For those traveling to Tampa Bay, the choices can sometimes seem overwhelming. It’s a wonderful place with plenty to do.
There are some places that residents know are worth checking out. And because it’s Florida, these places are very welcoming to tourists. In some cases – like Busch Gardens – they actually are aimed at tourists.
But locals go there, too. They’re that good. Here’s a few places to check out on your next trip to Tampa Bay.
If you want a great amusement park experience, you don’t have to drive to Orlando. Busch Gardens is heaven for roller coaster lovers, with such great coasters as Cheetah Hunt, Montu, Kumba and Sheikra.
There’s also the Falcon Fury, a 335-foot freestanding drop tower, and Stanley Falls, a great ride to get wet in the Florida heat. For the more laid-back people in your crew, there’s also the Serengeti Express, a train ride through the park’s wildlife area. And speaking of great wildlife, Busch Gardens is basically like a zoo within an amusement park, with gorillas, a white tiger and a host of other animals.
Of course, the beach. You have a wide selection, including Clearwater Beach, Pass-A-Grille, Indian Rocks and St. Pete Beach. Pass-A-Grille is typically quieter and has more locals. But there’s not a “bad beach.” The Gulf of Mexico is warm with gentle waves and beautiful, sandy beaches. Just drive west and you’ll find a good one.
You must try a Cuban sandwich – it’s one of the major food groups in Tampa. The Columbia restaurant in Ybor City has been around since the early 20th century and still provides great Spanish dishes for locals and tourists alike. Bern’s Steakhouse in south Tampa is another local favorite – you won’t find a better steak, anywhere.
No matter how long people have lived in Tampa Bay, they never get tired of the sunset. It’s free and it’s awesome. Head to Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach or around The Hurricane restaurant in Pass-A-Grille. Find a comfortable spot and watch nature put on a show.
If shopping is your thing, then head over to the International Plaza and Bay Street in Tampa. There’s great food and drink places along Bay Street, as well as tons of places to shop inside the mall. John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk also offers good shopping that has a very Florida feel, as does the Grand Central District in St. Petersburg.
Those choices can make your trip better. And don’t worry about mixing with the locals – Tampa Bay residents are generally very laid back and friendly. Take advantage of what the area has to offer and have a great trip!