Spend the summer exploring all the free and cheap things to do in the Tampa Bay Area. From free movies, bowling, golf, discounted museum admissions and more. There’s something for everyone to do.
With this comprehensive list you will have no problem planning a family outing that is easy, free, and cheap. Here is a great list that will keep you out and on a budget this summer.
Ready for the best summer around Tampa?
Please Note: This article was accurate the day it was posted. All prices, offerings and dates are subject to change without notice. Please contact each location and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before heading out. Please check out each businesses COVID-19 precautions. Stay safe out there.
Disclosure: Affiliate links may be found throughout this post. When you purchase anything through our link, we may make a small commission at no additional cost to you.
75 Free & Cheap Summer Guide
- Watch Movies at Theaters or at Home
- Summer Deals
- Home Fun
- Indoor Attractions
- Outdoor Fun
- Tampa Bay Museums
- Educational Resources
- Sporting Activities
- Parks & Nature
- Water Activities
- Food Deals
Watch Movies at Theaters or Home
Movies: Free & Cheap
There is a great selection of new release movies and older ones that you can watch for $5 or less per person. Click on the links below to see the full movie schedule.
FREE & Up MOVIES
1. Switch it up! Watch a movie for cheap at one of Tampa Bay’s Drive-In Theatres. They are affordable and many include two movies for one price.
2. $6 movies at Zephyrhills Cinema everyday until July 2nd.
3. Don’t want to have to drive to rent a movie? Rent the latest movies through FandangoNOW and earn reward points for every purchase. It’s nice to be rewarded for things you were already going to buy.
4. Watch free with Plex. Unlimited movies and TV shows. No cost, no catch.
5. Watch movies for free on popcornflix.com
Summer is all about deals! With over 70 days of summer break with the kids, doing things together can quickly add up. Make sure to take advantage of these deals before planning your summer adventures.
1. We purchased our Entertainment Book and we love that it has an online app that gives us alerts to help us save money this summer. This deal won’t last long. Take advantage of this amazing price before it goes up to it’s regular price.
2. If you are visiting the Tampa Bay Area then you definitely want to take advantage of Tampa Bay CityPASS. The Pass includes one low price to five Tampa Bay attractions, including Busch Gardens, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Florida Aquarium and more.
3. Take a trip to Orlando, FL and save, save, save! The Go Card Orlando offers big savings for 30+ attractions.
4. Not sure what to do? Always check Groupon for amazing deals on food and things to do.
5. Make sure to check out LivingSocial for local deals before heading out.
6. Visit Celebration Station in Clearwater. Get three Attraction Tickets, and $10 in Game Play for just $15.99 Mon-Thur, and $19.99 Fri-Sun per person, plus tax.
1. Grow a Garden. 4 Ways To Grow A Garden At Home With Your Family. Learn more.
2. Check out our Boredom Busters of 100 Things to do at Home with the Kids that are free or really cheap.
3. Don’t want to go out? Plan a date night at home with the family.
4. Celebrating a birthday this summer? Explore these 7 Birthday Party ideas you can do at home.
5. Game Night!! We’ve got some great ideas to keep your the whole family entertained. Learn more.
INDOOR FUN ATTRACTIONS
Take a break from the Tampa Bay heat with some fun indoor attractions. Many of theses activities can be enjoyed by every member of the family and when you take advantage of their discount days and offers, it can also be a very affordable family outing.
1. Visit your local Urban Air Adventure Park and become a member. It’s the best deal you’re going to get. If you plan on visiting more then 3 times in a year, then you might as well get the membership. This place is so fun and the kids will be begging for you to bring them back. Definitely worth the membership.
2. Visit Busch Gardens, MOSI Tampa, The Florida Aquarium, and other Tampa Attractions for 53% off through CityPass.
3. Kids Skate FREE in Brandon, Lakeland, Pinellas, Tarpon Springs and many other roller skating locations.
4. Bowling: Kids bowl free and cheap at select Tampa area locations. Check out our ultimate guide to free & cheap bowling centers for the summer.
5. Roller Skating: Find affordable fun at United Skates of America for admission $6 per person (includes skates).
6. Indoor Bounce Amusement Park: Help your kids cool off inside the indoor bounce arena at The Airosphere in Tampa. Check out their Airosphere Facebook page for updates.
7.Visit the Alligator Attraction & Wildlife Center for an affordable family fun. Kids tickets start at $7 in Madeira Beach, FL.
8. Kids love laser tag and Qzar Tampa Laser Tag specializes in just that. They have some great packages if you would like to spend hours laser tagging. Great way to let the kids have some fun for a few hours.
9. Go carting may not be the cheapest thing to do, but kids love this and so do adults. They may offer deals on bigger parties.
- Visit Tampa Bay Grand Prix for an indoor experience if you’re near St. Petersburg.
10. Visit the Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar and Clearwater for ice skating.
11. AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel has a beautiful ice skating facility with a great Family 4-Pack deal which offers includes 4 Public Skate passes and skate rentals for only $49. It an $11 savings if you purchased it without the family 4-pack.
12. At Airheads Trampoline Arena in Pinellas & Tampa from Monday-Thursday during open hours, walk-in jumpers can enjoy unlimited attractions from open-close for only $17.99/person! Purchase after 3pm and the price goes down to just $13.99/person!
After weeks of being cooped up in your home, you and your family could use some for some affordable fun outdoors. Here are some ideas for a fun outdoor adventure around Tampa Bay.
1. Miniature golf is an affordable way to have fun with the family.
- Plantation Palms Golf Club in Land O’ Lakes, FL ranges from free- $8
- Ace Golf in Brandon, FL ranges from free- $7.49
- Celebration Station in Clearwater, FL has some amazing deals that include miniature golf and other fun activities.
2. Go For A Bike Ride At Tampa’s Suncoast Trail. Spanning 42 miles, Tampa’s Suncoast Trail passes through a pleasant mix of suburban, agricultural, and natural areas. Pause for a tranquil moment with the scenic views at the Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Preserve. Plan your day here.
3. Explore Tampa Bay’s Best Hiking Trails. Need fresh air and exercise? Set up the alarm and hike on any of the epic trails at Tampa Bay. Whatever your comfort level, there is surely a trail for you. Pack a picnic meal for a nice break in between your hike. Choose from the best hiking trails.
4. Plan a day at the beach. Tampa is lined with beautiful beaches, and all of them have reopened, so it’s time to catch up on some much-needed sea breeze. Nights at the beach are always perfect for romantic picnics.
Not sure where to go? Here are the best beaches.
5. Go Horseback Riding At Cypress Breeze Farm. Whether you’re both passionate about horseback riding or simply want a new experience, horseback riding at Cypress Breeze Farm is a fun family activity. They have a variety of trails to challenge or mesmerize you. Learn more here.
6. Go On A Walking Tour. Walking is a great exercise for everyone. It’s fun and relaxing, too. Did you miss walking? Florida has a lot of interesting and scenic cities that you can appreciate better with a walking tour.
Curious about the Sunshine City? Try the St. Petersburg History Mural Tour.
Immerse yourself with Tampa’s Downtown Murals.
Find even more murals in Tampa.
7. Visit a small zoo or petting farms for a fun interaction with animals. Check out these low cost zoo/petting farm options.
- Only $5 admission to petting zoo & playground at Hunsaders Farm in Bradenton.
- $10 per person at Horsepower 4 Kids in Tampa, FL.
- Visit Old McMicky’s Farm in Odessa, FL (A little higher priced but you get a lot for your buck)
Tampa Bay Museums
Museums are a great way to spend the summer days with the family. Thankfully, the Tampa Bay area is home to many museums and some offer discounted or free days or hours that you can visit. Check out the great selection below.
If you have a membership to any museum, they may also offer discounted admission or free admission to other museums around Tampa and the United States. Members on average get 50% off of reciprocal membership programs.
1. Kids 12 and under ride free at The Florida Railroad Museum on Saturday & Sunday in June, July and August.
2. Admission cost starts at only $5 at the Henry B. Plant Museum.
3. Every Monday gets you free admission into the the beautiful Ringling Museum in Sarasota. So many beautiful art pieces to see. They also have beautiful rose garden and that’s all apart of the free admission. Definitely worth the visit.
The Ringling Museum is offering a discounted admission in June for $15 and includes the Museum of Art and Circus Museum. That’s a savings of $10!
4. Museum for All. Visitors with a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) or other EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card receive free or reduced priced Museum Admission for up to 4 guests at these participating museums.
- Low income families can visit The Ringling Museum, MOSI, Great Explorations Museum and others through Museums for All program.
5. Visit Busch Gardens, MOSI Tampa, The Florida Aquarium, and other Tampa Attractions for 53% off through CityPass.
6. Art on the House: Visit the Tampa Museum of Art on Thursday evenings from 4 – 8 p.m. for Pay-as-you-will admission. Make a donation if you would like or simply pay nothing, either one will get you into the museum.
7. The Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs is home to more than 100 pinball games, video games and other amusements that you can actually play. No need to bring any coins. One admission fee gives you access to all of the machines. The museum opens Thursdays-Sunday in Tarpon Springs and admission is $8 for children 7-12 years old with a paying adult and $14 for Adults. Children ages 6 and under play for FREE with paying adult.
8. If you have a car enthusiast in the family, make a pit stop at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum in Pinellas Park. It is FREE for children under 12 and it’s only $8 for those 13 and up.
9. Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg, FL has a Summer Sunday Special! Special pricing from June through August with museum admission on Sundays only at only $5.00 per person. That’s a $10 savings on adult tickets and a $5 savings on kids. Visit this beautiful contemporary museum that showcases glass art works from around the world.
10. Visit the Ybor City Museum from Wednesday-Sunday and take a walking tour around this historic city for $4 per person, which includes Museum, garden and Casita. Children 5 and under are free.
11. On the weekend, explore dozens of art activities at Children’s Art Museum at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center for a budget friendly price of $4 for non-members. Free admission for children 2 and under.
12. Discovery Pass provides one-time admission or tour to a local Tampa attraction during a 7-day checkout period.Your check-out receipt serves as your admission or tour pass to Tampa Museum of Art, Big Cat Rescue and others. Passes may be reserved through the Hillsborough County library branch. Discovery Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
13. Check out a bit of history in Pasco County by visiting the Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City. Kids under 5 get free admission, $5 for students and only $10 for adults. Lots of open space and great for social distancing and a fun picnic opportunity on the grounds.
Who says summer can’t be fun and educational? There are so many ways to make your summertime with the kids filled with learning. You can even make it something that the entire family can participate in doing.
1. Kids can earn two free tickets to a Tampa Bay Rays game by taking part of the Reading with the Rays program.
2. Check out our 2020 Mega List of Tampa Bay area and national summer reading programs that earn kids 18 and under prizes and treats.
3. Why not try a virtual summer camp resources with Varsity Tutors. You’ll be amazed at the variety of free virtual opportunities, from cooking camps to special needs and everything in between. Learn more.
4. Find summer camps in all budgets. Check out our master guide to summer camps in the Tampa Bay Area.
1. Enjoy a game for only $5 per ticket, plus free parking, and weekly food specials at the Tampa Tarpons game.
2. The Clearwater Threshers baseball game has some amazing deals almost daily for some fun deals.
3. Check out the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer games, for $199 (up to a $240 value), Flex Packs include (10) Rowdies Reserved Ticket Vouchers that can be used for any 2020 regular season home games.
4. Excellent deal from the Dunedin Blue Jays for their Jr. Jays Club. Kids 12 and under can join the Jr. Jays for just $10 for the entire 2020 season and show off their Blue Jays pride! Jr. Jays get entry to all Sunday home games during the regular season (9) along with other perks:
5. There are so many food promotions available at the Flying Tigers game in Lakeland.
Parks & Nature
There are so many beautiful wildlife, vegetation and trails to see and explore. Stay active and be prepared by bringing lots of water, sunscreen and a snack when out and about. Make it an enjoyable family adventure.
1. Start your own garden. During the pandemic we started our one hydroponic garden and it has been super easy, no-stress and the kids love to help start our Tower Garden. Learn more and get yours.
2. Visit the beautiful Hillsborough River State Park, and check out their Class II rapids along your hiking trail.
4. Some of our favorite parks include:
- Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, FL.
- Largo Central Park, Full of interactive play features, synthetic turf safety surface and lots of green space.
- New Tampa Nature Park, Features paved & unpaved trails for hiking & cycling, plus a zip line & ropes course.
- Julian B Lane Riverfront Park, Playground, splash pad and green area to relax.
5. While you’re at Indian Rocks Beach, stop by Seaside Seabird Sanctuary for free admission. Children will love seeing the huge variety of birds.
6. Stop by the beautiful 30 acre Florida Botanical Gardens for free in Largo, FL.While the Florida Botanical Gardens is not technically a museum, you will be amazed at how much you will learn and the many species of plants you will encounter. Pack a picnic lunch and take a stroll through the gardens.
7. Get discounted admission to Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, FL by grabbing this limited time deal.
8. Nature at Home
Cool off this summer at one of the many water parks, pools, and splash pads available around Tampa Bay. Help your kids stay active, all while having fun. Slather on the sunscreen and take a refreshing swim or sunbathe on the beach for a few hours.
1. The biggest and the most visited Tampa Bay area attraction is our beautiful beaches. Some of our favorite beaches include:
- At the top of our list is Honeymoon Island beach, it is a perfect way to spend the summer days.
- Pass-A-Grille Beach is another one of our favorite beaches to visit.
- Swim at the beautiful Treasure Island Beach.
- Sand Key Park has playgrounds, grills, and a dog park for the whole family to enjoy.
- Take a ferry to visit the beautiful Caladesi Island State Park and lounge on the beach. Kids 5 and under ride for free on ferry.
2. Don’t have your own personal pool? No worries. Many Tampa Bay Metropolitan YMCA & Suncoast YMCA offer free or affordable admission for non-members at their pool or water slide parks during the summer. Make sure to call your local YMCA to see if they are participating and dates and times for admission.
Make it a family pool day at some of these family-friendly locations:
- Large tube slides and a zero depth entry into Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pool. $2 entry fee for kids. See the full list of pools.
- Located on Davis Islands near downtown Tampa, Roy Jenkins Pool is a great family pool that has five lap lanes and a fun children’s activity pool. See the full list of pools.
- South Tampa Family YMCA
- The Campo Family YMCA in Valrico, FL.
- Bob Sierra North Tampa Family YMCA
- Visit the Epperson Lagoon near Wesley Chapel for some local fun. It’s a little higher priced then other attractions, but an available option.
- The Lift Adventure Park operates the aquatic attractions, including the wakeboard cable, the Aqua Park, and paddlesport rentals in Sunwest Park in northwest Pasco, just off of Hwy 19 in Hudson.
- Take a dip at the large pool at the City of Dunedin Highlander Pool for $3 admission. The Sprayground is in the same park which doubles the fun.
- The St. Pete Beach Family Aquatic Center has a six-lane Junior Olympic swimming pool with an attached children’s play area for the little ones.
- 214 foot corkscrew water slide and 3-story speed slide is all the rage at Highland Family Aquatic Center in Largo.
- The North Shore Aquatic Complex in St. Pete is another local favorite that includes a 50 meter pool with a diving board.
- Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch YMCA in Sarasota offers $7 admission for non-members.
Splash Pads/ Sprinkler Parks
Admission or Membership Based
1. Splash Pads can be found in all the major Tampa area attractions like
- Busch Gardens, 10165 McKinley Drive, Tampa
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park, 1101 Sligh Ave, Tampa
- Adventure Island Water Park, 10001 McKinley Dr, Tampa
Splash Pad is closed at:
- Florida Aquarium
Free Entrance Splash Parks
2. If you don’t have a membership to a Tampa Attraction, check out these free or low cost splash parks below. These are a few of our favorites:
- Check out the beautiful Julian B Lane Waterfront Park in Tampa on 1001 North Boulevard.
- The Curtis Hixon Park has two spray fountains in between their spacious field.
- The lion themed splash pad at Anderson Park (Kate Jackson Community Center). The beautiful park that has a playground and a Little Free Library where you can get a free book or drop one off.
- Great splash pad at Dell Homes Park in St. Petersburg. Shaded picnic shelters offers a great place for parents to watch the kids. Playground is super interactive and fun.
- The Water Works Park in downtown Tampa has a huge water bucket, scenic view, walking paths and close proximity to downtown attractions.
- Colorful water fixtures at the splash pad at the Ballast Point Park in Tampa. It has an amazing view of the bay and multiple playgrounds makes this a fun family spot.
- The interactive Waterplay Sprayground at Zephyr Park in Zephyrhills has water cannons and dumping buckets to keep the kids cool and entertained.
- All Person’s Rotary Park has a great playground area tucked into the Brandon community, in addition to their splash pad area.
- The Cypress Forest Park Rec Center in Oldsmar has a fun and interactive splash area for the kids. Parking is $5 per day.
1. Pollo Tropical is extending their lunch program through the summer, throughout Florida. Kids can enjoy a FREE Kids Classic TropiChop® Bowl and a small bottle of water every Monday-Friday from 11am-12pm.
One (1) FREE Kids Classic TropiChop® and a small bottle of water per child 12 years of age or under. Child must be present. Available Monday-Friday from 11am to 12pm through drive-thru only. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Not available through online ordering. No purchase necessary. Other restrictions may apply. Available at participating company-owned locations only. Limited time only. See their Facebook post here.
2. Kids eat FREE & CHEAP across Tampa Bay. Tuesday is definitely the most popular day, so make sure to check our our Ultimate Guide to Kids Eat Free & Cheap. Please call ahead as some restaurants may have changed their policy or have closed.
2. Children 18 years and under can also eat free at designated Summer Breakspot locations throughout the summer. No child should have to worry about eating a healthy meal in the summer.