Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world, and there’s no shortage of great things to do and see. While some things are more expensive than others, there are also plenty of great things to do that cost nothing at all.
From museums to parks, casual strolls through historic neighborhoods, and even a castle — visitors can really enjoy Mexico City on the cheap. Ready to discover the 10 best free things to do in Mexico City? Let’s dive in!
10 Free Things To Do in Mexico City
1. Admire the Street Art in Roma & Condesa
If you’re wondering about the best neighborhoods, Roma and La Condesa rank high atop the list. These two areas, located right next to one another, are safe, beautiful, and popular with expats in Mexico City. You’ll also find the best Mexico City Airbnbs in Roma and Condesa.
As two of the hippest parts of town, Roma and Condesa attract a lot of artists and creative types. For those who want to see the best street art in Mexico City, head to Roma and Condes and prepare to be wowed by the amazing pieces painted on the sides of buildings.
There’s also a lot more to see and do in these nice areas, and they are perfect to explore on foot with no real agenda! You’ll love spending the day going to all the lovely parks (especially Parque México), sidewalk cafes, and charming boutique shops in Roma and Condesa.
2. Spend the Day Strolling Coyoacan
Coyoacan, located in the southern part of the city, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Mexico City. There are many great things to do in Coyoacan, like strolling Parque Centenario (Main Square) and visiting the 16th Century Parroquia San Juan Batista Church.
It’s also home to the famous Frida Kahlo Museum, which isn’t free but is still a visitor favorite. If you go to the Casa Azul (Blue House-Frida Museum), you’ll get free admission to the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum, located not far away.
Diego Rivera was Frida’s husband and one of Mexico’s most famous painters. The Anahuacalli houses his collection of pre-hispanic artifacts in a Mesoamerican temple-style building he designed himself. This museum is truly one of the best hidden gems in Mexico City!
3. Admire the Art in Soumaya Museum
Museo Soumaya houses the private art collection of Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim. One of the best museums in Mexico City, the Sculpture Room on the top floor has one of the largest collections of Auguste Rodin sculptures outside France.
Much of the museum’s collection is Classical Art from all over the world, but don’t miss the large mosaic done by Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The building, designed by Fernando Romero Havaux, is a work of art in itself and one of the best buildings in the Polanco neighborhood.
Other Places to See in Polanco
Polanco is one of the poshest areas in Mexico City, so most things don’t come free. Besides Museo Soumaya, you can spend some time strolling Parque Lincoln (park) or even window shopping along Avenida Presidente Masaryk, known as the Rodeo Drive of Mexico City.
4. Visit Chapultepec Castle on Sunday
Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Park) is one of the largest urban parks in the world — and at 1,700 acres (7 km²), it’s bigger than Central Park in New York City. This massive green space is called the “lungs of Mexico City,” as its thousands of trees help filter the air.
There are numerous things to do in the park, including a visit to Castillo Chapultepec (Chapultepec Castle). This is the only proper castle in North America because it’s the only one that royals once lived in, which is the main difference between a castle and a manor.
Castillo Chapultepec and the adjoining National History Museum are among the most-visited places in this massive park. On Sundays, you get free admission to both, but do arrive early, as it gets very crowded.
Visit Chapultepec Zoo
The Zoológico de Chapultepec (zoo) houses more than 200 species of animals, including giraffes, jaguars, several types of birds, lions, tigers — and even two panda bears. The zoo is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am-4:30 pm, and admission is free.
5. See the Diego Rivera Murals in Palacio Nacional
No visit to Mexico City is complete without exploring Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the center of downtown, called the Zocalo, you’ll find the 660-foot-long (200 m) Palacio Nacional building.
The Mexico National Palace houses the Federal Treasury, National Archives, and more. Inside, you’ll also see an impressive series of murals painted by Diego Rivera, one of the most beloved Mexican artists of all time. Admission is free, but you must leave your ID at the entrance.
Things to See Near Palacio Nacional
You can easily spend a day, and no money, just walking the streets of Centro Historico. It’s one of the best things to do in Mexico City! There is a fantastic mix of historic and new buildings, skyscrapers and art deco architecture, and plenty of cheap street tacos for when you get hungry.
Right next to the Palacio, there’s the Catedral Metropolitana (cathedral), one of the grandest Mexico City churches. The Templo Mayor is an Aztec Temple buried underground by the Spanish, and you can see parts of it from the street above.
6. Muévete en Bici Sunday Bike Ride
Muévete en Bici, which loosely translates to Movement on Bikes, is a fun way to see the city by bike. On Sundays, from 8 am-2 pm, one side of bustling Reforma Avenue shuts down to cars, so runners, bikers, skateboarders, rollerblades, and even dog walkers take over.
It’s basically a block party along one of the nicest streets in Mexico City. You can rent a bike for free at a few points on Avenida Reforma, like the Glorieta de la Palma (palm tree roundabout) on the street’s northern end.
The free bikes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so try to arrive early. You will have to leave your passport or ID with them (don’t worry, this is safe, and everyone does it), and you can take the bike up to two hours.
Enjoy a Stroll on Reforma Avenue
If you won’t be in town on a Sunday, you can stroll Reforma Avenue any day of the week. There’s a lot to see on this street, including the Angel of Independence statue, one of the city’s most famous public art pieces.
7. Admire Palacio Bellas Artes
If you’ve ever Googled photos of Mexico City, you have likely seen the beautiful Palacio Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts). This art nouveau building, located in Centro Historico, has a golden dome and looks like it came straight from Europe.
While the Bellas Artes building itself is a work of art, you can also head inside to see the impressive Art Deco interior. There is a museum on the top floor, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, which has a small admission fee of $80 pesos ($4USD), should you want to go.
Things to See near Bellas Artes
There are a few places you can check out just next to Palacio Bellas Artes. Located just next to it, the Parque Alameda (park) is a nice place to relax and people-watch in the bustling downtown. Across the street, there’s Barrio Chino, Mexico City’s Chinatown across the street.
8. Enjoy the View From Cafetería Terraza
The Torre Latinoamericana (Latin American Tower) is one of the most iconic buildings in the Mexico City skyline. On a clear day from its Mirador (viewing platform), you’ll get some of the best views of Mexico City — though it costs $125 pesos ($6USD) to go up.
Located right around the corner, there’s a free way to get near-identical views! The Cafetería Terraza (AKA Cafe Don Porfirio), located inside the Sears department store, allows customers to come up for free. You are expected to buy something, but drinks are only about $2USD.
9. Visit the Unam Campus (UNESCO Site)
There are a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico City, including the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM college campus). The campus consists of buildings and sprawling open spaces by more than 60 noteworthy artists, architects, and engineers.
Done by Mexican architect and painter Juan O’Gorman, his painting on the UNAM Central Library is said to be the largest mural of all time. Besides the mural by O’Gorman, you’ll see works from other great Mexican muralists, like Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
10. Stroll the Mexico City Markets
There are many great mercados and tianguis markets in Mexico City that you can browse. To clarify before we continue, a mercado is a permanent market that’s open daily, while a tianguis is a temporary, open-air market that’s only set up for one day or a few days at a time.
You have plenty of options to visit both types on your trip. For travelers on a budget who don’t intend to shop, you can find cheap eats in the mercados, and they make great spots for photos (though you should always ask permission and leave a few pesos as a tip when doing so).
Don’t miss La Ciudadela and Mercado Medellin in Mexico City, two of the most beautiful and colorful markets. On Saturday mornings, there’s Bazar Sabado, an open-air art market in the San Angel neighborhood. Mercado Jamaica, the flower market, is another great option.
Final Thoughts: Free Things To Do in Mexico City
While this is a long list, it barely scratches the surface! There are so many great things to do in Mexico City, and you’ll discover new ones each time you visit. This list covers all the highlights for a first visit and is a good jumping-off point.
Which free things to do in Mexico City will you check out first?
The famously scenic state of California is covered in natural beauty, much of which can be found in its national parks. Aside from its varied landscapes, California is also known for being fairly pricey. It’s easy to forget the state’s sheer size, and it’s common to get caught up in the major cities when planning a trip. Cue California’s national parks, some of the best budget travel options in the region.
There are nine California National Parks, more than any other state. Each possesses its unique allure. So embrace the great outdoors and prepare to be blown away by endless adventures that are easy on both the eyes and the wallet.
Here are each of the nine California National Parks, with the best places to stay and can’t-miss things to do.
California National Parks: Things To Do and Places To Stay
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a vast valley known for its abundance of waterfalls, giant sequoias, granite cliffs, and native wildlife. At almost 800,000 acres, Yosemite’s iconic beauty has earned it a reputation as one of the most breathtaking places in the world.
Things To Do in Yosemite
There’s so much to do in Yosemite. Visit famous fixtures like El Capitan and Half Dome. Yosemite Falls is the largest waterfall in the park at 2524 feet tall, and the literal living giants of the park can be found at Mariposa Grove, towering at just under 300 feet. The best part is that hiking to take in these spectacular sights is cheap!
Entry to the park for a whole week is only $35 in high season, and there are shuttle buses all along the valley floor to hop on at no charge. Food can be the priciest part, so it’s a good idea to pack snacks or hit up Degnan’s Deli for cheap and tasty eats.
Where To Stay in Yosemite
There’s an array of Yosemite lodging to choose from, ranging from budget to luxury. For those on a budget, camp at one of the campgrounds in Yosemite Valley. Lower Pines is a firm favorite.
Redwood National and State Park
Redwood National and State Park is technically a combination of one national and three state parks. It is home to the tallest (and oldest) trees on earth but also hides a wealth of wild gems, including expansive prairies, wild rivers, and a long stretch of rugged coastline. The redwoods here can grow up to 370 feet high.
Things To Do in Redwood National and State Park
Wandering among the massive trunks of seemingly endless old-growth forest is an awe-inspiring activity that won’t cost a cent! Even entering the national park is free. There are 200 miles of trails, or you can hit the beach or the open road for a scenic drive. There aren’t any restaurants inside the park, so it’s best to pack your own picnic, which will also save plenty of money.
Where To Stay in Redwood National and State Park
The area has four main campgrounds, all offering basic amenities, a lush setting, and an affordable night’s sleep. Remember to book in advance!
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Some of the most majestic scenery in the world can be found at Sequoia and Kings National Park. The largest tree on the planet grows here, known as the General Sherman Tree. Set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the elevation range varies considerably, from 1300 feet to the peak of Mount Whitney at a staggering 14,500 feet.
Things To Do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon
Driving through Tunnel Log, a fallen sequoia with a carved opening is an unmissable experience. Or go underground and explore Crystal Cave. The sweeping panoramas of the surrounding mountains here are magical, especially from the top of Moro Rock. For an entire week, entry into the park is $35 per vehicle or $20 for individuals on foot.
Where To Stay in Sequoia and Kings Canyon
You’ll find a wide range of options for lodging in Sequoia. The most popular campground is Lodgepole – located in the heart of the Giant Forest, though Grant Grove Cabins are just as coveted and a great budget pick (if you can snag one).
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park has a particular draw for its otherworldly landscapes. It’s full of smoking fumaroles, lava beds, crystal clear glacier-fed lakes, wildflower meadows, and all four kinds of volcanoes bursting with hydrothermal activity.
Things To Do in Lassen
Hike around Manzanita Lake, take Bumpass Hell Trail, hike Devil’s Kitchen, and explore Sulfur Works for an all-encompassing adventure in Lassen. The park also boasts some of the darkest skies in the state, so stargazing here is a must.
One of the most incredible things about this park, in particular, is that it’s known for its impressive ranger-led programs. Ranger programs are a fantastic way to learn all about the land from experts, and the best part is they are all offered free of charge. It’s $30 to enter Lassen in summer and only $10 in winter. It’s also usually less crowded than other California National Parks.
Where To Stay In Lassen
There’s one lodge, Drakesbad Guest Ranch, and seven campgrounds inside the park. Manzanita Lake Campground also rents cozy tiny cabins if you’re traveling sans tent.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is where two different desert systems come together, the Mojave and Colorado. It’s a sprawling 800,000-acre oasis of surreal plant and animal life, making it a destination unlike any other. Don’t be fooled by trendy influencers posting pics of their vacations here; it can be a great budget-friendly destination too!
Things To Do in Joshua Tree
Extreme weather has created fascinating formations over the centuries. As a result, it’s a popular pick for hikers and climbers of all skill levels, as well as souls seeking some scenic peace. Skull Rock, Cholla Cactus Garden, Keys View, and Hidden Valley Trail are some main highlights to check out here. To enter for a week, it’s either $30 per car or $15 per individual.
There are plenty of picnic areas within the park if you want to pack snacks. There are also plenty of cute eateries in nearby towns. Try Dillon’s Burgers and Beers, Morongo Valley Cafe, or Joshua Tree Saloon for affordable fares.
Where To Stay in Joshua Tree
When choosing where to stay in Joshua Tree, some of the best budget options are Joshua Tree Ranch House and Bungalow in the Boulders, a quirky cabin sleeping up to four. Alternatively, stay at one of the nine campgrounds inside the national park.
Point Reyes National Seashore
Set just north of San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore is a hidden gem of the California coast. The idyllic landscape offers sandy stretches of shore, forested ridges, beautiful bluffs, and sparkling seas crashing against rocky cliffs. It’s a picturesque 71,028-acre preserve made for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers.
Things To Do in Point Reyes
Begin at the Bear Valley Visitor Center to plan the perfect itinerary and learn about the area’s ecology. Next, head to Point Reyes Lighthouse and go for a stunning drive down Sir Francis Drake Blvd to see the Cypress Tree Tunnel. The Tule Elk Preserve is a beautiful wildlife refuge along the Tomales Point Trail, and Laguna Coast Trail offers epic vistas, as does Elephant Seal Overlook. Point Reyes Station is the perfect little town for a bite. Round off your visit with a hike from Limantour to Sculptured Beach.
Where To Stay in Point Reyes
There are five hike-in and boat-in campgrounds here. Coast Campground is generally the top choice, but there are plenty more accessible accommodation options just outside West Marin park.
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park encompasses an archipelago off the southern California coast. Five uninhabited islands and the surrounding sea have been protected for many years due to their wealth of distinct natural features. San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara are all home to unique beauty.
Things To Do in Channel Islands National Park
This park is ideal for marine lovers, as it is known for its pristine beaches, offbeat boat rides, and incredible scuba diving. Each island has a designated campground and many hiking opportunities. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife native only to the area’s diverse ecosystems and for whales that may be swimming by!
To visit, take one of the Island Packers ferries leaving from the Channel Islands or Ventura Harbors, which range between $63 and $168 per adult. A general admission fee is included in your ferry ticket, so additional costs will only accumulate from food or lodging on the mainland and any equipment you may want to rent for water activities.
Death Valley National Park
Of all the California National Parks, Death Valley is one of the most unique. It’s a below-sea-level depression marked by barren plains and rocky ridges. Despite its name, there’s an abundance of flora and fauna to be found here.
The iconic terrain features colorful rocks, canyons, and miles of spectacular dunes carved out by extreme weather conditions. Ancient footpaths, ghost towns, and petroglyphs hint at its intricate past. It’s one of the largest parks of its kind in North America.
Things To Do in Death Valley
Death Valley’s most legendary landmarks are near Furnace Creek, including Zabriskie Point, Mesquite Flat, Badwater Basin, Deadman Pass, Hells Gate, and Golden Canyon.
Where To Stay In Death Valley
There are nine main campgrounds within the park, some of which are entirely free. In addition, there are a few affordable options outside the park for more full-service accommodation.
Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles, a lesser-known preserve, is one of America’s newest national parks. Formed by erupting volcanoes 23 million years ago, enchanting formations include monoliths, spires, cliffs, canyons, and the very rare talus caves. It’s split into west and east districts without a road connecting them.
Things To Do in Pinnacles
Birdwatchers flock to spot peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and the iconic California condor. It’s also smaller, so hitting up all the highlights is especially easy. There are 30 miles of trails, and hiking Juniper Canyon Trail to High Peaks is a definite highlight. Bear Gulch Cave, Balconies Cave, and Wind Cave are some of the best caves to explore. The entrance fee for a week is $15 per walk-in or $30 per vehicle.
Where To Stay in Pinnacles
In the park’s eastern district, you’ll find a campground (with a pool!), visitor center, and general store, so it’s easy to access everything you need without breaking the bank.
California National Parks: Final Thoughts
While California is one of the most expensive states to live in and visit, not all activities in California are budget-busters. Getting outside and seeing our country’s natural wonders is one of the best frugal things to do anywhere in the U.S., and exploring California National Parks is no exception.
Grab an America the Beautiful National Park Pass and see all the California National Parks plus more than 2,000 other federal recreation sites across the country.
Plans to visit Orlando in the upcoming future? Most families traveling to the City Beautiful make arrangements to visit Walt Disney World, with four theme parks, two water parks, shopping at Disney Springs, and world-class restaurants. But, you shouldn’t skip out on seeing more than the Mouse. Orlando locals even prefer Universal Orlando Resort over Walt Disney World any day.
1. Universal Orlando Resort Costs Substantially Less Than Disney
Even during Florida’s high tourism seasons, Universal Orlando Resort tickets can be as much as 50% cheaper than Walt Disney World tickets. Visitors can purchase a three-day park pass with park-hopping ability at Universal Orlando and receive free two days—totaling $59 per day per ticket. With Walt Disney World’s theme park tickets, you’re paying for all five days at $124 per day with a park-hopper option.
If you visit Orlando often or are also a local, even the annual park passes at Universal Orlando resort cost less and offer more perks. A Universal Annual Preferred Pass is $399, with no blackout dates, free parking, discounted food & merchandise, and park-to-park access year-round. For almost the same perks at Walt Disney World, you’d need to purchase the Disney Incredi-Pass for $1,299 and still pay for parking.
A step below that would be the Disney Sorcerer Pass, and you must purchase it as a Florida resident or Disney Vacation Club owner. The Disney Sorcerer Pass is still double the Universal Orlando Annual Preferred Pass price, and blackout dates apply for special events and peak seasons.
2. Park-hop, Shop, Eat and Catch a Concert Without Getting in the Car
With two theme parks side-by-side and Universal Orlando City Walk in between them, getting from one Universal Orlando Resort Park to another is just a few steps (or even a ride!) away. Head to CityWalk in the morning and enjoy a unique and delicious donut from VooDoo Donuts, make your way through Diagon Alley at Universal, then hop on the Hogwarts Express to end up in the Islands of Adventure.
When the parks close at dusk, you can even catch a concert at the Hard Rock Orlando in the evening. All without getting in the car or taking a shuttle bus.
While Disney has gondolas and a monorail system to transport guests from parks to resorts, this can still take up a substantial amount of time in your day when you could enjoy more rides, bites to eat, or entertainment.
3. Universal Orlando Resort Has More Thrill Rides
Before Hollywood Studios, MGM was the only place you could go on a rollercoaster in Walt Disney World with thrilling loops and corkscrew curves. A few fast rides and thrills are now scattered across the five theme parks, but nothing compared to the rollercoasters at Universal Orlando Resort. For adults and teens, this might even be a more exhilarating experience.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rock-it is an interactive ride that lets guests pick their favorite song to listen to while they are catapulted 167 feet into the air. Of course, the Incredible Hulk Coaster is a long-time favorite for Marvel fans and thrill-seekers. It’s the second fast roller coaster on Universal Orlando Resort property and lasts up to two minutes.
The newest addition, VelociCoaster, includes four upside-down loops and a 100-foot-long “zero-gravity stall” that will make your stomach drop. It’s themed after the rebooted Jurassic World movies and has been a major attraction for visitors since its opening.
4. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This is a point all on its own. Universal Orlando Resort is most known for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The immersive section of the park makes visitors feel as if they are really in Diagon Alley, with Ollivander’s Wand Shop (there’s even an interactive experience for a guest in the crowd to pick their wand), Gringott’s, and Knockturn Alley for visitors that prefer the Dark Arts.
There are two signature rides within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. You can ride both easily by transporting from park to park on the Hogwarts Express (you must have a park-hopper pass to ride).
Guests say that this experience at Universal Orlando Resort is an unforgettable treat. When you’re done riding on the twists and turns of the thrilling rides, a cold Butterbeer from The Three Broomsticks will delight you with its sweet butter syrup and cream soda concoction.
5. More Teen-friendly and Adult-friendly Pop Culture
There will likely be a day and time that your kids will outgrow their interest in beloved Disney characters and movies. We all love the nostalgia of Disney movies, and visiting Disney World is a treat for most. However, fairy princesses and pixie dust may not be for everyone, especially the teens in your travel party.
Universal Orlando Resort has beloved franchises to delight kids, teens, and adults. With Jurassic World, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Marvel, Krustyland, and more, you might have a more well-rounded experience.
6. Universal Resort Orlando’s Fantastic Seasonal Events
Mardi Gras, Halloween Horror Nights, and Grinchmas make up several months of exceptional experiences unique to Universal Orlando Resort. Plan your trip around some of these exciting seasonal events to make your trip all the more special.
Mardi Gras generally lasts from February to April and includes your ticket or annual pass. Catch an authentic New Orleans Mardi Gras parade daily with beads, colorful costumes, mesmerizing floats, and entertaining stilt walkers. Specialty food items are also offered, like Beignets, Crawfish Boil, and King Cake.
Halloween Horror Nights
One of the most thrilling experiences that horror movie lovers look forward to every year is Halloween Horror Nights, between September and November. An additional pass or ticket is required to attend, and the event starts at 6:30 pm every evening and transforms the Universal Orlando Resort theme park.
Scare-Zones are scattered across the park as guests move from one haunted house attraction to the next. Pro-tip: If you’re not a horror fan or think the event may be too scary for you, you can always find ways around most of the scare zones and go on rides all night long instead. The theme park rides have shorter wait times, and you can enjoy the evening while friends or family are in the houses!
You may have seen the iconic meet-and-greets online of guests and The Grinch during the Grinchmas season. Grinchmas runs from November to early January every year and is a winter holiday celebration at Universal Orlando Resort. The Grinch you can meet at the park has very similar make-up and characteristics to Jim Carey’s character adaptation and makes for an entertaining visit.
Besides the iconic meet-and-greet experience, Seussland at the Universal theme park is decked out with a towering Christmas tree, tinsel on every building, garlands, Christmas lights, and wreaths. So if you’re visiting during winter, you must go to Universal Orlando Resort for this incredible experience.
7. Free Express Pass When Lodging at a Universal Resort Orlando Hotel
Besides park tickets being less expensive at Universal Orlando Resort, lodging is substantially less. Plus, a Premier Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort will allow guests to skip the regular lines at the parks for free. Rates for lodging start as low as $272 per night based on a four-night stay.
8. You’ll See Everything in One Trip
This may not be a perk to everyone, but if you don’t get to vacation in Orlando very often, you know you’ll get your money’s worth and see everything that Universal has to offer in just a day or two. Rather than make a detailed itinerary for visiting the parks and making sure you have enough time to get on all of the rides, you can pretty much relax and take your time to enjoy Universal Orlando Resort.
With just two theme parks, Volcano Bay, and CityWalk, you’ll have a thrilling yet relaxing experience. Universal typically has fewer crowds, so you’ll see shorter wait times for most rides.
There are plenty of things to do in Orlando besides theme parks that locals love, but if you ask an Orlando native where prefer to go, you’ll probably hear Universal Orlando Resort more often than Walt Disney World.
The Gold Coast is the biggest tourism hub of Queensland with over 10 million visitors each year. Unfortunately, like other high tourist areas, a trip to the Gold Coast will likely cost you a pretty penny.
While it may cost you a bit to get and stay there, the good news is that there are many cheap things to do on the Gold Coast that will help reduce the cost of your holiday to this beautiful destination.
Expect to find natural bushland to explore, waterfalls, endless beaches for swimming, and a great selection of activities. Read on to learn about all the great things to do on the Gold Coast that will help you have a holiday on a budget.
About the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast has a population of over 500,000 people and is home to the biggest theme parks in Australia and world-renowned surfing beaches. It’s only a short day trip from the capital, Brisbane, in the South-Eastern corner of Queensland. The beach stretches over 50 kilometers and is lined with Skyscrapers from Main Beach to Coolangatta on the New South Wales Border.
With tourism booming in the 1980s, the Gold Coast eventually became the sixth-largest non-capital city in Australia. People were flocking to the suburb of Surfers Paradise, known for being one of the best beaches in the world. Today, the entire area has been built up with accommodations, eateries, and activities to entertain any kind of traveler.
The Gold Coast has a subtropical climate with average warm winters and scorching hot summers. Consequently, the seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere, with summertime from December to February and winter from June to August.
Transport Around the Gold Coast
Exploring the things to do on the Gold Coast is convenient with the public transport system. However, having your own vehicle or hiring a car will make it easier and open up more options. The Hinterland or National Parks have limited public transport, and purchasing day trips from the city might be your only option. In and around the city you’ll have access to buses, trains, trams, Uber, and taxis to help you get to all the famous locations.
Things To Do on the Gold Coast
Saving your pennies for another day will be easy when looking for cheap things to do on the Gold Coast. Check out the selection below and start planning your trip today.
Find Waterfalls and Glow Worms
Venture inland to the Springbrook National Park and visit a beautiful waterfall called the Natural Bridge. The area covers 6,000 hectares of natural bushland and is a UNESCO site. This walking trail is an easy one-kilometer track and is well-formed with only a few stairs. The Natural Bridge waterfall can be viewed from above, disappearing into a cave and below into the waterhole.
If you’re lucky enough to visit at night, this is a free way to check out the glow worms in their natural environment. These are small flies or beetles at their juvenile stage of life, transitioning into adulthood. At this stage, the beetle’s bottoms will glow a small blue light to attract other bugs to their sticky web-like strings. This is a fantastic experience to capture for free and is available from December to March each year.
Swim at Surfers Paradise Beach
Enjoy over two kilometers of clean, golden sands with the surf constantly rolling in. This beach is known worldwide and is a bucket list item for any holidaymaker on the Gold Coast. This is tourist central, and you will find people visiting or passing through 24 hours a day. It’s a popular spot for watching the sunrise over the ocean or the sunsets behind the high-rise buildings. Lifeguards patrol in different places along the beaches, so you can feel safer swimming between the flagged areas.
Surfing at Currumbin Beach
If you’re into surfing or want to learn to surf, then the Gold Coast is a great place to do it. You can give it a go in several different locations, but you will find the locals hanging around at Currumbin Beach. You’ll find a rocky point, easy access to the surf-prone waters, and a beautiful view down the coastline.
Need help learning? The Surf Easy Surf School will help you try it out for the first time. Not only that, but the low-key waters from Currumbin Creek join here and provide a brilliant spot for the younger generation kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming. Finally, if you travel further along Currumbin Creek, you will end up at some rock pools and a small waterfall for swimming.
Get the Best Views at the Q1 Observation Deck
Get the best views on the Gold Coast at the eleventh tallest building in the world – the Q1 Observation Deck. You won’t want to miss this one with 360-degree views standing 230 meters above the ground. There is a $27 per adult charge for this activity, but discounts or concessions are available for families and children. There is no time limit on entry, and you can use binoculars to look over the different areas on the Gold Coast skyline.
There is even a café for that quick coffee break. You can also enjoy a meal right next to the glass windows or splurge on some cocktails at sunset. For those adrenaline junkies and an extra charge, you have the Skypoint Climb, which has you stepping outside and walking around the top of the building.
Rainbow Lorikeet Feeding at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
The Rainbow Lorikeet is native to Australia and part of the parrot species. They like living in rainforest areas, coastal bushes, and woodlands and are common in the Gold Coast suburb of Currumbin. At 8 am and 4 pm daily, you can enjoy watching the Rainbow Lorikeets gather for a feeding frenzy that is free to watch or a gold coin donation to feed.
This activity is run by the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which contains worldwide animals, interactive open cages, and local Australian animals to see seven days a week. There is a charge to enter the park, but well worth it to set aside a day for the whole family to enjoy.
Paddle Boarding at Tallebudgera Creek
Expect to see one of the Gold Coast’s most pristine creeks for swimming or paddleboarding fun. Tallebudgera Creek is very popular for the locals and the tourists who manage to find out about it.
Pack a lunch, park yourself under a tree and enjoy a few hours here with your family or friends. There is plenty of seating, barbeque areas, and beautiful white sand to enjoy, and the area is dog friendly. It has some fantastic calm waters that are perfect for paddleboarding or swimming for the kids. The main strip is also patrolled with lifeguards on duty from 9 to 5 each day.
Catch a Local Event
There are things to do on the Gold Coast year-round, so if you’re planning a trip you need to check out the Gold Coast calendar to see what events are happening during your visit. The events include things for couples, families, sports enthusiasts, and plenty of activities for the kids.
One event you might want to see is the Sand Safari Festival, held around March each year. The esplanade of Surfers Paradise is transformed into various art depictions made entirely out of beach sand. Artists will spend hours creating their masterpieces, held on display for a week and judged at the end. The detail and work that goes into one of these sculptures is impressive; you can take photos with many of them. Make sure you check it out!
Pick up a Bargain at Any of the Gold Coast Markets
Are you looking for cheap shopping or want to pick up local souvenirs? There are several different Gold Coast markets to visit, depending on your location. The Carrara markets are the biggest and most popular and are open all day Saturday and Sunday. The Surfers Paradise beachside markets are held only at night on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Lastly, the Burleigh markets are open on Saturday mornings with lots of local fruit and vegetables and various food stalls. There are a few other markets open on the Gold Coast as well. Spend a few hours browsing the items for sale, and grab a coffee or some of the freshly cooked food.
Whale Watching From the Headlands
From May to November, migrating humpback whales pass by the Gold Coast Area. While you can take a day tour and see these magnificent animals up close, you could also try your luck and see them for free from lookout points. Various high locations and headlands around the Gold Coast allow you to watch the waters for whales.
Some of the best include Point Danger at Coolangatta, Kirra Hill at Kirra, Tumgun Lookout/Burleigh point at Burleigh Heads, and Miami Hill at Miami. Pack snacks, a blanket to sit on, and take your binoculars or a good zoom camera to capture the moment. You can see whales anytime day or night, so good luck!
If anything, these are still great lookout points that you can enjoy for free, so make the most of your day and take advantage of the views.
Hiking the National Parks
About 10 different National Parks are located within 2 hours of the Gold Coast, and seeing these natural wonders is a great cheap activity.
Two of the closest and more popular are the Lamington National park and Springbrook National Park. The parks have several different walking paths and hiking trails to explore the hinterland and rainforest.
Challenge yourself with longer hikes or increased elevations like the Warrie Circuit or Toolona Creek Circuit. Alternatively, you have easy or shorter hikes for Purling Brook Falls, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Walk, or the Cougal Cascades. O’Reilly’s Rainforest walk will have you exploring the treetops suspended above the ground.
Watch the Sunrise Over the Horizon
With the Gold Coast located on the east side of Australia, the sun will rise every morning over the water. With 50 kilometers of beach to walk along, you can find the perfect spot on your own to watch it. The first light happens 30 minutes before sunrise, so plan for an early start and get to the beach before it starts to shine through. This is a peaceful time on the beach and incredibly romantic to share with that special someone.
With an early start, you’re sure to find somewhere on the sand by yourself or from the grassed boardwalk areas. Make sure you allocate at least one day to enjoy this blissful, memorable moment of your Gold Coast holiday.
Visit Any of the Gold Coast Theme Parks
No visit to the Gold Coast would be complete without a visit to a theme park. Theme parks include Wet N Wild, White-Water World, Movieworld, Sea World, and Dreamworld.
While these parks can be expensive for a day, there are a few tricks to reduce costs. You will find discounts for a 3-day visit or choose passes that include a few parks. Consequently, SeaWorld, Wet N Wild, and Movieworld are all owned by the same company, and passes will allow you to visit all three. Dreamworld and White-Water World are the alternative pass and are located conveniently next to each other, so you could visit on the same day.
Enjoy the extreme rollercoasters and rides, see the different animals, or pay extra for up-close interactions. Or get the swimmers on for some thrills on several fantastic waterslides. What more could you want in a day’s amusement, and if you’re taking the kids, they will never want to leave!
A trip to the touristy Gold Coast of Australia can set you back substantially, but the good news is that there are also many free or cheap activities to help keep your overall costs down.
Check out some of these cheap things to do on the Gold Coast of Australia and allocate your travel budget toward getting and staying there.
Rome is one of the most impressive travel destinations, but it’s not the cheapest place to visit. It’s common for travelers to spend anywhere between €100-200 a day there, if not more. With that said, it’s possible to travel to Rome on a budget.
Here are 13 useful and practical tips for visiting Rome on a budget and some of the best things to do in the Eternal City for free.
13 Tips for Visiting Rome on a Budget
1. Find an Affordable Area To Stay
The neighborhood of Esquilino is one of the best places to stay in Rome mostly because it’s right where Termini, the central train station in Rome, is situated. This makes it incredibly convenient to get to your hotel from the airport. On top of that, Esquilino is also the most budget-friendly neighborhood in Rome. It is full of affordable high-quality hotels and guesthouses, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
There are also affordable hotels in other areas of Rome, such as Centro Storico and Trastevere, but they tend to be far and few in between. You’ll have the widest selection of great budget hotels in Esquilino.
2. Visit on the Last Sunday of the Month
The Vatican is one of the most unmissable attractions in Rome, and it’s home to the Vatican Museums, where you can gaze at the world-famous Sistine Chapel. A regular entry ticket to the Vatican Museums is €17, which is quite a lot. However, if you visit on the last Sunday of any month… it is free!
It also doesn’t end there. This offer goes for all public museums in Rome, not just the Vatican Museums. If you visit Rome on a weekend, you can spend a very eventful Sunday museum-hopping all around town for free. Imagine how much money you’d be saving!
3. Get Discounts and Free Transportation With the Roma Pass
The Roma Pass is a tourist pass that gives you free skip-the-line admission to certain attractions, discounted tickets to other museums and attractions, and free unlimited usage of Rome’s public transportation, which includes the metro, buses, and trams.
There are different types of Roma Passes with different benefits. If you’re staying in Rome for 2 days, you can get the 48-hour Roma Pass, which gives you free entrance to one main attraction. And if you’re planning to be in Rome for 3 days, the 72-hour Roma Pass may suit you better and will give you free entry to two main attractions.
Many of Rome’s essential attractions come with a pretty pricey entry ticket, so getting one of these tourist passes could help you save a lot.
4. Visit Off-peak for Cheaper Hotels
Rome is at its busiest in the summer, but if you visit in the winter — from mid-November to mid-December or from mid-January to early March, you’ll find that hotel prices are significantly cheaper. Plus, the busy peak season crowds will also have dissipated, making winter the best time to visit Rome for those who don’t mind the cold.
With that said, from mid-December to early January, hotel prices and crowds will rise, as Rome is one of the most popular places to visit for Christmas and New Year festivities.
5. Find a Guesthouse Near a Supermarket
Another easy way to stay on budget during your trip to Rome is to stay at an Airbnb or holiday apartment near a supermarket. That way, you can shop for groceries and make your meals instead of eating out.
Grocery prices in Rome is typically pretty cheap. For instance, a lettuce head is only 1,50€ (USD 1.70), and a kilogram of potatoes is just 2€ (USD 2.20). If you eat meat, a kilogram of chicken breasts comes to around 6€ (USD 6.80).
Comparatively, a typical meal at an affordable restaurant in Rome would still come out to around 15€ (USD 17) per person.
6. Visit Famous Attractions Without Actually Entering
If you’re on a tight budget (or tight on time), consider visiting famous attractions like the Colosseum and the Vatican from the outside only. The truth is, these places are incredibly awe-inspiring to see from the outside, and you can admire their breathtaking facades without buying an entrance ticket.
And while entering these attractions would allow you to appreciate them more, you can still marvel at their beauty without going inside and find plenty of great photography angles.
7. Toss a (Small) Coin Into the Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s most famous and spectacular attractions, and it is entirely free to visit. This magnificent structure is the biggest Baroque fountain in the city, and it is 85 ft tall and 160 ft wide.
A popular tradition is to toss a coin into the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder. According to a legend, this will ensure your return to the Eternal City. Every tourist who visits the fountain follows this tradition, as shown by the thousands of coins in the water.
8. Marvel at the Ancient Pantheon (For Free!)
The Pantheon is another unmissable Roman attraction, and it is also completely free to visit (unless you’re visiting on a weekend, which would require a paid pre-booked admission). You can simply walk into this ancient temple between Monday and Friday to see its stunning interior.
The highlight of the Pantheon is its dome, which has a hole in the middle of it. If you stand inside the Pantheon, underneath the center of its dome, you can see the sky! There are also several notable tombs inside the Pantheon, as it was the burial place for many important Italian figures, such as artist Raphael and Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy.
9. Snap a Photo in Front of Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo is a picturesque fortress near the Vatican. A regular entrance ticket costs €15, but you absolutely don’t need to enter this castle to appreciate its beauty. A big bridge lined with stunning statues is right in front of this structure. You can get a tremendous full-frontal view of the castle from there, and it’s also a fantastic photography spot.
Afterward, take the stairs from the bridge that leads you down to River Tiber’s banks. This riverbank is a great place for a scenic stroll and offers even more incredible views of Castel Sant’Angelo and its surroundings.
10. Enjoy a Cheap Picnic at Villa Borghese
A visit to Rome typically involves a lot of walking, but thankfully, there’s a huge green park in the middle of the city center, not far from the main attractions. This park is Villa Borghese, a fantastic place to enjoy an affordable picnic. Head to a nearby grocery store to pick up some snacks and find a spot in the park to sit down and indulge.
This park is also a great place to go for a stroll. Stop by Terrazza del Pincio at the park’s southern end, where you can admire a stunning view of Rome’s rooftops and Piazza del Popolo.
11. Walk up the Stunning (And Free) Spanish Steps
No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the famous Spanish Steps, and the great thing is that they are entirely free to see and climb. Take a moment to admire the church’s beauty above the steps before walking up to it and soaking up the views along the way.
Once you reach the top, you’ll have Trinità dei Monti Church before you. Step inside (for free) to admire the gorgeous frescoes on its walls and ceilings!
12. Get Free Entertainment at Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, and it is free to access. Not only is it full of impressive fountains, statues, and monuments, but it’s also where many street performers and artists conglomerate.
Here, you can watch clowns and other live performers entertain audiences. You can also join the crowd in watching artists do fun caricatures and portraits of their clients in real-time. Many artists would also lay down a blank canvas on the ground and start creating a picture of Rome from scratch, which is fascinating to watch.
Free (or cheap if you wish to leave a tip) entertainment abounds in Piazza Navona, so be sure to stop by this square in the middle of the day or evening, when there’s the most action!
13. Admire Architecture for Free at Piazza Venezia
Lastly, one more free attraction in Rome is worth seeing. Piazza Venezia is home to the Vittoriano, an extravagant monument dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy. The beautiful white marbles and majestic design of this structure are simply jaw-dropping.
You can admire the Vittoriano for free in Piazza Venezia and snap as many photos as you want. You can also climb up to its scenic terrace for €7 should you choose, although your visit will be complete even without it.
Rome is one of the most expensive places to visit in southern Europe, but there are many small things you can do to save big money on your Roman Holiday.
With the travel tips above and some travel hacking, you can explore this beautiful city’s history, architecture, and culture.
Start planning your trip to Rome on a budget today.
There are plenty of things to do in Charlotte, North Carolina. This city is close to the South Carolina border and is serviced by a major international airport. This city will delight you with a breadth of activities from adventure to sporting events, great food experiences, and museums.
Whether you’re there for a day, a weekend, or an extended vacation, you won’t run out of ideas for exploring the city and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Adventurous Things To Do in Charlotte
Charlotte is home to scenic nature and exhilarating activities that will get anyone’s heart pumping.
The Whitewater Center, located in Charlotte, NC, has more than whitewater rafting. It features hiking trails, ziplines, a ropes course, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and even yoga classes. It’s a mecca for people who love to stay active.
Carowinds Amusement Park
Theme park fans in search of roller coasters and rides will appreciate Carowinds. It is the perfect place to visit in Charlotte.
It provides hours of fun and entertainment for families and couples. Carowinds features live entertainment (like their busker band) in addition to its rides, so keep an eye out for the performance schedule during a visit.
Be sure to check their website for the park’s operating hours because they are not open year-round.
UNC Botanical Garden Charlotte
Take a walk in a beautiful botanical garden for a low-key adventure in Charlotte. Flowers and plants bloom here during every season of the year, making this a wonderful thing to do in Charlotte no matter when you visit.
Sports Activities in Charlotte
This North Carolina city is a haven for minor and major league sports enthusiasts!
Cheer on the Players During a Football Game
You can walk to Bank of America Stadium from most areas of downtown Charlotte and catch a Panthers football game.
(Alternatively, if it’s not football season, check their schedule to see what bands or entertainers are in town. They hold concerts here too, inviting anyone from Billy Joel to Kenny Chesney to perform.)
See a Basketball Game
Suppose basketball is your sport: head to the Spectrum Arena to watch a Hornets game. This venue doubles as a concert venue and hosts other sporting events, like WWE matches.
Check Out the Minor League Baseball Scene
If you’ve never been to a Minor League Baseball game, get tickets to attend one in Charlotte if you’re there during baseball season. Tickets are very affordable, and BB&T Stadium is entertaining to visit.
Being surrounded by baseball fans cheering on the teams (whether the home team of the Charlotte Knights or the visiting team) and all the stadium food and drinks that go along with the experience (hot dogs, nachos, beer, and sodas) is a blast.
Practice Your Swing at Topgolf
Head to Charlotte’s Topgolf to enjoy some time working on that golf form, solo or with friends. This twist on a driving range stacks bays for golfers (new and experienced), so they can hit some golf balls while socializing over food and beverages.
Listen to the Engines Roar at Charlotte Motor Speedway
The unmistakable sound of an engine revving can be heard throughout a racing day at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the cars whiz around the track. They have events throughout spring, summer, and fall. They hold the annual NASCAR Cup Series race on Memorial Day Weekend.
If you’re not in town during a race, this is still a great thing to do in Charlotte because they offer speedway tours. The tours take visitors behind the scenes of the track, garages, and interior of the speedway.
Food Things To Do in Charlotte
Charlotte has no shortage of great restaurants, food halls, and breweries to accommodate any palate and preference. Here are just a few.
Who wouldn’t want to go to such a happy dining hall and destination in Charlotte? Enjoy ramen, Italian-style pizzas, Indian street food, dumplings, sushi, Asian noodles, tacos, gelato, pastries, beer, and craft cocktails. There’s truly something for everyone!
Optimist Hall is open daily from 10:30 am past dinner time, making it a popular lunch and dinner destination.
In addition to trying their food, stop by the plant and stationery stores inside. It’s the perfect spot to buy a Charlotte souvenir or gift for a friend to bring back from your trip.
The Market at 7TH Street
This famous Charlotte food hall is near the light rail train station and Lynx bus stop at 7th Street. The indoor vendors sell food and beverages. They also have a great selection of Charlotte-themed souvenirs.
James Beard Award-nominated chef, Greg Collier, has a spot named Uptown Yolk at The Market at 7th Street.
Try a latte or pressed juice, dine on pizza, dumplings, or popcorn, and pick up some cheese for a picnic in the adjacent First Ward Park. Then, join a programming event at night, from wine tastings to Raclette cheese nights.
Old Mecklenburg Brewery
This brewery offers beer and food to its visitors. Anyone can find an appetizer or entree to order from their German-inspired menu, and they craft their award-winning beers onsite. They have outdoor and indoor seating and offer brewery tours as well.
Museums in Charlotte
If one of the appealing things to do in Charlotte is visiting museums, there are plenty to choose from. It’s not only a great thing to do if the weather is inclement but also when it’s nice outside; even the architecture of these notable museums will lure you inside.
Nascar Hall of Fame
NASCAR enthusiasts will love this museum because of its exhibits and interactive experiences. In addition, this museum provides plenty of options, whether enjoying an iRacing simulator, grabbing a bite at the Pit Cafe, taking a guided tour, or stepping back in time to learn about dozens of Hall of Famers.
They are closed on Tuesdays.
Mint Museum Uptown
This art gallery displays notable craft and design pieces and American, European, and contemporary art. Its central location in downtown Charlotte makes it easy to get to, and the building’s unique architecture makes it easy to spot.
The Mint Museum Uptown is closed on Mondays.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Swiss architect Mario Botta designed this fascinating building located in downtown Charlotte. The exterior of the Bechtler Museum of Modern art beckons visitors.
Inside are four stories of modern art meant to inform, inspire and enhance the lives of all who visit.
The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
This museum educates its visitors about the area’s history from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to today. It aims to connect the past and the present and provide insight into the people, places, and cultural movements that have shaped the south.
They are closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Exploring Parks in and Near Charlotte NC
Various urban parks within Charlotte are worth a visit.
Romare Bearden Park
This park is off Church Street and provides over 5-acres of greenery with impressive views of Charlotte’s skyscrapers. It is also near BB&T Stadium.
West 4th Street extends through the city’s northwest side and runs through Frazier Park. There are recreational facilities here, like sports fields, a basketball court, and pretty gardens.
Head to southeast Charlotte to walk through this park with an attractive reflection pool and a view of Charlotte’s skyline. In addition, the 19-acre park contains sports facilities and gardens.
Exploring Nearby Areas of Charlotte
Charlotte is in a prime location to take day trips and weekend getaways. There are plenty of towns just a drive away where you can experience even more beautiful attractions that the area has to offer.
If you want to know what it’s like to race around a bit of a smaller track than the NASCAR celebrities, K1 Speed is the perfect thing to do in the Charlotte area. Drive to Cabarrus to race go-kart-like electric vehicles around a track and race against others or achieve a personal-best time.
You’ll also find plenty of Instagram-worthy spots in Cabarrus, like a donut shop where you can customize your toppings, a raw cookie dough bar, and a colorful mural.
Lake Norman is a popular place in North Carolina, just outside Charlotte. Year-round, it’s a fantastic destination with plenty of waterfront dining opportunities, and come October and November, it is home to the North Carolina Renaissance Festival.
This county is just south of the North Carolina/South Carolina border. However, the area is less than 30-minutes from Charlotte by car. The two towns to note here are Rock Hill and Fort Mill. There are plenty of things to do in York County, adding to the things to do in Charlotte.
Rock Hill is known for Glencairn Gardens, Catawba Riverwalk, and downtown. There, visitors can find Kounter, a modern restaurant with historic roots.
Fort Mill has a well-known greenway (Anne Springs Close Greenway) with its York County Swinging Bridge. Kingsley Town Center provides seemingly endless restaurant options.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Joshua Tree is a spectacular National Park that wows millions of visitors annually with its unusual scenery. The park’s otherworldly landscape of bristled trees and loose boulders is great fun for the entire family to explore.
There are countless things in Joshua Tree that provide an up-close view of the high desert environment. And since it’s a National Park, all activities are free after paying the $30 entrance fee. The nearby city of Joshua Tree is also filled with interesting (and wacky) things to see if you tire of the desert scenery.
Here are 12 of the best things to do in Joshua Tree, along with some tips on how to make your dollar stretch further during your visit.
Can’t Miss Things To Do in Joshua Tree
Discover a Hidden Valley (And Former Cattle Rustler Hide-out)
The best place to begin your visit to Joshua Tree is in Hidden Valley. Towering granite boulders surround this stunning area. Inside the valley, a unique ecosystem thrives in which both Joshua Trees and juniper woodlands co-exist together.
The valley is also steeped in history. A gang of cattle rustlers supposedly used the natural landscape to hide their stolen cattle in the 1870s.
Today, an easy 1-mile interpretive trail loops through the valley and is one of the best hikes in Joshua Tree. Be aware that this is one of the most popular attractions in the park, so consider arriving on a weekday or in the late afternoon to miss the crowds.
Hunt for Petroglyphs on Barker Dam Nature Trail
Another popular attraction is the Barker Dam Nature Trail. This easy 1.3-mile path loops through the Mojave Desert to a small lake. This hidden pool was created in the early 1900s by cowboys who constructed the dam to water their cattle.
The pool is an important water source for various animals in the park. On your hike, you may see ducks, rabbits, squirrels – and even bighorn sheep if you’re especially lucky.
Be sure not to miss the petroglyphs on the way back to the trailhead. These ancient drawings were carved into the rock hundreds of years ago and are one of the trail’s highlights.
Snap a Photo at Iconic Arch Rock
Joshua Tree National Park is filled with seemingly endless piles of stones. These granite rocks have eroded over time into an assortment of eye-catching formations and boulders.
One of the park’s most well-known formations is Arch Rock. This stone forms a graceful archway and makes for a spectacular photo op. The rock is located in a field of boulders and requires some easy scrambling to reach.
Arch Rock is a few minutes’ walk away from the White Tank Campground. For those who aren’t lucky enough to score a site at the campground, park at the Twin Tanks parking lot. It is an easy 1.2-mile hike to the rock and back.
Marvel at the Enormous (And Creepy!) Skull Rock
Joshua Tree’s other famous rock formation is Skull Rock. True to its name, this massive boulder vaguely resembles a misshapen skull. The rock is located just off Park Boulevard and can be visited in just a few minutes.
If you have more time to explore the area, Skull Rock Nature Trail is a good option. This 1.7-mile loop trail starts at Skull Rock and showcases the vibrant Mojave landscape.
Parking for Skull Rock is located alongside the road on Park Boulevard. It is also a short walk away from Jumbo Rocks Campground.
Admire the Prickly Cholla Cactus Garden
Joshua Tree National Park is unique because two distinct ecosystems are located inside its boundaries. The Colorado Desert is king in the park’s southern half, while the Mojave Desert dominates the northern half with its distinctive Joshua Trees.
The National Park’s Cholla Cactus Garden is in the transition zone between these two deserts. This unique area provides the perfect environment for these prickly plants to thrive.
The garden’s highlight is a dense grove of teddy bear cholla. An easy quarter-mile trail loops through the plants and provides an excellent opportunity for a close-up look. But don’t get too close! These cacti sport razor-sharp spines which are quite painful if touched.
Relax in the Shade at Cottonwood Spring Oasis
Most visitors to Joshua Tree are surprised to learn that five palm tree oases are hidden throughout the park. These oases feature gorgeous fan palm trees and are great places to spot birds and other wildlife.
One of the best places to see these trees is the Cottonwood Spring Oasis. Located near the park’s southern entrance, the oasis features a natural spring with a handful of towering palm trees. Ancient Native American artifacts are also located nearby.
If you’re looking for a longer hike, continue past Cottonwood Spring for another 3.5 miles to the Lost Palms Oasis. This hike offers a great view of the Colorado desert and the largest stand of fan palms in the park.
Explore Joshua Tree’s Wonderland of Rocks
While boulders are found throughout Joshua Tree, the highest concentration is in the Wonderland of Rocks region. This area is a 12-mile square maze of jumbled rocks that is hard to navigate without scrambling over rock piles.
One of the best things to do in Joshua Tree is to explore these rocks. This is most easily accomplished by hiking the 6.8-mile Willow Hole Trail. The hike travels deep into the Wonderland of Rocks zone and ends at a hidden oasis flanked by willow trees.
Be aware that wilderness camping is not allowed in this area to not disturb the bighorn sheep population.
Go Rock Climbing or Bouldering
Another way to appreciate Joshua Tree’s boulders is by climbing them. Joshua Tree is a world-class climbing destination, filled with over 8,000 climbing routes and 2,000 boulder platforms. Climbing, bouldering, highlining, and slacklining are all practiced throughout the park.
Visitors of all ages can enjoy playing on the rocks even if they’re not trained climbers. Quail Springs Picnic Area near the West Entrance features a rock pile that is easy for kids and amateurs to climb around.
Drive in Joshua Tree’s Stunning Backcountry
Try going for a drive if you’d like to see Joshua’s backcountry in comfort. Geology Tour Road is an 18-mile motor tour that leads through some of the park’s most exciting scenery. Plan for approximately 2 hours to make the entire trip.
Eureka Peak is another great destination in the backcountry that is typically overlooked. This mountain is accessed via Covington Flat Road (between the Black Rock Canyon and the West Entrances). Plan on 2-3 hours for the journey.
Be advised that a 4-wheel drive vehicle is typically required for both scenic drives. The roads have deep ruts and soft sand, which is difficult for many cars to handle. Stay on the roads and be prepared with supplies in case your car breaks down.
Hike the Spectacular Panorama Loop Trail
If you’re keen to miss the crowds at Joshua Tree, head to the Black Rock Canyon Entrance near Yucca Valley. This little-used area is home to a wealth of incredible hiking trails, a campground, and a nature center.
A great way to explore this area is by hiking the 6.4-mile Panorama Loop Trail. This hidden gem begins at the parking area by following the Black Rock Canyon Trail until tracing the crest of a ridge with sweeping views.
For even more of a challenge, you can extend your hike by an additional 1.6 miles and summit nearby Warren Peak.
Visit the City of Joshua Tree’s Quirky Attractions
For a change of scenery, head to the nearby City of Joshua Tree outside the park’s West Entrance. This fun community is home to various artists and other oddball types who specialize in unique art installations.
The World Famous Crochet Museum is located inside a tiny decommissioned Fotomat kiosk filled to the brim with crocheted animals. For art on a bigger scale, check out the Noah Purifoy Art Museum. This 10-acre outdoor gallery features an impressive assortment of large-scale sculptures and installations constructed from junked materials. Entrance to both museums is by donation.
Other great things to do in Joshua Tree City (and nearby) include the Sky Village Swap Meet (weekends only), Desert Christ Park, and the old-west-themed community of Pioneertown. These are all free to enter.
Catch the Sunset at Keys View
There is no better way to wrap up your visit than by watching the sunset at Keys View. This stunning overlook is the park’s highest vehicle-accessible location and is one of the best things to do in Joshua Tree.
Keys View is perched on the crest of the San Bernardino mountains and provides incredible views of the Coachella Valley down below. You can also usually see Mount San Jacinto, San Gorgonio Mountain, and the Salton Sea from this location
To access Keys View, drive 20 minutes south of Park Boulevard along Keys View Road. Be sure to bring along plenty of layers as it can get very chilly at sunset.
Joshua Tree is known as one of the best places in the country for stargazing because the nights are so dark. The park is located in the high desert, and it’s far away from major cities and has very little light pollution.
The best stargazing is found on the park’s east side, which is furthest away from nearby California cities. The nearest town to the park’s east end is Phoenix 300 miles away!
Make sure you wear layers and bring supplies for your stargazing trip. Also, be sure to plan your adventure for when the moon is not in the night sky to further reduce light pollution and allow you to see all the Milky Way has to offer.
Hands down, stargazing is one of the best things to do in Joshua Tree National Park, and it doesn’t cost a dime.
Tips for a Frugal Visit
Joshua Tree is a great place to visit on a budget since most activities are free or inexpensive. Entrance to the National Park is $30 per vehicle, granting access to the park for an entire week. Once inside, all activities are free unless you hire a guide or go camping.
The biggest challenge for frugal travelers to this area is lodging. There are no hotels inside of the park, so look for accommodation in the nearby communities of Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, or Palm Springs. Unfortunately, staying in these cities tends to be quite expensive – especially during the peak seasons of spring and autumn.
Camping is a great way to keep costs down and to get a closer view of the area. There are 8 campgrounds inside the park, 5 of which require reservations and 3 that are first-come-first-served. Booking in advance is highly recommended as the sites tend to fill up weeks or months beforehand.
If you can’t secure a campsite, consider backpacking in Joshua Tree instead. You can self-register for a free permit at one of the park’s 13 backcountry registration boards. Be sure to set up camp at least 500 feet away from the trail and one mile away from any road.
Iceland is frequently listed as one of the top 5 most expensive countries in the world. As a relatively remote island nation, everything from gas to food seems to be more expensive.
But Iceland is also an adventurer’s dream! It has some of the most gorgeous, otherworldly scenery, waterfalls around every corner, dreamy hot springs to soak in, rainbows spanning the sky, and a whole host of adventurous activities and experiences to have. So what is a budget-conscious, adventure-seeking traveler to do?
Thankfully, there are many ways to visit Iceland on a budget and still have an epic trip.
In this guide, we’ll discuss a few strategies to get to Iceland on a budget and then how to keep costs low while traveling.
How To Get to Iceland on a Budget
Using a few flight hacks, getting to Iceland from the United States and Europe on a budget has never been easier.
Flights from mainland Europe to Iceland are regularly in the $100-200 range. While flights from the US are generally much higher than from Europe, you can occasionally find deals on flights to Reykjavik, with a round trip costing between $400-500.
I like to keep an eye on flights via Google Flights tracking or follow flight deals sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights to get notified of when good prices pop up. There is also a newly opened budget airline focusing specifically on Iceland, Play Airlines, which delivers inexpensive flights from North America and Europe
Cost of Goods in Iceland
Okay, so you’ve arrived in Iceland on a relatively inexpensive international flight. Cost-wise, that was the easy part! Traveling around Iceland on a budget can be tricky, as lodging, gas, taxis or buses, and food are known to be extremely expensive.
For reference, here are some typical costs you might see in Iceland:
There is good news, though! The cost of groceries is much more reasonable than the cost of restaurants, and almost all of the sites in Iceland (waterfalls, beaches, hikes, geysers, hot springs) are free to visit.
Lodging in Iceland on a Budget
While you can take an Iceland road trip staying in more budget-friendly guest houses, the nature of a trip to Iceland (insanely cool attractions spread out around the country), combined with the fact that lodging and restaurants do get more expensive outside of Reykjavik, mean that the best way to do Iceland on a budget is to travel around Iceland by campervan.
If you’ve never considered a campervan trip, don’t scoff! I was initially very hesitant and not really interested in traveling by campervan, but the week we spent campervanning around Iceland was truly one of my absolute favorite travel experiences ever.
Here’s why traveling by campervan makes for both an epic trip and is a great way to see Iceland on a budget.
While the cost of a campervan varies depending on the size of the van you get, the extra amenities you might add, and the company you go with, you can rent a campervan for around $700 a week.
This covers the cost of both your lodging and transportation and also helps subsidize your food costs! The campervan provides you with a refrigerated cooler and a burner stove so that you can store groceries and prepare simple meals. This helps immensely with keeping your food costs low and also helps you spend more time doing what you came to Iceland to do – explore the country!
It helps that Iceland is set up well for campervanning. With campervanning being a popular mode of travel in Iceland, there are many great campsites available around the country, plus it’s not difficult to find public bathrooms and showers.
The showers and bathrooms were, without exception, incredibly clean and nice – and this is coming from someone who absolutely hates a public shower, so that’s saying a lot.
Saving Money on Food
With food in Iceland being so expensive, and with traveling by campervan (with a burner stove and electric cooler provided), I highly recommend you buy groceries and make your own meals.
Common grocery stores in Iceland include Netto, Bonus, and Kronan. Bonus is the cheapest, but Netto has the best pastries (more on that below!)
We grabbed breakfast bars and yogurt for breakfasts, crusty bread, smoked deli meats (try the smoked lamb for a different experience!), yogurt, protein bars, and/or fruit for lunch.
For dinner, we took a slightly different tack. We usually made up a dehydrated meal pouch we brought with us from the United States. This was a brilliant move! The weather in Iceland, even in summer, can be chilly and volatile, and there were so many things we wanted to see that it was hard to stop.
Thus, we were hungry, tired, and often facing windy or rainy weather when it was time to eat, which did not motivate us to want to set up a whole cooking situation and spend 45 minutes prepping a hot meal. With the pouches, we just heated water, poured it in, and 5 minutes later had a tasty and hot meal. We supplemented with more of the same from lunch – bread, fruit, etc. This is an economical and easy way to get some good meals in Iceland.
Of course, you can’t travel to a new country and not sample some of the unique cuisines! Here are some things you absolutely must try in Iceland when on a budget:
Hot dogs: Icelandic hot dogs are a beloved national food, and are unique in that they are made from lamb meat and have unique toppings of fresh and crispy onions, mustard, and remoulade. You can find them in any gas station, but the best and most famous spot is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur in Reykjavik. These are a very budget-friendly option, as one hot dog costs around $4.
Lamb stew: You will see sheep and lambs everywhere in Iceland, grazing along (what felt like) almost every road we drove on. Icelandic lamb stew is pretty brothy and has other vegetables like carrots and onions in it, and was delicious.
Skyr Yogurt: Icelandic yogurt. It’s the only kind of yogurt in Iceland and is of a thicker variety.
Chocolate licorice: Icelanders love licorice in their chocolate, and the Sirius brand easily has the best chocolate licorice bar (and I’m not a licorice girl at all). These chocolate bars are standard at grocery stores.
Fermented Shark (Hakarl): This old-school traditional Icelandic food is, well, definitely a unique experience. If you go into Cafe Loki in Reykjavik, you can ask for a serving of hakarl, which is just four small bite-sized pieces of shark, plenty for two people to share. This will set you back about $7 and is probably the most economical way to try this dish.
Serbokud Vinarbraud pastry: Iceland has impressive pastry options, and the grocery store, Netto, had a lot of high-quality pastries, including serbokud vinarbraud, a flaky pastry with a custardy middle.
Activities in Iceland on a Budget
Thankfully, most of the things you can see and do in Iceland are free, which is great for traveling on a budget.
Big-ticket Items Worth Spending Money on in Iceland
We’re always trying to travel on a budget, but that doesn’t mean we won’t spend some money on seriously cool experiences. In Iceland, we were very happy to save money on our flights, food, and lodging and spend a little more on some epic activities. Here are some experiences worth your consideration in Iceland:
A Glacier Hike
Glaciers cover 11% of Iceland, and you can go climb on them! Because hiking a glacier can be dangerous (there are crevices and holes you could fall into) you must hike the glaciers on a tour, with a guide.
The best glacier hike you can do is on the Falljokul glacier, with Melrakki Expeditions. Choose the 5-hour tour – it’s so worth it to get up close to the ice cliffs and see the craggles and ridges in the ice.
The Blue Lagoon
This Insta-famous hot spring spa is right by Reykjavik and is known for its steaming, milky blue waters. While this is a well-known attraction, it lives up to the hype. The water is warm and relaxing, plus you get a drink from the swim-up bar, a mud mask, and the use of the saunas is included in the basic ticket price.
This hot spring spa is on the north coast of Iceland, just outside of Husavik. It’s an infinity pool hot spring, with the spa overlooking the bay of Husavik. The water is nice and steaming; honestly, the views can’t be beaten.
Rafting or Kayaking Tour on the Glacier Lagoon
Go out on a speedboat or kayak on the Glacier Lagoon, weaving in and out between the icebergs floating in the water and getting up close and personal with the ice. You might even see seals popping up!
Whale Watching Tour
Iceland is one of the best spots for whale watching, and the city of Husavik is known for having the best whale watching in Europe. Some popular whale-watching spots include Husavik, Ayukeri, Reykjavik, and the Snæfellsnes peninsula. I recommend going with North Sailing company – their tours are phenomenal.
If you book a flight to Iceland when it’s on sale and then use points to book it, save money by combining your lodging/car/food costs by traveling in a campervan, buy groceries for many of your meals, and hit up mostly the free things in Iceland, you can have a trip to Iceland on a budget!
With all the money you’ve saved, you can then choose which (if any) paid experiences you want to do!
During our budget trip to Iceland following this strategy, we spent ~$2000 for two people on our 7-day Iceland itinerary, which was doing 4 of the more expensive experiences above. Without the splurge on activities, our costs would have been much lower, and still would have been a fantastic trip.
Known for its alpine landscapes, scenic beaches, and breathtaking nature all-around, New Zealand presents infinite options for outdoor and indoor activities. You can be hiking to a mountaintop one day and catching waves or wine-tasting along a bike trail the following one. All this said, there’s no wonder why visiting the land of the long white cloud is at the top of the list for many travelers. This article will highlight 22 free or inexpensive things to do in New Zealand.
Exploring New Zealand on a tight budget is possible! And here’s how.
Is New Zealand Expensive?
Though many think New Zealand is an expensive destination, you can explore the country on a budget and still get the whole kiwi experience. This country has multiple activities and adventures you can do for just a few bucks.
If you’ve always dreamed of visiting, we’ll discuss different options for you to travel without eating away your savings in this guide.
Frugal Things To Do in New Zealand
1. Visit the Local Hot Pools
Rotorua is probably part of your destination list! Known for its bubbling mud pools and natural hot springs, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland.
Though beautiful, it might not be the right option for many as it’s quite touristy and pricey. Luckily, many cities and towns have natural hot springs, including hot pools, spa pools, and even saunas.
For example, if you’re driving through the South Island, you can visit the hot pools in New Brighton – Christchurch – with brand new facilities right across the sea for just $14 to 18 NZD.
But these are not the only ones!
There are pools in Hanmer Springs, Lake Tekapo, and Mount Maunganui – to name just a few.
For even more affordable options, you can visit the local public pools. These usually boast a family spa area for just about $6 NZD.
Check the council website of the area you’re visiting, and get ready to relax and recover while soaking your stress away.
2. Go Camping
This country has the best setup for freedom camping. Whether you’re pitching a tent or traveling in a van, you can find hundreds of options for campgrounds that often include cooking, shower, and toilet facilities.
Some multiple websites and apps can help you find a campground that fits your budget, like Campermate or the DOC website. Camping in New Zealand is extremely easy and popular. If you don’t have much experience, I recommend keeping a camping list handy to ensure you have everything you may need.
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore New Zealand on a budget. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an avid tramper; New Zealand has something for you and your family.
From easy walkways to multi-day hikes, the range of possibilities is unlimited. Beware, though; weather can be unpredictable sometimes, so always check the forecast and pick your hiking outfit according to the season for the location you’ll be exploring. Especially if doing a multi-day hike.
All hikes across New Zealand are free, but some traverse private land and may require a small fee – this is not all too common.
You may know about the Great Walks if you’ve done any research already on things to do in New Zealand. These are considered the country’s “top” multi-day walks and come with a price tag if you wish to spend the night at one of their huts or campsites.
To plan your hiking trip, head to the DOC website and prepare for it. If you stick to one of the thousands of walks that are not part of the Great Walks, you can expect to spend just about $5 to $15 for a hut’s bunk bed or to pitch your tent.
4. Stay in a Hut
If you’re planning several hikes or want to do overnight or multi-day walks, staying at a DOC hut might be ideal.
There are over 950 huts spread across the country, and they’re a perfect option to sleep in as they provide shelter and warmth, especially after a full day of walking in the bush. Besides, you get to enjoy stunning views of the landscape around you.
Depending on where you’re going, sleeping in a hut usually costs around $15 NZD a night – some are free. However, as mentioned before, Great Walks’ huts usually cost more depending on the walk, as each has its own pricing, seasonality, booking dates, etc.
Hitchhiking is a safe and cheap way to get around and meet local people. I hitchhiked parts of the South Island when my best friend visited in the summer of 2020 and had a fantastic experience.
There’s some waiting time as some roads are not very busy, but it’s an option for those looking to save as much money as possible.
Hitchhiking in New Zealand is legal, and drivers are used to picking up backpackers along the road. So make sure to bring some chocolate to share, and smile!
However, practicing safe hitchhiking principles like going with friends is also essential.
Have you ever heard about glowworms? Quite literally, glowworms are tiny worms…that glow. They can be seen at nighttime, looking like the tiniest little – yet mighty – stars.
Glowworms are usually found in caves. But, as glowworm tours often come with a hefty price, you need to know you can also find them in many locations for free.
A quick Google search will guide you, but these cuties love moisture, so they can be found around river beds in humid areas. Some locations where you’ll find them are Wellington’s Botanical Gardens, Franz Josef, the Queen Charlotte Track, Hokitika, Hot Water Beach, and many more spots.
7. Experience Maori Culture
One of the can’t-miss things to do in New Zealand is taking the chance to learn about Maori culture. Many places you’ll likely visit are sacred and significant within Maori culture. Examples include Tongariro, Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti, Rotorua, Aoraki/Mt. Cook, and many more.
Give your trip a different dimension by learning about the legends that keep Aotearoa’s past and present thriving.
8. Rent a Kayak, Paddleboard, or Surfboard
Water sports are a must to try during your stay. Many coastal towns and cities offer different options for renting out gear. Whether it’s surfing, kayaking, or paddleboarding, you can find something that adjusts to your adventure taste and budget.
For example, if you go to Raglan – a surfing mecca – you can rent a surfboard with a wetsuit for $25 for half a day. At Kaiteriteri, near the Abel Tasman National Park, you can hire a paddleboard for just about $15 NZD for 30 minutes. Most popular beaches have companies hiring water sports gear on-site, so pick your fave and give it a go!
9. Go Climbing
Home to the Southern Alps, New Zealand offers spectacular views and locations for climbing, especially around the South Island. Plenty of guidebooks and websites will lead you to places like Takaka, Castle Hill Basin, and Mount Cook.
You can find anything that suits your fitness level as far as climbing goes.
You can enjoy this sport from rock climbing and bouldering to alpine climbing in multiple gorgeous locations.
If you don’t have your own gear, you can usually rent it pretty cheap – shoes and crash pads, for example – at the local climbing gym. You’ll be surprised to realize how popular this sport is!
10. Join a Highline Gathering or Festival
Want to meet local people while trying out something different and fun? Then you should join a highline or slackline gathering or festival!
Slacklining is a fun sport and an excellent opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery around you: the beach, forest, or a park nearby. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can find highline festivals and gatherings on social media that you can join for free.
The slacklining community is very present and robust amongst local outdoor lovers in New Zealand. So don’t hesitate to reach out and find out how you can come to see this fantastic sport.
Clear, dark skies offer a unique breathtaking experience. With almost no light pollution, you can visit some of the most accessible observatories in the world. For example, the Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve has been labeled one of the best stargazing sites on earth as it’s completely free from light pollution.
Did you know you could see the southern lights from New Zealand? That’s right. If you travel in winter, you might be lucky enough to see the Aurora Australis.
12. Visit the Local Museums and Galleries
Visiting museums and galleries is a top thing to do while traveling and one of the most frugal things to do in New Zealand.
Te Papa, in Wellington, is the museum of New Zealand, and it’s free. In it, you can learn about the rich history of the country, its nature and wildlife, Maori culture, and more. You can easily spend the whole day over there! Same with the Canterbury Museum, and Christchurch’s Art Gallery, both located in the heart of Christchurch.
13. Hang Out With the Cutest Sea Life
This country’s incredible coastline offers an extraordinary experience: encounters with marine wildlife.
You can swim with dolphins, see the Blue penguins colony in Oamaru and even go whale watching. It all depends on what you fancy. Of course, keep in mind you’re entering a wild environment, so be respectful. Keep your distance and give them a break from cameras and phones. Simply enjoy the incredible encounter without too much technology.
14. Join the Steampunk Festival
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction inspired by Victorian-era industrialism, and Oamaru happens to host the annual Steampunk Festival, a three-day event with workshops and activities perfect for locals, travelers, and steampunk enthusiasts.
This is a great way to get creative and show off your best outfit! Creativity can be found in many ways during this festival: accessories, clothing, fake weapons, and even means of transport. Join the opening parade and meet a different aspect of New Zealand’s locals.
15. Budget-friendly Boat Trips
With beautiful islands, peninsulas, beaches, and harbors, catching a boat ride is an excellent way to enjoy the scenery.
If you’re hiking and enjoying around Abel Tasman, you can catch a water taxi to get a different view of the area for about $30 NZD. If you are touring the Bay of Islands region, you can catch a ferry for as little as $14 NZD.
When planning your trip, do your online research or call the local tourism information office. Most coastal towns will have some sort of water taxi or short cruise you can hop on.
16. Go Caving
If you thought New Zealand couldn’t amaze you anymore, you probably weren’t thinking underground. Yes, underground!
There are several caving sites throughout the country for you to explore. Waitomo Caves are the best-known caving system where you can choose to walk through them, or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can try doing black water rafting!
The south island has several caving systems for you to discover, too; you can go on underground adventures in Nelson, Fiordland, on the West Coast, and Canterbury. These are the most famous but not the only ones!
Cave Stream is also a favorite amongst locals and visitors, just next to Castle Hill – world-renowned bouldering and Maori sacred site. And, while you’re south, you wouldn’t want to miss Hardwood’s hole, the deepest sinkhole in the southern hemisphere with a jaw-dropping height of 180 meters.
17. Frisbee Golf
Disc golf is played similarly to regular golf: throwing a disc to the target.
This is a family-friendly activity you can find around public parks and, in the beautiful spirit of this sport, it’s free to play. You only need friends and a few discs, and you’re ready to go!
Grab a drink, make a picnic, and plan your afternoon at the local park.
If you want to be closest to nature and experience an epic trip, try Aotearoa’s cycling trails.
You can find bike paths and routes perfect for everyone’s skills: from easy trails like the Otago Central Rail Trail, a 152km recreational trail that follows the former rail line, to more experienced ones like The Old Ghost Road on the West Coast. Cycling is a fun way to find your way to untouched backcountry, stunning locations, and top-of-the-world views.
You can rent a bike pretty much in every city and big town. Just check with the local cycle shop or bike operator and get ready to hit the trails pedaling!
Even renting a bike for one hour will do the trick if you are on a budget. As a rule of thumb, an hour costs $25 for a regular bike and $35 for an e-bike.
19. Wine Tasting
Visiting a winery is a must-do when it comes to frugal things to do in New Zealand. You may think living the high life of a wine connoisseur is not a budget-friendly quest, but in New Zealand, it is!
Moreover, this is the perfect opportunity to try world-famous wines while enjoying spectacular views in beautiful settings.
You usually pay between $5 to $15 NZD for wine tasting. There are wine regions on both islands and plenty of vineyards for you to visit. Most places don’t require bookings, so just show up and drink!
Support local businesses and join the kiwi-buzz on Saturday and Sunday mornings! Markets in Aotearoa are chock-full of the yummiest goods, high-quality coffee, organic produce, and music.
Markets usually kick off around eight and wrap up at 1, so ensure you get your breakfast ready before a big day.
21. Visit Lord of the Rings Locations
After getting off the airplane, Hobbiton would probably be one of your first stops. But, if you’re traveling on a budget, there are more than 150 different locations across the country waiting for you to visit!
22. Go to a Yoga Class
Even when traveling and exploring new places, you must take a break and connect with yourself.
Going to a yoga class is excellent for your body and mind, and it’s also an opportunity to meet some locals and get to know the place you’re visiting. If you’re planning to hang out in that area for a bit, most studios offer 2-week unlimited yoga passes between $30 to $40.
Discounts and Deals
A good tip for traveling on a budget is to check discount websites. They usually offer package deals or discounted activities that are hard to resist.
Bookme is a great website to look for activities and attractions. However, it’s always advisable to call to confirm with the company directly to check that your booking is ok as the website isn’t always accurate.
Are you a gay traveler ready to live your best life on the seas? Whether you’re looking for a fun and relaxed vacation or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, gay cruises are the perfect options.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, gay cruises have been popular gay vacation options. Now that COVID restrictions have dramatically eased, the travel companies have more gay travelers hop on board and sail away. And when it comes to gay cruise ships, there’s no better way to explore the world than with your LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
These cruises will get your heart pumping from deck parties to late-night revelry! The trip may seem like an enjoyable experience, but planning a trip can be time-consuming and frustrating. Whether or not it will be your first time on a gay cruise, this guide will help guide you on going on a gay cruise.
How To Choose the Best Gay Cruises
When choosing a gay or lesbian-friendly cruise ship, these factors will all play a role in ensuring you have a memorable and enjoyable vacation.
By choosing a gay and lesbian cruise ship, you can be sure that you will have an enjoyable and hassle-free vacation. These ships offer everything you need to relax and have fun, so book your trip today!
Some of the top gay-friendly cruise lines include Atlantis Events, Olivia Cruises, and RSVP Vacations. All three companies offer cruises to destinations worldwide, including the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. They each have their unique style and atmosphere, so it is essential to research before deciding.
No matter which cruise line you choose, you can be sure that you will experience a relaxing and fun-filled holiday. The ships are packed with activities, and the destinations are some of the most beautiful in the world. So, if you’re looking for a vacation that caters to your specific needs, check out the many gay-friendly cruise options available today.
Popular Gay Cruise Ships
Atlantis ship is the world’s largest gay and lesbian cruise ship; the ship fits around 5,000 people.
There are multiple pools, bars, a casino, a spa, and various dining options. The ship also hosts several special events and circuit parties, including the White Party and Disco Tea Dance, explicitly geared towards the gay and lesbian community. Some of the most popular events are the White Party, in which partygoers dress up with angel wings and white jocks, and Dog Tag T-Dance, in which men dress in camouflage.
One thing to keep in mind is that Atlantis is not kid-friendly. There is a lot of sexual activity that happens on Atlantis. You would find guys “getting it on” out in public by the pool and on the dock. There are even videos on Twitter showing these activities.
If you’re conservative and want a calm vacation experience, Atlantis may not be the right cruise for you. But if you enjoy the circuit party scene and don’t mind seeing men hooking up in public, Atlantis could be a good vacation option.
The price of Atlantis starts at about $900. Atlantis may not be your choice if you don’t like big crowds. As mentioned earlier, the ship gets full. Parties happen all day long, so if you enjoy partying non-stop, you will enjoy Atlantis. Tickets sell out early, so make your purchase in advance if you decide to go.
Vacaya is a cruise ship built exclusively for the LGBTQ community. There is plenty of LGBTQ programming and entertainment on the boat, like drag performances and circuit parties. Once they get off the ship passengers, they can visit gay-friendly locations like Puerto Vallarta (considered the “San Francisco of Mexico”) and Costa Rica.
Vacaya is an adult-only ship so that you can have fun without any inhibitions. The ship encourages an amicable atmosphere, as noted on its website. Plenty of single men go on Vacaya so you can mix and mingle with them. There is even an online Vacaya Facebook community where singles can look for roommates.
If you’re a gay traveler, consider going on Vacaya. Based on trip reviews by LGBTQ travelers, Vacaya is one of the most welcoming environments for the LGBTQ community. The price can go anywhere from $900 up to $14,000.
RSVP Vacations’ Liberty of the Seas
This ship is also quite large and offers a similar range of amenities as the Allure of the Seas. It is popular among gay and lesbian cruisers for its lively atmosphere and many activities. RSVP has been around since 1986 and travels to many destinations, including the Caribbean and Alaska.
This ship caters to the LGBT community and offers a wide range of facilities and activities that cater to their needs. There are several restaurants, bars, and nightclubs onboard and a spa and fitness center.
The Equality Ship also hosts several special events and occasions throughout the year. Celebrity Cruises was the first ship to host same-sex marriage. The vessel is also known for its annual Pride party, which will bring together LGBTQ persons of all generations, including old and young.
Based on reviews, Celebrity Cruises is a memorable experience. It has received different awards, including best onboard LGBTQ gatherings and best cruise line for LGBTQ passengers.
The Cruise is a large European ship that fits about 3600 passengers. There are impressive parts of the ship like a glass floor walkway that lets you see the ocean, a pool with colored lights, and gyms that give you a sea view. If you’re based in the US and want to travel overseas, consider going on The Cruise. This year it will be sailing from Rome to Athens. As a European traveler, you only need your ID, but if you’re traveling from the US, you need a passport.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America
This American-themed ship is one of the most popular choices for gay and lesbian cruises. It offers multiple pools, a spa, restaurants, and many other activities.
What Should You Budget for Gay Cruise?
Cruises can be fun vacation options but can be pricey. Here are a few things you have to consider:
How To Pack for Your Cruise?
There are all sorts of activities and events on a gay cruise. You can go to the pool, gym, spa, bar, and many other parts of a cruise ship. And so, you have the opportunity to dress up and dress down. You can pack blazers, collared shirts, and shoes for formal dinners at the ship.
For dress-down occasions, it’s recommended to bring jeans, t-shirts, and accessories. Also, bring swimming suits if you want to go in the water.
What Not To Do on Gay Cruises
People must follow strict rules and guidelines on a cruise ship. If you disobey them, you can get kicked off the boat. To avoid problems, here are things to consider:
Why Choose Gay Cruises?
There are still places where homosexuality is not acceptable in these changing times. In certain countries, it’s illegal to be gay. People are still being harassed and even killed for being gay. Gay cruises allow you to be in a safe space where you can laugh, dance, and connect with other LGBTQ+ persons. You’ll be able to experience gay-friendly locations overseas that you may not have the opportunity to do on a regular cruise.
So get your best costumes and outfits and plan to have an unforgettable sea travel experience.
This post originally appeared on Savoteur.
Howdy I am Charles M Cota. I'm 37 year old living in USA. More often than not I surf on the web about a definitive travel website. Somebody that gives true serenity despite life's.