It is possible to go to Key West on a budget. Here are some frugal tips on lodging, interesting budget restaurants and free places to go.
The beach town of Marco Island is all manicured and modern, but here are four adventures into the wild and authentic Florida that are within a quick drive. You can wade across a lagoon to a wild beach or have lunch in a funky fishing town or stroll on a boardwalk into a beautiful old growth cypress swamp.
Join 1,000 barefoot people to stomp the grapes at this funky Florida winery. Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery makes a great stop on a weekend exploring the rural cow country of Central Florida.
The historic agricultural area surrounding the Homestead entrance to Everglades National Park offers so many cool experiences — a park where you can see and sample exotic fruits, free tours of a spectacular orchid grower’s estate, a local tropical-fruit winery and famous fruit milkshakes and cinnamon rolls.
Hukilau is a festival of tiki culture that attracts more than a thousand people to Fort Lauderdale every year to celebrate rum drinks, tiki trinkets and nostalgia for the 1950s. If you don’t attend, you still might want to visit the unique bars and restaurants that attract the tikiphiles.
For a quick trip to the Keys, consider Gilbert’s Resort. The upgraded 1950s-era motel and tiki bar is the first lodging you reach on the road to Key Largo. Then, kayak nearby Garden Cove and discover its picturesque sunken barge, a good place to snorkel.
It’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Broward County, and, thankfully, nothing has changed in years. It’s a rustic old wooden shack now surrounded by mansions and yachts. History and atmosphere make it worth the splurgy prices — and the food is good.
Driving U.S. 1 north of Titusville, you would never know Oak Hill even existed. But this gateway to the Mosquito Lagoon is worth finding. There’s fascinating history, a great fishing pier and the sort of atmospheric, out-of-the-way waterfront seafood shack that we love to discover.