Tampa, Florida

Situated on the less commercialized and fashion-conscious western coast of Florida is the thriving city of Tampa, filled with national travel deals. With its diverse range of inhabitants forming distinct communities, it is a lively and stimulating city full of first-class museums, cultural events, unbeatable theme parks, and of course beautiful, sun-soaked beaches and glistening waterways.

Getting there

Tampa International Airport is conveniently located west of Downtown and a shuttle service is available to ferry passengers to hotels throughout the Tampa Bay area. Plenty of taxis also wait at the airport. Amtrak offers nationwide rail connections with a daily north-south service connecting Tampa with Washington DC and Orlando. Greyhound operates bus services to Sarasota, Orlando, Miami, and Gainesville, among others. Tampa's coastal location and history as a major port means that it is a major stop for Caribbean cruises and local ferries.

Several major interstate and state highways converge on Tampa, making for easy access by car rental from anywhere in Florida. Interstate 4 and Highway 60 brings travelers from points east. Interstate 75 and Highway 301 accommodates those traveling from points north and south.

Key attractions

Busch Gardens is an African-themed amusement park located north of downtown Tampa and packed with heart-stopping roller coasters. It is also one of the country's largest zoos, with several thousand animals roaming natural landscapes, reminiscent of the grassy African plains. The park has eight areas, each of which has its own theme; animals, live entertainment, rides, dining and shopping.

Children will also enjoy the Museum of Science and Industry's hands-on exhibits and IMAX theater. Tampa Museum of Art is located in the heart of the downtown area and houses an impressive collection of artwork, Roman and Greek antiques, and a wide selection of sculptures and photography.

Out and about

Rental car in Tampa can easily travel west of the city to the area's best beaches, towards the St Petersburg end of Tampa Bay. Clearwater Beach's Pier 60 is inundated with buskers and craft stalls over the weekends. St Pete Beach is another popular spot south of Clearwater, and attracts hordes of car rental day-trippers for its dreamy white sand and rich blue waters. Head across to the stateŠµs East Coast and take in Walt Disney World and the other sights of Orlando along the way, before reaching Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center on the Atlantic coast. National travel deals for all of these Florida attractions are easily found online.

Leisure options

Straddling the scenic Hillsborough River and lovely coastline of Tampa Bay, Tampa is ideal for swimming and sunbathing, along with every other manner of aquatic activity. Florida Aquarium is located to the east of the downtown area, featuring themed exhibits ranging from a wetlands display to a coral reef bursting with color.Nature-lovers cannot pass up the opportunity to take a rental car to Tampa north to the stunning Hillsborough State Park.

Safety

Motorists should avoid picking up hitchhikers in Suitcase City, Tampa's highest crime area, during their stay in the city. Other sketchy neighborhoods include East Tampa and parts of Sulphur Springs. Travel insurance, however, should be purchased prior to coming to Tampa.

 

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