Let Marco Polo show you how to visit Florida without spending a fortune…
The Jazz on South Beach: A dorm bed costs $20–35 and a room costs $50–100. On top of that, the Jazz has a club coordinator who provides guests with access to the South Beach clubs. 28 rooms | 321 Collins Ave. | Tel. 1 305 6 72 21 37 | www.jazzhostels.com
Jerry’s Famous Deli: No deli really, rather a good ol’ diner from the time of the big road cruisers. It serves over 600 dishes, mainly burgers and sandwiches, and the portions are always huge. 1450 Collins Ave. | South Beach | Tel. 1 305 5 32 80 30 | www.jerrysdeli.com
Tap Tap: Haitian cuisine amidst works of Caribbean artists in super-bright colours. The grilled chicken comes highly recommended. 819 5th St. | Miami Beach | Tel. 1 305 6 72 28 98
Miami creativity for free: Every Sunday and every second Saturday of the month there is no charge for the Miami Art Museum. This fabulous museum exhibits both established and young artists and has outstanding collections.
Harriette’s Restaurant: A yellow box building with a green roof. It serves up lots of calories for little money. Pictures of local softball teams and trusty regulars hang proudly on the walls. MM 95.6 | Key Largo | Tel. 1 305 8 52 86 89
The Whale Harbour Inn: Nowhere else in Florida will you get so much seafood for only $30. Islamorada | MM 83.5 | Tel. 1 305 6 64 98 88 | whaleharborrestaurant.com
Key West Aquarium: One of the oldest aquariums in the US, which has shark and turtle basins as well as a touch pool with manta rays and crustaceans. Shark feeding happens daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 4.30pm. Open daily 10am–5pm | Admission $13 | 1 Whitehead St. | www.keywestaquarium.com
Bird watching: A good pair of binoculars is all you need to enjoy spotting cranes, frigate birds, swallow-tailed kites and 347 other species. Bird check lists are available from the visitor centres.
The wonders of the Everglades in black and white: In the Big Cypress Gallery, a good 18 miles east of Ochopee, landscape photographer Clyde Butcher presents the dramatic and idyllic results of his quest for timeless beauty. Free admission | Open daily 10am–5pm
The West Coast
City tour (nearly) for free: Well, 25 cents is as good as, no? In St. Petersburg, an old-fashioned trolleybus serves 13 stops and covers most of the city’s attractions. Park your car at St. Petersburg Pier and get aboard the yellow-painted Looper bus for a city tour. Daily 10am–5pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-Midnight.
The Lazy Flamingo II: This restaurant serves oysters, mussels and shrimps and is a favourite with the locals. 1036 Periwinkle Way | Sanibel | Tel. 1 239 4 72 69 39
City view: You can enjoy a superb view of the state and capital city from the Observatory on the 22nd floor of the New Capitol Building in Tallahassee. If the visibility is good then you can see all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Free admission | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm | 400 S Monroe St.
Panama City Beach: Loads of special offers and other discount incentives available on their Chamber of Commerce website. www.pcbeach.org
The East Coast
Sawgrass Mills shopping centre: Find more than 350 stores and designer outlets all under one roof. You are sure to find a bargain at the biggest mall in southern Florida! 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd. | Fort Lauderdale
The Pirate House Inn: Something between a youth hostel and a guesthouse, which has beds in dorms as well as private rooms at absolutely rock bottom prices. 5 rooms, 2 dorms | 32 Treasury St. | St. Augustine | Tel. 1 904 8 08 19 99 | piratehaus.com
Lazy beach days: If you want to sunbathe or go for a cooling dip then head for Midtown Beach as it is the only public beach in town. Ocean Blvd. | Between Royal Palm Way and Gulfstream Rd.
Al’s Pizza: A popular pizza canteen with cheerful staff and delicious food. 303 Atlantic Blvd. | Tel. 1 904 2 49 00 02
Theme park fun: If you’re going to visit Walt Disney World (disneyworld.disney.go.com) or Universal Studios (www.universalorlando.com) it is worth checking out this valuable information from MoneySavingExpert before you go: www.moneysavingexpert.com!
Grape’s Wine Bar & Gourmet Bistro: A choice of 120 different wines, snacks and light meals in a functional urban ambience. 9101 International Dr. | Pointe Orlando | Tel. 1 407 2 48 28 38
Ocala National Forest: An adventure park that charges no admission fee. The forest is blessed by the sun and characterised by its deep shades of green, slender palm trees, knotty oaks, sand pines and flowing rivers. Despite the fact that it is close to the entertainment capital of Orlando, you can certainly find peace and relaxation in this dense national forest. Visitors can swim and snorkel in crystal-clear springs or paddle through palm forests and observe sea eagles and even black bears. A range of outdoor activities including canoeing, cycling and walking can also be pursued here. Ocala National Forest | Ocklawaha Visitor Center | Daily 9am–5pm | Tel. 1 352 2 36 02 88 | CR 315 and SR 40 | Close to Silver Springs
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