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Fun Day Road Trip to Tampa

Head to Tampa for a Fun Day Road Trip

Tampa, Florida is one of the most vibrant growing cities in America. The Florida population explosion is well documented. Tampa is getting its share of new residents. Known as “cigar city,” you can’t go wrong with a day road trip to Tampa.

There are many metropolitan areas within a two-hour drive of Tampa. The largest city nearby is Orlando. Others include Sarasota, Bradenton, Crystal River and even The Villages are easily within a two-hour drive.

Before we discuss your day road trip to Tampa, Florida Travel Blog will answer a few common travel questions.

Is Tampa Worth Visiting?

The answer is a resounding yes! If you live in Florida, or if you travel to Florida Tampa needs to be on your itinerary.

No other city can boast as many top-notch Florida attractions within a few miles. Disney World is under 90 minutes away. Clearwater Beach, one of the top beaches in the world, is 45 minutes away. The Florida Aquarium, Florida’s best aquarium, is in downtown Tampa.

Busch Gardens, which many people say is a great option to the other expensive theme parks in Orlando, is just off I-275 in northeast Tampa.

Like Sports? Tampa hosts former Super Bowl Champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Tampa Bay Rays baseball team is just a few minutes away across Tampa Bay. Of course, The Tampa Bay Lightning are in Tampa. They play at Amalie Arena which is along the Riverwalk.

Tampa also hosts the New York Yankees for spring training each year. And don’t forget Daytona International Speedway is just northeast about 2 hours away.

day road trip to Tampa Riverwalk
The water taxi on Riverwalk can take you where you want to go.

Where is Tampa Located in Florida?

Tampa is located on the west-central part of Florida. Tampa is one of the most accessible cities in the state. Three significant interstates serve Tampa and Hillsborough County. I-4 tracks east and northeast through Orlando. I-75 runs north to Ocala and Gainesville and south to Sarasota and Naples.

I-275 connects with I-4 and I-75 and is the freeway that has many attractions nearby.

Does Tampa Have a Boardwalk?

Tampa has something better than a boardwalk. It is called Riverwalk that hugs the Hillsborough River. The paved Riverwalk starts near the Florida Aquarium and ends at Armature Works just on the outskirts of downtown Tampa.

How Long is the (“Boardwalk”) Riverwalk in Tampa

Riverwalk is 2.6 miles long. It has some beautiful scenery, famous attractions, magnificent hotels, and great restaurants in its path.

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day road trip to Tampa Ybor City
Ybor City and a ride on a streetcar is popular for people who take a day road trip to Tampa.

What is There To Do on a Day Road Trip to Tampa

The simple answer is that there are many more things to do than you could accomplish in just a day.

Here is a list of  just a few attractions along Riverwalk-

  • Sparkman Wharf is a collection of shops and restaurants along the east end of Riverwalk. Good place for lunch or entertainment in the evening.
    day trip to Tampa Aquarium
    One thing you don’t want to miss in Tampa is the Florida Aquarium. Great for kids and stunning for adults.
  • Tampa Bay History Center is just a block or two west of Sparkman Wharf on Riverwalk. You can discover the rich history of Tampa Bay.
  • Take a water taxi instead of walking the Riverwalk. The taxi will take you along the river to any of the major hotels and restaurants. Try Rick’s on the River for some great oysters.

Other Things to do in Tampa include.

  • Just steps from Sparkman Wharf is the Florida Aquarium. Don’tmiss the best Aquarium in Florida. Great education for the kids too!
  • A few blocks north of the Florida Aquarium is probably the biggest attraction in Tampa. Ybor City is a seven or eight-block historical neighborhood whose origins are based on Cuban immigrants who help build the city. Restaurants, quaint shops, and very old restored buildings highlight the area.
    Ride at day trip to Busch Gardens
    SheiKra is one of the many fun rides at Busch Gardens.
  • Take the downtown electric streetcar for an excursion or a way to get to Ybor City. Or just go for a chance to take a step back in history when electric trolleys were in many major cities.
  • Visit Busch Gardens which rivals the many parks in Orlando. Some say it is better than the super publicized Florida theme parks – and much less expensive for a day of fun.
  • World renown Tampa Zoo is a must-see attraction in Tampa. USA Today voted ZooTampa one of the top ten zoos in the country. The kids and adults will love it.

Considering you are planning a day road trip to Tampa, we think the above attractions will get you on quite a journey. There are many more museums, botanical gardens, historic buildings and sights to see. You just might want to turn your day road trip to Tampa into a week!

Day Road Trip to Tampa From Orlando, Plant City and Lakeland

Coming from Orlando, Florida, it is an easy drive on I-4 west to Tampa. You will reach the outskirts of town in under an hour. Then I75 and I275 can take to all the major attractions in Tampa you want to visit.

Day Road Trip to Tampa From The Villages

Traveling from The Villages is an easy 90-minute drive or less. Take I-75 south to your destination. You can also exit to I-75 and I-275 to specific locations that are accessible from those roadways.

Day Road Trip to Tampa From Sarasota, Bradenton and Naples

I75 travels north and south through all three cities. From Sarasota, the trip is about 90 minutes to downtown Tampa.

More About Tampa

Kid-Approved Florida Aquarium

Historic Ybor City in Tampa

Tampa to Key West

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