Located on the west coast of Florida, just 80 miles from Orlando, is the exciting city and port of Tampa. This is a great place to experience ordinary American pastimes, such as catching a baseball game, ice hockey match or the Buccaneers American Football team at the amazing Raymond James Stadium. If sport isn't your thing, there's a theatre, art gallery and science museum too. A pretty river walk and park is popular with families, and the white sands of Clearwater Beach are minutes away. There's also the Busch Gardens theme park at just a 15-minute drive from the city centre.
The city is to the north of Tampa Bay which overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. Settlers didn't arrive in this area until 1824, followed by a boost in population in the 1880s with many Cuban and Spanish natives putting down roots in the city. Glorious Hispanic influences can be spotted in the food, drinks and music around town.
July 4th is celebrated all over Tampa, with fireworks, parades and live music. Gasparilla Pirate festival is unique to the area, and the Sunset Music Festival is a huge dance event.
Things to Do
You can be busy everyday in Tampa, or you can choose to relax by the river or beach. Here is a list of three things not to miss in the area:
Watch baseball or American football live
Football is a winter game and the local team is the Buccaneers. Baseball takes place during summer and the team to support is the Rays. Catch a game and experience all the excitement of a live sports event the American way. Don't forget to snack on a hot dog while you're there.
Get an adrenaline rush at Busch Gardens
Rollercoasters, live family shows, and animal encounters are all part of the fun at this theme park that is a short journey inland. During June and July, the park is open until late each evening when it's a little cooler.
Head out to sea
Clearwater Beach is just a quick drive away, and here the sand is white and the sea crystal clear. There are a number of boat trips on offer from here, like dolphin-spotting tours, fishing expeditions and sunset cruises.
Calendar of Events
Tampa likes to put on a live music and food event whenever it can, and there are celebrations which are organised annually that attract visitors from far and wide.
Independence Day Parade. The 4th of July is celebrated in style with traditional parades, music and fireworks. There is always a range of events on this national holiday, so you'll be spoilt for choice.
Gasparilla Pirate Festival. At the end of every January, this unique and free event has bead-throwing pirates parading through the town on spectacular floats. The parade route is nearly 4 miles long and features marching bands, fireworks and cannons.
Sunset Music Fest. This weekend electronic dance music festival fills the Raymond James Stadium (and beyond) each May. Pre-booking tickets is required.