Let’s face it: A family trip to Orlando and its many theme parks can definitely strain the budget. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of free things to do Orlando, so you can give your credit cards some time off during the vacation. These are the best free things to do in Orlando with kids.
1. Lake Eola Park
Stroll the less-than-a-mile-long loop around Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando, where you can snap photos of the swans (both real and of the paddleboat variety) gliding through the water. If you time it right, you might also be able to catch a free concert or event at the park’s Walt Disney Amphitheater.
2. Morse Museum
Visit the Morse Museum in Winter Park on Fridays from November through April, when all visitors enjoy free admission from 4 to 8 p.m. It showcases the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, along with American paintings, art pottery, and decorative art.
3. Disney Springs
Head to Walt Disney World Resort’s shopping, dining, and entertainment zone called Disney Springs, where there’s free self-parking and no admission fee. The whole fam can enjoy free live entertainment at spots like Waterview Park, build a mini masterpiece at the LEGO Store’s play tables, and maybe even snag a free sample at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.
4. Farmers Markets
Check out one of the many farmers’ markets in the Orlando area, open on weekends at spots like downtown’s Lake Eola and in neighborhoods and nearby towns such as Winter Park and Winter Garden.
5. Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise
Roll into Old Town in Kissimmee for its Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise. Owners of classic rides show them off along Trophy Row throughout the day, and then drive them down Old Town’s brick-paved Main Street at 8:30 p.m.
6. Little Econ Greenway
Head out on the Little Econ Greenway, a multipurpose paved recreational trail that travels past spots like Arcadia Acres Park and Jay Blanchard Park, which offer playgrounds, picnic areas, and plenty of room to run around.
Related: 10 Cheap Family Resorts in Orlando
7. Universal CityWalk
Self-park for free at Universal CityWalk after 6 p.m. each evening (except during Halloween Horror Nights), then enjoy some prime people-watching, window shopping, and photo ops.
8. Winter Park History Museum
Pick up a free self-guided walking tour brochure at the Winter Park History Museum (or download it here) to learn about the historic buildings and other sites in this picturesque enclave that began as a winter resort for wealthy Northerners.
9. Tibet-Butler Preserve
Go bird watching at 438-acre Tibet-Butler Preserve, where you might spot wood storks, belted kingfishers, tree swallows, and some 100 other species of winged creatures. Stop by the preserve’s Vera Carter Environmental Center to see if any feathered friends are at the bird feeders.
10. Celebration Walking Tour
Admire the New Urbanism architecture in the town of Celebration—including a post office designed by Michael Graves and the Philip Johnson-designed Town Hall—on a DIY walking tour of the community created by the Walt Disney Company.
11. ICON Park
Stop by ICON Park after the sun sets to see its iconic observation wheel lit up at night and watch the riders who are brave (or crazy?) enough to strap into the 450-foot-tall Orlando StarFlyer swings.
12. Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College
Take in everything from Renaissance paintings and Colonial-era portraits to 20th-century photography at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, where admission and weekend tours are both free.
13. Disney Wilderness Preserve
See how many of the more than 1,000 resident species of plants and animals you can find at the 11,500-acre Disney Wilderness Preserve near Kissimmee, which offers a 2.5-mile hiking loop that takes in cypress swamp, freshwater marsh, scrub, flatwoods, and oak hammock habitats.
14. Lake Jesup Wilderness Area
Look for alligators in the Lake Jesup Wilderness Area, a 490-acre preserve in nearby Sanford that features more than 2 miles of hiking and biking trails.
15. Baldwin Park
Make your way to Orlando’s Baldwin Park neighborhood on the first Friday of every month for a free, family-friendly sidewalk festival featuring displays from more than 70 local artisans.
16. Mills 50 District
Snap selfies in front of all the cool street art in Orlando’s up-and-coming Mills 50 District, where you’ll find funky art boxes, brightly painted storm drains and dumpsters, and murals emblazoned with hearts, rainbows, and colorful critters.
17. BoardWalk at Walt Disney World
Meander along the quarter-mile BoardWalk at Walt Disney World, where you can catch free acts from street performers during the evening and pretty waterfront views at any time of day.
18. Kraft Azalea Garden
Pose for family photos among the giant cypress trees and the namesake blooms at Winter Park’s Kraft Azalea Garden, a 5-acre site located on the shores of Lake Maitland.
Beth Luberecki is a Florida-based freelance writer who writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics for a variety of publications and websites. She enjoys exploring destinations close to home and farther afield with her husband and teenage daughter. Visit her website at bethluberecki.comor find her on Instagram at @bethluberecki.