Budget-Friendly Group Activities in Orlando That Aren’t Disney World

March 12, 2020

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of visiting Orlando? Probably Disney World, right?

But not everyone has the funds or desire to pay a visit to the Most Magical Place on Earth. Not to worry, though—there’s so much more to Orlando than mouse ears and singing princesses, even if you’re visiting on a tight budget.

Keep reading to see what budget-friendly group activities we recommend in and around Orlando. And be sure to call Falcon Charter Bus at 407-274-9808 whenever you’re ready to hash out how you’ll get there.

For Outdoor Adventurers…

Need to get out and stretch your legs? We’ve all been there. And enjoying the great outdoors is always a budget-friendly way to liven up your Orlando trip! Here are some destinations where you can get your dose of the outdoors for cheap.

view from the lakeside trail at Lake Eola Park of the downtown Orlando skyline

Lake Eola Park

Address: 512 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801

Looking for a getaway without straying too far from city limits? This park can offer your group some peace, quiet, and fresh air—right in the heart of downtown Orlando! Enjoying the calm waters, birdwatching, and walking the mile-long paved trail is completely free to the public. And if your budget allows, your group of peddle-pushers can rent swan-shaped pedalos—$15 for a 30-minute venture on Lake Eola. Time your visit right and you can catch a free concert at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, check out the local wares at the weekly farmers market, or sit back and enjoy the fireworks on nearly any major holiday.

the boardwalk walking trail extends into wooded marshland at Mead Botanical Garden near Orlando Florida

Mead Botanical Garden

Address: 1300 S Denning Dr, Winter Park, FL 32789

Here you can explore a swath of Florida ecosystems without straying too far from city limits—it’s only a 20-minute drive from Orlando—and without spending a lot of money. Entry is free to everyone! Say hi to the resident gopher tortoises, take in the salty air over the marshland boardwalk, or admire the camellias, orchids, caladiums, and begonias throughout the grounds. There’s also a butterfly garden, a grove of citrus trees, and plenty of shady trees that are perfect for picnics. Pack up your charter bus with coolers, blankets, and your favorite snacks, and you won’t have to worry about cramming everything into the trunk of a carpool.

a woman kayaks on clear spring waters at Wekiwa Springs near Orlando Florida

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Address: 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712

Leave the lights and bustle of the city behind and snorkel, kayak, or take a dip in the beautiful Wekiwa Springs. The crystal clear waters of this natural spring are 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making it a great spot to cool off on a hot day. And once your adventurers have had their fill of the great outdoors, you can load up your tents, coolers, and equipment and enjoy the comfort of a climate-controlled charter bus.

This state park offers both developed group campsites for up to 160 people and primitive group campsites that can accommodate up to 60—so whether you’re looking to get cozy in a cabin or rough it out on the trail, your camping crew has options.

For Art Aficionados…

If you’re traveling with the artistically-inclined, you’re in luck! Plenty of Orlando art museums offer free or cheap admission. Here are just a few we recommend for cost-conscious travelers who want to explore Orlando’s art scene.

a misty rain settles over metal statues and surrounding gardens at Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens near Orlando Florida

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

Address: 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

With over 200 sculptures and a collection of preserved antiquities from when the sculptor lived there, this museum used to be the home and studio of local Czech-American artist Albin Polasek. Expect to pay no more than $8 per person if you plan to tour this quaint attraction, and be sure to register your group tour at least a week in advance. The facility is fairly small—it can only accommodate groups of 50 or less at a time—so the more heads-up you can give the docents, the smoother your tour will be.

visitors admire a lineup of paintings at The Mennello Museum of American Art near Orlando Florida

The Mennello Museum of American Art

Address: 900 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803

Lovers of American Impressionism, contemporary folk art, or Earl Cunningham, won’t want to miss this diverse collection of sculptures and paintings. The priciest admission cost is a mere $5 per person, and students and kids younger than 17 can get in for $1. This museum is a fan-favorite for scout troops and field trips, so call 2 weeks ahead to secure your tour availability.

If your group is hoping to squeeze in some sketching practice while you’re here, make sure they have a ride with plenty of room to store their pencils and sketch pads. For this, we recommend a 20-passenger minibus—it has plenty of overhead storage, yet is compact enough to fit in the Science Center parking lot across the street.

closeup of a Tiffany glass lampshade on display at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art near Orlando Florida

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Address: 445 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

Most visitors are drawn to this Winter Park museum because it houses the most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany—including pottery, jewelry, paintings, and his iconic leaded-glass lamps. You can even catch a glimpse of the sparkling chapel interior Tiffany crafted for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Docent-lead group tours are available in both English and Spanish—though the museum asks that you reserve your tour at least 2 weeks in advance. Admission prices depend on age, but all tiers are less than $6 per person. Pop in on a Friday after 4 p.m. between November and April for free entry!

For Window Shoppers…

Even if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your Orlando group trip, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little window shopping. Especially with so many diverse shopping malls within a quick drive of downtown, a trip to any of these popular destinations will be a crowd-pleaser for any group looking for entertainment on the cheap.

a young couple look at a window display at the Florida Mall in orlando florida

The Florida Mall

Address: 8001 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32809

As you’d expect from a mall that simply names itself after the state it calls home, this shopping complex is one of Orlando’s most popular destinations for out-of-towners. If you choose to be one of the 20 million visitors that pass through this mall every year, you’ll find over 250 stores and restaurants to keep your window shoppers busy.

Traveling with kids? Great! They can burn off some energy at the free playground, marvel at the colorful and interactive Crayola Experience attractions, or squish their own slimy concoctions at The Slime Factory!

a mall visitor inspects a rack of suit jackets at the Mall at Millennia in Orlando Florida

The Mall at Millenia

Address: 4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando, FL 32839

For those seeking designer stores (or just somewhere to grab a soft pretzel in an airy atmosphere), this mall is for you. This shopping center boasts glass ceilings, futuristic architecture, and all your favorite upscale brands—from Gucci to Prada, Louis Vuitton to Chanel, and much more. And if big-name brands aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There’s plenty of other shopping mall staples (Macy’s, LUSH, American Eagle, etc.) to peruse as well.

Hit the Road for Nickels and Dimes

Making the most of Orlando’s attractions doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. When you reserve your ride through Falcon Charter Bus, you can rest easy knowing we won’t surprise you with hidden fees. You’ll know exactly how much your motorcoach rental will cost from the beginning, so you can spend less time budgeting and more time enjoying Orlando!

From connecting you with a single minibus shuttle to assembling a fleet of full-sized charter buses, our team is always here to make the reservation process stress-free. We can even find you with a bus that offers WiFi, TV screens, reclining seats, and more, so friends and family can stay connected, entertained, and comfortable—no matter where you go. Just give us a call at 407-274-9808 and let us know how we can make your Orlando group travels easy, and we’ll provide you a free, no-obligation quote for your personalized bus rental plan!