Updated: Aug 21
(Orlando City Walk pictured above)
Where is a cheap place to travel when I want to leave Georgia's cold weather but can't go too far? FLORIDA! It was a short 5-day 4 night trip, from Wednesday to Sunday, at the beginning of February 2023. My boyfriend and I went for my 31st birthday. I know, 31! Good thing I am aging well :)
As a travel tip, if you can leave on a Wednesday afternoon (or any quiet day during the week), it is a good idea. There was not much traffic when we left on this day since everyone was at work. Seven hours might not seem like a lot for some, but it is the farthest my boyfriend and I are committed to driving. We've driven to Miami a few times and even the Florida Keys, which was rough. Never again, but that's a story for a different day. So let’s dive in.
If you want an affordable travel experience, you can do as we did and plan a timeshare trip. What do I mean by that? We had to promise to listen to a timeshare presentation in exchange for a discounted rate. This is our second timeshare trip and is a decent way to travel on a budget. We paid $250 for the whole room stay in Florida and had to pay $160 for resort fees and taxes. The pro: we got to stay for a discounted rate. The con: we had to listen to a 3-hour presentation. The timeshare meeting was as you'd expect: they were pushing us to buy one, but we were not interested. They did serve us a box lunch with a sandwich, chips, and a cookie.
We stayed with a company called Capital Vacations at their resort Silver Lake Resort. The resort itself is large and nice. There are a few pools, a game room, a workout center, a tennis court, a basketball court, a poolside bar and grille, and a pleasant lobby with a large market to purchase snacks and meals. It is not very modern; signs of wear and tear are visible, but it wasn't bad overall. They did have some newly renovated rooms, but those are for guests who own a timeshare. The only issue I had with the resort was when there was an "accident" in the pool. Of course, this was the day we would have lounged by the pool. The hotel staff told us the pool would be clean again in 2 hours. This was concerning because I would have thought it would have taken longer than 2 hours to empty and clean a pool. Well, they did not empty the pool to clean it. I don't know the pool cleaning protocol, but this didn't sit well with me, so I never enjoyed the pool. The game room was fun, though. They had arcade games you could pay for to play. They also had a small TV playing a movie, ping pong, and air hockey.
Things to do in Kissimmee
We were not technically in Orlando, Florida, but close enough. It was a 30-minute drive from Kissimmee to Orlando. Luckily, the resort was still in a prime location! It was right on the 'strip,' so to speak. It was right off a main road, US-192, that had SO MANY dining options, shopping locations, and activities. We could not have asked for a better location. We checked out the Promenade at Sunset Walk that was nearby. It was a cute area with shops and food. We dined at El Jefe Tequilas for my birthday dinner on Thursday. Google said they closed at 2 or 3 am, but when we got there at 9:30 pm, we almost couldn't eat. The host told us the kitchen closed at 10 pm. We got to eat, but it wasn't all that good. The rice was SALTY!! Like, I couldn't even finish it salty. All the online reviews said it was a great place, but many people reviewed brunch, so maybe brunch is where it's at. On the same promenade are a movie theater and a "ride" called The Slingshot. We didn’t ride The Slingshot, but it looked fun for another trip.
In an hour and a half drive or so, you can get to a beach an Orlando native suggested, New Smyrna Beach. We walked on the beach in the evening, and it was breezy. We did enjoy the shops on the block nearby. There were also a few restaurants and hotels/AirBnBs to stay at if you wanted to stay by the beach. There is free street parking, but we paid to park in the lot ($20) because I didn't want to haul all of our beach gear to the sand.
We also visited Universal City Walk and Icon Park. City Walk charges parking before 6 pm when we went on Thursday. We decided to wait and return once it was free, so we checked out Icon Park. Icon Park had a free parking deck. Icon Park was so-so. Again, it was just a lot of shopping, food, and attractions. It was a tiny area. They did have a really cool Museum of Illusions we did not do, but on my next trip, I want to check out. It's like a selfie museum where you can take lots of Instagram-worthy photos. They had a large Ferris Wheel that was out of order when we went. Ripley's Believe It or Not was also nearby, which we didn’t visit.
Overall, it was a relaxing few days. I wouldn't mind going back to the area (and staying in different accommodations). We didn't get to do any theme parks, which I would like to do in the future. If you want a true beach trip, I would pick a different city than Kissimmee since we weren't that close to the beach.
Check out my Thatch guide I made for this trip here. Below, you can preview and interact with a map created from the Kissimmee locations from my Thatch guide.
Eat, Drink, and be Melly