Orlando on a Budget

Balling on a budget is a real problem, especially if you’re a college student in Orlando. Orlando is internationally known as one of the tourist capitals of the world. People travel from all over the globe to experience the wonder that is Disney World. But for the people who live here, the theme park craze dies out quickly, especially when tickets to these magical wonderlands are upwards of $100 each just for a one day. For college students like myself, this can be impractical. So, how does one go about finding things to do in this city when they can’t afford more than a few packs of ramen noodles? Well, this article is here to expand your horizons without expanding your wallet. Here are five things to do in Orlando that won’t break your bank.


If you’re looking for something laid back while also satisfying your appetite, you can have a picnic in the park. Just pack a blanket, a couple PB&J’s and a case of beer and you’re set! Or, if you have a more refined palate, you can bring a cheese plate and a bottle of wine. Most parks also allow pets, so you can bring your furry friends along for company. 

Some parks to check out:

  • Jay Blanchard Park near UCF

  • Cranes Roost in Altamonte

  • Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando


Farmers Markets are an incredible way to support local businesses while also sampling a bunch of incredible foods and drinks from a variety of vendors. Most farmers markets are free to attend and have live entertainment. This is another great idea for devoted pet owners, as many people bring their pups along with them. You can usually find great prices on fresh fruits and veggies, so ditch the canned corn and pick up some fresh husks while you’re there.

Some farmers markets to check out:

  • Lake Eola Farmers Market on Sunday mornings

  • Winter Park Farmers Market on Saturday mornings


For those of you who have a passion for all things vintage, this one is for you. Orlando is home to a variety of antique and thrift stores that are overflowing with hidden treasures and valuable gifts of all sorts. You can find everything from vintage band tees to old vinyls, as many books and DVDs as your heart desires, and a respectable variety of mint used furniture. 

Some antique and thrift stores to check out:

  • Adjectives Market

  • Art Angels Vintage Market

  • 1618 Something Different

Just a heads up, these aren’t technically in landlocked Orlando. Still, they are within reasonable driving distance. Florida is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. Who wouldn’t want to spend a day soaking up the sun and catching some waves? There’s no better way to unwind from the headache that is college than to relax in the sand with some sunshine.

Some beaches to check out:

  • New Smyrna for a laid back vibe

  • Daytona for shops and dining

  • Cocoa for surfing


This one is for the nature lovers out there. Orlando is home to a handful of natural springs that make great hangout spots. Most springs hover around 70 degrees year-round, perfect for those unbearable hot summer days here in Florida. You can take a dip in the cool, clear water, rent kayaks and canoes, and hike through the lush forests that surround the area. There’s something for everybody here and the best part is, most of them are inexpensive.

Some springs to check out:

  • Blue Springs

  • Kelly Springs

  • Wekiva Springs

So there you have it. Even those with the most frugal of budgets, can enjoy a day of adventure in Florida’s most bustling city.