Tampa is the third largest city in Florida, not to mention one of the most exciting.
From Busch Gardens to the Tampa Bay Museum of Art, from Lowry Park Zoo to Curtis Hixon Park, you’d be hard pressed to visit it all in one trip.
If you prefer the outdoors, check out TPC Tampa Bay, where you can find 18 holes of championship golf, or go canoeing down the Hillsborough river.
If you’re looking for a “wine and dine” style experience, there are any number of gourmet restaurants in downtown Tampa waiting to serve you the meal of your dreams. Not to mention the award winning breweries spread throughout the city, serving up craft beers, cider, beer, and even moonshine.
If the nightlife is your thing, Ybor City might be what you’re looking for.
Nightclubs, bars, restaurants and breweries abound in one of the liveliest parts of Tampa. Ride the trolley into the city and take in the sights.
If entertainment is what you’re after, Tampa boasts museums, performing arts, and several major sports teams.
The Dali Museum, the Glazer Children’s Museum, the Florida Museum of Photographic arts are all world class institutions in the Tampa bay area. Take in a play at the Straz Center for Performing Arts, or a concert at Amalie Arena. The Bucs, Lightning, and Rays all play within an hour’s drive of each other, not to mention the Rowdies in downtown.
If you like the beach, Clearwater is the place to be.
Clearwater is consistently recognized by institutions like USATODAY and TripAdvisor as one of the nicest beach-going destinations in the United States. Miles of beautiful sand and ocean await any travelers lucky enough to find themselves on Clearwater beach.
Every good visit to Clearwater beach begins on Pier 60, a hotspot of activity. Grab an ice cream, enjoy local musicians, and enjoy the shops and vendors along the boardwalk. Don’t forget to check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, perhaps best known for housing the dolphin that inspired the hit movie Dolphin Tale.
Surrounding Pier 60 are local restaurants, where you can order seafood fresh off the boat. Crab, lobster, fried grouper sandwiches and calamari are just a few of the delicious offerings in Clearwater.
After you’ve eaten, you can walk or drive north to check out the rest of the island. The city eventually gives way to the Caladesi Island State Park, a pristine, beautiful, isolated beach getaway.
If you’d like to stay on Clearwater beach, there are several hotel options. The Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa and the Opal Sands Resort are two of the highest end choices, but there are dozens of options all over the price spectrum.
St. Petersburg, FL
The hidden gem of the Tampa Bay area, St. Pete may be the most exciting vacation destination around.
From their adorable, historic downtown to their gorgeous beaches, St. Pete has it all.
St. Pete is home to six beautiful beaches. From North Reddington down to Shell Key, they stretch for miles on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. While these beaches are some of the furthest away from Downtown Tampa, they’re certainly worth a visit – especially if seclusion is something you value. Madeira Beach and Treasure Island especially are worth a visit.
If you’re looking for some outdoor fun that isn’t beach related, there are several beautiful outdoor parks in the St. Pete area.
In downtown St. Pete you can find Vinoy Park, which sits on the Tampa Bay, offering gorgeous views and fun for all ages. Up north you can find the Mangrove Bay and Cypress Links golf courses, which offer both a 9 hold and an 18 hole course.
A little further north from that is the Weedon Island Preserve, a 3000 acre untouched park full of natural beauty. Go on a hike, rent a canoe or a kayak, or even go bird watching.
Downtown St. Pete has a decidedly different feel from something like Ybor City.
It’s a quaint, slow moving beach town, perfect for a relaxing vacation. Breweries, farmer’s markets, parks and shops are all around. St. Pete is a fast growing part of the Tampa Bay area, and is on the brink of a cultural explosion. St. Pete is quite literally full of exciting cultural experiences. From stage shows to art installations to murals, there’s always something new and exciting to do. There’s never been a better time to visit!