Basically Free Florida Road Trip

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On this road trip almost everything is free, you may have to pay an entrance fee of less than $10 per car a couple places; you’ll probably have to pay for parking. Other than that this budget friendly road trip is just the Florida adventure you are looking for. Save your cash for gas and explore as much of Florida as possible!

What you will see

You will be able to see manatees and alligators. You will find shells, and sharks teeth. You will even get to touch a stingray. Visit the Sponge Docks where they bring out the sponges after they get them. There are amazing street performers that have performed all over the world. There are markets and shopping. There is also a petting zoo. You’ll get to ride in the free Tampa Streetcar. There are plenty of places along the route where you might want to choose to spend money. This is not just a free vaca, so you get what you get. No, this is an awesome, I can’t believe this is free trip. This fast paced 11 day trip; so if you are taking a 2 week vacation it will give you time to get there and get back or you can spend a little more time in any of these destinations. Feel free to spend an extra day in paradise!

Photo By Alice Daniels

Manatee Viewing Center

6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572

Arrive: 10:00 am Depart: 12:00 pm

The Manatee Viewing Center is free and a great place to see manatees in the winter months. You can also can also see a few different fish species. You can touch a stingray in the stingray pool. You might even get lucky enough to see a dolphin or shark swimming with the manatees.

Drive: 30 minutes

TECO Line Streetcar System

Tampa, Florida

Arrive: 12:30 pm Depart: 8:00 pm

Come down and take the TECO Line Streetcar System for free. You can go to YBOR city and get some lunch. This is a fun thing to do to get from point a to point b, or just fun to check out the city.

Drive: 30 minutes till whimzeyland

Whimzeyland
Photo By Alice Daniels

Whimzeyland

1206 3rd St N, Safety Harbor, FL 34695

Arrive:8:30 am Depart: 9:00 am

Come to Whimzeyland to check out one of a kind art. This is a house decorated in a very unique style. It’s a little fun and fast stop on your route. This is free and a fun quirky stop. If you like different this is for you.

Drive: 30 minutes

Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

735 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Arrive: 9:30 am Depart: 2:00pm

Stop and check out the sponges at the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. You can shop around town and see how the fishermen bring in the sponges. They have great small town shops and attractions. There are also some free museums in the area.

Drive: 30 minutes

Photo By Brittany Butters

Pier 60 Clearwater

1 Causeway Blvd, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

Arrive: 2:30 pm Depart: 9:00 pm

Come visit Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach Florida. So much to do here. You can do a little shopping, bar hopping, or just get some dinner at one of the restaurants. Then you must check out the street performers and vendors at the pier at night. Also don’t forget about the beach. All this being free. This is just a must do.

Drive: 30 minutes till Johns pass

John’s Pass

12901 Gulf Blvd, Madeira Beach, FL 33708

Arrive: 9:00 am Depart: 3:00 pm

Come check out this little touristy gem for free. You can do some great shopping, dolphin cruise, restaurants, pirate cruise, and so much more. The Alligator Wildlife and Discovery Center is also here where you can hold an alligator. You will probably even see dolphins off the dock.

Drive: 30 minutes

Photo By Ebyabe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15640311

Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto, FL 33715, USA

Arrive: 3:30 Depart: 8:00 pm

Come check out the fort in Fort De Soto Park. You can rent bikes, camp, go birding, and the shelling here is great! This is a great place to spend a couple hours. You can look around then relax on the beach. There is a small parking fee.

Drive: 1 hour till Beach Market at Coquina Beach, 2650 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

27.452, -82.693 3-21-21 3:35pm
Photo By Alice Daniels

Beach Market at Coquina Beach

2650 Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

Arrive: 9:00 am Depart: 1:00 pm

Come check out the beach and go for a good morning walk. Then at 10 when the market opens go see all the awesome stuff they have. This is a large market and they have a lot of handmade things. This is outside and also free. Make sure they are open the day you are going. The days change with seasons.

Drive: 1 hour

Photo By Alice Daniels

Caspersen Beach

4100 Harbor Dr, Venice, FL 34285

Arrive: 2:00 pm Depart:8:00 pm

After you enjoy your drive down the coast you will come to Caspersen Beach. Come find shark teeth. This is one of the best spots in Florida to find teeth. Bring a Picnic dinner and enjoy the beach and find some awesome shark teeth. Parking is free.

Drive: 1 hour till The Shell Factory and Nature Park

The Shell Factory and Nature Park
Photo by Alice Daniels

The Shell Factory and Nature Park

16554 North Cleveland Avenue US 41, North Fort Myers, FL 33903

Arrive: 10:00 am Depart: 2:00 pm

This is a fun little stop. It has a pretty big flea market (a couple days a week), a gift shop, fun park including a zip line and bumper boats, a restaurant with a bar, and they even have a Nature Park with more than 400 animals including a zebra. There is much more here to see. Make sure you stop at this hidden gem. This is free with options of adding on.

Drive: 1 hour

Photo By Brittany Butters

Tin City Waterfront Shops

1200 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102

Arrive: 3:00 pm Depart: 7:00 pm

Stop by and see the iconic shopping center (brittany not sure iconic is a good word here but I hope so) that is known for its tin roofs. There are 4 seperate buildings you can find one of a kind homemade items at. They also have antiques, clothes, and much more. You can also grab dinner at one of the restaurants. This is also free.

Drive: 2.25 hours till Robert Is Here Fruit Stand

Hotel for the night

I suggest staying close to the west side so when you drive 41 you can see all the alligators.

Photo By Alice Daniels

Robert Is Here Fruit Stand

19200 SW 344th St, Homestead, FL 33034

Arrive: 10:00 am Depart: 11:00

Robert is Here Fruit Stand is so much more than just a fruit stand! Altho the fruits and vegetables are very fresh! This is not just a fruit stand on the side of the road. They have a petting zoo and on the weekends they even have live music all for free. You might even get to meet Robert. Don’t forget to grab a milkshake.

Drive: 3 hours

Key West

Key West, Florida 33040

Arrive: 2:00 Depart: 9:00 pm

Take your time getting to Key West! There are many shops to stop at and also many photo ops. Make sure you stop at Robbies and feed the tarpon! On the way to Key West keep your eyes open for iguanas and chickens. Once you get to Key West make sure you walk Duval Street and definitely make sure you make it to Mallory Square for the sunset celebration. The Southernmost point buoy is also a must do. Make sure you see the street performers by the sunset celebration. The vibe here is the best! This is also all free except to feed the tarpon.

Drive: 4 hours till Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Hotel
Photo by Alice Daniels

Hotel for the night

If you want to stay for cheap you can go back to Florida City for the cheapest. Or you can stay in the Keys and get another day out of it. If you can stay a night here you won’t be disappointed but if you can you will be glad you came.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
Photo by Alice Daniels

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Arrive: 11:00 am Depart: 8:00 am

Come check out the town or just relax on the beach. This is a cool little shopping town with an awesome beach. Lots of stuff within driving range. This is free but you might have to pay for parking.

Drive: 3 hours till Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach, Florida 32931

Arrive: 12:00 Depart: 8 :00 am

Come relax at Cocoa Beach. You can go to Historic Downtown Cocoa Beach and do a little shopping and checking out the one of a kind stores or you can just relax at the beach. They have a pier you can fish off of and a restaurant on the pier. This is also all free unless you go to the end and go fishing, then it’s a small amount.

Drive 1 hour till Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Photo By Brittany Butters

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

1987 Scrub Jay Way #32782, Titusville, FL

Arrive: 9:00 am Depart: 10:30 am

Come take a quick drive thru this refuge. You can see Florida’s nature at its best. There are a ton of birds to see and a ton of alligators if you go at the right time. We have even seen a wild boar and an armadillo. This is not free but the cost is very low and per car.

Drive: 45 minutes

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Arrive: 11:30 Depart: 3:00

Come check out New Smyrna Beach. The Historic District has art galleries and shops. What it is known for is its 17 mile stretch if white sandy beaches. This is all free but you might have to pay for parking.

Drive: 30 minutes

Photo By Alice Daniels

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, Florida

Arrive: 3:30 pm Depart: 8:00 pm

Come do a little shopping on the strip. Walk along the boardwalk and stop and check out the amusement park . Then get some dinner and relax at the beach. There might even be music at the Daytona Beach Bandshell. Again all free but you might have to pay for parking.

Drive: 1.5 hours to St. Augustine

St. George Street, St. Augustine Florida
Photo by Alice Daniels

St. Augustine

St. Augustine, Florida

Arrive: 8:30 am Depart: 8:00 pm

Come check out historic St.Augustine. Commonly called the “Nation’s Oldest City“. There is so much to do and see. Take a walk around Castillo De San Marcos National Monument for free, or you can pay to go inside. Then you can go for a walk down St. George Street. With old brick roads and so many great architectural buildings this is just an awesome place to visit.

Things to Bring

If you were flying in, Orlando Airport and Tampa Bay Airports would be 2 good choices. We recommend Orlando airport because of it’s central location makes a good beginning and ending point. Rent your car at the airport and drop it off before catching your flight home.

Flights and Car rentals

Cheap Flight from Orlando

Cheap Flight to Tampa

Cheap car rental orlando

Cheap car rental in Tampa

Car rentals all over the USA if you are renting and driving down. Unlimited mileage

Best Credit Cards for Travel Points

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