It’s not too hard to spend a pretty penny on theme parks in Orlando or nightlife in Miami, but there are plenty of places in the Sunshine State that will maximize your fun on a minimal budget. Here are just a handful of our top picks.
Staying in “St. Pete,” as locals call it, gives you easy access to Tampa without the prices of accommodations in some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods. However, it also has a lot going on in its own right. Head downtown for great shopping, get some fresh air at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve or soak up some arts and culture at the Dali Museum, Chihuly Collection, or the Museum of Fine Arts.
This northern Florida city has great family-friendly attractions, including the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, and Little Talbot Island State Park. Foodies love the trendy, bohemian Five Points neighborhood, which is home to favorite eateries like Black Sheep, Basil Thai & Sushi, and Sake House.
In addition to beautiful beaches, Sarasota has a vibrant arts scene and lots of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Popular attractions include The Ringling Museum, Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and Marietta Museum. Kayaking and canoeing is a favorite pastime of Sarasota locals and visitors alike.
Sure, St. Augustine can get a bit pricey near the historic district. But, you can find some serious steals near the beach, and in the offseason as well. Historic sites abound, from Castillo de San Marcos to the Oldest Wooden School House. Plus, the city has plenty of great spots to eat without having to empty your wallet. Try one of the homemade empanadas at the Spanish Bakery, or grab a slice of pizza at Pizzalley’s.
Destin is a popular vacation destination to begin with, but that means that you can score some great deals on accommodations—you just have to be willing to do a little searching. The opportunities for adventure here are virtually endless: dolphin-watching cruises, Segway tours, and every water sport imaginable. If you’d rather sunbathe, you’ll have your choice of gorgeous beaches.