If your family is always looking for smart ways to save a few bucks, especially when it comes to entertaining the kids, you will love this list of family-friendly places, from award-winning beaches to a day spent in the country. These locations are not only easy on your wallet, but they also provide a day of fun for all ages. Whether you want to spend a few hours or the entire afternoon, everyone from toddlers to teens can have a memorable time. So pack a picnic, bring towels and sunscreen and play the day away in South Florida for a price that keeps you smiling.


Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
1200 S. Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-5811
www.floridastateparks.org/capefloridaThis historic lighthouse is the oldest structure in Miami-Dade County, but your kids probably won’t care about that historic fact. All they’ll know is how much fun they had while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, snorkeling along the shore and building castles in the sand. Pack a picnic lunch and spread out a blanket or have a nice meal at the onsite restaurant. The lighthouse itself is normally open for tours but it is temporarily closed for repairs right now and will open to the public later in 2014. Admission to this state park is only $8 per vehicle (up to eight people in the vehicle) or only $4 for a single-occupant vehicle.

Grapeland Water Park
1550 N.W. 37th Ave.
Miami, FL 33125
(305) 960-2950
www.miamigov.com/parksEscape the heat of the South Florida days at Black Beard’s Beach at Grapeland Water Park. With four pools differentiated by age including two slide pools, a zero-entry pool and a lazy river, there is something for everyone. On the last Friday of each month from March through September, you can swim underneath the stars and watch a Dive-In movie at the same time. It’s a family event suitable for all ages. The park does have onsite concessions for food and drinks so no outside food and drinks are permitted. Admission prices are $10 for adults ($11 for non-Miami residents) and $5 for children ages four to 13.

(Source: Pinecrest Gardens)

Pinecrest Gardens
11000 Red Road
Pinecrest, FL 33156
(305) 669-6990
www.pinecrest-fl.govOn the grounds of the former Parrot Jungle, you can spend an entire day for $3, only $2 for kids ages two to 17. Your admission includes the most amazing botanical gardens with wide pathways, a petting zoo, an enormous chess set that you can play, a butterfly exhibit and a playground. For only a few dollars more ($3), you can purchase a pass for admission to the Splash n’ Play water playground. You can even pack a picnic as there are plenty of places to sit in the shade and enjoy the lush surroundings and wildlife. This is one of those truly magical places that is a must-see in South Florida, and you can’t beat the price.

Related: Top Botanical Gardens In Miami 

The Little Farm
13410 S.W. 224th St.
Goulds, FL 33170
(305) 258-3186
www.thelittlefarm.usSpend the day in the country touring 10 acres and making friends with horses, ponies, geese, chickens, rabbits, piglets, turkeys and other farm animals. You can even milk the goats and help feed all of the critters (and get an education in the process). If you’re thinking this is a glorified petting zoo, you’d be wrong. Your kids won’t be chased or have their shorts eaten by goats like some other petting farms. This is a relaxed, natural environment – a real working farm. Gates are open to the public once a month so call for exact dates. In season, you can also visit the pumpkin patch and Easter egg hunts. Don’t forget to check out the butterfly garden. Admission is $10 per person.

Venetian Pool
2701 de Soto Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305) 460-5306
www.coralgables.comCreated in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, this historic facility is a site to behold and offers a very unique way to spend the day with your family. Take a cool dip in 820,000 gallons of spring water, experience the swim-through caves and have lunch alongside the coral. Note that kids under the age of three are not allowed. Admission is $11.50 for adults and $6.60 for kids ages three to 12.

Related: Best Public Pools For Kids In South Florida 

Jill Martin is a family travel expert, appearing on numerous television and radio shows. She spent five years as the VISIT FLORIDA Family Insider, has penned children’s books, and is the creator of Sunshine Brain Games – trivia cards about Florida. A Miami native, Jill resides in Redland. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.