Free Reigns! Hit Your Budget-Travel Sweet Spot In Orlando

Let’s face it: amusing yourself can be expensive if you’re not careful. The best laid plans of frugality – with the added caveat of an exciting, new locale – can go awry quickly, ending in a splurge of epic proportions. Granted, some may end up worth it; you might have the time of your life, but all too often those unplanned spend-fests pull from another part of your vacation budget and the careful itinerary you outlined may end up in jeopardy. It’s easy to do in Orlando, where tempting venues come in the form of high-priced theme-park tickets and all the spoils that lay within – souvenirs and restaurants and upsells that get you to the head of the lines. The list is endless. That’s why it’s great to punctuate any vacation with something off a great list of go-to inexpensive attractions. And if you can find free ones? That’s the Holy Grail on a filler day (especially if you’re traveling with children!). In Orlando, you just have to look around a little. Free fun comes in many forms – from the primordial subtropical trails of the Little Big Econ State Forest to the rolling, grape-laden hills of the Lakeridge Winery and even at Disney, where you and the family can enjoy a fireside sing-a-long and marshmallow roast with classic characters Chip and Dale – then follow it up with a classic movie under the twinkling stars.



Fifty thousand gallons of wine come out of Lakeridge each year " it's Florida's largest " and locals visit and revisit all the time. Not just when friends and family come to town, but because the winery hosts an abundance of family-friendly...  Read More



No, Harry P. Leu Gardens isn't free all the time, but plan your visit just so and you'll enjoy gratis admission, available on the first Monday of every month from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with last admittance at 4:00 pm. Fans of phenomenal flora...  Read More



This beautiful historical park " about 20 miles east of Orlando and an easy stop on the way to or from Kennedy Space Center " boasts many beautiful features common to wilderness areas of the region: massive shade trees, lovely hiking trails,...  Read More



Technically, this venue isn't entirely free. Boxes at the various trailheads around the forest request honor donations of $2 per person (free for children age 6 and under) but you'll find the majesty of this truly unspoiled wonderland of Florida...  Read More



CityArts is downtown's largest collective of art galleries where guests will find local and international works of art. This 20,000-square-foot destination welcomes 50,000 visitors a year. The lovely building houses downtown Orlando's largest...  Read More

Orlando Brewing
Photo courtesy of Orlando Brewing


"Organic" and "local" are all kinds of foodie buzzwords these days, but throw the word "beer" into the mix and you might prick up a few sets of ears that were previously tuning you out. Orlando Brewing is Florida's only USDA-certified organic...  Read More



Fort Wilderness Resort is home to some cozy Disney digs, perhaps none as rustic, however, as its cabins and camping sites, but even if you're not camping Mickey-style, you can pop on over to enjoy the company of a classic Disney duo as they lead...  Read More

Disney Springs ®


Have you been to Disney Springs lately? If not, you are in for a serious treat. This exciting new offering (formerly known as Downtown Disney has upped its ante considerably, holding onto some of it's gems (T-Rex Cafe and World of Disney to name...  Read More



One of Orlando's enduring charms is its weather, a feature taken advantage of on a monthly basis by the Enzian Theater during its Popcorn Flicks in the Park. Generally held on the second Thursday of each month on the soft grass of Winter Park's...  Read More



A true glittering city centerpiece, Lake Eola Park's myriad activities, whether walking or jogging the lake's verdant circumference, feeding its multitude of water fowl (there are bird-food dispensers near the playground; please don't feed them...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has spent nearly three decades as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster...  More About A.D.