If you have kids, it can often be a challenge to find things that you can do with them over the weekend. Luckily, you are in Orlando so you have more opportunities than most people around the country. Take a look at some ideas of what you can do with your family over the weekend.
Plan A Weekend Beach Trip
Being a little removed from the water, we often forget just how close we are to world quality beaches. In as little as an hour, you can be surf-side with your family enjoying the sun, the water and the sand. But which beach should you go to?
New Smyrna Beach
If we could only choose one beach with a family, it would be New Smyrna Beach for a number of reasons.
First and foremost is the convenience. It is the closest beach to Orlando at a distance of just 55 miles. That means that you can be driving on the sands in just an hour. Which brings us to the second convenience, you can drive on the sand. That means no dragging a cooler and chairs across a hot parking lot. Just park and set up for the day right next to your vehicle.
Another great benefit to New Smyrna is the beach itself. Parents will love the gentle slope going into the water, perfect for smaller kids. Then, you have the soft sand. The beach is lacking in shells, but this has the benefit of smoother sand. That makes is a lot easier on feet, especially the more sensitive feet of small kids.
Although we are very favorable to New Smyrna, you have other kid friendly beaches to choose from near Orlando. Most of them will be within a 60 to 90 minute drive, making them great cheap places to go over the weekend with kids. New Smyrna Beach costs $20 to drive on, but there are cheaper options like Washington Oaks Beach which is just $5.
Visit A Theme Park For Free
Well, not the actual Orlando theme parks, but you can get some of the feeling of Disney or Universal Studios and it costs you nothing.
Disney Springs is absolutely free to park and enter. No, you are not going to find any rides, but there is a lot to do for free.
Small kids will love the free splash pads, there are actually two of them at Disney Springs. Nothing beats water jets on a hot Orlando day. Parents, be sure to bring a change of clothes in your bag.
Older kids will have fun walking around Disney Springs and popping into the stores, even if it is just for window shopping. Pre pandemic there were even free Legos to play with and kids could build their own Lego racers. Keep an eye out, they will return.
Free performances are another big attraction of Disney Springs. Live music acts are plentiful and cost nothing. These are most common at night, so plan to be there after 5PM if you want to enjoy the free shows.
Finally, although there is more to do, kids and adults alike will love looking for the hidden Mickeys. Just like with the big parks, they are everywhere.
Universal Studios Citywalk
The folks at Universal are not as generous as Disney Springs, but you can still park there for free after 6PM.
Just like Disney, Citywalk has a splash pad located near the entrance for small kids to enjoy. They also have free live music, mostly at night, which is good because that is when the free parking is. While Disney is usually a better choice with small kids, Citywalk is still worth a visit, especially around the holidays.
Take In A State Park
Florida has dozens of great state parks and most will only cost you $5 for a car load.
If you are up for a drive, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is just 90 minutes away to the northeast. It features a lavish garden that you can tour. Even if you are not a nature lover, you are sure to appreciate it. The park also gives you access to the Matanzas river and the Atlantic ocean if you cross State Road A1A. On the river side, there are also picnic tables, a gazebo and a picnic area.
Another great choice is Wekiwa Springs State Park, located less than a half an hour north of Orlando. The biggest attraction here is obviously going to be the natural springs where you can swim. Be warned, the water will be cool at around 72 degrees, year round. This park is also very popular on the weekend and has a capacity, so arrive early.
Go To A New Playground
It might seem simple, but just taking your kids to a new playground can be very exciting for them. Luckily, Orlando is home to hundreds of them and most are covered to protect you from the heat. Some, even have free splash pads attached to them.
One of our favorites is the playground at Red Bug Lake Park. It has a number of cool structures to climb on, swings and, best of all, a zipline. What kid could turn down a zipline. The park is located in Casselberry, just north of Orlando.
If you want to stay in the city itself, the playground at Lake Eola Park is worth a visit. It is a popular attraction on the weekend, but if it gets too crowded, you can take a stroll around the lake. Check out the swans that the park is famous for and even ride a swan shaped paddle boat for $15.
If the pareks above do not spark your interest, there are a number of other great playgrounds for kids in Orlando so finding one that your kid will love should be no problem.
Enjoy The Outdoors
Enjoying the outdoors is always a popular thing to do ion an Orlando weekend. In the spring, the weather is simply ideal and even in the summer months, the afternoon showers tend to cool things down. Here are some places to take in a little outdoor time in The City Beautiful.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
The gardens feature miles of paved paths that wander through impeccably manicured gardens and fountains. They are something that anyone can appreciate, not just nature lovers. Admission is just $5 for kids and it is free for those under the age of four. Adult pay just $10, making this a great cheap thing to do with kids in Orlando on any weekend.
Mead Botanical Garden
If you are anywhere near Winter Park, you need to check this one out. This is a fantastic garden that is 100 percent free to enjoy. Complete with statues, water features and benches, it is a great place for a leisurely stroll. Bring a camera because there will be numerous photo opportunities.