things to do in tampa bay, picture of tampa riverwalk

Top 15 Things to do Around Tampa Bay

Whether you’re here for a day, the weekend, or a long vacation, there are many things to do and see. (for all ages!) While I couldn’t fit everything on this list, here are my top 15 things to do in Tampa Bay:

Theme Parks

Busch Gardens
Visit for the safari, tons of animals, rollercoasters, water rides, sky rides, train ride, and other kid-specific activities.
15 minutes from downtown Tampa$111+

Adventure Island
A typical water park: 9 water slides, lazy river, 17,000 sq ft wave pool, regular pool with perks, and water activities for kids.
15 minutes from downtown Tampa$61+

Dinosaur World
They feature hundreds of dinosaurs in a natural setting, interactive exhibits, and a themed playground. Some perks: you can bring your own coolers with drinks + food, and dogs are welcome.
20 minutes from downtown Tampa $17+ adults, $12+ kids

things to do around tampa bay - dinosaur world - picture of two dinos

Outside in Nature

Weeki Wachee Springs
Home to the deepest fresh water cave, classic mermaid show, kayaking/paddle boarding, boat tours, snorkeling, and swimming.
1 hour from downtown Tampa$13 adults, $8 kids

Fort De Soto Park (Beach)
Almost 3 miles of sandy beach (which you can camp on!), 7 miles of hiking trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds, swim centers, fishing piers, canoe trail, dog park, and more!
40 minutes from downtown Tampafree

Hillsborough River State Park
There are SO many things you can do here: kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, swimming, etc. There’s even a playground, laundry facilities, concessions/a restaurant, and shower station. A perfect camping spot!
30 minutes from downtown Tampa$6 per vehicle

hillsborough river state park water and trees


Florida Aquarium
Take a wild dolphin cruise, visit the splash pad, the various aquatic exhibits, shark swim program, and various other events/experiences.
in downtown Tampa$28+ adults, $24+ kids

ZooTampa at Lowry Park
Enjoy kid rides, a carousel/games area, playgrounds, water activities, water ride, different shows, safari tram ride, and exotic animals.
10 minutes from downtown Tampa$37+ adults, $27+ kids

Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Home of Winter (from Dolphin Tale)! There are tons of things to experience here, but you can also ‘enhance’ your experience if you’d like to pay a little extra. Spending time here is well worth the entry fee.
40 minutes from downtown Tampa$27+ adults, $22+ kids

Manatee Viewing Center
It’s a state and federal mandated manatee sanctuary. Only open from Nov. 1 – Apr. 15, it’s best to go when it is cold outside, as the manatees love to gather around to warm up. There are interactive displays and guides who teach about manatees.
25 minutes from downtown Tampafree

Salvador Dali Museum
I love this museum! Dali’s artwork is beautiful, the gift shop is great, and friends from out of town have always highlighted this spot as one of their favorites.
30 minutes from downtown Tampa$25+ adults, $10+ kids

salvador dali museum building - things to do around tampa bay


Hard Rock Hotel + Casino
Over 245,000 sq ft of gaming space. Nearly 5,000 slot machines, over 170 table games (black jack, baccarat, casino war, etc), 46 poker tables, and live entertainment as well as hotel amenities like pools, spas, and dining.
10 minutes from downtown Tampa

Florida Botanical Gardens
Over 30 acres of cultivated gardens to explore, a welcome center, ponds, boardwalks, courtyard, picnic tables, gift shop, and more!
40 minutes from downtown Tampafree – donations welcome

TreeUmph! Adventure Course
Hundreds of aerial adventure games: suspended logs, wobbly footbridges, ziplines, and more! If you love heights and physical fitness: this is for you. (or if you want to try something unique!)
1 hour from downtown Tampa$56 adults, $26 kids

Tampa Riverwalk
2.4 miles of everything Tampa. Playgrounds, dining, hotels, festivals/events, shopping, and more. Even if you come and take a leisurely stroll, it’s worth it for the views!
in downtown Tampa free

tampa riverwalk
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I hope this post helped you decide on some things to do while in Tampa Bay! What are some of your favorite spots to visit around here? Have you been to any of these?

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