Are you looking at places to visit in Florida? There are lots of fun cities to travel to, but we like Tampa Bay, Florida.
Several years ago for Christmas, our family took a vacation to Treasure Island, FL (near Tampa Bay) as our family Christmas present. We have traveled for Christmas several times.
We visited from December 31st to January 4th. It was after Christmas while school was still out.
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Travel & Accommodations
Getting to Florida
For this trip, we flew to Florida because we don’t live close by.
We watched for flights and booked early to get the cheapest ones.
We ended up flying with Delta Airlines because of the price.
You can usually get cheaper flights if you fly on a weekday or at more inconvenient times.
Traveling Around Florida
We rented a car with a big discount using our AAA membership.
Renting with AAA helps to save money on lots of travel expenses as well as a ton of other things. Learn more about AAA and its benefits here.
Where We Stayed
We rented a condo with two bedrooms and a sleeper sofa since there were six of us.
The condo was right on the beach, so we had awesome ocean views and access to the beach.
Places to visit in Florida: where we went
Places to visit in Florida: Busch Gardens
Our biggest expense while we were there was going to Busch Gardens.
We bought our tickets online before we left home to get a cheaper rate.
Busch Gardens is also part of the Tampa Bay CityPASS.
CityPASS includes tickets to multiple attractions in Tampa Bay, so this is a great idea if you plan on visiting any of the attractions it includes.
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- The Florida Aquarium
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- Museum of Science & Industry OR Chihuly Collection
Although it was an expensive attraction, it was the highlight of our trip.
Busch Gardens is a combination amusement park and zoo.
There was so much to see and do that we did not get to all of it.
We highly recommend visiting if you are in the area.
We went on New Years Day, which turned out to be a good choice. It was still decorated for Christmas (they played Christmas music all day!), and it was not at all crowded. The longest wait for any ride was 20 minutes.
One of our favorite things that we got to do at Busch Gardens was feed and pet the kangaroos and wallabies!
Places to visit in Florida: Myakka River State Park
Most of the other things we did on our trip were low-cost or free.
We visited Myakka River State Park.
It is located in Sarasota, Florida which is about an hour south of Tampa Bay.
It is $6 per vehicle to visit the park.
They have camping, bike and boat rentals, hiking trails, and Canopy Walkway.
Canopy Walkway was our favorite part. The walkway is 25 feet above the ground and 100 feet long, winding through the hammock canopy.
There is also a 74 foot viewing tower to get spectacular views of the tree tops and area.
While we were there, we also took a boat ride (it is $20 per person), but it was not really worth the money.
Places to visit in Florida: Caspersen Beach
Another fun trip was visiting Caspersen Beach.
This beach had waves unlike Treasure Island beach where we stayed.
The beach is known for sharks’ teeth. We did find some small teeth but nothing very big.
Places to visit in Florida: Seaside Seabird Sanctuary
One day we took a trip to Indian Shores to visit the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary.
Admission is free (or donation).
They have a lot of birds!
They take in injured birds to rehabilitate them.
If they are unable to free them again, they are kept at the sanctuary.
You can see the birds up close. It was an enjoyable visit!
What are your favorite places to visit in Florida?
Those were a few of our the places that we were able to visit on a budget.
There are many more places, but we ran out of time.
It was a great alternative to usual gift giving at Christmas.
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