Fun Things to Do In Tampa

Summer vacation is here, and everyone wants a chance to relax, even if it is close to home. After all, packing up the kids for a long drive is generally not at the top of a “relax” list. So, if you live nearby, here are some fun things to do in Tampa that are perfect for the family.


1. Visit Museums

Tampa has over a dozen world-class museums featuring history, art, military, and science. Here are the three most popular–perfect for kids young and old:

Henry B. Plant Museum

Do you want to step back in time? Consider the Henry B. Plant Museum, named after transportation pioneer Henry B. Plant and located in the old Tampa Bay Hotel. Get ready to step into the past and enjoy America at the turn-of-the-century. The hotel itself was built way back in 1891 and is now a National Historic Landmark. Along with the unique architecture, you will enjoy the original opulent furnishings which were delivered on 47 train cars, and get to see a number of exhibits meant to display America’s Gilded Age. Plan to spend 2 hours so you can see everything. Along with the museum, the park offers a lovely area next to the water to sit and relax. 

The Glazer Children’s Museum

Trying to entertain a crowd? The Glazer Children's Museum is a fun interactive museum for kids under 12. If your crowd has a wide range of ages, do not worry, there are also designated zones for babies and toddlers, so they can have fun without getting in the way of the big kids.

From the almost 400 reviews on TripAdvisor, you can tell why this is a top Tampa staycation destination for families with little ones. Some of the exhibits you do not want to miss include:

  • The Cruise Ship- where kids become sailors and dig for buried treasure.

  • The Firehouse- where little ones can pretend to put out a fire and slide down the fireman’s pole.

  • The Vet Clinic- where animals are just waiting for some TLC.

From imagination to exploration, The Glazer Children’s Museum is sure to keep your family entertained.

The Tampa Bay History Center

Maybe history is more your style. The Tampa Bay History Center is a history buff’s dream come true with exhibits covering a wide range of Tampa’s history from native inhabitants, pirates, Spanish conquistadors, and the Everglades. Along with the regular exhibits, there are special events and walking tours, so it is easy to spend the afternoon exploring. The History Center is located along the Tampa Riverwalk so build in some additional fun with lunch at the Columbia Cafe and a ride on the Tampa Trolley.


2. Spend Time In Nature

If summertime means outdoors to you, consider spending some staycation time with nature.

Go Fishing

The outdoor activities in Tampa are almost unlimited, but, fishing is near the top of the list for the avid outdoorsperson. The bay is abundant with fish including Shark, Kingfish, Redfish, Snapper, Trout, and Grouper.

Consider hiring a local charter to take advantage of the game. Local charters specialize in trolling, bottom fishing and light tackle and many cater to both large groups and individuals, and if you don’t really feel like fishing, consider a more romantic adventures with sunset cruises

TripAdvisor has an extensive list of Fishing Charters and Tours, but two of the most popular are Tampa Fishing Charters and Tampa Flats and Bay Fishing Charters.

Go for a Walk

Not really into fishing or do not really take to the sea? Take a stroll instead.

Lettuce Lake Regional Park is a beautiful 240-acre regional park in South Tampa that features boardwalks cutting through most of the park, so you can stroll along the beautiful cypress swamps without getting wet or dirty. For only $2 they offer an insightful tour around the boardwalks which takes about an hour. The tour is well worth the money and time, and is great way to see some of Florida’s wildlife up close.

Spend time with Wildlife

Want to be adventurous? Consider visiting Big Cat Rescue, a sanctuary for big cats like lions, tigers, and exotic cats. The rescue is committed to helping end the private ownership of big cats while also providing a natural environment along with excellent veterinary care to their rescued friends.

Run by dedicated staff and volunteers who are devoted to saving and caring for these beautiful animals, there are several different guided tours offered daily that you can schedule ahead of time. Plan on staying about 2 hours, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water.


3. Try a Theme Park

No staycation is complete without a theme park, and although Orlando is famous for them, Tampa still offers some very exciting options.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay should be your first stop if you love rides and exotic African animals. The park is enormous at 335 acres, so plan to be doing lots of walking. Make sure to stay hydrated, because the heat and humidity can get intense, but you can escape the sun by taking in their family-friendly shows staring super-talented rescued animals.

A few tips to keep in mind to make your Busch Gardens trip fun:

  • Dress comfortably and wear shoes and clothes you do not mind getting wet on the rides.

  • Arrive early.

  • Pick up a park map right way.

  • Remember, like most big parks, you cannot take backpacks or bags on the rides so do any shopping at the end of the day.

Daily admission tickets start at $45 while annual passes start at only $59. Make sure you check out the tickets page for the latest deals.

Adventure Island

If you are looking for a cooler activity, Adventure Island is a fantastic water park located right across the street from Busch Gardens. If you love water slides and beautiful pools, this is the place for you.

The park covers 30 acres and is filled with super fun water features for all ages including pools, a winding river, and several play areas. For those who want to relax in style be sure to check out their private cabanas.

Along with the water fun, there is plenty of dining options and a favorite gift shop where you can pick up sunglasses, hats, and other outdoor essentials.

Here are some tips for a great day at Adventure Island:

  • Reserve your cabana

  • Leave your coolers at home or in the car (they are not allowed in the park)

  • Bring plenty of sunscreen, a big towel, a swimsuit, and a hat.

  • Make sure you arrive early so you can snag a good parking spot and enjoy shorter lines

  • Purchase a cashless wristband to pay for things throughout the day. With this wristband, you can leave your cash and credit cards in a locker and not worry about losing them as you are enjoying the water sports and slides.

Grand Prix Tampa

Finally, do not forget Grand Prix Tampa, another popular spot for all ages. There are plenty of things to do including mini-golf, arcades and an immense rope course. They also have fast electric go-carts for racing as well as slower cars for younger kids. The Grand Prix is especially popular with teens and is available for private parties. Make sure you check their Facebook page for specials.


Not really looking for a big park experience or can’t make up your mind on what to see first? Go sightseeing and take advantage of the CityPass. This discounted pass is a great way to go sightseeing all over Tampa and save money. For one low price, you can visit:



Summer is all about having fun with friends and family. Whether you decide to leave town on vacation, or experience incredible staycations any day of the week, life is much more exciting when you create new experiences, and you cannot find a better place to do that than breathtaking Tampa Bay. At Pulte Homes, we love building beautiful communities in areas that are fun to live in. For more information about living where you love to vacation, visit Pulte in Tampa Florida.


Contributed to Your Home blog by Carol Youmans

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