by T.L. Stephens
We all have heard about Florida’s fabulous theme parks. Many of us have visited them, but those visits can be costly. A single day pass, at one of the major parks, for adults is more than $110 and a single day children’s pass is over $100. For a family of four, just one day spent at any one of the theme parks can be well over $400 for entry tickets, and that doesn’t include the cost of food and drinks.
There are places to visit in Florida that are just as thrilling and many of them are free. Here in The Sunshine State, there are lots of lakes, rivers, springs, and streams, and many are within an hour’s drive of Orlando.
Kelly Park/Rock Springs
Kelly Park is a free-flowing natural spring. There are hiking trails and lots of wildlife can be spotted living in the surrounding forests of the park. The park features a full concession, picnic pavilions, and a playground for little ones. Overnight camping is also popular, so bring along a tent or an RV to claim your spot.
Rock Springs is a clear, swift running creek and is a popular destination for tubing. Bring your own or rent tubes off-site for a lazy “float” down the river. Swimming, kayaking/canoeing, hiking, snorkeling, camping, and picnicking are several activities that are available at both parks. Entrance fees are charged per vehicle.
Some of the most popular beaches in Florida are Daytona Beach, located on the Atlantic side of the state and Clearwater Beach, located on the Gulf side of the state. It can be very difficult to find a good place to sun in the sand, during the busy summer months. Both beaches attract visitors from around the world. Local beaches are the best option for those wanting to enjoy a less hectic day at the beach.
Clermont’s Waterfront Park is the perfect place to be. There is a paved walking trail, a playground and water park for children, swimming, and fishing from the nearby pier. There are no entrance fees. There are many parks, lakes, trails, and wildlife for those who love nature and enjoy being out of doors. Clermont is also very popular with bicyclists who enjoy riding along the many roads and hills in and around the city.
Florida is a vacationer’s dream, but soaring costs don’t have to turn your vacation into a nightmare. Find the places that are off the beaten path. Your wallet will be glad you did.
Kelly Park, 400 E Kelly Park Rd. Apopka, FL 32712
Waterfront Park, 330 3rd St., Clermont, FL 34711
Open: 6 am – 10 pm
7 days a week