until November.
8 8. Wine Tastings
Whether you're a fan of the East coast, West coast, South, or Central Florida, you can find free wine tastings anywhere. Florida is known for its orange groves, but they put their vineyards to good use, too. The largest winery sits on 127 acres in Clermont, Florida. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards includes a free tour of their wine-making operation, a video presentation, and complete views of their fruit fields.
Free wine tasting typically hosts variations of both reds and whites and there's always an option to buy a bottle for yourself once you a few tastes of your favorites.
7 7. Visit the Holocaust Memorial
Located in Miami Beach, the Holocaust Memorial Museum is a free place to learn about this historical event. The main structure that gives way to this memorial is the Seagreen sculpture reaching out from the central fountain.
The memorial walls also showcase all the survivors and victims who went through this tragedy. Visitors can take a free tour which takes about an hour or two to see in its entirety.
6 6. Swim with Manatees
Blue Springs State Park is located in Orange City, Florida. And yes, you can actually swim with manatees here. The Central Florida location is a beautiful tropical reserve that manatees flock to primarily during the winter months. Visitors aren't allowed to touch the sea cows but they've been known to gravitate towards the swimmers in the spring.
The spring is a popular attraction so make sure you arrive early. It opens at 8 a.m. 365 days a year and you can stay until sundown.
5 5. Disney's Wildlife Preserve
Another Central Florida free excursion that's located in Poinciana, Florida. The wildlife refuge has over 11,500 acres of vegetation to protect thousands of species of animals and plants. The parks are a prominent part of Florida's Everglades ecosystem that helps generate sustainable efforts.
Park visitors can roam free at Disney's exclusive nature habitat and enjoy the hiking trails where they are sure to catch a glimpse of this unique wildlife.
4 4. Fort George Island Cultural State Park
If you're a history fanatic, Florida is an excellent place to learn about days' past. The Fort George Island Cultural State Park is only one of the many historical plantations in Florida. Located near the Florida-Georgia state line, this free park used to be home to the Indian tribe known as Saturiwa. It later became the Kingsley Plantation where visitors today can see the home of Zephaniah Kingsley. The slave quarters are also still intact so visitors can get a feel of what life was really like in 1765.
There are also boat ramps, bicycle trails, and canoeing activities available to those who want a bit of outdoor fun.
3 3. Lighthouses
Florida is home to many gorgeous lighthouses. Most are located on the islands off the coast where visitors can have access to some of the most gorgeous beach sunsets you can imagine. One such lighthouse is the Cape St. George Light located on St. George Island. The lighthouse museum and gift shop are completely free and climbs are free for U.S. Veterans. Other attendees can climb the lighthouse for a small fee or attend the free climb that takes place every April.
Another other notable Florida lighthouses you can check out for free is the Sanibel Lighthouse on Sanibel Island. This lighthouse was built in 1884 and has weathered a hurricane or two since then. Island visitors can't climb this tower, but the lighthouse is free to visit. When you're done you can lay on the beach, hunt for unique shells, and try to spot a dolphin or two.
2 2. Downtown Districts
Downtown areas are always a recommended stop wherever you go. But in Florida, the downtown districts are pumping year round. Depending on which city you are visiting, you can check out the downtown districts local free events.
Chances are there will be a farmers market, movies in the park, or free concerts happening downtown. Downtown Fort Myers offers a free Art Walk at least once a month and Orlando's Lake Eola downtown area has a free farmers market every Sunday!
1 1. Parades
Again, because of Florida's pristine climate, parades are happening all the time. Here are some of the biggest (and brightest) parades that you can experience for free in Florida.
Edison Festival of Lights Parade: A glowing spectacle of lights to celebrate Thomas Edison and his invention of the lightbulb.
When: Every February
Where: Fort Myers, Florida
Gasparilla: A pirate-themed extravaganza attended by over 300,000 Florida locals and travelers every year.
When: Every January
Where: Tampa Bay, Florida
Key West Pride: A vivacious celebration of the LGBT community.
When: Every June
Where: Key West, Florida
Fantasy Fest Parade: A 10-day celebration where you dress up as anything and everything in your wildest dreams.
When: Every October
Where: Key West, Florida