Planning a Central Florida vacation?


I don't blame you! If I didn't live here I would plan a trip here myself. Especially if I lived up north somewhere in the cold weather.

I've lived in the Orlando area for over 35 years and I know that we get a lot of tourists here (to say the least).

I want to help those of you traveling to Orlando with some tips on cheap travel and also tips on just having a good time here with some ideas on things you can do other than the theme parks that you might not find in all the travel books.

I am going to list on this page some places to see and activities you can do that are in addition to your regular theme parks and so forth that you will see advertised everywhere.

Some of these places are in Orlando and some are in nearby surrounding areas. None are too terribly far from Orlando. All are interesting and fun.

Hope these how-to-travel-cheap tips and ideas are helpful to you!



Lake Eola

Lake Eola is located downtown Orlando and is my first tip on how to travel cheap in Orlando.

This is a popular destination and many people take advantage of the beautiful surroundings to walk or jog around the lake. A sidewalk circles the lake and is almost a mile long at 0.9 miles. You can see swans in the lake, both the live version and the ones that are actually boats (you have to pedal them but electric ones are coming soon). Pets are allowed so bring your dog along for a leisurely stroll or a power walk. This is a great place to people watch.


Lake Eola in Orlando Florida 



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Harry P Leu Gardens

Harry P Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical garden and museum and should be anther stop on your how-to-travel-cheap itinerary.

Here you will find 3 miles of paved scenic walkways, a butterfly garden, a house museum dating from the 1880s, the largest formal rose garden in Florida, vegetable and herb gardens, and much more including group tours, weddings, and classes on landscaping, horticulture, fine arts, crafts, and children's classes.

This beautiful haven is a must-see activity, especially if you are looking for things to do on a budget.

Harry P Leu Gardens is located at 1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando.


Harry P Leu Gardens in Orlando Florida




Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Visit the Central Florida Zoological Park and be a kid for the day. Observe and learn about unique and interesting animals.

This is a relaxing and entertaining how to travel cheap activity for the entire family. You can view the animals as you stroll along shady boardwalks and winding paths.

The zoo is located in Sanford, just outside of Orlando.


Central Florida Zoo in Sanford Florida




Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring is the largest spring on the St Johns River, and is a designated manatee refuge, and the winter home of a large population of manatees. This should be your next how-to-travel-cheap destination.

You can enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear spring (73 degrees year round), although only in designated areas (not with the manatees). There are also picnic areas, play areas for the kids, and hiking trails. A campground is also available.

Located just outside Orlando just west of Orange City.


Mantees at Blue Spring State Park



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St Johns River

The St Johns River is the longest river in Florida, spanning 310 miles from end to end from Indian River County to the Atlantic Ocean in Duval County. It is actually the second longest river in the United States!

If you enjoy boating, this river is the place to go! Now, I happen to live in Lake County, Florida, and, owning a boat, am well familiar with all the lakes and rivers. And frankly there are so many I have only tried a small percentage of them, but of all I have tried, I continue to enjoy the St Johns River, and so I hope you will add this to your how-to-travel-cheap itinerary.

If you enjoy fishing, you can do so for free along the riverbanks, or you can rent a canoe for a ridiculously low price at one of the parks or marinas, sometimes as low as $5.00. If you are up to spending a little bit more, my advice is to rent a pontoon. I don't personally own a pontoon (yet), as we have a bowrider, but I dearly love pontoons. They are to me the perfect idea of a lazy relaxing day, just floating on your pontoon down the river.

There are so many stops and parks, marinas, and sights to see along the river, it would take too long and too much space to mention them all. But if you are into boating at all, this is something I would recommend you take a serious look at. What better way to relax and wind down from all the craziness of the theme parks than a lazy ride in a pontoon down this river. And if it's the summer, when we often have afternoon storms, just pull into a marina as you pass by, and use that time to eat lunch. By the time you finish lunch the storm will most likely be gone. Wind is not even usually a factor on the river and the water is almost always quite calm. You can see lots of wildlife and of course gators!

So if you are looking for a great idea on how to travel cheap and enjoy a relaxing day on the water, do consider renting a pontoon (or a canoe) and enjoying the St Johns River.


St Johns River in Florida



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