Tampa Information & Travel Tipps – learn what makes Tampa the ideal place for your next vacation.
Best Sights and Attractions
With a population of 385.430, Tampa is Florida’s third-largest city. In recent years it has enjoyed a rapid growth, which speaks volumes about the quality of life: Tampa attracts people with its cosmopolitan vibes and varied shopping opportunities, without feeling too big or over-crowded. The beach is never far away, and there is no shortage of family-friendly attractions such as theme parks, waterparks, zoos, aquariums, museums and sports stadiums. Tampa’s new boardwalk is perfect for walking and jogging, and nature lovers have ample opportunity to observe Florida’s wildlife at extensive reserves nearby.
Getting to Tampa could not be any easier thanks to the city’s international airport. But of course, you can also take the car from Cape Coral, which only takes 2 hours.
Your day of sightseeing should begin on Tampa’s Riverwalk. No expense was spared to create this 2.5 mile long boardwalk running next to the Hillsborough River. Starting point is the Tampa Convention Center. Walk past the futuristic Amalie Arena – home of the ice hockey team Tampa Bay Lightning – and through scenic Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park before taking a rest at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Here you can enjoy a beautiful view of Tampa’s modern skyscrapers.
The River Walk is perfect for a stroll at night, when its bridges are beautifully illuminated. It also connects Downtown Tampa’s most famous sights, such as the Museum of Art: With its perfectly geometric form made of glass and aluminum and the colorful fiber-optic lights, this building is a true eye-catcher. Inside, the museum displays contemporary paintings, sculptures and photos, as well as antique pottery and statues.
Just a stone’s throw away, the Glazer Children´s Museum features family-friendly, interactive exhibitions. Here, children can build Lego machines, play firefighter, explore a climbable model of the water cycle and create miniature storms at the weather station.
If you are interested in the city’s past, you should visit the Tampa Bay History Center. Here you will learn all about Florida’s native inhabitants, early settlers, infamous pirates and Tampa’s once-thriving cigar industry.
Looking for some watery fun? Then grab your swim trunks and head over to Adventure Island: This 74 acre waterpark features 9 slides – among them the aptly named Gulf Scream with top speeds of 25 mph. At the 56 feet tall Riptide guests slide down head first, and of course, you can always just relax in the lazy river or the wave pool.
More attractions in Tampa include:
- Busch Gardens: a family-friendly theme park with a zoo and safari park, exciting roller coasters and fluffy Sesame Street characters
- Museum of Science and Industry: the largest science museum in the southeastern US, housing a planetarium and interactive exhibitions about medicine, space travel, robots, paleontology and much more
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park: a zoo with more than 1.300 animals from all continents, among them rhinos, hippos, komodo dragons, primates, penguins and wallabies
- Florida Aquarium: home to 13.000 aquatic animals like sharks, octopuses, sea otters and turtles
- Henry B. Plant Museum: an opulent Victorian hotel with original furniture and decoration from the late 19th century
- Raymond James Stadium: Tampa’s state-of-the-art football stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampas Best Beaches and Nature Reserves
For many people, being close to the beach is a main reason to visit Tampa or even live there. For example, Clearwater Beach with its fine, white sand, crystal-clear water and excellent cleanliness is just a 35 minute car ride away. Here, guests enjoy a wide variety of watersports, restaurants, boutiques and beach resorts. Of course, you will hardly find Clearwater Beach empty. Every year, Spring Breakers flock here to party, although the numbers cannot compare with destinations like Daytona Beach or Panama City.
If you are looking for peace and quiet, you should visit the equally beautiful Indian Rocks Beach 6 miles to the south. Ben T. Davis Beach, Tampa’s biggest public beach, is comfortably located near the airport, and dogs can cool off at the Brohard Paw Park & Beach. The barrier island Sand Key is not only a place of natural beauty, but also perfect if you want to collect colorful sea shells.
Not only newlywed couples love Honeymoon Island. Here you can enjoy 4 miles of pristine beaches and observe pelicans, herons and fish eagles on a hike. Honeymoon Island is also an ideal place to watch dolphins from the shore. You do not need a boat to get here, as the island is connected to the mainland by bridge. The car ride from Tampa takes about 40 minutes.
Another spot for beach lovers is Treasure Island. Only 6.000 people live in this tropical paradise known for its fine sand and untouched dunes. The water is not just amazingly clean, but also teeming with fish, so do not forget to bring your snorkeling gear.
If you want to go for a hike amidst lush natural surroundings, you should visit Lettuce Lake Park 20 minutes north of Tampa. These 240 acre wetlands are home to water birds, squirrels, tortoises and even alligators. Thanks to wooden boardwalks, you can explore the area without getting your feet wet. Climb the park’s observation tower for a scenic birds-eye view.
Situated just 20 miles to the north is Hillsborough River Park. Challenging rapids make for a perfect kayaking spot, but the park is also ideal for camping, picnicking, cycling, swimming, horseback riding and hiking. History fans should visit Fort Foster: Here, reconstructed fortifications tell the dramatic tale of Florida’s Indian Wars.
Shopping Opportunities Galore
Florida´s third-largest city offers shopping opportunities for every taste and budget.
Take the International Plaza Bay Street, for example – a shopping haven with more than 200 stores. Here you will find everything from fashion boutiques like Louis Vuitton and Hugo Boss to sportswear, beauty products, shoes, watches, jewelry and the newest Apple phones. Hungry customers can choose from 16 restaurants and cafés.
Hyde Park Village offers high-end shopping in idyllic surroundings. In addition to elegant fashion boutiques, delis and top-rated restaurants, this shopping arcade also features the world’s first cupcake ATM: Just swipe your credit card and get your delicious cupcake at any time of the day.
Bargain hunters should visit the Tampa Premium Outlets. This shopping complex is not only known for its Italian-themed architecture. It also houses more than 110 stores offering discounts of up to 50%.
Looking for a more traditional shopping experience? Then Ybor City is the place to go. Once known as America’s Cigar Capital, this authentic neighborhood still harbors many stores where you can buy hand-rolled cigars. Ybor City is also perfect if you want to try Caribbean specialties such as the famous Cuban Sandwich.
Climate and Weather
Tampa features a tropical climate with dry winters and humid summers. In winter and spring, temperatures range around 23 degrees Celsius, but can easily drop to 10 degrees in winter nights. In some years low temperatures can even lead to frost. Snow, however, is very rare and was last recorded in 1977.
Most precipitation falls in summer, with an average of 10-14 rainy days from June to September. Tampa Bay is known as America’s “Lightning Capital” for a reason: Thunderstorms are an almost daily occurrence in the summer months, mostly in the afternoon. During rainy season, humidity levels increase, and temperatures reach up to 33 degrees Celsius. Luckily, a cooling ocean breeze provides some relief. For guests who want to go swimming, this season is ideal, as water temperatures range around 27-29 degrees in summer. If 21 degrees is not too cold for you, you can still go for a swim in January.
Vacationers looking for pleasant temperatures, low rainfall and moderate humidity should visit Tampa in the months of April, October or November.