Wondering why you should spend your vacation days in Tampa? Breathtaking beaches, excellent shopping, and exquisite nearby towns are just the beginning. Here are five reasons Tampa should be the most popular city in Florida.
Clear Water and White Sandy Beaches
If there’s one thing that Tampa does better than Miami, it’s the clear water and white beaches. You’ll find the clearest water in Florida in the Panhandle at places like Pensacola and Panama City, but Tampa Bay’s water is almost as clear. The temperature of the water is always enjoyable, too, and the waves were made for lounging and boogie boarding. There are some amazing hotels near these beaches as well, such as the Don CeSar. If you’re looking for luxury to go along with your white sand beach, this is the place to stay.
Historic Tampa Theater
The Tampa theater is one of only two United States movie theaters given the privilege of joining The Motion Picture Association of America’s list of the ten best movie theaters in the world. Built in 1926 as an elaborate movie palace, it’s also on the National Register of Historic Places. Watching a movie here is just part of the experience—come early to hear the organ play in preparation for the show and enjoy the exterior and interior architecture. You can even take the balcony to backstage tour to learn more about the place.
Shoreline and Alligator Nature Trails
Explore Florida’s natural animals and plants at Lettuce Lake Park. There’s a biking and jogging loop as well as a paved road for cars to drive through the park. Stop by the nature center and take the boardwalk to the observation tower where you are likely to spot one of the many alligators that live in the park.
For a beautiful trail along the beach, head to Bayshore Boulevard in south Tampa Bay. Jog along the path and keep a lookout for jumping dolphins and other marine life. Start your trip in either downtown or near Davis Island.
The Country’s Best Sunsets
Because the city faces the water to the west, you’ll find that your sunsets are perfectly centered across the water. In fact, Clearwater Beach, just 40 minutes from the heart of downtown, was voted the best place in all of America to watch a sunset. It was also voted one of Tampa’s best beach towns.
One of the best things about Tampa Bay is its close proximity to so many other great beach towns, including Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Dunedin. Dunedin was long held as a locals’ hideout with dozens of boutiques, antique shops, and locally owned cafes and restaurants. Now, it’s known as an ideal spot to get in some shopping, watch the sunset over the harbor, and then stay out until the morning hours partying at the locally owned clubs.
Sarasota, on the other hand, is home to the Circus Museum thanks to the influence of John Ringling. It’s a shopping hub with brand name shops all over the island. It also boasts its own cultural events, including the Sarasota Chalk Festival.
What do you love about Tampa?