Centrally located on the Gulf Coast in Florida, the Tampa Bay region is a vacationer's ideal destination. This year-round haven offers residents and visitors alike rich history, arts, sports and attractions. Whether you stay in one of the Bay’s primary cities — Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater — or in one of the many smaller beach towns, you’re sure to love this vibrant and exciting region!
Among Tampa's most popular attractions are its beautiful beaches, recognized as some of the best in the country. These stunning sands are great for sailing, jet-skiing, parasailing or just relaxing with your toes in the soft sands. Build elaborate sandcastles in the pure white sands at Siesta Beach, scan the shores of Caspersen Beach for sharks’ teeth, explore the ruins of Fort Dade at Egmont Key State Park, or stroll the quiet inlets of Greer Island Beach at sunset. No matter what you do, you’ll almost certainly have the weather on your side — the area’s average temperature sits comfortably at 82° Fahrenheit (27.8° Celsius) year round!
Another draw to Tampa Bay is its abundant recreation, especially golf. Voted in 2011 by Golf Digest as one of the top golf cities in the nation, the Bay offers nearly 100 public and private courses, a number that continues to grow. Some of the more challenging courses include the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, home to the annual PGA Tour; the Tom Lehman-designed South Course at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club; Rolling Oaks and the Pine Barrens Course at World Woods Golf Club, the latter of which was recently ranked 26th by Golf Week as “America’s Best Modern Course”; TPC – Tampa Bay, which hosts the Champions Tour each April; and, finally, Fox Hollow Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones. So if hitting the fairways is your thing, welcome to paradise!
For those with a love of culture and the arts, the region boasts a high concentration of museums, including the Tampa Museum of Art, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Salvador Dalí Museum, the Florida Holocaust Museum, and the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum. Long-established communities like Ybor City, Old Northeast in St. Petersburg, and Palm Ceia and Hyde Park in Tampa also contain examples of the area’s historic architecture, much of which is “flavored” by the rich cultures that have settled here. Tampa Bay’s stunning botanical gardens also will captivate you, with the area playing host to four major sites: the Florida Botanical Gardens, part of the Pinewood Cultural Park in Largo; the Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg; the USF Botanical Gardens in Tampa; and the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.
The Bay area is a sports enthusiast's dream, housing three major professional sports teams — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL and MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays — and many minor-league and college teams. One of the biggest draws to this area is Spring Training; during the spring, watch your favorite MLB team get ready for the upcoming season at one of the several facilities. Represented in the region are the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers.
Busch Gardens is another top tourist destination in the Bay, attracting visitors from all over the world. With more than 2,500 exotic and endangered animals, world-famous roller coasters, Broadway-style shows, and even a Serengeti Safari, this hotspot offers something for everyone. Other theme parks worth visiting, especially for travelers with small children, are Adventure Island in Tampa and Legoland Florida, located in Winter Haven. Nature enthusiasts can explore the heart of “real Florida” by fishing the surrounding waters, horseback riding through a cattle ranch or leisurely down the Hillsborough River. Endless shopping opportunities also await, from large shopping malls with high-end stores to outlet malls and small, charming boutiques.
So whether you're looking for action-packed adventure or a relaxing, slow-paced getaway with Southern charm, the Tampa Bay area is sure to be your perfect destination!