Tampa Treasures: A Traveler’s Guide to Florida’s Gulf Coast Gem

Discover Tampa

Tampa, Florida promises an exhilarating escape filled with sunshine, culture, and adventure. Situated along the picturesque Gulf Coast, Tampa offers a diverse array of attractions and activities to suit every traveler’s interests. From the vibrant downtown area with its bustling waterfront and lively entertainment districts to the historic neighborhoods steeped in rich cultural heritage, there’s something for everyone to discover in this dynamic city. With its year-round warm weather, vibrant culinary scene, and abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, Tampa offers an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking relaxation, exploration, and endless fun in the Sunshine State.


Best time to visit
Best places to visit

Three Fun Facts About Tampa


World’s Longest Continuous Sidewalk

Did you know you can take a stroll on the world’s longest continuous sidewalk? Bayshore Boulevard is the champion here, stretching 4.5 miles, and flaunting spectacular Tampa Bay views. Perfect landscape for your vacation selfies, right?


Cigar Capital

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Tampa was known as the “Cigar Capital of the World” due to its booming cigar industry. Ybor City, a historic neighborhood in Tampa, was once home to numerous cigar factories and is still known for its cigar heritage today.


Cuban Sandwich

Tampa claims to be the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich, a popular delicacy made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami, pressed between Cuban bread. It’s a local favorite and a must-try for visitors.


Must See Attractions

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Busch Gardens

Nature & Parks

This African-themed park offers roller coasters that’ll make your heart skip a beat. And it’s an animal lover’s paradise too!

Adventure Island


Right next to Busch Gardens, cool off at this water park. Slides and pools? Check. Lazy rivers? Absolutely.

Ybor City

Shopping & Dining

Step back in time in this historic neighborhood with roots in cigar manufacturing.

Armature Works


This restaurant is a foodie’s heaven with eclectic choices in a refurbished historic building.



This exciting city is just around the corner. Theme parks galore if you fancy a day trip!

Florida Aquarium

Zoo & Aquarium

These icons are just a stone’s throw from each other. Encounter marine life up close at the aquarium.

Popular Lakes Near Tampa

Ever fancied a lakeside getaway? You’re in luck! Tampa is not only about sandy beaches; it’s also a neighbor to some pretty spectacular lakes. Here’s the scoop on where to soak in nature’s serenity or launch your kayak for an adventure. Grabbing some downtime by a lake might just be the peaceful interlude you need. With several lakes just a stone’s throw from Tampa, there’s always a new spot to explore or a new water trail to conquer with your kayak. Remember, these are just the beginnings of your lakeside adventures near Tampa!

Lake Tarpon

39699 US Hwy 19 N, Tarpon Springs, Florida 34689

Known for being beautifully serene, Lake Tarpon is the place if you’re seeking tranquility coupled with a touch of fishing. Don’t have your gear? No worries! There are plenty of opportunities to rent what you need nearby. Here’s a quick fact—it’s received a five star Yelp review! Not bad, right?

Distance from Tampa: 26 miles
Water sports, fishing, boating, hiking

Lake Thonotosassa

12133 Stone Lake Ranch Blvd, Thonotosassa, Florida 33592

Next up is Lake Thonotosassa. It’s quite the gem with fewer homes cluttering the view, making it wonderfully peaceful. With a 4.5 star rating on Yelp, it’s clear that folks love the clean, open water here. Fancy a paddle? With your kayak, you can glide seamlessly across the calm waters, maybe even grab a selfie with the lush backdrop! Remember to pack a picnic; nothing beats a lakeside snack after a bit of kayaking.

Distance from Tampa: 20 miles
Kayaking, swimming

Riviera Bay

Riviera Bay St. Petersburg, Florida 33702

Riviera Bay hits the sweet spot with a perfect Yelp score too! It’s part of the Gateway area, suggesting an easy escape from the city hustle. So, grab your kayak or just your swimsuit and enjoy the best of what Tampa’s lakes have to offer.

Distance from Tampa: 15 miles
Boating, water sports

Secret Fishing Destinations Near Tampa

Hey there, angler! Ever fantasized about a peaceful fishing spot all to yourself? Tampa might just have what you’re hoping for! Let’s cast into some hidden gems where you can reel in the big one without the crowds. Ready to cast away from the usual spots? Pack your gear and let Tampa’s secret fishing destinations surprise you!

Ballast Point Park

5300 Interbay Blvd, Tampa, Florida 33611

Did you know that just a short 15 minute drive from downtown Tampa, you can find Ballast Point Park? It’s true! This spot is a dream for those who love the tranquility of early morning bites or the calmness of dusk. Whether you’re planning a family outing or a quiet day with your special someone, the park’s pier is not only scenic but also accommodating for all levels of fishing enthusiasts.

Fishing: Shoreline, pier, kayaking
Snook, redfish, trout, flounder, sheepshead, mangrove snapper

Lake Thorpe

10509-10525 Lake Williams Dr, Odessa, Florida 33556

Shh, it’s a hidden retreat! Imagine a charming lakefront view with your very own dock to fish from. Have kids or non-fishing partners? They can paddle around in the provided boat while you wait for the next bite.

Fishing: Shoreline, dock
Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish

Little Manatee River State Park

215 Lightfoot Rd, Wimauma, Florida 33598

Located southeast of Tampa near Wimauma, Little Manatee River State Park features a pristine river teeming with fish. Kayak anglers can explore the river’s winding channels and shallow flats, targeting species such as snook, redfish, largemouth bass, and panfish.

Fishing: Shoreline
Snook, redfish, largemouth bass, panfish

Best Hiking Trails Within 1 Hour from Tampa

Ever thought about escaping the hustle of Tampa city life for a bit? There’s a refreshing adventure waiting just a stone’s throw away! Whether you’re a solo explorer, tagging along with your family, or venturing out for a romantic stroll, these nearby trails are a breath of fresh air. Check out these paths where cityscapes meet green spaces. They offer shaded trails, and waterfront views, and are perfect for your daily dose of outdoor exercise. Remember, your next ‘wow’ moment in nature is less than an hour away. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore the best hikes near Tampa!

Lettuce Lake Park Loop

Lettuce Lake Park Trail, Tampa, Florida 33637

A touch of wilderness in the backyard of Tampa, Lettuce Lake Park is a delightful find. Wander along the wooden boardwalks; spy herons, egrets, and other feathered friends; or simply enjoy the mossy oak canopies.

Distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 
2 m
Time to Complete:
30 minutes

Baynard Trail and Seminole Trail

Rapids Nature Trail, 4QXF+M2, Tampa, Florida 33592

Fancy a dip into Florida’s natural springs or a thrilling encounter with rapids? This park is an all-in-one spot with lush surroundings and an inviting atmosphere. Pull on your hiking boots and discover your new favorite trail.

Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation Gain:
 23 m
Time to Complete:
2 hours

Steinhatchee Falls Trail

Steinhatchee Falls, Steinhatchee, Florida 32359

This hidden gem is the widest waterfall around. Follow the oak hammocks and be rewarded with sounds of serenity from the rushing water. It’s a bit of a drive but oh-so-worth-it for that storybook scenery.

Distance: 0.4 miles
Out & back
Elevation Gain: 

Time to Complete:
15 minutes

Best Golf Courses Around Tampa

Hey there, golf enthusiast! Dreaming of a golf getaway where you can tee off surrounded by sunshine and stunning scenery? Tampa’s got you covered. With numerous golf courses that mix challenge with charm, your next trip to Florida could be a hole-in-one experience. Did you know? Tampa isn’t just about beautiful beaches; it’s a golf mecca too! Whether you’re here with family, on a business trip, or simply looking to escape on the greens, the area’s courses are tailored to all skills and occasions.

Tampa Palms Golf Course

5811 Tampa Palms Blvd, Tampa, Florida 33647

It’s the perfect spot for groups or families. Spacious rentals nearby make it easy to turn your golf outing into a weekend retreat. Tampa’s greens are calling—will you answer? Book a tee time, grab your clubs, and experience the best of Florida’s golfing.

Holes: 18
Arthur Hills

Visit their website for more information

Black Diamond Ranch

3125 W Black Diamond Cir suite 100, Lecanto, Florida 34461

A quick drive from Tampa, this facility sports a total of 45 holes across its various courses. The renowned Quarry Course, with its dramatic elevation changes, will leave you both challenged and awestruck.

Holes: 45
Tom Fazio

Visit their website for more information

Copperhead Golf Club at Southern Hills Plantation

4200 Summit View Drive, Brooksville, Florida 34601

Situated in Brooksville, about one hour north of Tampa, Copperhead Golf Club offers a challenging course designed by renowned architect Rees Jones. It features elevated tee boxes, natural hazards, and strategic bunkering.

Holes: 18
Rees Jones

Visit their website for more information

Tips on Renting a Vacation Property in Tampa

Research Neighborhoods

Familiarize yourself with the different neighborhoods in Tampa to find the one that best suits your preferences and needs, whether you’re looking for a beachfront location, a suburban retreat, or a downtown apartment.

Set a Budget

Determine your budget for the rental property, including any additional fees such as cleaning fees, taxes, and security deposits. Be sure to factor in any extra costs for amenities or services you may require.

Book Early

Tampa is a popular vacation destination, especially during peak seasons like spring break and the winter months. To secure the best vacation rental options at competitive prices, consider booking your accommodation well in advance.

Plan Activities

Research nearby attractions, dining options, outdoor activities, and events to make the most of your time in Tampa. Having a plan in place can help you maximize your enjoyment and create lasting memories during your vacation rental stay.

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Jet Skiing

Hey there! Ready to soak up the sun and fun in Tampa, Florida? This vibrant city lies along the Gulf Coast, part of the expansive Tampa Bay area. It’s the place where work meets vacation and where adventure awaits around every corner. Planning a sunny escape to Tampa? Great choice! Whether you’re daydreaming about strolling the balmy beaches of Clearwater or sipping a cool drink by a heated pool, we’ve got the scoop to make finding your perfect vacation rental a sea breeze.

Family-Friendly Vibes

Bringing the whole crew? Tampa is a hot spot for families. With places like Busch Gardens for the thrill-seekers and The Florida Aquarium for marine life lovers, there’s no shortage of entertainment. Not to mention, Adventure Island is a splash hit during those warmer days!

Cultural Excursions

Got a taste for history and culture? Historic Ybor City gives you a peek into the past with its fascinating streets and buildings. Plus, Downtown Tampa has a modern buzz with a side of laid-back leisure, especially along the scenic Riverwalk.

Are you a sports fan? Then, you can’t miss visiting the iconic Raymond James Stadium and Amalie Arena. Whether it’s football season or you’re catching a hockey game, the energy is electrifying!

Type of Rental

What’s your vibe? Start by choosing the type of rental that suits your style. From chic condos to charming cottages, Tampa’s got it all.

– Condos often offer great amenities and a sense of community.
– Cottages can be the quintessence of coziness and often come with that adorable, homey feel.
Villas promise more space and luxury, perfect for when you want to splurge!
Beachfront properties give you the best of sun, sand, and surf.
Pet-friendly accommodations ensure your furry friend won’t miss out on the fun.

Where in Tampa?

– Sarasota and Anna Maria Island are ideal for laid-back vibes.
– Naples or Miami Beach offers upscale experiences.
– Florida Keys for that ultimate waterfront retreat.


Remember to check out reviews and consider these crucial amenities:
Essential comforts like Wi-Fi and air conditioning.
– Kitchen for when you’re in the mood to whip up a storm.
– Parking, especially if you have a rental car.
– Pool or spa to unwind after a day of exploration.

Lastly, platforms like Lake, Airbnb, and Vrbo® make booking a breeze and provide rental options for all budgets.

Accessibility and Convenience

Public transportation is a no-fuss way to navigate. Plus, many vacation rentals are conveniently close to these must-visit spots, so you can walk to top attractions.

Grab your sunglasses and gear up for a blend of relaxation and adventure in Tampa. Who knew you could find a place with the charm of a small town and the amenities of a bustling city? Tampa did, and it’s waiting for you! Ready to soak up some Tampa sun? Pick a spot that hits all your checkboxes and get ready for some Florida fun!

Frequently Asked Questions about Tampa

Absolutely! Many Tampa rentals roll out the welcome mat for pets. Filter your search on the sites mentioned to easily spot these friendly accommodations. Just check for any additional pet fees or rules to keep tails wagging.

For that extra sparkle, Evolve lists verified plush homes, ensuring your luxury Tampa stay is as grand as planned. Don’t forget to peek at the high-end options on Airbnb, where some gems await.

Definitely! Direct bookings with homeowners often skip the service fees. Sites like Rent By Owner™ facilitate these direct connections, letting you keep a bit more cash for fun in the sun.

While Tampa itself isn’t directly on the ocean, nearby beachfront options are aplenty. Websites like Airbnb offer filters for beachfront or ocean views, just a short drive from Tampa’s buzz.

Scour listings on websites like Rent By Owner™, where you can filter your search by amenities to include private pools. Always check photos and reviews for the real splash score!

To snag a great spot in Tampa, look at sites like Lake. These platforms offer a range of options, from cozy studios to spacious homes, and you’ll often find detailed reviews to help you choose.

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