When the sun’s out, fun’s about keeping your cool! And Tampa Bay knows the way. Hit the water in the hip, urban heart of Florida’s west coast for a Sunshine State experience (mostly) without the sand.
Ride the Rapids
Here’s a Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay PRO TIP: Start your visit at the farthest point in the park. While everyone else is lining up for the first ride they see, you’ll stroll on past to Congo River Rapids for a short line and a wet ride that will help you stay cool the rest of the day. Just be sure to bring sandals or water shoes – soaking wet socks are no way to spend the day. If the rapids are too rowdy for your crowd, try the Stanley Falls Flume – riders as small as 2 years old can ride with an adult. After, climb aboard Tigris, Florida’s tallest launch coaster for a heart-stopping ride 150 feet above the park. Get more than 50% off admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with Tampa Bay CityPASS.
Go with the flow at Adventure Island, Tampa Bay’s most popular water park. Spend the day immersed in all kinds of watery fun whether you’re zooming through twisting tubes or drifting along the lazy river. On the park’s newest ride, Vanish Point, the bottom drops out, shooting you through 425 feet of spiraling enclosed slides – and that’s after the 70-foot plunge. Cowabunga!
‘Springs’ into summer
Take the plunge and try ZooTampa at Lowry Park’s newest attraction -- Roaring Springs! It’s a family-friendly flume-style ride that carries visitors up 30 feet and sends them plunging down for a major soaking at the end. But the real soaking is waiting for the spectators on the observation deck! Let yourself air-dry while you come eye-to-eye with giraffes and feed rhinos by hand. Later, swing by Australia-themed Wallaroo Station for a quick cool-down in their spray fountains. Get more than 50% off admission to ZooTampa at Lowry Park with Tampa Bay CityPASS.
Into the deep
You can get wet at The Florida Aquarium, but you have to suit up first -- in a wetsuit. Enhance your visit and travel to the other side of the window onto the aquarium’s Caribbean reef and swim with the fishes. After a brief tutorial, aquarium staff gear you up with a snorkel, mask and fins and guide you through a surface swim in the main tank, bringing you up close and personal with the denizens of the reef. Certified scuba divers can go one better with an experience that is truly immersive! The aquarium’s outdoor splash pad gives kids a chance to play while mom and dad kick back nearby. Join the aquarium’s Wild Dolphin Cruise and the wildlife will make a splash while you stay high and dry. Get more than 50% off admission to The Florida Aquarium with Tampa Bay CityPASS.
Tip the bucket
Along the 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk, you’ll find public fountains and splash pads made for playing. Outside the Glazer Children’s Museum, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park includes a fountain and mister that are popular with kids and kids at heart. Water Works Park just north of downtown includes water cannons and an enormous tipping bucket sure to provoke loads of squeals from soaked children. Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park and Ballast Point Park also have popular water features for playing in the spray.
Dip a paddle in
Downtown’s sparkling waterfront offers many ways to get out on the water – water bikes, e-boats, even the Kraken Cycleboat. But none of them get you closer to nature than Urban Kai Stand-up Paddleboarding. Rent a board to explore downtown from a new angle. Keep an eye open for dolphins and manatees that might be swimming nearby. When you need a break, a quick dip in the bay makes a nice cool down.
Sit by the bay
Tampa Bay's urban adventures come with a bit of bayside beach time. Swing by historic Ben T. Davis Beach, a local favorite, just west of Tampa International Airport for an afternoon of quiet contemplation without the crowds or the noise. The beach sits on the calm waters of Tampa Bay a quick walk from several hotels and restaurants. Launch a paddleboard or kayak for a waterborne adventure or just sink your toes into the sand and let the kids to all the splashing.