The largest city on the Tampa Bay and in West Central Florida, Tampa has been home to Spanish explorers, Seminole Indians and U.S. Forts, and American retirees. Today, the city is a diverse port city hosting five major cruise lines and with everything to offer visitors from beaches to amusement parks to historic neighborhoods.

WHAT TO DO

Busch Gardens, an amusement park AND a zoo combined into one, is a major attraction in Tampa. Here you go a wide variety of rides, catch a show, see the animals and enjoy an action-packed day in Tampa.

Those looking to see some marine life while in Florida should head over to the Florida Acquarium, where they can follow a drop of rain from a Florida swamp to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic oceans, see some local marine life and get on an eco-tour of Tampa Bay.

Ybor City is the historic Spanish district located close to downtown and has a wide range of nightclubs and bars, making it a popular nightlife destination. The area was also originally home to the Cuban and Italian immigrant to the city who worked in the many cigar factories in Tampa, so the historic architecture is worth seeing. Visitors can also catch one the famous streetcars that runs between Ybor City and downtown Tampa.

GETTING THERE

Tampa International Airport (TPA) is serviced by many of the major American airlines and has hundreds of flights arriving and departing from its terminals each day, making getting a cheap flight to Tampa both easy and affordable. Another alternative is to fly into the smaller Saint Petersburg Airport (PIE) located just 15 miles away. Getting a flight to Saint Petersburg may be a good choice for those coming from a closer, regional airport.

The Tampa Airport is easily accessed from downtown Tampa by a variety of means. Although there is a local bus service, visitors will be much better off either renting a car or taking a taxi from the airport to their hotel. If you are driving to or from the airport, booking your airport parking at Tampa in advance can save you both time and money.

WHERE TO STAY

As a jumping off point for many cruises headed to the Caribbean and Mexico, Tampa is home to a huge variety of hotels from luxury to budget. This high density of hotels and huge range of options makes getting a hotel in Tampa both easy and affordable. There is even a hostel in Tampa called Gram’s Place that is musically themed and offers budget beds, a Jacuzzi for guests at a BYOB Bar in the courtyard.