8 Florida Attractions You Can Enjoy for Free


Image via Viaval Tours/Shutterstock

By Cynthia De Saint

November 29, 2022

“The best things in life are free,” goes the song. And this is especially true in the Sunshine State, where you can enjoy many fun activities—from bird watching to wine tasting, and from visiting fascinating museums to fabulous beaches—all at zero cost to you!

Ideal Classic Cars Museum, Venice

Is there a classic car lover in your family? One that goes head-over-heels for a 1956 Chevrolet Corvette in mint condition or a fire engine red 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster? Vintage automobile lovers will be in car-heaven at this dealer’s showroom in Venice. Filled with classic vehicles, it doubles as a museum and is free for the public to walk through. (They just ask for one person in the group to fill out a questionnaire and, voila, everyone’s in!). Bonus: You are allowed to take pictures of the super cool “wheels” as long as the photos are for personal use only. 

Key West Garden Club at West Martello Tower, Key West

This one’s for the history buffs and nature lovers! That’s because this unique site combines a tropical garden paradise by the sea on the site of a former Civil War fort. 

One of Key West’s most tranquil spots, the grounds feature a rare collection of native and exotic trees and plants, and delights the senses with a butterfly garden, a waterfall garden, and even a prehistoric garden! There are orchid areas and beautiful gazebos that are usually the background for weddings.

The fort structure, which was finished in 1866, is highlighted by vaulted ceilings, gun mounts and a conservatory. Rescued and later preserved as a historic site, the Gardens are maintained by the Key West Garden Club, and although admission is free, they welcome donations.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville

Established in 1958, when art collector, garden enthusiast, and civic leader Ninah Cummer bequeathed her art collection and riverfront home to create a museum, this art lover’s paradise has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, spanning from 2100 B.C. through the 21st century, and including masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens, Winslow Homer, Norman Rockwell, and Mildred Thompson. It is also home to the Wark Collection of Early Meissen Porcelain.

Overlooking 2.5 acres of historic gardens, it is set against the backdrop of the St. Johns River, offering a perfect blend of art, nature, and education.  

Each Tuesday admission is free from 4 to 9 p.m., except for ticketed events.

San Sebastian Winery, St. Augustine

You know about the Napa Valley, in California, and the Bordeaux region in France. But did you know that San Sebastian ranks as one of Florida’s premium wineries, and is hailed as a pioneer in the development of premium, sparkling, and dessert wines?                                                           

Located in Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway Building, and just a few blocks from historic downtown St. Augustine, it offers a variety of wine accessories and gift items. But here’s the fun part: visitors can enjoy a self-guided complimentary winery tour and wine tasting, which run throughout the day, and are offered seven days a week, (except for major holidays). A short audio-visual presentation will also teach fascinating facts about the art of winemaking (for example, did you know that American winemaking dates back to 1562?). Children are welcome, however wine tasting is only offered to adults of 21 years and over with a valid I.D.

Hollywood Beach, Hollywood

The Sunshine State is famous for its beaches, especially those in South Florida, like trendy South Beach with its glitz and glamor. But did you know there’s an award-winning beach nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami? 

A classic Florida beach town since the 1920s, Hollywood Beach is a trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Winner, has been named one of America’s Best Beach Boardwalks by Travel + Leisure magazine, and is among the first in Florida to be awarded Blue Wave Beaches, a distinction that places them among the nation’s cleanest, safest, and most user-friendly beaches.

With a brick-paved thoroughfare, it is a haven for joggers, bicyclists, roller-bladers. And getting around in Hollywood is easy! Leave your car at home and jump on the electric shuttle service called “Sun Shuttle” by Circuit.    

The Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville

Located on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville and open year-round, the Florida Museum offers visitors eight permanent exhibits, including the Discovery Zone, which allows children and their caregivers to engage in science-oriented interactive activities; an internationally acclaimed fossil collection encapsulating the last 65 million years of Earth’s history (since the extinction of the dinosaurs), and a “journey” through a South Florida estuary to learn about one of the richest ecosystems on Earth.

General admission is free, although donations are gladly accepted. There is a cover charge for special exhibits.

Disney Springs, Buena Vista

Here’s a priceless (literally!) opportunity to get close to Disney World without needing a pricey theme park ticket. Formerly Downtown Disney, Disney Springs offers a vast selection of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues for the whole family. You can enjoy scenic walks around the West Side, The Landing, Marketplace, and Town Center, and make the most of the many photo opportunities around Disney Springs. 

There’s also music! Located across from the World of Disney shop, the AdventHealth Waterside Stage is an al fresco stage that lets you catch shows by Disney Performing Arts dance troupes by day and live tunes by night, often by a rotating lineup of regional and local faves.

Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables

Need some Miami glamor and mystery? The only hotel in South Florida recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the Biltmore in Coral Gables offers free tours of the breathtaking property and grounds every Sunday afternoon. 

Relive the hotel’s early days and rich stories of the city’s past, when it became a place to host glamorous fashion shows, galas, golf tournaments and water shows in what was then the largest pool in the world.

Established in 1926, visits by royalty include the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as well as Hollywood superstars like Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were guests, as well as Al Capone. More intriguingly, some people claim that the hotel, which had been a veteran’s hospital, is haunted!




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