CENTRAL FLORIDA, USA – You may have spent a little more than you expected enjoying spring break, but there are some free attractions across Central Florida to keep the party going.
I’ve shared some freebies before, but one of our News 6 Insiders, PJ, said some weren’t his idea of free because they included tempting shops, restaurants and rides that surround attractions like Disney Springs and ICON Park.
PJ, we can all relate. So I revamped the article to offer some 100% free attractions with no money-spending temptations, along with the other free attractions mentioned before. (Yes, you may have to drive there so free doesn’t include transportation. Just putting that out there.)
Orlando Wetlands Park offers free tram tours through the more than 1,600 acres of wetlands. Check out what seems like an infinite variety of native plants and animals. The new Cypress Boardwalk is open, giving visitors a raised path through nature spanning about a half-mile, offering a unique view of the crystal-clear water and vegetation with an important job of naturally filtering reclaimed water.
This Clermont winery offers free guided tours and tastings daily. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards has been in business since 1989, sitting on 127 acres just 25 miles west of downtown Orlando. According to its website, Lakeridge ranks as Florida’s largest premium winery and remains the pioneer in the development of premium and sparkling wines. The winery offers free parking, free tours with tastings -- and a lot of free samples. On weekends, there’s live music so you can bring your lawn chairs and spend the day outdoors with the free event.
Seminole State Forest also has some great views with lots of trees, docks along the water for fishing and many picnic areas for free family fun. A first-of-its-kind program in Florida is helping those with mobility impairments get around and enjoy the trails at Seminole State Forest. The track chair can be rented free of charge to help get the entire family out of the house and moving.
If you’re looking for some entertainment, the Cypress Gardens Water Ski team is back in action in Winter Haven, performing free shows twice a month. The team makes a splash in Lake Silver with new stunts on the water and in the air, incorporating the classics that made the team famous in the 1940s. Martin Luther King Jr. Park just underwent a facelift so there’s expanded seating areas, improved walkways and observation tower. Did I mention the shows are FREE?
--- If you’re like PJ and I, stop scrolling. The next few spots are free to enter, but are surrounded by tempting shops, restaurants and attractions. ---
Unlike Disney World, Disney Springs offers free admission and free parking in its covered garages in Lake Buena Vista.
Disney Springs is an expansive outdoor entertainment district with dining, shopping and show spaces. It’s a great options for families to enjoy free live entertainment and window shop at the LEGO, M&M and Coca Cola stores. (Some of the shops have some hands-on activities that the kids can partake in.)
Visit Orlando shared with us that the whole family can hop on the free ferries that travel to and from several Walt Disney World resort properties, even if you’re not staying at them. You can spend a whole day at Disney Springs, there’s plenty to do.
6. ICON Park
This Orlando entertainment complex is a great family hangout and sits along I-Drive in the tourist district. Free parking and admission to just hang out and browse the indoor and outdoor complex. (If you’re not tempted to spend on one of the many attractions.)
The World Equestrian Center at 1750 Northwest 8th Avenue sits on more than 380 acres and is the largest equestrian complex in the country, offering indoor and outdoor arenas and venues. But the WEC is no farm. It provides state-of-the-art equestrian facilities and arenas as well as shopping, dining and even a full-service spa.
The Equestrian Hotel sits at the center of the property, and it’s luxurious from the moment you walk into the lobby.
Families can enjoy the walking trails and watch horse shows and competitions at it’s grand arena for free. (They also hold seasonal events with live music, activities and food.) Click HERE to learn more about how you and your family can enjoy a visit to the WEC.
8. Select Museums
- The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art: This Winter Park museum hosts the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including lamps, glasswork, pottery and jewelry, according to Visit Orlando. The museum is open to the public for free on select dates. Reservations are recommended.
- Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida: This museum is located in Maitland and presents an overview of the Holocaust serving as a memorial to the victims, according to Visit Orlando. The museum has a display consisting of 12 sections, each focusing on a major theme from the Holocaust with photographs, text, artifacts, short films and local survivor testimonials. The museum also hosts unique galleries throughout the year, so there’s always something new.
- Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture: This museum is located in Orlando’s Parramore District. It was built in 1921 to accommodate Black travelers who were banned from Florida’s then-segregated hotels. The historic hotel hosted legends like Count Basie, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington and more. This museum has exhibits about the Civil Rights movement, African art and artifacts, according to Visit Orlando.
9. City Walk
City Walk is an outdoor entertainment district that connects Universal’s theme parks Islands of Adventures and Universal Studios. There’s also a splash pad and free live performances along the walkway. City Walk offers free parking after 6 p.m. (But not during Halloween Horror Nights) There are several dining and shopping options, if you have some money to spend and, of course, plenty of photo-taking opportunities.
10. The Beach
There are many free beaches along the Central Florida coast, OBVIOUSLY. Be sure to check for parking and other fees that certain beaches may charge, especially if you can drive on the sand.
If you’re out at one of these attractions - don’t forget to snap a photo and PIN IT! You may see your pics shared during our newscasts.