Enjoying Tallahassee on a Budget + Staycation Ideas Nationwide


You don’t need a lot of money to have a great vacation in your hometown. We live and LOVE Tallahassee and have spent most of our lives here. I’ve listed some of my favorite activities that are free/ inexpensive this summer. If you know of any others, please leave a comment and I will add it!

Wakulla Springs 
Home of one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, this park plays host to an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, deer, and birds. Daily guided riverboat tours provide a closer view of wildlife, and glass bottom boat tours are offered when the water is clear. Swimming is a popular activity during the hot summer months. A nature trail offers a leisurely walk along the upland wooded areas of the park.

Admission Fee:
$6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

Boat Tour Fees:
$8.00 per adult. $5.00 per child, 12 and under.

tallahassee-capitolFlorida Capital Building

Florida’s new Capitol building has a rich ancestry, which began in 1824 with the establishment of Tallahassee as the new capitol city. The Capitol is the twenty-two story building. It is home to Florida’s Executive and Legislative branches. Others building at the Capitol Complex include the two four story office buildings for the House of Representatives and Senate as well as the Historic Capitol and Knott Building.

The Capitol is located in downtown Tallahassee at the intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe Street. The Capitol is open to the public Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays.

Challenger Learning Center 

Third Saturday of every month is Free Kids day. Events will vary each month. Check the site for details.

11:00am – Children 12 and younger, accompanied by an adult, receive free admission to one of our newest Planetarium shows, Perfect Little Planet.

11:45am: Stay after the free Planetarium show to explore aerospace with FAMU-FSU College of Engineering students. Build and test a variety of paper and wooden planes to understand their fluid dynamic properties. Don’t miss out on our free fun!

They also offer a free planetarium show on the first Saturday of each month at 10:00am. This planetarium show is presented by the Tallahassee Astronomical Society and coordinated with the monthly Democrat “Sky Guy” column.

Tallahassee Museum
From amazing native animals and rare historic buildings to beautiful natural scenery to exciting public programs, special events, and educational programs, there’s something here for everyone. They now also have tree to tree adventures – zip-lining!

Admission Rates
Adults $9.00
Seniors (65+) $8.50
College Students (w/I.D.) $8.50
Children (4-15) $6.00
Children (3 and under) Free
Members Free
Zip-lining startst at $15

St. Marks Trail
The Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail runs 20.5 miles from Florida’s capital city to the coastal community of St. Marks. This is a great paved trail that is perfect for bike riding (even little kids learning) and free to use. Not to mention, the majority of it is shaded! You can park near the Flea Market in South Tallahassee and ride the entire trip to St. Marks. Great day trip if you are avid riders!

St. Marks Refuge
St Marks is a great day trip that is relatively inexpensive. There is an AWESOME lighthouse and great little restaurants to try. If you want to show the kiddos old school Florida, this is a great spot to check out!  Yes, the St. Marks trail (mentioned above) ends here!

Fees, Costs, and Rates: A $5/car entrance fee is collected at the St. Marks Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge. Fees for bicyclists/pedestrians are $1/day. An annual pass into the St. Marks NWR can be purchased for $15/12 months. Federal passes such as the new $80 America the Beautiful pass, $10 Senior Pass, and the free Access Pass are accepted and are sold/issued at the Refuge Visitor Center. Federal Duck stamps can be purchased they are $15 and are good from July 1 thru June 30. Commercial Tour buses and/or van rates are as follows: Bus or Van: 20 visitors or less is $25.00 and 21 visitors or more is $50.00. Note: Charter tour bus companies need to make arrangements with Refuge management prior to bringing their tours to St. Marks NWR. A user fee for the boat ramp is collected at the Aucilla River Unit.

Maclay Gardens
This is a local gem!  Maclay Gardens is located near the overpass on Thomasville Road (behind Stein Mart) and has a great swimming area, beautiful gardens (great for photos), and picnic areas. Take a picnic lunch and spend the hot summer day cooling off in Lake Hall!

Admission Fee:
$6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle. Does not include Gardens entry, January through April.
$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
$6.00 Garden Entry : Adults during Blooming Months (January through April).
$3.00 Garden Entry: Children, 2-12, during Blooming Months (January through April).

Museum of Florida History
Held at the Museum of Florida History, most events are free!  Great place to spend an afternoon and beat the heat. Make sure to check out Grandma’s Attic. I remember playing in there as a kid 😉 Check out events here.

tom brown

Tom Brown Park
If you haven’t checked out this park yet, you need to!  It is amazing!  There is a lake to walk around with nature trails, biking, disc golf, a HUGE playground (not suggested in hot times of the day), and a dog park. There is truly something for everyone here…and it’s FREE!

A.J. Henry Park – in Killearn
This is another little gem of a park. Located in the heart of Killearn it offers a great shaded playground, a lake to feed fish and turtles, and lots of nature of biking trails. FREE

Trousdale Pool
Your kids will LOVE you for taking them to this one!  It is a public pool on John Knox Rd that has a great water slide and water park. At only $1 per child and $4 per adult (cheaper if you get a pass) it’s a great way to spend a sunny afternoon!

Lake Ella
Lake Ella is located between North Monroe and Meridian Rd. It offers a lovely walking path (great for strollers!), ducks to feed, and a great old Oak for climbing. There is also nearby shops and an AWESOME ice cream shop (Barb’s Brittle’s).

North Florida is full of amazing parks. Click here to see them all and find a park near you!
Also make sure to check out the Visit Tallahassee website.

Check out these other cities…

A – D

Phoenix, Arizona — Saving For Someday
Fresno, California — Living A Frugal Life
Orange County, California — More With Less Today
San Diego, California — Southern Cali Saver
Denver, Colorado — Bargain Blessings
Washington, District of Columbia — Kidventurous

F – I

Disney World, Florida — The Happy Housewife
Jacksonville, Florida — Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida — Coupon Mamacita
St Augustine, Florida — Simply St. Augustine
Tampa Bay, Florida — LaToyaEdwards.net
Atlanta, Georgia — Pretty Frugal Diva
Dahlonega, Georgia — Kathys Cluttered Mind
Savannah, Georgia — This Mommy Saves Money
Aurora/Chicago, Illinois — A Savings WOW!
Chicago, Illinois — Entertaining Chicago
Indianapolis, Indiana — Chaos Is Bliss

K – P

Lexington, Kentucky — Homeschool Village
Louisville, Kentucky — The Kennedy Adventures
Northern Kentucky, Kentucky — Simply Sherryl
Carroll County, Maryland — Looking at life CreativLEI
Boston, Massachusetts — Maven of Savin
Battle Creek, Michigan — Pichea Place
Grand Rapids, Michigan — Give Me Neither
Metro Detroit, Michigan — Saving Dollars and Sense
Kansas City Area, Missouri/Kansas — Redefined Mom
Omaha, Nebraska — Family Fun in Omaha
Central, New Jersey — Our Good Life
Cincinnati, Ohio — Adventure Mom
Cleveland, Ohio — Kosher on a Budget
Columbus, Ohio — Cleverly Simple
Dayton, Ohio — Savings Lifestyle
Mansfield & Richland County, Ohio — The Traveling Praters
Miami County, Ohio — Something 2 Offer
Northeast, Ohio — Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring
Portland, Oregon — Frugal Living NW
Harrisburg/Central, PA — Family Balance Sheet
Erie, Pennsylvania — Growing Kids Ministry
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Moms Need To Know
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — The Coupon High

R – W

Arlington, Texas — Grocery Shop For FREE
Fort Worth, Texas — Coupons and Freebies Mom
Houston, Texas — Melissa’s Bargains
Katy, Texas — Moms Confession
San Antonio, Texas — How to Homeschool My Child
Tyler, Texas — iLoveMy5Kids
Charlottesville, Virgina — How to Have it All
Norfolk, Virgina — The Talking Suitcase
Richmond, Virgina — Vacation Maybe
Seattle, Washington — Thrifty NW Mom
Tacoma/South Puget Sound, Washington — Queen Bee Coupons
Oshkosh, Wisconsin — A Little Bit of This and That

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  1. Florida is on our vacation list at some point in the next 5 years. For now we’re working on a project called R is for Rhode Island. Basically it’s our own alphabet book filled with quintessential RI activities and places. Is a lot of fun being a tourist in your hometown!

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