Top 15 Ultimate Best Cheap Family Vacations in Florida

best-cheap-family-vacations-in-florida

If you’re looking for the best cheap family vacations in Florida, there’s no need to break the bank to enjoy all the amazing attractions that The Sunshine State has to offer. With an abundance of theme parks, water parks, state parks, and national parks, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From the endless pristine beaches to the crystal clear ocean waters, Florida is the perfect destination for your next family vacation.

With a wide range of budget-friendly options available, including affordable hotels and activities, you can have an unforgettable experience without having to spend a fortune. So why not make the most of your next family vacation and explore the best cheap family vacations that Florida has to offer?

If you’re someone who typically prefers staying at one of the top all-inclusive resorts in Florida, you might find these affordable options hard to resist. You don’t have to spend a fortune to experience the best travel destinations in the US, and cheap family vacations in Florida provide plenty of opportunities for fun without breaking the bank.

With a diverse range of vacation backdrops, including beaches, museums, art installations, hidden gems, and cultural attractions all within close proximity, Florida offers the ultimate destination for families looking for an unforgettable vacation experience. If you’re on a budget, you may think that a dream vacation in Florida is out of reach. However, you might be surprised to learn that the “Sunshine State” has plenty of affordable vacation spots just waiting to be explored.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of our top best cheap family vacations in Florida, that offer the best cheap family vacations. These destinations offer an incredible range of experiences, from beaches to theme parks and everything in between, all without breaking the bank. 

You’ll be amazed at just how much is on offer at these budget-friendly spots, and you’ll be even more amazed to find that you can enjoy an unforgettable Florida vacation without draining your bank account. So why not check out these top best cheap family vacations in Florida and see what this amazing state has to offer? You’re sure to find something that will keep you coming back for more!

Disclosure: Due to new safety regulations, some of the information regarding the attractions and sites listed below may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please contact the location.

Florida presents breathtaking attractions, activities as well as enchanting beaches. Want to explore some of its fun-filled beaches? Here is our guide on the best beaches in South Florida for a perfect beach day!

Here are out list of the best cheap family vacations in Florida:

1. New Smyrna Beach

New-Smyrna-Beach

Looking for the best cheap family vacations in Florida? Look no further than New Smyrna Beach, located approximately 15 miles south of Daytona Beach. This destination is perfect for families seeking a more private and less crowded vacation. With a variety of condos available for rent, ranging in capacity from 4 to 16 people, finding the perfect accommodation is a breeze, especially with fewer tourists around.

The beach at New Smyrna is stunning, with seemingly endless stretches of sand and ocean. During certain times of the year, you can even drive your car directly onto the sand. Another must-see spot for families is Smyrna Dunes Park, located at the very tip of the barrier island, with breathtaking turquoise waters on three sides. Here, you can enjoy bird-watching, stroll along the boardwalks, and even spot some adorable gopher tortoises.

2. Cocoa Beach

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If you’re looking for the best cheap family vacations in Florida, look no further than Cocoa Beach. This vacation spot is one of the most popular in the state, offering an old-school, family-friendly atmosphere that won’t break the bank. The infectious retro Florida vibe is sure to enchant you and your loved ones. When it comes to accommodation, you’ll be pleased to find plenty of affordable motels and condos right on the beach.

There are numerous inexpensive family activities to enjoy, including taking in magnificent views from Port Canaveral, surfing, exploring the charming streets of historic Cocoa Village downtown, or simply exploring the Space Coast. Cocoa Beach is also renowned for its excellent surfing conditions; in fact, World Champion surfer Kelly Slater calls this area home.

3. Pensacola Beach

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Looking for the best cheap family vacations in Florida? Look no further than Pensacola Beach, located in the state’s Panhandle region. This area is known for its abundance of cheap getaways and budget-friendly places, making it the perfect destination for families on a budget. The relaxed, old-fashioned vibe of the area is perfect for unwinding, and there are options for every budget when it comes to accommodation, from budget chain hotels to vacation homes and condos located just a stone’s throw from the pristine beach.

When it comes to fun things to do, there are plenty of affordable options in Pensacola Beach. Check out the Pensacola Lighthouse, the Gulf Breeze Zoo, the Children’s Museum, Fort Pickens, and Gulf Islands National Seashore, which boasts the longest federally-protected shore in the country. With so much to see and do, Pensacola Beach is one of the best cheap family vacations in Florida.

4. Jacksonville Beach

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Discover the best cheap family vacations in Florida by exploring the affordable motels, hotels and beach rentals that abound in Jacksonville Beach. Located in the northern part of Florida, this area offers a fun and happening alternative to the southern part of the state. The top hubs of activity in the north include lovely Jax Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach. Jax Beach is perfect for sunbathing and lounging but tends to attract more tourists. Meanwhile, Neptune and Atlantic Beaches are quieter and situated close to residential areas.

Aside from the 22 miles of beaches, there are also plenty of kid-friendly museums in the area that offer a fun learning experience. If you’re looking for more adventure, take a trip to downtown Jacksonville, a vibrant melting pot of sports, culture, history, skyscrapers, and the beautiful St. Johns River. With so much to explore, there’s no dearth of things to do in this lively area of Florida.

5. Gainesville

Gainesville

Looking for an inexpensive family vacation in Florida that doesn’t necessarily involve beaches? Consider Gainesville, a charming college town located in Central Florida that offers a variety of free or affordable activities. Home to the University of Florida and the beautiful Florida Museum, Gainesville boasts some stunning freshwater springs that are worth exploring. With most activities priced so low that they cost less than a meal at McDonald’s, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. 

Don’t miss the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum, where you can marvel at a magnificent collection of butterflies. For an up-close look at bats, check out the UF Bat Barn and Bat House. And if you’re visiting during the summer, a day trip to Ichetucknee Springs is a must-do; the crystal-clear river is a refreshing way to cool off, and you can spend the day leisurely tubing down the river.

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6. Daytona Beach

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If you’re looking for the best cheap family vacations in Florida, Daytona Beach should be on your list. It’s one of the most kid-friendly destinations in the state, with a variety of attractions that are sure to delight the entire family. The Daytona Beach Boardwalk, for example, features a fantastic pier, a fun-filled arcade, and a great selection of rides. For a wet and wild adventure, head to the Daytona Lagoon, a top-rated waterpark that’s perfect for younger children.

If your family has a budding race car driver, the Daytona International Speedway is a must-see. They offer an excellent junior racing experience that’s geared towards children between the ages of 6 and 13. In addition to the speedway, there are plenty of games, street performances, and even fireworks to keep the family entertained. With all these attractions and more, Daytona Beach is a perfect destination for a fun and affordable family vacation.

7. St. Augustine

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For families looking for the best cheap family vacations in Florida, St. Augustine is a quaint and historical location that’s perfect for all ages. As the oldest European settlement in the country, you can take a trip down historical lanes, but there’s also so much more to enjoy. For a fun and exciting adventure, head to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum or take a town tour with Ripley’s Red Trains.

Nature lovers will be thrilled with the beautiful cruises available along the Intracoastal Waterway, where you can spot manatees, sea birds, and dolphins. And for families who love a good scare, the Secrets of St. Augustine ghost tour is a must-try. With many secrets in the town’s history being unraveled, a thrilling twist awaits at the end. So pack your bags and head to St. Augustine for an unforgettable family vacation that won’t break the bank.

8. Clearwater Beach

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If you’re looking for the best family beach vacations in Florida, Clearwater Beach is an all-time All-American favorite that should be at the top of your list. With gorgeous stretches of sand, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular destination that features on many bucket lists. While you’re there, be sure to ride a double-decker catamaran and watch the graceful leaps of the area’s bottlenose dolphins.

You can also head to the Marine Aquarium to view a wider variety of sea life, from stingrays to sharks to sea turtles. To avoid standing in long, tiring queues at the Marine Aquarium, it’s best to book tickets in advance. Downtown Clearwater Beach is another great spot to visit, with plenty of dining, shopping, and perennial entertainment to keep the whole family entertained. Don’t miss out on this amazing vacation spot that’s perfect for families.

9. Tampa

best-cheap-family-vacations-in-florida

For families looking for the best cheap family vacations in Florida, Tampa is a lovely and friendly city that has nurtured many celebrities and been a stunning backdrop for Hollywood movies. From “Goodfellas” to “Great Expectations” and from Ray Charles to Aaron Carter to John Cena, Tampa has played host to them all.

When you’re in Tampa, you can enjoy water shoots, flume rides, fountains, and many pools that are perfect for both kids and adults. For a more productive outing, take the little ones to the Glazer Children’s Museum or Busch Gardens, and finish the day off with some fun play fountains at Tampa Riverwalk. The Lazer Ops Extreme Gaming Arcade is sure to be a hit with tweens and teens, but one of the star attractions is the Florida Aquarium.

Here, the little ones can make friends with otters, sharks, and alligators. To save some big bucks on admission to various attractions, consider getting the Tampa City Pass, which lets you enter different spots at a discounted rate. Just remember to pre-book your admission to the Florida Aquarium as it’s well worth the effort. Don’t miss out on all the fun and excitement that Tampa has to offer for a great family vacation.

10. Sanibel Island

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If you’re looking for a great family-friendly vacation spot that’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, Sanibel Island is a gorgeous barrier island that has it all. From snorkeling and cycling to swimming and 15 miles of lovely sands, there’s no shortage of possibilities here. Best of all, Sanibel Island is relatively peaceful and less crowded than other mainstream destinations. Head to Bowman’s Beach for some of the best shelling in the world, or Lighthouse Beach for a trip down memory lane in the lighthouse. 

You could also explore the boardwalk that takes you through wetlands or cast your own line and try your luck at the fishing pier. And for some truly delicious seafood, be sure to check out the Sanibel Fish House, where you can enjoy relaxed, family-friendly dining vibes. Don’t miss out on all the family-friendly fun that Sanibel Island has to offer for a great vacation.

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11. Orlando

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Looking for the best cheap family vacations in Florida? We understand that when you think of Orlando, you might assume it’s an expensive destination due to the cost of theme park tickets. However, there’s more to Orlando than just theme parks! Many visitors get caught up in the excitement of the various theme parks and miss out on the other exciting activities that are available. If you’re looking for affordable family-friendly fun in Orlando, consider taking a stroll around historic Thorton Park and the shores of Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. 

You can also enjoy a hike through the Disney Wilderness Preserve’s oak hammocks, wetlands, and Flatwoods, where you might spot sandhill cranes and eagles – all for free! Another great option for an affordable day out is to visit the lively and vibrant Disney Springs, where you can enjoy amazing street performances, world-class dining, and shopping without paying any entry fees.

Despite being a top tourist destination, Orlando has plenty of accommodation options, including many budget-friendly hotels that are perfect for families. So, don’t let the cost of theme park tickets put you off from experiencing the best of Orlando’s offerings during your best cheap family vacations in Florida.

12. Bradenton Beach

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Bradenton Beach, located near Sarasota on the Gulf Coast, offers an ideal setting for a fantastic vacation. With charming, family-operated motels, budget-friendly beach rentals, and plenty of entertainment, it is one of the best destinations for an affordable family vacation in Florida. The area is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, particularly the breathtaking Coquina Beach with its soft, white sand and vivid blue waters. 

The shallow waters make it a safe spot for novice swimmers too. Take a stroll along Bradenton Beach City Pier, where you can watch locals fishing and even try your hand at catching a fish. For an exciting wildlife experience, hop on a Paradise Boat Tour to explore Sarasota Bay and possibly catch a glimpse of dolphins, stingrays, and even manatees if you’re lucky.

13. Fort Myers Beach

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Fort Myers is a popular destination for families, thanks to the abundance of vacation rentals and affordable yet decent motels. It’s situated just a short distance from both Captiva Islands and Sanibel, making it an ideal spot for beach lovers. While the Fort Myers Beach offers pristine, postcard-worthy sands, families can also explore the charming riverside district downtown. This area is home to lovely buildings and restaurants that are perfect for a leisurely stroll.

For those looking for other activities, fishing is a popular option on the Fort Myers Beach Pier, with equipment available to rent at a reasonable cost. There are also several mini-golf courses in the area. If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, you can take a leisurely stroll along the beautiful beaches, collecting pretty seashells and seeing who in the family can find the most. And, of course, there’s always the option to watch the sunset over the horizon.

14. Marathon

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When it comes to Florida’s tropical islands, “budget-friendly” might not be the first phrase that comes to mind, especially if you’re familiar with the popular and often crowded destinations of Key Largo and Key West. However, Marathon, located midway down the Keys, is a hidden gem that offers an affordable and family-friendly vacation option.

Not only does the area boast beautiful beaches where turtles nest and a barrier reef to explore, but it’s also home to marine conservation and research activities at places like Curry Hammock State Park, Crane Point, and The Dolphin Research Center. In addition to being a great place to relax and have fun, Marathon offers ample opportunities for learning and exploration.

Families often choose to visit during the cooler months and rent bikes to explore the Old Seven Mile Bridge, which leads to Pigeon Key and offers free entry. The area is also popular for snorkeling, and visitors can rent equipment to witness shoals of tropical fish at the stunning Sombrero Beach. Overall, Marathon provides an affordable and educational vacation option that doesn’t sacrifice on fun.

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15. Ponce Inlet

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Ponce Inlet is one of the best cheap family vacation in Florida, particularly during the summer months when vacation rentals are plentiful and come with unbelievable deals and discounts. Located just south of Daytona and north of New Smyrna, this quiet residential area boasts wide, pristine beaches and a vibrant dining scene that keeps families coming back year after year.

One of Ponce Inlet’s most iconic attractions is the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse, which is a must-see for families visiting the area. Additionally, the beaches in Ponce Inlet are simply stunning and offer the perfect backdrop for a fun-filled family vacation. After a day of sun and surf, be sure to check out Down the Hatch Seafood Company, a popular fish camp-style restaurant that serves up delicious seafood baskets with stunning waterfront views. With its beautiful beaches, excellent dining options, and residential feel, Ponce Inlet is truly one of the best family vacation destinations in Florida.

How Can I Go To Florida On A Budget?

With adequate preparation, you can have a great family vacation in Florida without having to exhaust all your travel funds. Here are some tips:

1. Plan your travel expenses in advance and utilize our travel expense tracker to monitor and manage your travel budget

2. Whenever possible, try to steer clear of traveling during peak seasons, as this is when hotel prices typically surge. Also, airfares often decrease during the off-season.

3. It’s always wise to verify whether any discounts are available before visiting an attraction.

4. Make use of any coupons that are available to you.

5. Have a good time and relish your visit to the beach, which is free, as an alternative to visiting places that require an entrance fee.

6. Rather than staying in expensive hotels, you can opt to bring your RV and camp at one of the many campgrounds available in Florida.

7. Florida also offers vacation rentals that fit any budget.

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Final Thoughts

The best cheap family vacations in Florida don’t require you to break the bank. By combining affordable, yet quality hotels or campsites with some of Florida’s top vacation destinations, you can plan an exciting and budget-friendly vacation that will thrill the entire family.

Regardless of your budget, Florida offers plenty of options for an enjoyable family getaway. So, next time you’re low on funds but craving a vacation, consider heading to one of these spots and booking a hotel or resort for a memorable and extremely affordable family trip.

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