Budget Orlando vacation in Kissimmee

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Kissimmee, a city located in central Florida, is the ultimate base for discovering Orlando and nearby attractions. It offers budget Orlando vacation option with Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld just minutes away. Beaches are just a bit over an hour drive.

The city of Kissimmee is very charming. It offers weekly live entertainment and a lot of family fun. If you are looking to escape cold winter, it might just be the place to go. If hot weather does not bother you, Kissimmee offers attractions all year long. It is a great city to base yourself while visiting Orlando’s attractions while being quieter and easier on the wallet. Here are some main reasons why you should stay in Kissimmee while planning a budget Orlando vacation. 

Why you should base yourself in Kissimmee for a budget Orlando vacation

Orlando theme parks are minutes away

Orlando is home to numerous theme parks that are just minutes away from Kissimmee. These include Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. I opted for Epcot, which is a part of Walt Disney World Resort. Epcot offers 9 rides, a world showcase featuring 11 countries, late evening fireworks, and seasonal attractions.

Here’s a few tips to make your visit a smooth experience:

  • Purchase tickets ahead of time to save money and avoid lines.
  • Arrive early with a plan of action. Epcot, like any other Orlando theme park, is huge. Arriving early and knowing what you want to do will make your experience less stressful, especially if you want to experience any of the rides.
  • Take advantage of the FastPass+ program. This lets you skip lines to get to the rides faster.
  • If you’re bringing little ones, keep in mind that there are height restrictions for certain rides.
  • Attend seasonal events. The International Flower and Garden festival is in the spring. There are beautiful flowers and Disney characters all around the park. Make a stop by the butterfly house too. In the fall, visit the Food and Wine festival. In the winter, attend the Candlelight Processional.
  • Wander around the world showcase around lunch or dinner time so you can eat around the world.
  • Stay till evening hours to watch fireworks in the world showcase.
  • Bring comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunscreen. Make sure to stay hydrated! There will be plenty of walking involved, and temperatures can get up to 90 F (30+ C) during the summer months. Winter is the coolest season, with highs in the 70s (20 C).

Kissimmee is a charming city with great entertainment

Discover the charms of Kissimmee. Stroll along Old Town’s brick streets and shop at one of the many stores. Grab a refreshing drink and make your way to the Ferris Wheel.

The Fun Spot America Theme Park at Old Town features many rides and games. Take in the city view from the Ferris Wheel, drive a go-kart on multi-level tracks, or get adventurous and get on the world’s tallest SkyCoaster.

Stick around for dinner and choose from Old Town’s many dining options. Kissimmee features free weekly live entertainment and events. One of the local traditions is hosting Saturday evening car shows when antique cars drive down Main Street.

Old Town in Kissimmee Florida

The beach is a bit over a 60-minute drive

No Florida vacation would be complete without a trip to the beach. Kissimmee’s inland location means a trip to the beach can be a nice day adventure.

A drive of about an hour can take you to Cocoa Beach, a favorite spot of the locals. The pier on Cocoa Beach features restaurants and gift shops. There’s also a bar toward the end of the pier where you can quench your thirst, escape the sun, and just relax with the wind in your hair.

Cocoa Beach has a lifeguard on duty, a volleyball court, and beach rentals so you can fully enjoy your time there. A walk on the beach is nice in any season. Winter months might be a bit cold for swimming but are great for surfing.

The great outdoors are just next door

Florida has rich fauna with a variety of species inhabiting the state. There are an estimated 1.25 million American alligators living in the state of Florida. If you see a pond, most likely there is an alligator in it. You will also notice fences all around the main roads to stop wildlife from crossing. If it makes you feel any better, alligators do not attack if they cannot eat prey in one bite, so there is no need to worry.

A 30-minute drive south of Kissimmee will take you to the Lake Tohopekaliga where you can get a tour of the wetlands. An airboat ride to the wetlands is a great way to explore Florida’s wildlife in their natural habitat. Some wildlife to look for include alligators, turtles, and birds. Tours can be booked the same day or in advance if you want to save time. There are several tours you can choose from: a 30- to 60-minute ride, a sunset tour, a night tour, or private 1-hour tour. I opted for a 60-minute tour in the morning and saw quite a few bird species and several alligators sunbathing. Occasionally, tours get cancelled due to a bad weather, in which case you will get a refund.

Alligators near Kissimmee Flroida

You can learn about indigenous people of Florida

Lake Tohopekaliga not only hosts airboat tours but was also home to the Jororo tribe a few centuries ago. The Jororo Native Village is a replica including a cooking hut, sleeping hut, working hut, and communal hut along with artifacts. Learn how this tribe used live in the Florida swamps. Daily demonstrations are available that include tool and fire making, crafts, storytelling and more. Tickets to daily demonstrations can be purchased on the spot.

Jororo Native Village near Kissimmee Florida

There are many affordable accommodation options

There are plenty of accommodations in Kissimmee to fit everyone’s wallet and comfort level perfect for a budget Orlando vacation. They allow you to avoid the stress and traffic of Orlando while still being close to many attractions.

There is a wide selection of hotels, villas, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and vacations rentals. I stayed in a lovely Airbnb rental in a local neighborhood. I absolutely loved the old trees full of Spanish moss all around the neighborhood. Some of them really looked kind of spooky and Halloween ready. A golf cart seemed like the preferred way for locals to travel the neighborhood. Despite the warning signs, I did not spot any alligators at the ponds, just a few squirrels.

Airbnb accommodation in Kissimmee Florida


Are you still wondering why you should stay in Kissimmee? My stay in Kissimmee was very enjoyable. Kissimmee was a great location for all attractions of interest and convenient to Orlando International Airport. It was a perfect budget Orlando vacation destination. Kissimmee is a lovely city worth considering on your next trip to the Orlando area. If you’re interested in exploring more of Florida, check out my Florida Keys guide for party lovers or nature lovers.

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