If you’re looking for a dynamic getaway that combines city flare and coastal fun, consider Tampa Bay. In this Florida hot-spot, you’ll find mouthwatering cuisine, family-friendly adventure, and a relaxing vibe.

Just six miles west of downtown, Tampa International Airport (TPA) is your gateway to Florida’s west coast. For easy transportation within the city, use the TECO Streetcar to connect you between downtown Tampa, Channelside, Amalie Arena, and Ybor City. From innovative food halls to celebrated museums, and from water sports to wish-list cruises, you’ll find it in Tampa.

The Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay. FWT Magazine.

The Florida Aquarium © Lori A. May.

Tampa Bay Activities

Want to see the best of Tampa while saving money? Pick up a Tampa Bay CityPASS for discounted access to five area attractions including The Florida Aquarium and Busch Gardens.

The aquarium offers hands-on education of marine life and more, including an interactive stingray pool. Guests will see more than 2,000 coral reef inhabitants including sand tiger sharks.

If you prefer romantic getaways, Port of Tampa Bay is home to four cruise lines—Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Holland America—that set sail on Caribbean, Cuban, and Gulf of Mexico cruises.

Or you can explore the local waterfront with a stroll along Tampa Riverwalk for a pedestrian excursion full of art, culture, and evening light shows. You’ll notice the Hillsborough River is a popular destination for paddle boards and water bikes.

Cuban sandwich with plantain chips at Gaspar’s Grotto in Tampa Bay. FWT Magazine.

Cuban sandwich with plantain chips at Gaspar’s Grotto © Lori A. May.

Tampa Eats & Treats

From food trucks to fine dining, you’ll find your craving fix in Tampa. For a quick bite downtown, grab comfort food at Mr. C’s Grilled Cheese food truck.

Looking for sophisticated ambiance with a variety of tastes? Visit Armature Works, a new food hall in historic Tampa Heights. Inside this restored, mixed use building you’ll find gathering spaces, wine bars, chef creations, and quick culinary bites. Go here for Union Coffee & Tea Bar to enjoy your favorite morning beverage.

And, no visit to Tampa would be complete without a visit to historic Ybor City. The streets are lined with tempting eateries and cafes, but I highly recommend the Cuban Sandwich at Gaspar’s Grotto—a pirate-themed Latin eatery with casual outdoor seating and an extensive drinks menu. Walk off dinner by exploring the neighborhood—a National Historic Landmark District—and perusing cigar shops, sipping Cuban coffee, or joining a historic tour.

Union Coffee & Tea Bar at Armature Works in Tampa Bay. FWT Magazine..

Union Coffee & Tea Bar at Armature Works © Lori A. May.

Stay & Play in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is full of food, culture, and attractions, but you’ll probably want to explore beyond Tampa’s city limits considering the proximity of Florida’s west coast beaches.

For a convenient central location, with easy access to Clearwater and St. Pete Beach, book your stay at The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa. Just nine miles from downtown Tampa, and less than five miles from Tampa International Airport, you’ll find this waterfront property to be a perfect nautical retreat for your getaway.

Bay view room at The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa Bay. FWT Magazine.

A bay view room © The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa.

Situated on Old Tampa Bay, private balconies at The Godfrey Hotel offer a gorgeous suite view for watching sunrise and sunset. Enjoy a cabana with cocktails at the heated outdoor pool, or settle in for an evening of Caribbean–inspired on-site dining at Beach Bar | Restaurant, crafted by executive chef Joe Garcia.

For a jolt of locally roasted java in the morning, head to the lobby for Buddy Brew Coffee. The Godfrey Hotel offers complementary airport shuttle and is about thirty miles to west coast beaches. With a host of amenities and well-appointed suites, this boutique waterfront property offers a great location for exploring Tampa and beyond.

The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa Bay © Tim Williams. FWT Magazine.

The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa © Tim Williams.

Tampa Bay, the perfect gateway to Florida

Tampa Bay is the perfect gateway city for additional Florida exploration. Consider a road trip from Tampa to Florida’s Paradise Coast, or explore more of Florida’s Best Summer Family Destinations. Need additional planning ideas? Go to Visit Tampa Bay or Visit Florida for more helpful resources.

Note, a portion of the writer’s itinerary was made possible by Visit Tampa Bay.
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