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Airport served by:
Tampa International Airport (TPA)
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Think of Florida’s Tampa Bay area, which includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as a crescent moon-shaped stretch of land connected by a web of coastal bridges. Serene shorelines and rustic fishermen’s shacks and restaurants coexist alongside slick art museums and funky boutiques. From sandy beaches to swanky bistros, it’s all here within a short drive.
Tampa is the “big city” here, and because it covers a wide area, it can be difficult to find its heart. Near downtown, you find million-dollar homes overlooking the bay. From the waterside sidewalks, you can shade your eyes to look for stingrays, manatees and the occasional hammerhead shark offshore.
The cosmopolitan city of St. Petersburg sits to the southwest, facing Tampa Bay. Grassy waterfront parks, cafes and museums are all within walking distance. Feeling more bohemian? Check in with St. Petersburg’s crazy next-door neighbour, the happy hippie waterfront city of Gulfport. Used bookstores, art walks, drum circles and tie-dye T-shirts can all be found here.
West of the mainland lies a 40-km stretch of beaches spread out over 10 barrier islands. From Clearwater Beach’s see-and-be-seen vibe in the north to the undiscovered country of St. Pete’s Pass-a-Grille Beach in the south, there’s a beach to suit any mood.
Some of the beaches, like Shell Key State Park and Caladesi Island State Park, require a boat to access and can provide complete seclusion.
Fishing piers, golf courses, endless hiking trails and bike paths sprinkled between the beaches ensure there’s plenty to do on dry ground, as well. Along the way, you can find 100 fun reasons to stop the car and stretch – mom-and-pop ice cream shops, seashell stores, shacks offering smoked fish and boardwalk piers offering lookout points for spotting dolphins.
Plus there’s Cuban food, traditional fishing helmets used by sea-sponge divers and Philadelphia cheese-steak sandwiches from cold-weather refugees stateside. People from all over have brought the best of their former homes and transplanted it here.
After spending some time around Tampa Bay, you’ll realize what long-time residents already know – you can’t go wrong when every road leads to a place that’s right.
Tampa is a fantastic destination for:
- outdoor adventure
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