5 Free and Cheap Things To Do in Orlando
With all the theme parks, tempting restaurants, and souvenir shops, a trip to Orlando can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are also plenty of free and cheap things to do in Orlando that will add oodles of fun to your vacation. In fact, several of these low-cost activities are within short distance of Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista. Whether you are traveling on a budget or seeking to get the most value out of your vacation, you’ll love these free and cheap Orlando activities.
1. Disney Springs
If you think a trip to Disney means spending big bucks, think again. Disney Springs, a popular dining, shopping, and entertainment complex, is entirely free to enter – no tickets needed. Parking at its three garages is free. With its many unique shops and boutiques, Disney Springs is a window shopper’s dream come true (and window shopping is free, too). Try on fancy hats at Chapel Hats, snap a free photo with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear at The Coke Store, and watch tropical fish at the aquarium inside the Rainforest Café® Retail Village.
If browsing the shops isn’t your thing, you can also enjoy these free activities at Disney Springs:
- Water Taxi Rides
These free boat rides offer an exciting way to travel to the different neighborhoods in Disney Springs, including West Side, Marketplace, and The Landing.
- Live Music
Enjoy performances by talented musicians, rappers, and singers throughout Disney Springs every night.
- Dance Parties
Family-friendly dance parties take place at the Fountain Stage every evening.
2. Tibet Butler Nature Preserve
Just 10 minutes away from Walt Disney World, you can immerse yourself in natural beauty of Florida. Tibet Butler Nature Preserve is free to enter and is home to three miles of trails where you can encounter Orlando’s unique wildlife and ecosystems. Before hitting the trails, explore the Vera Carter Environmental Center, which has exhibits and insight on the wildlife you might see in the preserve. There is also a small butterfly garden and a habitat for rescued tortoises that are unable to be returned to the wild.
Be sure to wear proper footwear if you plan on exploring the trails, and bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray. Some parts of trails are on elevated boardwalks over swamps, while others areas are a bit rougher on uneven grounds. Keep your eyes peeled for the animals that call the preserve home, including:
- Eastern screech owls
- Nine-banded armadillos
- Bald eagles
- Gopher tortoises
3. Lake Eola
If you aren’t quite ready to go traipsing across swamps and marshes, you can enjoy the great outdoors at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. Free and open to all, this park is home to Orlando’s iconic fountain as well as several friendly swans, geese, and ducks. You might also spot a few turtles in the pond, including the distinctive Florida softshell turtles. A one mile paved loop around the lake is perfect for a scenic walk, run, or bike ride. In fact, the streets surrounding Lake Eola serve as host for several annual Central Florida races such as such as the IOA Corporate 5k and the OUC Orlando Half Marathon. You can also explore the lake on a swan boat. These pedal-powered boats are available for $15 per half hour rental and seat up to five people. Another fun feature at Lake Eola is that it is dog-friendly, so even your pup can join you on this boat ride.
4. Popcorn Flicks in the Park
If you are looking for a free family-friendly activity in Orlando, Popcorn Flicks in the Park has got you covered. Presented by the city of Winter Park (located just north of Orlando) and the Enzian Theater, this film series is entirely free for Orlando visitors and residents. Each month, Popcorn Flicks in the Park screens a classic family-friendly movie in Winter Park’s Central Park. There’s no ticket needed – just show up. You are encouraged to bring a blanket to sit on as well as snacks or a picnic dinner.
Check out the upcoming spring schedule:
- April 16: Men In Black (1997)
- May 14: The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003)
5. Morse Museum
Also located in Winter Park, the Morse Museum is must-see if you are visiting Central Florida on a budget. The museum houses a collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Although best known for his leaded glass lamps and window, the museum showcases Tiffany’s work in all mediums, including his jewelry, pottery, paintings, and more. Furniture and architectural features from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall, are also on display. The Morse Museum also has a collection of 19th and 20th century American art.
Admission is affordable – adults pay $6, while children under 12 pay only $1. There are also several opportunities to visit the museum for free, such as during Friday Nights at the Morse, which offers free admission to all every Friday night from November to April.
Save More on Your Orlando Vacation
If you are looking for more ways to save money in Orlando, book your stay at Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista. Our affordable rooms are ideally located 2 miles from Disney Springs. You’ll also enjoy free amenities including Wi-Fi, swimming pools, a kids’ splash zone and outdoor playground, and even free parking. To book your room, click on the red button at the top of this page, or give us a call at 407-996-7236.