Visitors to Tampa Bay find its mid-size city charm and lack of pretension some of its most endearing qualities, while also finding plenty of offerings usually seen only in larger cities - for example, Tampa Bay is home to the professional football, baseball, and hockey teams the Buccaneers, the Rays, and the Lightning, respectively. For these reasons, Tampa Bay is one of the most popular options for Florida vacation rentals and will appeal to kids and adults alike.
Things to do in Tampa Bay
If getting out in the sun, surf, or sand is on your vacation checklist, Tampa Bay is the perfect destination. Soak up some rays and work on that tan at Clearwater Beach, one of the Tampa's renowned white sand beaches. Or watch a stunning pastel-colored sunset as you browse vendors and nightly entertainment at Sunsets at Pier 60, a 20-year running daily festival of local art, music, and entertainment on Clearwater’s Pier 60.
After the sunset, take in the warm coastal breeze with a frozen cocktail at Hogan’s Beach, where you and your friends can nibble on local specialties like conch fritters and Gulf Grouper sandwiches. The nighttime is also the right time to bust some moves on the dance floors, and Tampa Bay has some of the best with deejays at legendary clubs like Tampa's CZAR, Club Underground, and The Kennedy playing trance, techno, house, electronica, and dancehall music into the early morning hours.
If you’re looking for a location with great sports culture, you’re also in luck in Tampa Bay. Enjoy a hot dog and beer while cheering on the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, or watch a puck whiz by at downtown Tampa’s Amalie Arena, home to the Tampa Bay Lightning. If you come during the autumn months, make sure to include a stop through Raymond James Stadium for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game. The Tampa Bay area is also home to spring training for teams including the Yankees and the Phillies.
Tampa Bay is also home to fantastic attractions, ranging from family-friendly amusement parks like Busch Gardens to the largest collection of Salvador Dali works in the United States at St. Petersburg's Dali Museum.
Outdoor adventures in Tampa Bay
Abundant tropical coastline and warm, cerulean blue Gulf of Mexico waters surround much of Tampa Bay, making it a premier location for exploring Florida’s beautiful coastal habitat. Don't miss Fort De Soto Park, just south of St. Pete with five interconnected keys teeming with wildlife and gorgeous beaches.
The naturalist in your group will love kayaking through lush mangrove swamps, or taking a guided nature walk among saw palmetto and live oak trees at Caladesi Island State Park on the north end of Clearwater Beach, just 27 miles from downtown Tampa. Or head 69 miles south of downtown Tampa to find alligators, cranes, over 100 other species, and 37,000 acres of native cypress swamp in Myakka River State Park.
With miles of bicycle and kayak-friendly coastal salt marsh habitat, Robinson Nature Preserve in Bradenton is a great destination for exploring the region’s native flora and fauna, and will appeal to both families seeking low-key fun and couples looking for a leisurely excursion they can take together.
Day trips from Tampa Bay
Because Tampa Bay comprises an area of over 60 miles from Tampa on the northern boundary to Sarasota on the southern end, many great day trips are accessible within an easy car ride going any direction. If a visit to the beach is on your agenda - and it should be! - go 67 miles south from downtown Tampa to find Siesta Key Beach, which, thanks to its unique powder-like sand, was once voted the number one “Best Sand Beach in America” by the Travel Channel. Here couples can take a romantic evening stroll framed by a magnificent sunset, and families will love hunting together for seashells deposited by the tides.
With over 130 stores featuring everything from tobacco shops to clothiers and restaurants, St. Armand’s Key - an island only 65 miles from downtown Tampa in Sarasota Bay - is a shopping paradise that will undoubtedly win the heart (and checkbook!) of anyone in your group seeking eclectic shopping and dining options.
If your group is more interested in art and cultural fare, look no further than the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which sits just 58 miles south of downtown Tampa in Sarasota. Feast your eyes on over 21 galleries of beautiful European paintings or inhale the intoxicating perfume of hundreds of gorgeous roses in the museum’s garden quarters - there’s plenty of interesting sights, sounds, and historical lessons to be gleaned from a day spent at this unique museum.
So whether you’re coming for beachside relaxation or nightlife excitement in an area with great shopping, dining, entertainment offerings, a stay in on of our Tampa Bay vacation rentals gives you access to it all!
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