Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.

4 Kid-Friendly Vacation Spots to Visit On a Budget

Image via Everglades Adventures Hotel Suites

By Tyler Francischine

September 15, 2022

Whether you’re looking for your next adventure or just a few peaceful hours to yourself on a beach, we’ve got you covered.

When you’re a resident of the Sunshine State, there’s no need to look elsewhere when planning your next vacation. Whether you’re looking for a quiet weekend spent in nature or a bustling time full of sightseeing and dining out, Florida delivers—without breaking your budget. 

Here are nine uniquely charming places to call home base as you explore the beauty and excitement of a true Florida staycation.

Prestige Hotel, Vero Beach

Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.
Image via Prestige Hotel

When Floridians seek out a beach staycation full of peace and relaxation, they skip the more famous shores of Daytona Beach and keep driving south about 130 miles until they reach Vero Beach, where fine dining and luxury shopping meet coastal beauty and stunning biodiversity. The Prestige offers tranquil, oceanfront rooms overlooking one of Florida’s most unspoiled sections of eastern coastline—just ask the thousands of sea turtles who nest here each year. 

Only a couple minutes’ drive away are bustling spots for nightlife like The Wave Kitchen and Bar, part of Gloria Estefan’s beloved Costa D’Este Resort and Spa, as well as a host of shops selling apparel, jewelry, and more. 

Twenty miles north in Sebastian, the Indian River Lagoon is a one-of-a-kind ecosystem where both freshwater and saltwater species converge. Take a boat tour or paddle out in a kayak by visiting The Environmental Learning Center.

The Confidante, Miami Beach

Believe it or not, The Confidante, in the heart of Miami Beach, serves up affordable luxury paired with mid-century architectural touches that will wow the whole family. 

If it’s adventure you’re craving, cruise the Miami Beach Boardwalk on a free bicycle for a few minutes until you reach the party that is South Beach. There, clubs like Do Not Sit On The Furniture and Twist await with beats banging all night long. 

The next morning, mosey down to the beach just steps away from the Confidante to take a dip in the warm Atlantic waters. When you swim up an appetite, order lunch under the serene shade of your pink, fringed umbrella

Sweetwater Branch Inn, Gainesville 

Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.
Image via Sweetwater Branch Inn

Gainesville’s Sweetwater Branch Inn transports you back in time with its 29 boutique rooms split among two Victorian houses and eight cottages. With a 25-foot heated, saltwater pool, gardens, and two event spaces over two acres, this bed and breakfast offers more than its name suggests. 

You might want to hit the sack early to rise at dawn for the hour-long trek to one of the greater Gainesville area’s natural springs, which pump out tens of thousands of gallons of water each day—always at a refreshing 72 degrees. Take a dip at Poe Springs Park and wade out to the far end of the spring where you can see its calm, clear waters meet the warm, blue-brown edges of the Santa Fe River. (It’s a sight worth seeing with the color change!)

Everglades Adventures Hotel Suites by Ivey House, Everglades City 

Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.
Image via Everglades Adventures Hotel Suites

The Everglades Adventures Hotel Suites lives up to its name by placing guests in the thick of the action. Roll out of bed in the morning and walk just a few paces to the water’s edge to choose your adventure—will you cut through the sawgrass at warp speed on an airboat ride or take a peaceful guided kayak paddle? Either way, you may see American alligators, American crocodiles, turtles, and wood storks.

44 Spanish Street Inn, St. Augustine

Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.
Image via 44 Spanish Street Inn

The oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine is home to enthralling historic sites, gorgeous beaches, and some of the state’s top restaurants, drawing tourists from around the world each year. Staying at the 44 Spanish Street Inn in the St. Augustine Historic District means you don’t have to face troublesome car traffic to enjoy the best the Ancient City has to offer. 

Follow the cobblestone and brick-lined Spanish Street just a few doors down to The Floridian for regionally inspired Southern dishes and cocktails. When night falls, take a ghost tour of the many cemeteries that dot the area.

The Hollander Hotel, St. Petersburg 

Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.
Image via Hollander Hotel

Locally famous for its rambunctious pool parties, The Hollander Hotel in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg offers comfortable rooms and exciting amenities at an affordable rate. If splashing about isn’t your speed, spend your days quietly perusing the extensive collections of Surrealist art at the nearby Dalí Museum or the history exhibits at the Florida Holocaust Museum. Just a quick drive away from The Hollander are some of Florida’s most peaceful and warm Gulf of Mexico shores—the waters of Treasure Island Beach average 80 degrees annually.

The Port Inn and Cottages, Ascend Hotel Collection, Port St. Joe 

Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.
Image via Port Inn and Cottages

The Gulf Coast’s Port Inn and Cottages in Port St. Joe feel like a serene home away from home, complete with private parking spaces and rocking chairs waiting on the porches of each cottage. This “small town with a big heart,” located just an hour east of the more tourist-heavy Panama City, boasts pristine, unpopulated beaches and excellent seafood restaurants like Uptown Raw Bar and Grill, where the oysters are a must.

Crystal Blue Lagoon Bed & Breakfast, Crystal River 

Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.
Image via Crystal Blue Lagoon Bed & Breakfast

When you stay at the Crystal Blue Lagoon Bed & Breakfast, a swim with manatees only requires walking a few steps out of your bedroom. Located on Crystal River Crosstown Trail with House Spring literally lying just below the property’s terrace, as well as Three Sisters Springs and Hunter Springs Park very close by, this vibrant bed and breakfast full of mermaid- and manatee-themed murals and decor provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable encounter with some of the sea’s gentlest giants.

Olde Marco Island Inn and Suites, Marco Island 

Looking for an Escape? Here Are Florida’s 9 Best Budget-Friendly Staycations.
Image via Olde Marco Island Inn and Suites

For those who believe vacations should be about rest and relaxation, Marco Island—a barrier island located just south of Naples on Florida’s Paradise Coast—offers countless opportunities to connect with the area’s resplendent natural beauty. The Olde Marco Island Inn and Suites provides affordable, functional suites perfect for the whole family—fully outfitted kitchens, anyone? But for those nights when no one feels like cooking, guests can walk to some of the area’s best eateries like The Snook Inn, which serves all-you-can-eat ribs on Monday and all-you-can-eat shrimp on Tuesdays. 

A quick drive north, The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and its environmental learning center offer opportunities for kayaking, boating, camping, angling, shelling, birdwatching, and nature photography.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify information listed in the Everglades Adventures Hotel Suites.


  • Tyler Francischine

    Tyler Francischine is a journalist who writes about travel, arts, culture and community. She's passionate about social justice, the Atlantic Ocean and live music.



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