Why Go To Tampa
Everyone knows that Tampa is the place for families. And for animal lovers. And for conventioneers. But possibly – even if you don't fit into any of those demographics – Tampa is for you, too? This balmy city by the bay still has plenty of charms away from the amusement park, the aquarium and the convention center (although Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium are still great ways to spend a day). There's lots of history here. For example, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders stopped here on their way to Cuba during the Spanish-American War. And you'll also find a few choice museums, including the Museum of Science & Industry. And then there are the sports – this is the home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning. It's the namesake city of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, and the spring training home base for several other major league teams. And when you've exhausted all that Tampa has to offer, you can drive just 25 miles south to St. Petersburg for some sophisticated dining or to Clearwater for its gorgeous sugar sand beach.
The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.
Tampa is ranked as:
#2 In Best Family Vacations in Florida
Best Things To Do In Tampa
Tampa is tailor-made for families who love animals. Take your pick between the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center, Big Cat Rescue or Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Not traveling with the kids? Tampa's got you covered there, too. When you're not getting a history lesson at the Henry B. Plant Museum, unwind with a cocktail or two and some delicious Cuban food in Ybor City. And although Tampa may not be known for its beaches, that doesn't mean sun and fun isn't within reach. You'll find some of Florida's most popular shorelines, including Clearwater Beach, Honeymoon Island State Park and Treasure Island are located less than an hour from downtown Tampa.
Tampa Travel Tips
There's a busy cruise harbor - The Tampa Port Authority operates three terminals to accommodate some of the Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland America cruise ships. Which is perfect – you may only need one day in town to see the best of Tampa.
The beach is just a short drive away - Beloved shorelines like Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island and Caladesi Island State Park are all within an hour or less from Tampa.
The dress code is casual - True to its Florida locale, Tampa's dress code is casual. You'll fit right in with shorts and flip-flops.
Consider a Tampa CityPASS - If you're planning to visit more than a few of Tampa's top attractions, such as the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens or ZooTampa at Lowry Park, buy a CityPASS and save on admission.
Plan a fall visit - You'll bypass the winter crowds and avoid the muggy temps and wave of tourists who descend on the city during the summer. Plus, fewer travelers yield lower hotel rates.