Ranked among the top cities to explore the great outdoors, Tampa offers outdoor enthusiasts a wide variety of activities from water sports to hiking and camping. With over 160 parks and beaches to choose from, enjoy the great outdoors in Tampa all year round both on land and water.
Near the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, Tampa is home to diverse habitats including marshes, mangroves, natural freshwater springs, and coastal wetlands.
Here are some of the many ways to answer the call when you feel the urge to explore the outdoors in the Tampa Bay area. And yes you do need an ESTA before you travel.
Explore Tampa Outdoors
Visit Clearwater Beach
A trip to Tampa isn’t complete without a trip to the beach!
Although there are over 20 beaches in Tampa to choose from, Clearwater is by far the most popular. This award-winning beach has white sand and is perfect for those looking to swim in the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters, socialize, play volleyball, or walk the promenade.
Check out Sunsets at Pier 60, a daily event that is held two hours before sunset. At this festival, you can expect to see a variety of artists, street performers, vendors, and food and concession stands. They also screen free outdoor movies after dusk!
Paddle Hillsborough River
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet while exploring the Tampa outdoors, consider visiting Hillsborough River State Park, one of Florida’s first state parks. This park is just a few minutes from downtown Tampa. Hop in a canoe or kayak and paddle the Hillsborough River for a few hours or the entire day.
The Hillsborough River spans approximately 60 miles. It has different sections from slow-moving to Class II rapids. Although many people bring their own gear, you can rent a canoe or kayak on-site.
As you glide peacefully across the water, keep an eye out for all sorts of wildlife like alligators, turtles, stingrays, hawks, and deer. The park is also home to a variety of birds, so bring your binoculars.
Fish for bass and catfish, bike the Wetlands Restoration Nature Trail, hike the trails, or go camping — there’s primitive camping as well as full-facility camping equipped with water, fire rings, and picnic tables.
Stroll the Tampa Riverwalk
At Tampa Riverwalk you can stroll along the Hillsborough River and take in views of Tampa’s scenic skyline.
Tampa Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile pedestrian walkway studded with restaurants, shops, parks, and museums. This is the perfect spot to start your day with a morning run, bike ride, rollerblade, or some yoga. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even hop on a Segway.
There’s also a lot to see here. You’ll find attractions like the Florida Aquarium, which houses 20,000 plants and animals, the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Tampa Convention Center.
Where to Stay in Tampa
When planning your trip to Tampa, use HotelPlanner to find the best deals on accommodations. With valuable information like average hotel prices and star ratings, feel confident that you’re getting the best discounts on two-, three-, and four-star resorts and hotels in Tampa, Florida.
Whether you’re looking to explore Tampa’s natural attractions or relax on one of its sparkly beaches, there’s no better time to start planning your next trip to the Gulf Coast. Bon voyage!
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.