Tampa Bay holidays

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Visit Tampa Bay

Enjoy a well-deserved day in the sun in Tampa Bay. Whether you want to dive into sunny watersports, savor celebrated outdoor dining with local craft beers, or feel the rush of world-class thrill rides, Tampa Bay has the perfect adventure for you.

On Florida’s west coast, you’ll find Tampa Bay, a modern waterside city with bags of charm. The downtown area is home to a mix of cultural, shopping and dining spots, many of which are clustered along the Riverwalk. The waterfront promenade can be explored on foot, by bike, or, if you don’t mind getting your hair wet, by kayak, paddleboard or jet ski. What's more, some of the world's finest shorelines are right on Tampa's doorstop, including Clearwater’s pale, palm-lined sands and warm gulf waters.

Things to do

Tampa Bay holidays are a great alternative to Orlando if you’re jetting off as a family. Busch Gardens certainly gives Disney a run for its money with its combination of coasters and exotic wild animals. Housing 300 different species, kids will love watching zebras and giraffes roam through the park’s expansive habitat. And for more wildlife encounters, there’s Florida Aquarium, Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center, Lowry Park Zoo and Big Cat Rescue all vying for your attention.

Whether you choose to walk, bike or run it, the Riverwalk is a hub of activity which connects you to some of the area’s best restaurants, shops and attractions. And when you’re not enjoying idle days along the water, there’s plenty of fun to be had on it. Take a gentle canoe ride down Hillsborough River or a catamaran across the gulf for some dolphin spotting. You can’t beat a bit of sunbathing either with award-winning shores like Clearwater and St Pete dotted along the lengthy coastline.

As the sun goes down, the fun keeps on coming with a craft beer trail made up of over 30 breweries. There are beer stops all over the area, but one of its most famous spots is located in Ybor City, Tampa’s historical quarter. This charming redbrick neighbourhood is famous for its booming cigar industry and cultural diversity. And if that’s not reason enough to pay a visit, it’s also home to Florida’s oldest restaurant where you can sample an original Cuban sandwich.

12 - 33℃

Tampa Bay has a humid, subtropical climate so it never feels too cold, even in the winter. Rainfall is common in the hottest months (June to August) with just over 50 inches each year.

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Approximately 9 hours

Tampa International Airport (TPA) is just six miles from the centre and is the fourth busiest in Florida.

Tampa Bay is best for...

Foodies: Tampa Bay’s gastronomic scene is famous for its aged steaks and Cuban sandwiches. Find halls crammed with dining options, a hotel dedicated to foodies and the state’s oldest restaurant among its culinary offerings. 
 
Wildlife enthusiasts: Tampa is full of incredible wildlife sightings thanks to its sub-tropical climate. See cheetahs, lions and giraffes in Busch Gardens (the largest of its zoos) or surround yourself with sharks and stingrays at Florida Aquarium. And don’t forget about the manatees, which you can observe between November and April.
 
Beach bums: There’s no denying it, Tampa’s beaches are world-class! Most people soak up the year-round sunshine inClearwater and St Pete, while families with small children will appreciate Sand Key Park’s safe reputation. And if you want to escape the crowds, take a boat out to Caladesi Island where the shores are pristine clean and practically unspoilt.

Fast facts for Tampa Bay

Language: The official language of Florida is English, which is spoken by the majority of Tampa Bay’s residents. However, as the state’s third-largest city you’ll also hear plenty of Spanish. Greatly influenced by Latin America, it’s a great place to experience a different culture with restaurants, nightlife and festivals all celebrating its Hispanic community.

Currency: The currency used in Tampa Bay is the US Dollar ($).

Local time: Tampa Bay is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Tampa International Airport (TPA), which is located on Florida’s gulf coast and within easy reach of Downtown Tampa.

Flight time from UK: The flight time to Tampa Bay is around 9 hours.

Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at Tampa Bay’s official tourism website.

Visa and health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Holiday destinations related to Tampa Bay

Getting around Tampa Bay

By hire car: Hiring a car is a great way to discover the city and its surroundings, especially along the Gulf Coast, which is home to some of the area’s most scenic routes. It’s also a good option if you don’t want to rely on public transport. Plus, it’s even easier when you book your car hire in advance as your vehicle will be ready for you as soon as you land.

By bike: This bike-friendly city is full of cycle lanes - 137 miles of them to be exact. Plus, you’ll find stations all over the city where you can rent one for just one dollar and then 15 cents per minute after that! 

By water taxi: These water taxis are a fun and efficient mode of transport, and little ones will love the pirate theme. All you have to do is buy a ticket and you can hop on and off as you please. This is also a great way to squeeze in the city’s top sights with 14 stops taking you to major attractions. 

Events in Tampa Bay

Gasparilla Pirate Fest: This pirate-themed event takes place every January and is named after José Gaspar, who invaded the waters of west Florida in the 18th century. Wearing their best high sea attire, locals gather to watch boat shows and parades while drinking the rum-laced pirate punch.

Florida State Fair: This is your chance to visit a traditional American fair. Dating back to 1904, this 11-day event is held each February and attracts a crowd of fun-loving locals and tourists. Pig out on sweet treats from the many food stalls, catch one of the free shows, or make your way through the long list of rides, which includes a portable ferris wheel.

Tampa Bay safety and security

For up-to-date advice on travelling to Tampa Bay, please visit the FCDO website.

Tampa Bay weather

Temperature: Average temperatures range from 19 - 31 (°C)

You’ll experience the warmest temperatures between May and October with daily highs hovering above 30°C. July is the wettest month with around 25 days of rainfall and frequent thunderstorms. However, these showers tend to be fast-moving.

The area is also known for its extreme weather conditions during hurricane season which begins in early June and lasts until the end of November. But August through to October tend to be the peak storm months.

With one of the warmest winter climates in the US, temperatures can still reach a pleasant 24°C from December through to February - and you’ll benefit from the lower rainfall.

 

Best hotels in Tampa Bay