Orlando has so much to offer for vacations, but it can get pricy SUPER quick. Here’s a few options for free things to do in Orlando, Florida!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a few cents (at no extra cost to you) if you book or buy something via that link. This helps me keep costs down and posts up!
Today I’m so excited to share a guest post from Heather Hinson! She’s a photographer and blogger in the Daytona Beach, Florida area, and I am so in love with her photography!!! Today, she’s letting us in on some great free things to do in Orlando!
Free Things To Do In Orlando
Orlando is well-known as the theme park capital of the world and it draws visitors from all over the globe. There is always something to do in Orlando and believe it or not, there are even loads of free activities!
Disney Springs is loaded with free activities including a free sample of Ghirardelli chocolate, a splash pad, Lego imagination center and so much more. On many days, you will also be able to catch free street entertainment and performances.
If you have Disney’s Memory Maker or if photopass is included in your annual pass then you can visit Disney’s Photopass Studio and have fun getting photographed in front of Disney themed backdrops!
During Christmas you can also stroll through the Christmas tree trail and view Disney themed trees. In addition to seeing all of the incredible Christmas decor that Disney is known for!
Disney Resort Hopping
Resort hopping is so much fun and it is completely free. Park your car at Disney Springs and hop on the Disney bus system to stop at your favorite resorts. The Contemporary is the best place, in my opinion, to view Disney’s fireworks show Wishes.
You can view animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge and catch a free movie on the lawn at The Boardwalk. The Boardwalk also often has Coney Island inspired street performances that we rather enjoyed. If you want to splurge on a sweet treat, we LOVE Amperhills Ice Cream.
During the Holidays, we love going to The Grand Floridian to see the Christmas decor and view the life-size gingerbread house. We also purchase Christmas cookies and peppermint bark – but you don’t have to! The Grand Floridian also has a magnificent view of the fireworks!
Universal Citywalk is a great place for date night! We always enjoyed just walking around. There are plenty of things to do here that do cost a little money like their Rising Star Karaoke Bar which is a blast! Cover charge is $7 per adult, but it’s great entertainment! It’s also free to get on stage and sing, if you want to belt some solos.
Chip & Dale Campfire Sing Along
This is one of our favorite free activity that Disney World Resorts offers in Orlando! The best part about it, is that it’s a character meet and greet! Enjoy a movie and live music with Chip & Dale characters, for FREE. You can bring your own s’mores or purchase some there – we forgot roasting rods, but they had them available very inexpensively.
You will need to either take a bus to Fort Wilderness Campground or take the ferry boat from Magic Kingdom. Check the resort’s “movies under the stars” schedule to determine the time before you go.
Fort Wilderness is a really fun and affordable way to stay on Disney Property too. Just bring your own towels to the resort pool, because we were used to other Disney resorts and didn’t – we were a bit cold and wet! In addition to the campfire sing along, you can rent bikes and kayaks. When we camped, we brought our bikes and enjoyed all of the scenic bike trails that are available.
Downtown Winter Park
We love photographing in downtown Winter Park because it is so picturesque! They have a very popular farmers market on Saturday mornings.
Great place to have a picnic in Downtown Orlando and watch the swans. There are also tons of free events here all year long, so check the calendar of events!
Disney Wilderness Preserve
This free Wilderness Preserve offers great nature trails and Florida wildlife viewing. The Walt Disney Company partnered with the state of Florida to conserve these wetlands that are a part of the Everglades ecosystem.
It’s conservancy has served as a model for responsible land development as it was set to be developed prior to being purchased and restored by the Walt Disney Company. This is a great opportunity to learn about Florida wildlife and spot alligators.
Old Town in Kissimmee
Enjoy a variety of quirky shops and watch as brave thrill seekers take the plunge on some of the colorful attractions in Kissimmee!
The chains of lakes in and around Orlando offer great reprieve from the hot Florida summers. Enjoy kayaking, fishing, swimming and scenic nature trails, most often free of charge. Lake Toho, Lake Virginia and Lake Harris are just a few of the many lakes in the area.
Be cautious when swimming in fresh and brackish water, as alligators are present. They usually do not pose a serious threat but take all necessary safety precautions.
Orlando springs such as Kelly Park/Rock Springs and Wekiva Springs require inexpensive entry fees per vehicle and can offer all day fun. Usually between $2-$5 for up to 8 people, but many springs differ.
Blue Springs is about an hour east in Orange City and it’s a manatee sanctuary as well as one of the most popular natural springs in Central Florida. We truly enjoy visiting Florida springs because the waters are cool, crystal clear and amazing for snorkeling.
Note: Blue Springs is closed to swimmers during Manatee season.
You can easily take a day trip to any of the breathtaking beaches within a 2 hour drive from Orlando. Cocoa Beach is a little over an hour away and New Smyrna Beach is 1.5 hours. I highly recommend you checkout New Smyrna Beach for a day trip, lots of free things to do. Sugar Mill Ruins is an old sugar factory that is free to view, the museum on Canal Street is free, Old Fort Park has a mysterious limestone structure that is interesting to view and of course the beaches are gorgeous.
Thanks Heather! I’m definitely going to keep this in mind for the next time I head to Orlando, because I’m always interested in fun vacation activities that lessen the pressure on my wallet!
Heather and her husband Jon are family portrait photographers based in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. They specialize in vacation portraits all along the coast and in Orlando. They are parents to a train-loving 4-year-old and a cuddly chihuahua. When they aren’t at Disney, they enjoy beach days, coffee breaks and kayaking. You can find more of Heather on their website or Facebook.
Want more Floridian fun? I love St. Augustine as well!