Has anyone done a super cheap FL vacation? No airfare-we will drive. I would like to go to a Disney/US like place for like a day or so. Not too long-I'm sure it's too expensive but otherwise spend our time doing cheap/free things like hanging out at the beach and such.
Anyone have any experience with cheap FL vacations?
Best free/cheap places to go near Orlando or the Kennedy Space Center?
Anything I should know?
Ideas for cheap meals?
AP Mom to 5
We packed lunches and brought them in to both parks in back packs without advertising it. I'm not sure what the rules are. Food in both parks is crazy expensive.
I will definitely check out Busch Gardens. I remember my SIL saying ages ago she went and it was great.
Thanks for the condo suggestion. I want to stay away from anything too touristy, so I'll check out Clearwater Beach. My SIL loves Panama City, but I'm worried about Spring Break craziness with my kids and such. That should be over by the time we go, though, at least.
AP Mom to 5
The Disney resorts can also be fun to stroll around -- Boardwalk and Yacht & Beach area has a really fun, family vibe in the early evenings, with strolling magicians and entertainers out, pizza on the boardwalk, a fabulous ice cream shop, etc. Just tell the guard at the entrance to the resort that you're there for dinner.
Camping also sounds great. I don't know how great camping is in FL, though. Are fire ants/mosquitos a big problem like they were in NC?
And dh and I decided to try Busch Gardens/SeaWorld instead because it's cheaper and they have a good deal right now.
AP Mom to 5
Good call about graduation-we had that problem when we went on vacation to get married. Which reminds me I totally forgot that my anniversary is the first day of his vacation!
My oldest is totally obsessed with astronomy, so the Space Center I think she'll like unless anyone can think of other cool astronomy related trips? I'm at a total loss in the area!
AP Mom to 5
-:¦:-♥Sarah Lynne♥-:¦:-Wife to Michael and Mommy to Austin(5), Steven(3), Tristyn(1), and Laurelyn (6/3/2011)
For the parks: Universal has more rides, SeaWorld has more shows/exhibits and I think the prices are pretty comparable. We haven't been to Busch Gardens - we live south of Cocoa so we don't go past Orlando regularly. We did SeaWorld when our oldest( 5yo) was young, but are doing Universal this year and it's a bit challenging with a 19mo. There are a few things she can ride (she loves them all, she just doesn't meet height requirements) but SW was better for her.
There are parks all up and down the coast, and camping is much cheaper than hotels, and probably more fun with kids anyway. This time of year is good, not too hot or humid, and the mosquitoes aren't bad if you're camping at the beach (the sea breeze keeps them away). You could make a trip down the east coast and hit St. Augustine (beautiful old Spanish mission town with a huge fort and wonderful restaurants), the Kennedy Space Center, and Cocoa Beach to watch the surfers. I love that stretch of coastline!
I live in the Panhandle, which has prettier beaches, in my opinion, but not much to do besides fish! The east coast has a lot more attractions. You can probably find a cheap hotel in the Disney area for a couple days, if you want to do that too. There is tons of kid-friendly stuff in the Orlando-Kissimee region, but my preference is the state parks, beaches and nature centers along the coast. Maybe you can do a little of both. Have fun - it's a wonderful state!
You might also want to check out entertainment.com/online and join. You can sign up for a month at $4.95 and print out coupons for major discounts to several different things to do in the area. You can cancel the membership anytime. Someone mentioned Wonderworks - it's a fabulous place for kids in Orlando. They have a 2 for 1 coupon on that site, also possibly a 20% off up to so much as well.. .and lots of other attractions.
When we travel for any length of time, we always use it.. it's well worth the $ to pay the fee, print the coupons I want and cancel the membership. We went away for 10 days and everything we did we used a buy 1 get 1 free coupon. My DBF and I did 10 days all over the northeastern state of FL and Orlando for less than $800 and that was eating out every meal in a regular restaurant, hotels, all attractions. We did at least one attraction a day and many times 2-3.
You might also check roomsaver.com for pretty great rates for hotels. I can say that we have stayed several times in Kissimmee (just next door to Orlando) at the Howard Johnson Maingate East - at less than $40 a night for a room with 2 double beds. For another $5 a night you can get a larger room and also they have microwaves and fridges in their suites. They have heated pools, laundry, very clean and no bugs!!! We've been very satisfied with them and they offer free shuttles if you want to do the parks.
We didn't camp there, but there were very pretty sites at one of the campgrounds. Do your homework first and make sure its the right campground...there was a swimming area near it/or part of it that was more of a structured feel (near a snackbar and more public swim area), then there was the dunes area that was much more secluded and private, right near the long stretch of beach.
I really liked Bahia and we'll probably go there again and camp this time.
On the way we went to the everglades nat'l park...very pretty, much different than what I had imagined!!
But be warned- other lodging options in the keys were ridiculously expensive!!!
good luck and hope you have fun wherever you end up!
One sleepy mama to ds #1 (5) and ds #2...my VBAC baby (2) and expecting #3 sometime in 2/2012!!
I really want to take my son, but we just can't get down there for late May.
They have a schedule on their website, be sure to check it out!
Also- definitely do the Give-a-Day if you want to hit Disney for one day. It's a big money-saver.
And Universal Studios was offering 7-day tickets for $99 but have pulled their promotion from the website. However, some AAA offices and the AAA-Ohio website are still selling them. Big savings. You can use these tickets anytime- buy them now, use them three years from now, etc. They just expire 14 days (or close to it) after you use them for the first time.
Oh- and for accommodations- there have been lots of deals lately. Check travelzoo, disboards.com
There was a SAHM who posted some great threads there about her amazing budget trips to central Florida with her DH and 6 children. They bought restaurant.com GCs to use down there, planned lots of free and cheap activities, etc. for two whole weeks.
~e, wife to my sweet T , mama to my turtleman (12) , sunshine (9 ), and monkey (6)
Kelly Park, aka Rock Springs is in the area and has a natural spring fed river that you can tube down with the kids. It's nice and slow, nothing scary. But watch out for yellow flies...only thing keeping me from going back. Wekiva Springs and Blue Springs are great, but the water is cold. Fun though. I like Blue Springs better personally.
Where is Blue Springs?