Looking to soak up the Florida sun without the price tag that often comes with it? Here are some of the inexpensive weekend getaways in Florida to consider!
Florida is known for its high-end beachfront towns and bustling cities which makes it always seem far from reach for budget-conscious travelers, but that’s not completely true.
Our beautiful state has a number of affordable destinations that still deliver the same electric, fun, and full-on Florida experience.
From cute coastal towns for beach bums to cultural hubs where history buffs will be in their element, here are some of the cheap getaways in Florida.
Inexpensive Weekend Getaways in Florida
You don’t have to break the bank at these cheap vacation spots in Florida!
1. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach offers the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation for those on a budget.
Famous for its hard-packed sands along the ocean, NASCAR, and the Daytona International Speedway, this city is a paradise for beachgoers who enjoy sunbathing, volleyball, and free summer concerts.
The Daytona International Speedway is also a must-visit for racing fans, with tours on non-event days.
Stroll down the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier for classic entertainment without spending a dime or explore parks like Sun Splash Park or free museums like Southeast Museum of Photography — the number of free things to do in the city are endless.
The city has an upbeat vibe with a mix of families, students, and motorsport enthusiasts all looking for a good time without the lavish expense. If that’s your kind of vibe, you’ll fit right in in this city.
2. St. Petersburg
One of the cheap vacations in Florida is no doubt St. Petersburg! Nicknamed the Sunshine City thanks to its year-round sunny weather, this city much like many cities in Florida has beautiful beaches but it is its art scene that makes it worthwhile.
It has a number of art galleries and museums including the Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts which houses masterpieces by French artists, Renoir and Cézanne, the Imagine Museum to see creative glass objects, and many others. Some of these museums are even completely free on specific days while others like Duncan McClellan Gallery and Morean Arts Center are free every day.
Besides art galleries, St. Petersburg has a number of other free attractions from St. Pete Pier and Demens Landing Park to Gizella Kopsiick Palm Arboretum if you want to wander among a variety of palm species.
Make sure to also check out the Saturday Morning Market while here! It’s a local favorite and a fantastic way to soak in the community’s vibe without spending a penny, unless you’re tempted by the array of foods, flowers, and handmade items from over 125 vendors.
3. Cape Coral
For an affordable getaway in Florida, Cape Coral should not be far down your list as it offers a ton of free and affordable activities and budget-friendly dining and lodging.
Kick off your weekend at the Cape Coral Farmers Market for local treats and crafts and later head to nearby beaches like those on Sanibel Island for a chill day of swimming and shelling.
If you’re a nature lover, be sure to visit Rotary Park Environmental Center, a 97-acre park with ponds, walking trails, birding opportunities, and salt flats, but for history buffs, the Cape Coral Museum of History offers a peek into the city’s past at an affordable fee.
When it comes to accommodations, Cape Coral offers a variety of budget-friendly hotels that don’t compromise on comfort!
Gainesville is a vibrant city with a laid-back college-town feel and thanks to its population of students, it’s quite affordable to visit.
Nestled in the heart of the state, it’s just about a 2-hour drive from both Orlando and Jacksonville.
With its rich mix of cultural museums, like the Florida Museum of Natural History and Butterfly Rainforest, and outdoor spaces like Kanapaha Botanical Gardens on top of its many biking and hiking trails, this city is perfect for both families and travelers looking for a tranquil escape from the bustling nearby cities.
If you’re looking for cheap weekend getaways in Florida with a big-city vibe, you won’t go wrong with Jacksonville.
While you might think of it as just a big city, you’ll be surprised to know that it also has 22 miles of beaches, canals, and state parks, so you get to enjoy the tranquility of uncrowded beaches without sacrificing the advantages of visiting a big city.
Jacksonville is perfect for all types of travelers! Couples can stroll along the Riverwalk, families will love the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, and solo travelers will enjoy getting lost in the city’s historic neighborhoods and their vibrant nightlife.
There’s also no shortage of free or budget-friendly activities, from art walks to museum visits.
Plus, with its proximity to the Georgia border, it’s a convenient escape for those in the Southeast looking to explore Florida without going too far.
Ocala is about an hour and a half drive from Orlando making it the perfect weekend getaway if you want to take a break from the theme park buzz.
Known as the Horse Capital of the World, this city in north central Florida is a dream for horse lovers thanks to the number of horse farms and live equine events it hosts.
Nature enthusiasts, whether families, couples, or solo visitors, can explore the crystal-clear springs at Silver Springs State Park, ideal for kayaking or glass-bottom boat tours, and Ocala National Forest, or participate in thrilling activities at The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park.
The city also has a historic downtown with quaint shops and local dining where you can unwind at the end of the day.
7. Pensacola Beach
Pensacola Beach is a laid-back coastal destination on the Gulf of Mexico with some of the state’s most beautiful beaches!
This beach town has a family-friendly vibe with a dash of history with the most standout being Fort Pickens, a historic U.S. military fort.
It’s a sweet spot for couples seeking sunsets and seafood, families ready for sandcastle-building and dolphin cruises, and solo travelers looking for beachside strolls.
Pensacola Beach offers the perfect Florida beach vacation — think snorkeling, paddleboarding, and beachcombing without the high costs often found in more tourist-heavy areas.
With its Scottish heritage and coastal charm, Dunedin is a quaint and cost-effective destination. In fact, this heritage makes it one of the cities in Florida that look like Europe.
It’s located near Tampa, offering an easy escape with a mix of outdoor activities and cultural experiences.
Ideal for every kind of traveler, from families to solo travelers, Dunedin’s walkable downtown streets with artisanal shops and local gastronomy make it the perfect contender if you’re looking for unique weekend getaways in Florida.
Some of the fun things to do in Dunedin include kayaking in the Gulf, exploring Pinellas Trail, and visiting Caladesi Island State Park.
9. Panama City Beach
One of the inexpensive weekend getaways in Florida along the Emerald Coast is Panama City Beach.
Famous for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, this city’s charm lies in its versatility — there’s as much relaxation as outdoor adventures.
With its famous 27 miles of stunning beaches including St. Andrews State Park, you can bask in the sun or participate in a variety of water activities while those interested in marine life will enjoy interactive experiences at the Gulf World Marine Park.
Are you more into shopping, dining or even just taking in the upbeat vibe? Then you won’t want to miss Pier Park. However, if you’re traveling with kids, be sure to check out Shipwreck Island Waterpark.
Titusville may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of inexpensive Florida weekend getaways but it’s definitely worth visiting, especially if you want to visit the Kennedy Space Center.
Most people visiting the Kennedy Space Center usually opt to base themselves either in Cocoa Beach or Orlando but if you’re looking for somewhere more affordable and less crowded, consider going to Titusville instead.
Although most people visit Titusville to see rockets and astronauts at the Space Center, when you’re not exploring the Space Shuttle, NASA Control Rooms, or watching a rocket launch, we recommend visiting Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge for bird-watching.
And don’t miss the chance to witness the bioluminescence phenomenon on the Indian River.
Just less than an hour from Orlando, Titusville is one of the most affordable vacation spots in Florida.
Nestled between the bustling cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood is a coastal city that has a more relaxed atmosphere compared to its neighbors.
It’s famed for the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, a vibrant pedestrian promenade lined with quaint cafes, shops, parks, and the famous Hollywood Beach.
Visitors can enjoy the laid-back beach scene or explore the downtown art and culture district, all on a friendly budget.
Want to slow down even more? Hollywood has a number of parks that both couples and families will enjoy! And you don’t have to leave your dog at home as there are many dog-friendly parks, beaches, and even restaurants and hotels.
You can also paddle through mangroves or go fishing if you’re all about enjoying the outdoors!
12. New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach is one of the hidden yet cheap Florida weekend getaways not far from Daytona Beach.
It has a 17-mile shoreline that attracts beachgoers and surf enthusiasts — both newbies and pros — thanks to its varied wave breaks.
Beyond the beach, the town is rich with art galleries and offers various outdoor activities that won’t cost a fortune.
You can stroll down Canal Street or even discover the city on the water by kayaking The NSB Outdoor Watersports Trail.
13. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is a beach town with a laid-back vibe and affordable leisure opportunities.
Just like New Smyrna Beach, it’s also a surfer’s dream weekend getaway with consistent waves. It’s also home to one of the biggest surf shops in the world, Ron Jon’s Surf Shop.
However, even if you’re not into surfing, you can still enjoy this town. Stop by Cocoa Beach Pier which stretches into the Atlantic for fishing, dining, and live music.
The city also has a thriving local arts scene and a variety of eateries that won’t strain your wallet. For space enthusiasts, it’s a stone’s throw away from the Kennedy Space Center.
If you’re looking for a little bit of everything from arts to relaxation, then Melbourne is one of the inexpensive Florida vacations to take.
Located on Florida’s Space Coast, it offers a less crowded alternative to the more tourist-heavy cities.
With its picturesque coastline, Melbourne is a haven for surfers and beach lovers looking for a laid-back vibe.
But art enthusiasts will love the Eau Gallie Arts District which brings a creative spirit to the city with vibrant murals, galleries, and studios.
For a touch of nature, the nearby Brevard Zoo and the Lagoon House provide up-close encounters with Florida wildlife.
15. Ponce Inlet
Known for its iconic lighthouse, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum — the tallest in Florida and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, Ponce Inlet is a small picturesque town just south of Daytona Beach.
The town has maintained its laid-back atmosphere, making it a great choice for those looking to get off the beaten path!
It is home to the Marine Science Center where visitors can witness seabird and sea turtle rehabilitation, participate in science exhibits, and more.
It also has waterways that are perfect for fishing, boating, or paddleboarding. So if you’re looking for a quiet, scenic, and cheap Florida destination, Ponce Inlet is the perfect choice.
Final Thoughts on The Inexpensive Weekend Getaways in Florida
With this list of inexpensive places to visit in Florida, it’s clear that you can still enjoy the Sunshine State even on a limited budget.
Whether you want to surf the waves in New Smyrna Beach, take in the artistic vibe of Hollywood, or explore the bustling city of Jacksonville, there’s a Florida weekend getaway that will match your mood without drilling a hole in your pocket.
Which cheap trips in Florida will you be taking next? Let us know in the comments below.
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