I am so excited to share with you all of what makes Tampa so beautiful! Tampa sits along Florida’s Gulf Coast, and is the third most populated city in Florida! (There’s a reason everyone wants to live here). You can expect everything from a big city to white sand beaches in the area, and I can promise you won’t get bored! So, let’s start with our Tampa travel guide!
Who Am I?
Hi! I’m Destiny Snyder, a travel blogger and content creator located in sunny Tampa, Florida. I’ve lived in the Tampa Bay Area for the last five years. I’m originally from Ohio and came here not knowing anyone, or anything about the area. It was truly the best (and scariest) decision I ever made!
I focus a lot on Florida content (there is so much to do here!), but I also share my other domestic and international travels as well. When I travel I love finding the best restaurants, activities, and hidden gems a place has to offer and I love creating easily consumable mini-guides on my Insta, so be sure to check those out!
1. Duration of Ideal Stay and Visiting Season
Summers are humid with frequent scattered showers, I recommend coming in May, or the fall and winter. The weather is lovely then, and at the beginning of fall, the water is still warm enough to swim in (in the winter the water is a bit too chilly for beach days).
I would spend about a week in the area. While you can conquer the best of Tampa in a few days, part of what makes Tampa so awesome is the amazing surrounding areas! I highly recommend trying to check out St. Pete, Clearwater, and Dunedin while in the area!
2. How to Get to The City from Airport?
If you plan to just stay in Tampa, you can get an affordable (around $15) Uber or Lyft into the city (it’s about a 15-minute ride). I recommend renting a car though since you will most likely want to explore the surrounding areas as well!
3. Where to Accommodate in Tampa?
If you’re staying in the downtown area a hotel will most likely be your best bet. There aren’t too many Airbnbs in the downtown area, and they end up being more expensive than a hotel often with all of the additional fees.
I would check on Booking.com for hotel deals, and then call the hotel and see if they will price match if you book directly. I say this because sometimes hotels have more flexible cancellation policies than third-party sites.
4. In City Transportation
If you’re just exploring Tampa, you will be fine walking and Ubering. But if you are giving yourself enough time to explore surrounding areas, you should definitely rent a car.
If you really don’t want to rent a car there is the Cross Bay Ferry which will actually take you from downtown Tampa to downtown St. Pete! Just know that it is not currently running Mondays and Tuesdays. Adult fares are $20 round trip!
5. Suggested Budget for Tampa
To really experience the city, I would say you’re going to want to budget between $100-150/day. There are a lot of free activities (including the beach), so most of that money will typically be allotted for transportation and food and drinks.
6. Things to See and Do in Tampa
Let’s take a look at the most important part of our Tampa travel guide!
Best Places to Visit in Tampa
The Dali Museum
If you’re into museums, The Dali Museum is a must. Aside from Europe, St. Pete houses the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s work! It’s truly a unique experience, and it’s so fun trying to interpret Dali’s Surrealism. Tickets are $25 for adults. Make sure to reserve your tickets in advance! After you’re done at The Dali, make sure to check out St. Pete Pier!
If you’re more into adventure, you can spend the day at Busch Gardens, it’s an African-themed amusement park that even has a safari you can do! In this safari, you literally get to hand-feed giraffes, and it’s the coolest thing! Tickets are around $100, and it’s an additional $50 for the feed the giraffes’ safari tour.
Weeki Wachee Springs
If you want to have a more frugal adventure, one of my favorite things to do is spend the day at Weeki Wachee Springs. It’s an hour north of Tampa, but well worth the drive. You can rent a kayak or SUP from The Kayak Shack for $35-40 for the whole day! You’ll go through the Weeki Wachee River, which is a natural Florida Spring and has the most crystal clear water! The best part? There’s a really good chance you’re going to encounter some manatee friends!
Nightlife in Tampa
Downtown St. Pete is the best for nightlife. On Central and 1st Avenue there is a bar after bar you can pop in and out of! It’s super walkable, and there are so many different types of bars you’re sure to find one that fits your needs!
International Plaza is an extremely gorgeous shopping mall in Tampa. It has several luxury shops, as well as more affordable options! There are also a lot of great restaurants in their outdoor area!
Tours in Tampa
For the most part, I would recommend exploring the city on your own. If you do make your way over to Clearwater Beach there are some fun boat tours you can check out, but other than that I recommend just seeing the sights on your own! Here’s a list of the fun tours you can do if you visit Clearwater Beach.
Special Events in Tampa
If you’re a fan of music festivals, Sunset Music Festival is held at Raymond James Stadium over Memorial Day Weekend every year. It’s always a magical, fun time.
Another really fun annual event Tampa has is Gasparilla. You can expect drunk “pirates” invading the streets and canals, parades, and fun parties throughout the city. For history on the event check here.
7. What to Eat/Drink at Where?
Now, let’s continue with the most delicious part of the Tampa travel guide!
Upscale Dinin Experience in Tampa
In Tampa, if you are wanting an upscale dining experience, the best places to eat are Meat Market and Bern’s Steakhouse. Both are phenomenal for steak and seafood options. Make sure to make reservations! Berns is typically booked up months in advance. Even if you can’t get into Bern’s for dinner, try going for dessert! They have their very own dessert room that is totally separate from their dinner dining experience!
For something a little more low-key, Armature Works is amazing. It’s like a large food hall in an old warehouse. There are so many food options, it doesn’t matter what you’re craving you’re sure to find something!
For Breakfast or Brunch
For breakfast or brunch, Oxford Exchange is an AMAZING spot! You will fall in LOVE with the interior designer of this stylish place! And, it’s more than just a pretty face, the food and drinks are amazing too! I love their french toast, and they serve Buddy Brew coffee, which in my opinion, is the best coffee in Florida!
If you make your way over to St. Pete, there are SO MANY amazing restaurants in the area, but here is a list of the best!
8. Suggested Movie for Tampa
If like me, you’re a dolphin lover, I recommend watching Dolphin Tale. It’s based on a true story of a young dolphin who damaged her tail and is rescued and transported to Clearwater Marine Hospital. The prognosis seems bleak, but a marine biologist and prosthetics designer team up to help Winter live. You can actually visit Winter at the Clearwater Aquarium!
9. Warnings, Tips, and Tricks
If you do rent a car, download the Spot Hero app. Hotels sometimes charge hefty parking fees, but Spot Hero helps you find affordable parking in the area to avoid that!
As far as safety goes, Tampa is generally safe, but there are some areas that are definitely safer than others. Be sure to look up the specific area you plan to be in beforehand.
I hope you enjoyed my Tampa travel guide! Please let me know your thoughts about my Tampa travel guide in the comments below!