The perfect trip is a blend of excitement and relaxation – and in Tampa Bay, we have plenty of both! From exhilarating roller coasters to basking in our vibrant local culture, there’s no shortage of entertainment, but we’ve narrowed down some of the most unique experience ideas to suit. Below are suggested great getaway ideas for spouses and families during conventions. Come, explore and unlock adventure!
Explore the Tampa Riverwalk
Tampa Bay’s 2.5-mile (4 km) pedestrian space links downtown’s most popular destinations like gems on a string. The mix of museums, restaurants, and parks makes the Tampa Riverwalk a must-experience of any visit. Relax on eight acres at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park; or step inside the Tampa Museum of Art, which host series of visiting exhibits from around the word in addition to its own collection of antiquities and, modern and contemporary art. Catch a show at The Straz Center for Performing Arts, the largest theater complex in the Southeast hosting a Broadway series fall through spring, homegrown theater troupes, and the Florida Orchestra; or experience the Tampa Bay History Center, housing 12,000 years of Tampa Bay history, starting with the Native Americans who first found settled on the shores of the sparkling bay. Interactive exhibits tell of Spanish and American settlers, cowboys, Cuban cigar makers and the region’s role in nearly two centuries U.S. military history.
Or plan a Riverwalk water activation activity! Step aboard the Tampa Bay Fun Boat for an hour-long cruise on Tampa’s waterfront. Rent a virtually silent, easy to operate, environmentally friendly eBoat and enjoy Tampa’s waterways for an hour or more, with or without a guide to customize your tour. Set out on a unique outdoor adventure on Tampa's rivers and bay as captain of your very own 2 person Mini-Powerboat with Riverwalk Boating Co.! Or paddleboard down the Hillsborough Rover with Urban Kai!
Step Aboard a Water Taxi
The Pirate Water Taxi has a fleet of pirate themed water taxis in downtown Tampa. They offer daily tours of Tampa with 17 stops conveniently located along the Riverwalk, Channel District, and Davis Islands!
Sightsee Mr. Ybor’s City
Explore the historic past and experience the future in Tampa’s Latin Quarter, Ybor City! Once hailed as the “Cigar Capital of the World,” embark on a tour of Tampa Bay's thriving cigar industry. Have your pick of the Ybor City State Museum, J.C. Newman Cigar Company, which is America’s oldest family-owned cigar company and the last operating cigar factory in Cigar City. Visit Arturo Fuente Jr. at Tampa Sweethearts Cigar Company, where he sells his family’s Dominican handmade cigar brands. Tour the Tabanero Cigar Factory, or simply stop by the Columbia Restaurant Gift Store to experience the hand-rolling of the finest cigars.
Conquer Sparkman Wharf
Minutes away from downtown Tampa, Sparkman Wharf features a unique collection of waterfront retail, dining, and entertainment options, including Splitsville Luxury Bowling! Sparkman Wharf is within walking distance of Tampa’s vibrant local attractions, but can also be accessed by a quick ride on the TECO Historic Streetcar & Trolley.
Walk on the Wild Side at ZooTampa
If fun is in your nature, spend some time at ZooTampa, named the "#1 Zoo in the U.S." by both Parents and Child magazines. The Zoo features more than 1,200 incredible animals on 56 lush acres including manatees, koalas, elephants, tigers, penguins, orangutans and much more. ZooTampa also offers behind-the-scenes tours and other exciting adventures you’re sure to go wild for!
Sea Life at The Florida Aquarium
Experience The Florida Aquarium and see why it’s among the top aquariums in the world. There are over 10,000 aquatic plants and animals, including sharks, otters, gators, free-flying birds, exotic sea dragons and more. Come aboard our 64-foot, 49 passenger catamaran and enjoy a picturesque tour and journey out into Tampa Bay to see dolphins, numerous species of birds and fish, manatees and more! Experience Tampa Bay's spectacular wildlife in its natural habitats! The DolphinQuest Eco-Tour can be purchased alone or as an ideal complement to your indoor Aquarium experience.
Sail in Style with Yacht Starship
Set sail on an unforgettable cruise aboard the Yacht StarShip! This 180-foot dining super yacht is the only one of its kind in Tampa Bay. As America’s first three-diamond rated dining yacht, Yacht StarShip offers the best views on the waters of Tampa Bay and award-winning cuisine. A dining experience on the 600-passenger Yacht StarShip, or the 150-passenger Yacht StarShip II is set to impress. Available for public or private cruises from Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and other local ports.
Canoe on the Hillsborough River
Explore Canoe Escape, Tampa's premiere attraction for birdwatching, photography, canoeing, kayaking, and family fun. Escape to nature on a self-guided, 2-hour to full day, downstream, quiet water, paddling adventure through a 16,000-acre wildlife preserve. There is a guided interpretive nature trip offered on Wednesdays throughout the year, and escorted moonlight trips offered between April and October. Paddling close to a sunning 'gator, or a threatened limpkin or congregation of turtles on a log might be the most prized memory of your trip to Tampa!
Plan Fishing Expeditions
Adventure into the greater Tampa Bay on a fishing Carter! Gone Fishing Charters specializes in flats and near shore light tackle fishing. Depending on the time of year, targeted species might include redfish, snook, trout, tarpon, kingfish, grouper and snapper. Tampa Fishing Charters specializes in light tackle, trolling, and bottom fishing in search of Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Trout, Cobia, Snapper, Grouper, Kingfish, Shark, Tripletail, Permit, Pompano, and Mackerel among other species.
Hands-on Experiences to Treasure
At Safari Wilderness Ranch, enjoy fresh air year-round as knowledgeable guides tour you through huge herds of wetland exotic species in custom safari vehicles. Book Camel-back or horse-drawn carriage game viewing safari tours. Giraffe Ranch provides fun, intimate, high-quality, hands-on animal adventures. See, smell, touch animals thriving in large natural herds with room to roam. Big Cat Rescue is one of the largest accredited sanctuaries in the world dedicated to abused and abandoned big cats. Take photos that everyone will think you took on a safari at this sanctuary for big cats that is working to end the trade in them as pets, props and for their parts.
Brave Busch Gardens Adventures
Busch Gardens Tampa is the ultimate family adventure, combining world-class thrill rides, Broadway-style live entertainment and one of North America's largest zoos with over 12,000 animals, making in an unforgettable African adventure for the whole family. Located right across the street from Busch Gardens, Adventure Island is 30 acres of water-drenched fun in the sun featuring the ultimate combination of high-speed thrills and tropical, tranquil surroundings for guests of all ages. Race down rapids, dig your toes into the sand or relax all day in a private cabana.
Escape In Tampa Bay
Locked in a room with no way out, you must search for hidden compartments, secret passageways and clues to plot your great escape. The trial is timed and teamwork is essential. When the hour is up you will be guaranteed laughter, a sense of accomplishment and a new respect for your teammates. This is an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime – assuming you get out! Experience this Tampa Bay Activity at The Great Escape Room or Can you Escape?
Treasure a Day in Hyde Park Village
Morning, noon or night Hyde Park Village is a great way to enjoy shopping, a bite to eat at Goody Goody or Timpano Italian Chophouse, and relaxation in a charming turn-of-the-century style shopping village and neighborhood. Located in the heart of a National Register Historic Neighborhood, you can explore the history and architecture of homes built around the turn of the century with self-guided walking guide booklets provided by Tampa Preservation. With 50 shops and the historic neighborhood, there is something for everyone, so your group can enjoy shopping and dining, or just kick back and relax!
Claim Bayshore Boulevard
Explore 4.5 miles of waterfront roadway in South Tampa by foot or bike! Tampa Bay’s bike-share system, Coast Bike Share, has stations throughout downtown and lets anyone with a credit card and a smartphone register and ride in a matter of minutes. Rent a bike for a few minutes or a few hours. It’s up to you!
Wander through WestShore Plaza
WestShore Plaza's one-million-square-feet of shopping excitement are set among a backdrop of charming Mediterranean beauty. Dine at Besito Mexican, Season 52 or Irish31. With 100 specialty shops including Macy’s Ann Taylor, Bebe, Old Navy, and a 14-screen AMC Theatre, make a day out of the perfect mix of shopping, dining and cinema.
Experience and Savor International Plaza and Bay Street
International Plaza and Bay Street - shopping and dining in a whole new way! Nearly 200 stores - 100 new to the Tampa Bay area. Featuring 12 full-service restaurants and shopping benefits and incentives for visitors. Stores include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Apple, Gucci, Henri Bendel, Tiffany & Co. and Dillards among many others. Plan dinner and drinks at Brio Tuscan Grille, The Pub or Capital Grille!
Plant Your Day in Tampa Bay
A National Historic Landmark, the Henry B. Plant Museum showcases original furnishings and recreates the lifestyle of Henry B. Plant’s, 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel and the early Florida tourist industry. The design of the hotel was in the Moorish revival style by architect John A. Wood and was the first completely electrified large-scale building in Tampa. The University of Tampa now occupies what was once this grand hotel, but the wing that has been set aside as the H.B. Plant Museum displays artifacts and historic furnishings from the hotel’s past.
MOSI on Down to the Museum of Science & Industry
Tampa’s Museum of Science & Industry – we call it MOSI for short – is a scientific playground with more than 100 hands-on activities! Guests can lie on a bed of nails, build a robot, explore optical illusions, challenge themselves with hands-on brain puzzles, explore another world in our NASA-funded Mission: Moon base lunar colony, touch the future in Connect us and learn about planets and our solar system in the Saunders Planetarium.
Discover Treasure at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Seminole Hard Rock is entertainment that rocks 24/7/365. The action on the floor is more thrilling when there's always a new way to play. Take a seat alongside legendary rock memorabilia and hit the classics like Blazing 7's and Triple Diamond. Or take a spin with Big 6 Wheel E-tables, Ellen DeGeneres, Avatar and Willy Wonka. To amplify your experience, Seminole Hard Rock is proud to introduce a Smoke Free Slot Area. We've also set the stage with legendary Table Games. Experience everything from Blackjack and Let It Ride to Casino War, Baccarat and more. Seminole Hard Rock has also got you covered with 50 high stakes live action poker tables.
Unlock Golf Courses and More
Tee off at one of nearly 100 Tampa golf courses! Golf enthusiasts, and professionals, from around the world come to Tampa Bay to challenge the pristine Tampa golf courses, thanks to the area’s temperate climate. Whatever your skill level, whatever your budget, the “Golf Coast” has the golfing option to fit your needs. Topgolf is a new kind of golf experience, with a 3-level premier golf entertainment complex where the competition of sport meets your favorite hangout. Located next to Topgolf is iFly, the experiential entertainment company that created modern indoor skydiving, making the dream of flight a reality by giving visitors “wings” in a safe and reliable environment!
Art Excursions in St. Pete
Visit the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by the late Spanish surrealist at the Salvador Dali Museum. Since its doors opened to the general public, the museum has expanded to currently consist of 2,140 total pieces, to include oil paintings, watercolors and works from visiting exhibitions, all nestled in a 66,000+ square-foot facility! This unique museum also houses the most comprehensive and exciting gift store on Florida’s west coast. The Morean Arts Center operates the best and most inspirational art venues in Downtown St. Petersburg. For an adventure into art, visit the Chihuly Collection, Morean Glass Studio & Hot Shop, Morean Arts Center and Morean Center for Clay. Dine in St. Petersburg at Stillwaters Tavern or Caddy’s on Central!
Embrace the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota
The 66-acre estate in Sarasota is the legacy of John Ringling. The Ringling Museum of Art, recognized as the state art museum of Florida, includes 21 galleries of internationally recognized European and American art with paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Poussin and other baroque masters. The estate encompasses the recently restored 32-room Ringling mansion; the Circus Museum; the Original Asolo theater; the Rose Garden and beautifully landscaped grounds overlooking Sarasota Bay.
The Key to Life is a Brewery Tour
With more than 40 small craft beer breweries in the Tampa Bay area, it’s a good time for the beer-loving traveler to visit and quench their thirst. Explore breweries and distillers from Ybor City to Town-N-Country, or hop on the Tampa Bay Brew Bus, which provides tours of and transportation between many of Tampa Bay’s craft breweries. But the Brew Bus is more than just a ride, their own craft beers are also served on tours! Kraken Cyleboats have taken the peddle pub concept to the water, with the only pedal-powered tour boat in all of Florida! The two-hour cruise is the perfect way to see Tampa’s beautiful downtown from the water, and enjoy a local craft beer!