🎢‘Theme parks will always be there:’ Other staycation options, advice that can save you some coins

Hidden gems, resort day passes and unique attractions can create memorable visits this summer

As summer nears, here's how to plan staycations and avoid the crowds.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Living in Central Florida, there are plenty of things to do here other than theme parks and beaches. Savings Angel founder and blogger Josh Elledge gives some advice on how we can get the best bang for our buck when it comes to staycations.

“The theme parks are doing gangsta right now. Great business. They’re crowded. My recommendation for locals is try to explore some local hidden gems. New tourist destinations. If you can get in early before it becomes a thing you’ll find better incentives and you get to support a new local business,” Elledge said.

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Elledge said planning a staycation this summer can be stress-free if you think outside the box and do a little research.

“Go visit a winery, or visit a bee farm. I went once and got to see how they make honey and it was so cool. I like trying to find hidden gems for things you wouldn’t think to do. With kids, what a great experience to find those unique things to do. Everybody’s going to theme parks, they’re always going to be there,” Elledge said.

What if you want to get away for a few days and stay in a local hotel?

“Interesting thing about Orlando is that on the planet, it is the number two city for total number of hotel rooms. There is always going to be a deal if you want to stay at a local hotel if you simply use some online tools and shop around,” Elledge said.

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There are also ways to save money and get access to resort amenities without staying the night. Consider purchasing a “day pass.”

“You can go and pay the equivalent to a resort fee and have a day pass to hang out by the pool. What a perfect day to go, you don’t have to spend $200 to spend the night. You can just go and enjoy the amenities while everyone else is at the parks,” Elledge said.

Living in Central Florida, many attractions have resident discounts. Elledge said be sure to do your research and take advantage of all the savings you may qualify for.

“If you have a member of your family that’s a teacher, a first responder, a veteran oftentimes, there’s going to be discounts available to you. Please always ask for those discounts,” Elledge said.

Not sure how to find some of the “hidden gems?” Elledge said some of his favorite tools include VisitOrlando and Best of Orlando. He also suggests just asking your friends and family on social media for staycation ideas.

Here are some of the attractions News 6 Insider Guide Crystal Moyer has previously covered:

🚘100 feet? Here’s where to see world’s longest car in Orlando

⛱️This is a Florida beach? Check out this hidden gem in Flagler County

🏴‍☠️Set sail with pirates, mermaids and dragons at this Orlando dinner show

🌊Ride water slides, earn points for free food and merch at Island H2O Water Park

📸Need new Insta pics? This trippy Orlando museum is the perfect spot

🐴Insiders, looking for something to do? Here’s where you can horse around

🎡Icon Park Wheel’s unique structure offers bird’s eye view, withstands heavy wind

What hidden gems do you recommend locals visit for the summer? Tell below in the comments and let us know how your experience was.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.