Vacations can be pricey, but having fun in the Sunshine State doesn’t have to break the bank. Sounds too good to be true? Check out this list of fun, fascinating, free and cheap things to do in Orlando/Kissimmee.
Central Florida is brimming with so many things to do outside the theme parks. Take time out to explore and save money!
10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Orlando, Kissimmee & Central Florida
1. HARRY P. LEU GARDENS, ORLANDO
Florida is full of beautiful gardens, and many residents develop a green thumb. As you walk the trails shaded by ancient oak trees of Harry P Leu Gardens, you’ll see why. These tropical and semi-tropical botanical gardens represent the natural beauty of Central Florida, with everything from camellias to bromeliads on display throughout its 50 acres.
These enchanting gardens offer free admission on the first Monday of the month. Every other day, admission is only $10 for adults and $3 for children ages 5 to 12.
The gardens are usually open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., every day of the year except for Christmas. However, the gardens sustained considerable damage during Hurricane Irma, so they will not reopen to the public until October 1st.
2. WINTER PARK
The charming town of Winter Park, located just north of Orlando, is perfect for a day trip. Check out the largest private collection of Tiffany glass at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (for only $6), and the small but interesting collections at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (free!) and the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens (only $5).
The celebrated Winter Park Farmers Market in and around the historic train depot is always worth waking up early for. You can browse goodies every Saturday morning from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
And you can always find a boutique or cafe to spend an hour or two.
Morse Museum: Open from 9:30 a.m. to 4: 00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (until 8:00 on Fridays in November through April, when admission is free from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.). 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. Closed on Mondays.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum: Open Tuesdays from 10:00 to 7:00 p.m, Wednesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Polasek Museum: Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.
The Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour is a great way to see Winter Park from a different angle. As your captain navigates the winding waterways, you can relax and explore the waterfront mansions and native wildlife. At $14 for adults and $7 for children, it’s one of the reasonably cheap things to do in Orlando. A great way to spend a few serene hours away from the bustle of the theme parks.
3. WEKIWA SPRINGS STATE PARK, APOPKA
While we love our theme parks, it’s always a nice change of pace to visit one of Florida’s many state parks and experience “the real Florida”. After our award-winning beaches, Florida’s most famous natural attractions are probably the crystal-clear springs, and there are many stunning examples in the center of the state.
Wekiwa Springs in Apopka is one of the closest to the Orlando/Kissimmee area. With beautiful natural surroundings and water that stays 72 degrees year-round, these springs are basically Mother Nature’s water parks.
Besides swimming, guests can also enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and camping. The park is very popular and closes when it reaches capacity, so we recommend visiting on a weekday if possible. The park is open every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. to sundown and admission is only $6 per carload. At that price, is there any wonder this is one of our favorite cheap things to do in Orlando!
4. LAKERIDGE WINERY, CLERMONT
You probably had no idea there were wineries in Florida, but the state actually has quite a few. This winery and 75-acre vineyard located in the rolling hills of Central Florida is the state’s largest.
Free wine tasting? No wonder this is one made our list of top 10 cheap things to do in Orlando! Lakeridge Winery specializes in wines made from Florida’s native Muscadine grapes, as well as varieties of Vinifera. Lakeridge offers free tours and tastings seven days a week, Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:00 to 5:00 p.m (with the last tours beginning at 4:00 p.m.).
There are also regular weekend events, concerts, festivals and specials, so check regularly.
5. ORLANDO BREWING, ORLANDO
If you prefer an ice-cold beer to a glass of wine, we’ve got you covered. In recent years, Florida has experienced a beer boom, with craft breweries popping up all over the state.
Orlando Brewing is the state’s first organic brewery, committed to using only the highest quality ingredients, and brewing in accordance with the all-important German Purity Law of 1516.
They offer free brewery tours Monday through Saturday at 6:00 p.m (excluding the 30th of the month or special events).
6. OLD TOWN, KISSIMMEE
Take a stroll back in time at this retro complex of shops, restaurants, and entertainment, designed to look like an old-fashioned small town.
Old Town Kissimmee offer lots of free events:
- Sundays: Free Family Movie Night
- Tuesdays: Karaoke
- Wednesdays: Family Game Night
- Thursdays: Bike Night
- Fridays: Muscle Car Show & Cruise
- Saturday: Saturday Nite Classic Car Show & Cruise
Plus, there’s regular live music on the central stage. On select nights throughout October, The Haunt at Old Town brings Halloween thrills and treats with haunted mazes, scare zones and a zombie apocalypse.
All times are subject to change so do check the schedule before you go. Old Town offers plenty of free and cheap things to do in Kissimmee.
7. LAKE EOLA PARK, ORLANDO
This iconic 43-acre park is a recreational oasis in the middle of downtown Orlando.
Feed its famous swans. Have a picnic on the lawns. Visit the Sunday morning farmers market. Take the kids to the playground. Check out a free concert at the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Catch a free movie. Hop on a Swan Boat Rental (but not free or cheap at $15 for 30 minutes!)
And if you want to see more of Downtown Orlando, Eola Park is surrounded by restaurants and shops in Thornton Park, South Eola District and the Central Business District.
8. PIONEER VILLAGE, KISSIMMEE
Calling all history buffs! This Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek is made up of several replicas and authentic structures relocated to the village from around Osceola County.
These structures include a blacksmith shop, a Florida Cracker house, a citrus-packing house, a schoolhouse, a church, and a Seminole village.
Admission to the Pioneer Village is only $7 for adults and $3 for children. The village is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You are welcome to take a self-guided tour at any time during these hours, or you can call 407-396-8644, ext. 1, for guided tour availability.
Considering there’s so much to see, the entrance fee is so low, this is easily one of the great cheap things to do in Orlando/Kissimmee.
9. TIBET-BUTLER PRESERVE, ORLANDO
Not far from the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom lies this peaceful oasis, with almost four miles of trails through real-life fairy tale forests. If you want to walk off a few calories from those special vacation dinners or educate kids on local flora and fauna, the Tibet-Butler Preserve is a nice and inexpensive way to spend the day.
The nature center is large and impressive, with interactive displays, live animals, a butterfly garden, sandbox, and a picnic area. On the trails, keep an eye out for Bald Eagles, ospreys, tortoises, alligators, and otters.
Tibet Butler Preserve is open every day of the week, from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. Call ahead or check out the website before visiting, as trails may be closed due to flooding.
For trails, tips and details, check Florida Hikes.
10. ORLANDO FIRE MUSEUM
This adorable little museum in Loch Haven Park is housed in a two-story brick firehouse, built in 1926. Inside, you can explore the history of the Orlando Fire Department, which goes all the way back to 1885.
On display, you’ll find hundred-year-old trucks, equipment of a bygone era, and other memorabilia.
This is a hidden gem that many locals don’t even know about is one of our favorite cheap things to do in Orlando. The museum is open on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This is totally free to enter, although donations are hugely appreciated to keep the museum operating.
Hopefully, now you have plenty of affordable attractions to try out the next time you’re visiting the Kissimmee and Orlando area. What are your favorite free or cheap things to do in Orlando and Kissimmee?