If you’re looking for somewhere exotic and tropical to travel to and escape the lingering winter blues, you don’t have to look much farther than the south of Florida. Traveling to colorful, tropical destinations doesn’t have to break the bank or require a passport! There are so many amazing Florida islands that give you that laid-back, Caribbean vibe that are just a bus ride or boat trip away.
Stay for a day or a weekend, with easy transportation back to the mainland. If you’re looking for your next tropical vacation, we’ve got you covered with these Florida islands that are cheaper to travel to than the Caribbean.
Why You Need To Go: Marco Island is the largest out of Florida's "Ten Thousand Islands," and there's plenty to do. Explore the Everglades via swamp buggy or airboat, or lounge on the white sand beaches. You can usually grab a cheap ticket for about $162 through Spirit Airlines.
Price: $180 for a day trip
Why You Need To Go: Dry Tortugas National Park is only accessible via seaplane or boat, but it's well worth the trip. The crystal clear waters, coral reefs, and marine life make for an incredible snorkeling adventure, and you can even camp overnight.
Why You Need To Go: With some hotel stays averaging at less than $60, and plane tickets around $180, a trip to the famous Key Largo is quick and easy. Dive, windsurf, dolphin watch, and eat your heart out with delicious Caribbean food.
Why You Need To Go: Marathon is actually made up of a handful of islands in the middle of the Florida Keys and is a perfect trip for seafood lovers. Browse for your dream vacation home, or check out one of the many seafood festivals held there. Depending on the time of year, you can usually catch a flight for around $200.
Why You Need To Go: Key West has a little something for everyone, from the outdoorsy types to the art appreciators. Visit Ernest Hemingway's old home, or snorkel through crystal blue waters. Hotels for two usually average out to $200 a night, and you can grab a quick flight from Orlando International Airport for about $226.
Price: $6 toll
Why You Need To Go: Sanibel is extremely secluded and quiet — the perfect getaway trip — but you will be driving most of the way there. The Causeway Toll Bridge is $6, but for the Shelling Capital of the World, we think it's worth it.
So, where will your penny pinching take you?