Free Attractions, Parks, Tours, and Things to Do in Florida

L. Cane

Admittedly, some of the most popular attractions in Florida are expensive, especially if one has a family. But there are some fun and family-friendly activities that are not only enjoyable (and in some cases educational) but also free. Below is a list of free activities you may want to consider from different areas of the state. Indoor and outdoor listings are included. It is always a good idea to call and confirm hours of operation and any costs to avoid disappointment.

Outdoor Activities: Florida has plenty of natural beauty. The following are outdoor activities that allow you to see some of those natural attributes without spending much money:

  • Volusia County’s Sun Splash Park in Daytona Beach is a great choice for families. This four-acre facility is right on the beach and has a water-themed play area for kids. There are shaded playgrounds, volleyball courts, and picnic facilities. Not only is admission free, but so is parking.
  • Disney Wilderness Preserve is a great choice for nature lovers. The preserve isn't affiliated with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, so you won't find anything related to a theme park within it. (The Walt Disney Company partners with the project to provide funding.) Instead, you'll find a preserve that looks like old Florida and miles of hiking trails home to 1,000 species of plants and animals within the everglades ecosystem. The Preserve is popular with bird watchers and hikers. Admission is free.
  • The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Key West is a natural preserve popular with visitors who love the water. You may see coral reefs, underwater canyons, and underwater archaeological sites. There's no admission fee, but there are costs to rent scuba gear or a kayak if you need them.
  • If you happen to be in Orlando on the first Monday of the month, you can tour the Harry P Leu botanical gardens for free, but only on the first Monday. (Note that this promotion is suspended at certain times throughout the year so call for confirmation.) The beautiful attraction spans 50-acres but is only five minutes from downtown Orlando.
  • Egmont Key State Park in St Petersburg features a 150-year-old lighthouse that you can tour. There's also a lovely beach for swimming, shelling, or picnicking.

  • If you're near Fort Myers, you may want to consider Mound Key Archaeological State Park. This park is a great option for history lovers, as it is home to ancient Native American mounds. Although the park is only accessible by boat, canoe, or kayak, admission is free, and the Park offers an educational look at ancient Florida.

Indoor Activities:

Sometimes, Florida's summer storms or hot weather make it necessary to find a free activity indoors.

  • The Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee allows visitors to learn about the development of Florida and how its inhabitants have reacted and adapted to their natural environments and to changes within the state.
  • In Gainesville, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art showcases vintage, diverse art collections, as well as more modern works of art. Although operating hours vary, admission is always free.
  • Sarasota's John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has over 15,000 objects from various genres and periods of art from around the world. Admission is free on Mondays.
  • The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables offers free tours on Sunday afternoons. Check the website for hours. The Hotel has an interesting past, as it has hosted both European and Hollywood royalty. The Biltmore is the only hotel in South Florida designated as a National Historic Landmark.

  • Pensacola's National Museum of Naval Aviation has over 100 vintage aircraft on display. Admission to the museum and the Blue Angels’ air show is free to the public.

Again, it is always prudent to contact the attraction before heading out to confirm hours of operations and any rotating promotions.

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