7 Things You Can Do in Florida for Free
Florida, the sunshine state, is a destination that millions of tourists flock to every year. Families, couples and groups of friends head out to enjoy the sun, the fabled Disney history and much, much more.
With all the tourist traps, though, it comes as no surprise that many seek activities that don’t cost a penny in order to balance the books before spending vast sums on a set of Mickey Mouse ears or a toy space rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre.
We took it upon ourselves to find the best activities that Florida has to offer that won’t cost you anything, and still give you an enjoyable experience.
1. Go Birdwatching in Florida
This may not sound particularly stimulating to some, but we are not suggesting you buy a set of binoculars, a thermos of Bovril and sit in one location for 8 hours hoping to spot a rare breed. Far from it – Florida has some of the most unique bird species in the whole of the USA. You will be able to enjoy a variety of bright colours, unusual shapes and unique sounds. You can follow a trail, courtesy of the Florida Birding Trail website, and pick up which areas you would like to explore. Make it a challenge for the children to see what they can find, and stop off for a rewarding ice cream at the end.
Exploration, nature, good weather and some wildlife make this a great start for a free activity you can all take part in.
2. Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Centre
The Florida Keys are a great part of America that offer the truly diverse nature of a state, let alone a country. Within the Keys, you can find two national parks, four wildlife refuges and the National Marine Sanctuary meaning that within just this one area, there is a tremendous amount of nature to encounter.
By heading to the Eco-Discovery centre, you can learn all about the different natural habitats that surround the Keys. This is a great way to give yourself a break from the bright lights and loud sounds of theme parks and other expensive attractions.
3. Naples Pier
A pier walk is perfect for couples or families that may have spent the day taking part in action-packed activities. With the sunset as the perfect backdrop, and white sands adorning the beach, Naples Pier offers plenty without the need to spend anything, especially if stunning views and a possible glimpse of a dolphin are of interest.
It can get very busy around sunset as everyone crowds in to see the view, so be sure to keep this in mind, especially if visiting the pier with children.
4. Wicked Dolphin Distillery
Every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday you can indulge on a free tour and tasting at the Wicked Dolphin Distillery. Situated in Cape Coral, there are plenty of restaurants nearby to help you soak up any of your samples. Craft rums are the speciality and if the free tasters tingle the senses, you can pick up a souvenir at the onsite gift shop.
The tour lasts just under an hour and demonstrates all the stages of product creation. There are also plenty of opportunities to ask questions and snap some photos of a venue full of character.
5. The beaches
We haven’t picked just one – there are plenty, all of which are free to enjoy.
Some get more crowded than others due to their location, but on the whole, whichever you chose, you can enjoy blue waters, white sands and a mixture of vibes. St Pete Beach is considered one of the more laid back, and in 2021, it was voted the third best beach in the world.
Cocoa Beach has plenty to offer to those who love a beach town, providing visitors with restaurants, a pier and great fishing opportunities. Our third suggestion is Fort Lauderdale – there is plenty to do in the area and the beach offers fantastic views. All in all, these are just three you can pick, and there are plenty more.
6. National Naval Aviation Museum
With more than 150 historic aircraft, this museum endears itself to both adults and children. There is close-up access to some of the most famous aircraft in history and exhibits that showcase the conflicts, technology and stories that the US Navy have been involved in. Guided tours are also available, allowing you to learn and marvel as you wander the grounds. Situated in Pensacola, this is a trip that can leave children in awe and Dad wishing he had been a fighter pilot. Always check the website for access information first, as occasionally the venue closes to the public.
7. Gumbo Limbo Nature Centre
20 acres of exploration allow you to stroll through butterfly gardens, spot fish and other aquatic life and watch scientists conducting research experiments. It’s a relaxing environment and one which both adults and children can enjoy. The turtle rehabilitation centre is well worth a visit and following the Ashley Trail is highly recommended. The trip offers a peaceful walk away from the hustle and bustle of other tourist venues. You can expect to spend a couple of hours here and have not spent a penny. Donations to support the projects are encouraged.
Florida has so much to offer, so it is well worth looking at what you would like to get out of a holiday. Some people love the loud, busy hotspots, others prefer a more relaxed, calmer atmosphere. Florida caters for both, and our list above gives you the opportunity to experience them. Busy beaches with a party vibe, relaxed nature walks by the water, perhaps a step back in time at a museum, Florida has it all.
To get around and ensure you can enjoy them all, make sure you organise your hire car in advance. It’s the easiest way to enjoy Florida and allows you to venture further afield if you choose to. Our comprehensive car hire excess insurance ensures you can travel without fear of being stung by costly excess fees that often get attached to hiring a car. With packages suited for single or multiple trips, you can rest assured there won’t be an unsightly bill at the end of your trip. Get a free quote today and start your trip protected with holiday car excess insurance.