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Sunshine is a near constant in Florida’s coastal city of Tampa, which offers a range of fun-in-the-sun activities, from big amusement parks to boat tours. As a bonus for families, many of Tampa’s offerings are kid-friendly, including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay amusement park, the Lowry Park Zoo, and Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary. Of course, the water is a key attraction, and a kayaking tour, a stand-up paddleboard excursion, or cruising out on the Tampa Bay—or through the network of inland waterways—should be on your agenda. As you take to the water, be on the lookout for manatees, fish, dolphins, and birds. For a more beachy experience, take a guided day trip from Tampa to nearby Clearwater Beach, or head to St. Petersburg beach for a chance to sink your toes into white, sugar-like sand. Beat the heat in the Florida Aquarium, filled with 20,000 plants and animals, and know that you can pre-book tickets to scuba dive in its coral reef gallery. Dive deeper into biology, geology, and astrology at the Museum of Science and Industry, which includes 450 hands-on activities for kids that are both educational and entertaining, in addition to an IMAX theater, ropes course, and planetarium. Plan ahead and get a pass that allows entry into multiple attractions for one low price. To learn more about downtown Tampa’s beginnings, take a Ybor City food tour of the historic neighborhood, which pays homage to the city’s Spanish and Cuban roots.
Raise a sail and chart a course for Tampa in the winter. Gasparilla Pirate Fest brings family-friendly revelry to the city every year. A boat full of buccaneers invades the Bay, taking over the city for a day of pirate-themed parties and parades. Gasparilla events actually take place for months, so visiting in spring means you can still experience the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. March also hosts the Tampa Pride festival and parade, as well as the Mayor’s River O’Green Fest.
If you’ve brought your car—or even your bike, boat, or kayak—then you already have everything you need to explore Tampa’s beautiful city and surroundings. Visitors who arrived with nothing more than a suitcase and a smile are covered, too. Water taxis, Zipcar car shares, Coast Bike Share, and multiple bus routes are affordable, accessible, and reliable. A ride on the historic TECO Line from downtown’s Channel District to Ybor City is a must—especially if happen to be fond of mojitos and cigars.
From NHL games at Amalie Arena to stingray encounters at the Florida Aquarium, downtown Tampa has a handful of amazing attractions. The hallmark sites, though, aren’t in the center of the city: Busch Gardens and ZooTampa at Lowry Park are in the north while the NFL stadium is west of downtown. MLB games throw out pitches in nearby St. Petersburg, but the short drive is worth it. St. Pete also is also home to the Salvador Dalí Museum and access to famous Clearwater Beach.
Tampa is known for its championship sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays (baseball), Lightning (ice hockey), and Buccaneers (football); Busch Gardens theme park; and the cigar factories of Ybor City. Visitors often choose Tampa for its proximity to Orlando and Clearwater, as well as its own attractions like the Florida Aquarium....More
Whether you have a full week or a single day to spend in Tampa, you’ll find plenty to do. Major attractions such as the Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa, and Busch Gardens will fill a day. Exploring Ybor City and Downtown, and taking a trip to the Gulf beaches are also must-dos....More
Spend a weekend in Tampa exploring more than just downtown. Sports fans shouldn’t miss a Tampa Bay Lightning game, especially given the arena’s location in the Channel District. A visit to nearby Clearwater Beach is a must; a trip to Busch Gardens is a popular local activity, too....More
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Tampa, it’s a day exploring the Ybor City neighborhood. This compact area is a National Historic Landmark District and is accessible via a paid trolley from downtown Tampa. International cultures, especially Cuban, take center stage here....More
Foodies who flock to Tampa will be rewarded with a variety of tasty treats. The bay surrounding the city, coupled with the nearby Gulf of Mexico, brings fresh seafood to the table. International cuisine can be found throughout downtown, but foodies must try the original Cuban sandwich in Ybor City....More
Tampa should absolutely be on your travel list. This large Central Florida city has something for everyone, from theme parks like Busch Gardens and championship sports teams to bayside dining and easy access to Gulf beaches. Ybor City, one of Tampa’s lively neighborhoods, embraces Cuban culture and its famous cigars....More
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