Florida welcomed more than 100 million travelers in 2022, making the Sunshine State one of the most popular destinations in the United States. Widely known for its beaches, weather, and attractions (i.e. Disney World®), you may also, unfortunately, find some places taking advantage of the influx of visitors.
Be on the lookout for cheesy photo ops or too-good-to-be-true services. Whether that means skipping the amusement parks or vetting emergency dentists, Orlando and the other cities in Florida can entertain you without making you feel like you’ve been cheated. Read reviews, be mindful of your intuition, and try to get recommendations before your visit. Vacation is not the time to learn that cheap doesn’t mean better or that expensive doesn’t mean good.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park at Walt Disney World Resort has water slides, raft rides, a lazy river, and more. Better for children than adults, be prepared to shell out $69 per person for a one-day park ticket, not including snacks or drinks. And, because this park is so popular, you’ll likely be waiting in long lines and fighting for chairs. Instead, check out some of the local springs and rivers surrounding Orlando for a more authentic—and cheaper—thrill.
Swimming with the dolphins may sound fun, but this SeaWorld-owned theme park charges $199 to $279+ for a one-day package. The in-water experience is only about 30 minutes, and after jostling for position with other group members, you may not get to spend time with the dolphins at all.
You’ll find hundreds of alligator farms, attractions, and themed parks throughout Florida. Depending on the park, though, you may pay $40 or more per person for a cheesy or uneasy vibe; many of these farms treat the animals poorly. Instead, take a trip to the Everglades, where you can find alligators and other native species in their natural habitat.
Food & Wine Festival at Epcot
This annual festival, typically held from the end of August to mid-November, attracts thousands of visitors daily. The park transforms to provide limited-time food, merchandise, entertainment, demonstrations, and more, so it’s easy to see how it could sound like the perfect way to spend the day.
However, your wallet may disagree—a one-day ticket will cost $129 or more, and all food, merchandise, and drinks come at an extra cost. With only about 30 festival booths, you can also expect to wait in long lines. Instead, check out the annual Taste of the Nation, where tickets are all-inclusive, and the funds raised go to charity.
South Beach is the most well-known and popular beach in Miami, maybe even the whole state. However, with hundreds of people lining the shore and playing in the sand and surf, there’s usually nowhere to sit and relax.
While the beach is free, it’s also typically dirty, the surrounding restaurants have high prices, and the neighborhoods surrounding the beach can sometimes bring disturbances. Instead, head a few miles north to North Miami Beach and Miami Beach, which offer the same view but with fewer partygoers and distractions.