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Pocket Guide: Tampa

Sink your toes into the warm sands of Tampa, a thriving Florida city just off the Gulf of Mexico. The sun shines all year-round in this tropical region, making Tampa the perfect spot for nature lovers to get out and explore the local vegetation and wildlife.

Miles of beautiful walking trails take you along the coast and through manicured gardens and local parks. A bustling downtown also offers plenty of cultural attractions, restaurants and nightlife to enjoy during your stay.

Where to Stay in Tampa

Tampa is a friendly city that is well equipped to welcome tourists throughout the year. Downtown Tampa is the business district and the cultural hub of the city where you will find an aquarium, performing arts centre and a variety of museums. Here, you can stay in Spanish-style villas with decorative vines or choose a more upscale modern resort with an outdoor swimming pool and on-site spa.

Nature lovers should head out to Clearwater where a variety of state parks hug the coastlines. Families can stay at a hotel overlooking the water with a friendly team of childcare staff to help the children explore the local surroundings at their own pace.

For historic hotels that hold secrets to the area’s colonial past, look for accommodation in West Tampa, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the area.

Spot Florida Wildlife in Tampa

Tampa is an animal lover’s paradise. Keep your eyes peeled for local residents including bottlenose dolphins and manatees in Tampa’s water, as well as for pelicans, herons and spoonbills on land.

For more exotic animal sightings, spend time at Tampa’s Busch Gardens where you can get up-close to cheetahs, elephants and jaguars among other animals. Lowry Park Zoo, a non-profit conservation centre, is another good option for an afternoon out. Lowry Park Zoo offers plenty of special themed events throughout the year, including Christmas and Halloween shows.

If it’s marine animals that most interest you, make your way to Florida aquarium, home to endangered species of sharks, fish and other underwater creatures native to Tampa.

Explore Tampa’s Nightlife Scene

After sunset, Tampa’s downtown comes to life as hungry and thirsty punters fill its bars and restaurants. Enjoy a meal and drinks at Channelside Bay Plaza, a waterfront retail centre that regularly hosts concerts and holiday celebrations. Channelside Bay Plaza also offers stunning panoramic views of the Tampa skyline.

Bring the Family to Tampa

Children will find plenty to do in Tampa, both indoors and outdoors. Take them to the Glazer Children’s Museum where they can explore more than 160 hands-on exhibits and dedicated play areas. If the weather’s nice, pack a picnic and head for Fort De Soto Park where they can swim in the clear blue water and build sandcastles on the shore.

Tampa is a wonderful Florida gem that offers easy access to nature, cultural attractions and trendy nightlife options. Stay in Tampa to refresh, relax and spend quality time with friends and family.