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How To Visit Miami On A Budget

How to visit Miami on a budget including where to stay and what to do.

palm trees on a beach miami on a budget

I love visiting South Florida in the winter to get a dose of sunshine and warmth. 

But a trip to the Miami area can easily bust your budget – everything is very expensive compared to most parts of the country. 

In this post, I’ll show you how to take an affordable vacation to the greater Miami that everyone in your family will love!

Tip #1: Choose Affordable Activities

walkway through the everglades

There are some pretty pricey things to do around South Florida, from harbor cruises to airboat tours.

The key to keeping your trip under budget is finding affordable activities everyone in the family will love!

Check out this post with five affordable things to do in South Florida with kids.

It includes info on visiting the Everglades, Zoo Miami, Key Largo, and more!

Tip #2: Don’t Stay in the City

hotel pool

I know… Miami’s luxury resorts and yachts don’t exactly scream “Miami on a budget”.

But you can visit the area without staying right in Miami and save thousands of dollars on accommodations.

My advice is to look for a hotel in Homestead, which is located about 30 miles south of Miami (60 miles south of Fort Lauderdale).

Homestead is right next to Everglades National Park and Key Largo is 30 miles to the south, so you are close to ALL of the main attractions in South Florida!

And while it isn’t fancy, it has a great selection of budget-friendly hotels and great amenities (grocery stores, drugstores, Walmart, etc.)

room interior

We snagged a stay at the Quality Inn Florida City for under $100 per night.

The room was completely adequate for our needs plus it had a heated pool and a basic free breakfast.

You certainly can’t get that anywhere near Miami for that price!

I love finding cheap hotels on Priceline for stays like this.

Tip #3: Get a Cheap Rental Car

little girl looking in the side view mirror of a car

If you want to see a lot of South Florida like we did, you’ll have to rent a car during your trip.

I was able to get a rental car for four days thanks to my tricks for getting a cheap rental car that I shared in this post.

There are LOTS of tolls in South Florida so I suggest paying the daily fee to use the electronic pass with your rental company.

Miami On A Budget: Keep Your Food Costs Down

little girl enjoying a smoothie at a picnic table

Enjoying a smoothie at Robert is Here

Eating out at restaurants will drive the cost of your trip way up.

We ate free breakfast at our hotel and bought most of the rest of our food at the Publix Supermarket down the street.

We had a mini-fridge and microwave in our room (a necessity for frugal family travel) so I would heat up food for dinner in the room.

We got prepackaged sandwiches and fruit to eat on-the-go for lunches.

little girl getting a hotel breakfast

Free hotel breakfast

I like to get snacks at restaurants to get some local flavor instead of entire meals to save a lot of money.

We enjoyed our pie from Key Largo and a fruit smoothie from “Robert Is Here“, a roadside fruit stand and farm near the Everglades that is quintessentially Florida.

Keeping your food budget low is a key to seeing Miami on a budget. 

Fly To South Florida for Cheap

airplane in the sky

My last piece of advice is to get to South Florida on the cheap with low airfare or using airline miles.

We flew round trip to Florida thanks to my bank of Southwest Rapid Reward points.

Learn how you can fly for almost free on Southwest in this post!

Alternatively, you can often find cheap airfare to Fort Lauderdale and Miami in January/February on airlines such as JetBlue, Delta, Spirit, and American.

You can search in Google Flights then book directly with the airline for the best rates!

I hope the tips in this post inspire you to plan your own trip to Miami on a budget.

Any questions about this area or frugal family travel in general? Leave a comment below or send me a message on The Frugal South’s Facebook page!

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Thursday 23rd of July 2020

Great information. My friends on worldee told me the same information about budget in Florida. I would like to move there.

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Thursday 12th of April 2018

Great tips ! I love how South Florida has so many nature-inspired activities. Gotta get kids away from the Xbox and out into the wild !


Sunday 15th of April 2018

Totally, Anne! It was amazing to spend all day outside in January in shorts. Just heavenly. And we obviously love nature and getting outside so it was a perfect trip for us.

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