Let’s first distinguish between Tampa and Tampa Bay. As long as you are in Tampa proper then you might as well spread your wings and visit St. Petersburg and Clearwater, all three of which comprise Tampa Bay.
There’s plenty to see and do in Tampa whether it is visiting the sun-splashed beaches or checking out the social scene. But that is just scratching the surface because if you have chosen the Tampa Bay area for your next vacation then you have chosen wisely.
Let’s discuss some of the must-see attractions in the area that will keep you busy from the time you arrive until the time you depart and will keep you wanting more!
Raymond James Stadium
The locals refer to it as the “Ray Jay” and it is one of the most spectacular football stadiums in the NFL. It opened in 1998 but underwent a massive renovation which lasted two years and was completed in 2018. It is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will be hosting the Super Bowl which will be held on February 7th of this year. We don’t know for sure, but the Bucs could be playing on the league’s grandest stage and in their own stadium as they will be vying with the Green Bay Packers for conference supremacy and the Packer are one of the favorites according to sportsbookreview.
Tours are available and the venue hosts concerts featuring the most popular artists in the world like U2, Beyonce, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, and many more. Monster Jam and WrestleMania have also found a home at the Ray Jay. Make sure to check out the iconic pirate ship that fires its cannons seven times for a touchdown and three times for a field goal when the Bucs score. A remote-controlled parrot is stationed on the stern of the ship and will talk to patrons as they pass by below.
Sometimes you have to choose between going to the zoo or checking out an amusement park. But why choose, when you have both at your disposal with just one visit to Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay?! Jump in the back of an open-air touring vehicle that allows you to get up close and personal with giraffes, elephants, hippos, and so much more that it will make you forget you’re in Tampa and not the Serengeti! Busch Gardens is home to over 200 species of animals. US News & World named Busch Gardens as having one of the best zoos in the United States.
And if it’s thrill rides that turn you on then you couldn’t have picked a better place. There are several roller coasters that will leave you breathless including the brand-new Iron Gwazi which is, according to their website, the “tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world.”
There is also the famous, Falcon’s Fury, which is a 335-foot drop tower that will have you screaming all the way down. And don’t forget to get on over to the Stanley Falls Flume that provides a water ride unlike any other you’ve experienced. That just the tip of the iceberg, as you will have to visit Busch Gardens yourself because seeing is believing!
If you’re ready for fun in the sun then look no further because some of the most beautiful beaches in the country are here to explore. There is an average of 361 days of sunshine in the Tampa Bay area so you would have to get spectacularly unlucky to get more than one rainy day in a row. It just doesn’t happen which is why the beaches are usually full but large enough to allow everyone their own space.
Below are arguably the top five beaches in the Tampa Bay area but there are dozens more that give these a run for their money so go visit and see them all!
- Apollo Beach Nature Reserve, Hillsborough County – There is plenty of parking in this twin beach paradise and dogs are welcome as long as they are properly trained. The views are gorgeous and the surf is friendly.
- Madeira Beach, Pinellas County – The locals call it Mad Beach but it’s anything but because it is family-friendly and has a boardwalk stretching the length of the beach with shops and restaurants for beachgoers to enjoy.
- Archibald Beach Park, St. Petersburg – Also known as The Hammocks, this is another family-friendly venue with warm water, beach volleyball courts, small cafes, showers, and restrooms all available.
- Clearwater Beach, Pinellas County – This is a great spot if you want plenty of activity with jet-skiing and parasailing as a mainstay. The nightlife surrounding the beach comes to life when the sun goes down.
- Ben T. Davis Beach, Tampa City – This is the largest beach in the city and it has the ubiquitous beach volleyball games all day long while offering a wonderful picnic area in which to eat, drink, and be merry. For those who like to hike or bike trails, the Courtney Campbell is popular among those who love exercising in the great outdoors.
Are you a big fan of culture, movies, and drama? Well, Tampa Theatre is one of the places you should visit without any doubt. Believe it or not, the theatre exists for 95 years (built-in 1926). Since then, it managed to attract millions of people to come and visit it. Thanks to famous architect John Eberson, Tampa theatre has one of the most beautiful interior designs in the world. Believe it or not, the interior design comes with a 1400-pipe Wurlitzer organ. In that way, the designer wanted to make it look like a Mediterranean garden. Despite that, the ceilings of the theater come with 99 bulbs. The purpose of these bulbs is to resemble stars in the night sky.
There is one essential thing that tourists should know. You don’t have to attend a show in order to visit the theatre. Tourists can also take a tour and check out the engaging design we talked about in that way.
Are you the type of person that wants to visit different places by walk? If that’s the case, we have good news for you. Tampa Riverwalk is the first place you should visit after coming to this place. Believe it or not, the length of the riverwalk is around 2.6 miles. It goes along the Hillsborough River in Tampa. The good thing is that you can enjoy a wide range of activities. For instance, you can ride a bike, walk, rollerblade, etc. However, you will also get the chance to visit some beautiful strokes, parks, playgrounds, and restaurants.
We are sure that most of the tourists are not going to bring their bike together with them. Fortunately, there are many bike rental shops along the Tampa Riverwalk. Despite that, we recommend you visit some of the attractions along the riverwalk like glazer Children’s Museum and Florida Aquarium.
Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center
There is a good reason why the city of Tampa welcomes many guests every year. It is a place where you can find everything you imagine. Because of that, we need to mention that Tampa is also an excellent place for animal lovers. If you like zoos and aquariums, we have some good news for new. In most cases, entering these places won’t cost you a single penny. On the other hand, even if you need to purchase a ticket, the price is going to be affordable.
One of the places that deserve your attention is Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center. You will manage to see manatees swimming through the so-called Tampa Electric water plant. Water is not the only thing that will grab your attention there. You can also check some other attractions such as gift shops, mangrove exhibits, and butterfly gardens. Climbing the 50-feet viewing tower can also make your time more entertaining. You will manage to get a bird’s-eye view of the entire area in that way.
It is hard to say which place from our list deserves your attention the most. If you have enough time, we recommend you visit them all. However, the best place for your needs depends on the interests you have. As we said, if you are an animal lover, visiting Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center would be the right choice. On the other hand, if you want to relax and have fun, beaches are the best option you can get. We will let you decide on your own.