Frugal Fun: How to Enjoy Spring Break Without Breaking the Bank

Whether you’re planning a day trip to a neighboring town, spending several days on an out-of-town getaway or staying right here at home, these are just some of the ways you can enjoy Spring Break without breaking the bank.

Beach Break
Take a short drive in any direction (except North) and spend the day at one of Florida’s many wonderful beaches, like Cocoa Beach on the East Coast, Clearwater Beach on the Gulf Coast, or try the sugar-fine sand of Henderson Beach State Park located on the Panhandle, all for as little as a tank of gas and possible parking fee. Or make a whole week of it and stay a couple of nights to explore everything else these areas have to offer.

Stay close to home! Immerse yourself in a tropical setting without leaving Orlando at Discovery Cove. This all-inclusive day resort is a paradise all its own with tropical reefs, winding rivers and white sandy beaches. A special Florida resident package includes animal experiences with exotic birds, otters and marmosets; breakfast, lunch, and unlimited snacks and drinks; and unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica for 14 consecutive days. This package can be booked with or without a 30-minute dolphin interaction.

Aquatic Adventures
Another option is to skip all the sand and just stick with the fish. Aquariums are a fun way to beat the Florida heat while still enjoying some aquatic creatures. You will also learn all about the marine life and each of their natural habitats. On a day trip to the Gulf Coast you will find The Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa, Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and Clearwater Marine Aquarium near Clearwater Beach.

Stay close to home! At SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, located on International Drive, you can view 34 habitats representing the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, along with more than 5,000 sea creatures that call them home. Come face to face with Moray eels, immerse yourself in the world of sharks and rays in the 360-degree acrylic tunnel and get hands on with starfish at the interactive touch pool experience. Throughout the day, there are also talks with the experts, shows and feedings.

A Little Bit of Everything
Taking advantage of combo deals is the best way to keep your bank account happy and your spring break packed with fun. Tampa Bay CityPass includes admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, The Florida Aquarium, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and either the Museum of Science & Industry OR the Chihuly Collection for $99 per adult, and $89 for children ages 3-9.

Stay close to home! Visit Orlando offers a similar deal with the Orlando Explorer Pass, which includes a three-day I-Ride Trolley Pass and your choice of four Orlando attractions for $81.99 for adults and $69 for children ages 3-12. Choices include the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, The Cirque Magique Dinner Show, Gatorland, WonderWorks and 11 other fun attractions. This pass is valid for 30 days from first use.

Spring into Action
Beaches, pools and theme park slides aren’t the only way to enjoy leisurely time surrounded by water. Florida is filled with fresh springs such as Alexander Springs, Juniper Springs, Wekiwa Springs and over 150 more. While there is usually a fee to get into the state parks that often surround these springs they are usually only between $5- $6. Once you’re in you can hang out by the water and go swimming or find a place in the park that rents canoes so you can explore.

Stay close to home! Spend some time playing in and around Orlando’s own beautiful lakes. Lake Buena Vista Watersports offers jet-ski rentals as well as wakeboard and waterski lessons on Lake Bryan. Every rental comes with complimentary beach access and volleyball. The Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour takes visitors on a pontoon boat ride through the Winter Park Chain of Lakes or you can go boating, fishing, canoeing or kayaking on your own along any of the lakes in the Winter Park Chain of Lakes unless otherwise posted by the city of Winter Park.

Never Stop Learning
Every Florida 5th grader hears the tales of Ponce de Leon’s delightful discovery of the Fountain of Youth. Hear it again, or for the first time, with a trip over to the nation’s oldest city and take a tour of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Then take your time to explore the wonders of historic downtown St. Augustine. The St. Augustine Trolley Tours can help your exploration with its Old Town Trolley Tours, a fully narrated hop-on/off tour of St. Augustine with 23 stops. You will also learn about the city’s history on a tour of the historic Flagler College, which takes place twice daily, or on a guided daytime or nighttime tour of the historic jail that served St. Augustine from 1891 to 1953. With so much to do and see in the old city you may need the whole spring break to get it all in.

Stay close to home! Get to know more about the history of your hometown with the help of local organizations that are dedicated to keeping the past alive. The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation operates two history museums and provides educational programming while the Hannibal Square Heritage Center is the home of “Heritage Collection: Photographs and Oral Histories of West Winter Park,” an award-winning exhibit that offers a glimpse into the history of Winter Park’s African-American community. The Art & History Museums of Maitland features a permanent exhibition that shares the individual and family legacies that shaped and influenced the community through archival photos, artifacts and documents.


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Written by Chelsea Santiago

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