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South Florida isn’t exactly synonymous with a cheap vacation, but in the Fort Lauderdale area, you’ll find a surprising number of free and inexpensive activities that don’t skimp on fun. Here are some of the town’s best affordable attractions. 

RELATED: 5 unforgettable Florida road trips for every personality

Bonnet House is gorgeous inside and out. | Photo: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

It’s easy being green

The waterfront Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is one of Fort Lauderdale’s must-do attractions. The 1920’s estate includes a mansion, art museum, gallery and more. But if the $20 admission price isn’t in your budget, you can feel rich when you spend $10 to see only the gardens, which include tropical landscapes, a rotating collection of orchids and the occasional manatee in the nearby canal.

Rent a canoe, and explore the mangrove trails near the Anne Kolb Nature Center. | Photo: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Back to nature

Get away from the noise with a visit to the Anne Kolb Nature Center, which is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Paddle through mangrove wetlands, take the elevator to the top of the observation tower for a view of the Atlantic Ocean and on weekends, observe a feeding in the exhibit hall’s giant aquarium.

Take a free ride

Not only is the Riverwalk Water Trolley one of the most fun ways to get around town, but it won’t cost you a dime. The water taxi runs daily along the New River, allowing passengers to hop on and off near the city’s most popular attractions.

Paint the town

If you like Miami’s Wynwood Walls, then be sure to check out the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project. This is the largest walkable mural scene in Broward County, featuring buzzworthy artists from South Florida and across the world. Stroll through the area anytime, or swing by on the third Saturday evening of the month for a guided tour and a chance to see the artists at work.

When Mother Nature foils your plans, the Museum of Discovery and Science is a great way to occupy the kids | Photo: MODS.

Discover the great indoors

The Museum of Discovery and Science makes a great contingency plan for families on a rainy (or too hot) summer day. Tickets cost $16 for adults and $13 for kids, but with two floors of hands-on exhibits and an IMAX theater ($8 adults/$6 kids), the all-day fun is well worth the price of admission. Plus, from May 1 to September 30, 2018, take advantage of 2-for-1 Summer Savings offers at MODS and dozens of other South Florida attractions.

ALSO: Earn CheapCash, good towards hotels, only with CheapTickets!

Hooray for Hollywood

The Hollywood Beach Broadwalk is your destination for people-watching. The 2.5-mile oceanfront thoroughfare is lined with cafes, boutiques and live entertainment, attracting joggers, bikers and pedestrians. Getting there is easy; ride the Hollywood Trolley with $1 fares between the beach and downtown.

In da house

Get up to speed on Fort Lauderdale’s history with a visit to the Historic Stranahan House Museum. Built in 1901 by businessman Frank Stranahan and his education activist wife, Ivy, the home offers a glimpse into pioneer life. Friendly, knowledgeable tour guides make the experience well worth the $12 admission fee.

Nightlife meets the arts at FATVillage. Credit FATVillage.

Get FAT

On the last Saturday night of each month (excluding December), head to the four-block creative district north of downtown to visit art galleries, watch artists working in their studios, browse the prop warehouse and catch live performances in the street or in one of two theaters. The kid- and pet-friendly Flagler Arts and Technology Village art walk, better known as FATVillage, happens rain or shine.

Chic street

There’s always something happening on Las Olas Boulevard, the main artery of Fort Lauderdale’s shopping and dining scene. Browse the art galleries, clothing boutiques and jewelry stores, then grab a coffee and a croissant at one of the many sidewalk cafes, and watch the beautiful people go by.

Retail therapy

Bargain hunters, don’t miss the deals at Sawgrass Mills—the largest outlet mall in the United States. This shopper’s paradise features more than 350 stores, including Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Tory Burch and So. Many. More.

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Tagged: Beach, Cheap City, USA, City, Family, Florida, FREE!

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