So, you’re thinking of visiting the beautiful state of Florida. With thousands of unique and fascinating attractions, beautiful nature vistas, a thoroughly charming populace and no shortage of delicious food, it’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. It just makes perfect sense!
One thing that sometimes deters would-be visitors, however, is the hefty premium demanded from those who choose to visit the most popular destinations such as Miami, Key West or Daytona Beach. If you want to visit these attractions for any period of time, you’re going to end up paying out no insignificant amount of money.
This may lead you to enquire about one thing in particular: are there any cheaper options when it comes to vacationing in Florida, without sacrificing the quality of your stay? If you’ve come to this article with this query in mind, we’ve got news for you. The short answer to your question is a resounding “yes!”
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at some less-conventional vacation destinations in Florida that you don’t have to sell a kidney to visit. While they may be less expensive than their better-known counterparts, they’re no less beautiful because of it. In fact, you may even have a better time while there as a result of the fact that there are far fewer tourists wandering around!
A budget-friendly Florida vacation
Before we can take a look at the most inexpensive vacation destinations that Florida has to offer, we’ve got to talk about what exactly makes such a city an affordable place to spend a holiday. There are a number of factors that need to be discussed, so we’ll briefly review the criteria we used when writing this article. We want to make sure we’re all on the same page!
The first and arguably most important factors that we’ll discuss is the price of lodging. Considering the fact that a vacation of almost any duration will require you to book a place to stay, it stands to reason that any city with a less-than-average accommodation price will end up being less expensive to vacation in than more crowded cities.
Another factor that comes into play is transportation. If a city is small and has few residents to crowd the streets with traffic, you’ll spend less time in your car and less money on fuel. Similarly, if a city has well developed public transportation infrastructure, you’ll likely be able to move around with greater ease than you would in a less pedestrian-friendly city.
Lastly, the cost of food also plays a significant role in determining whether or not a city is an affordable place to spend a vacation. Some vacation goers avoid this consideration by packing meals and taking them along for the ride, most travelers will simply eat out to avoid this dilemma. If you choose to visit a city with expensive dining, these costs can pile up quickly.
Florida’s budget friendly vacation paradises
Now that we’re all on the same page, you’re probably wondering which of Florida’s cities meet this set of criteria best. Settle down, settle down; we’re going to tell you! In the following sections, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most budget friendly cities Florida has to offer, all of which offer comparable experiences to more popular destinations. Let’s begin!
Paradise in the Panhandle – Panama City, FL
Looking at photographs of this city, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s only accessible to the ultra rich. With crystal-clear azure water, immaculate white sand beaches and some of the most luxurious resorts anywhere in the state, there’s no way a normal person could ever afford a vacation here… right? Wrong!
As it turns out, Panama City FL is actually quite affordable. Nestled on a small bay in the Florida Panhandle, this city isn’t nearly as popular with tourists as other cities further south in the state. Budget-friendly lodging options abound, with many charming hotels, motels and AirBnBs available for less than $100 a night.
Panama City FL itself is every bit as affordable as it is charming. With dozens of small, family-owned shops and restaurants, a long list of attractions and a friendly populace, every minute you spend in this city is bound to be a pleasant one. At the end of the day, this is one of the most criminally underappreciated vacation destinations in the state!
Charming Historic Locale – St. Augustine, FL
With some of the most tranquil beaches, beautiful resorts and best beachfront dining of any city in the state, St. Augustine is another city you’d expect to spend a lot of money in. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth! St. Augustine has plenty of inexpensive lodging, dining and recreational activities to keep you busy for as long as you’re in town!
Where do we start… how about the beach? St. Augustine’s beaches are almost blindingly white, with sand that is groomed to perfection on a daily basis. The surf is often quite daunting, but those who venture in will find that the water is knee high even upon venturing one or two hundred yards out. If your fear of deep water has been preventing you from learning how to surf, this is the place to overcome that fear!
St. Augustine is also home to an unusually varied and affordable selection of restaurants to choose from, among which many are small, family owned businesses. From spicy Mexican cuisine to savory Asian dishes and hearty all-American classics, you’re never far from a cheap but delicious bite to eat here in St. Augustine!
Sophisticated Central Florida City – Tampa, FL
Would you consider yourself an intellectual? Yes? Good! We have just the city for you. With an impressive variety of cultural, artistic and educational attractions, the city of Tampa FL isn’t just one of the most beautiful cities in the state: it’s also one of the most sophisticated! What’s more, it’s also surprisingly affordable considering its larger-than–average size.
For those with an artistic bent, the Tampa Museum of Art is sure to be a hit, with a large and thoroughly well-rounded collection of historically significant works. Those who favor technical trivia will no doubt love the Museum of Science and Industry, a modern marvel that explores the various facets of the post-industrial revolution world.
The best part about all of this is the fact that these attractions and many others in the city of Tampa are free or heavily discounted compared to similar attractions in other cities. If you’re looking to take a vacation on a budget in the state of Florida but want to leave intellectually and culturally enriched, then this is without a doubt the best place to do just that.
While there may be more cities in the state of Florida that are better-known than those on this list, you’ll be hard pressed to find any that offer as enticing a balance of budget and value as these do. Whether you’re bringing the family, traveling with your troupe of friends or going it alone, we’re completely convinced that these destinations will leave you with delightful memories and a burning desire to come back again soon!