Tampa Bucket List

705 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602, USA
Over 530 Victory cargo ships were built during World War II to supply U.S. war efforts. Of those, only three remain in operation. The SS American Victory served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The ship was saved from the scrap heap in 1998 and was lovingly and respectfully restored to operational condition to serve as a museum ship and memorial. The ship now calls the Port of Tampa home. The SS American Victory can be viewed by following a well-marked and signed self-guided history tour throughout the ship. Visitors can explore from cargo hold to bridge deck. Docent led tours are also available if arranged in advance by phone or email. Once or twice a year the SS American Victory sets sail for a tour of Tampa Bay hosting an on-board party to raise funds for maintenance and educational programs,. Interested “sailors” should consult the Victory’s website for dates. The ship is located on the Ybor Channel just behind the Florida Aquarium. Parking is available in the Aquarium parking lot. It is a short walk from Teco Line Streetcar Station 7.
510 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602, USA
Every Sunday from October through May, the 600/700 blocks of Franklin Street in downtown Tampa come alive with local foods, arts & crafts, and music. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., local vendors sell everything from fresh-made German bread to produce just picked that morning. There are spice merchants and soap sellers. Local honey makers bring their jars of golden goodness. There is fresh cheese, dried fruit, homemade pickles. Fresh from the boat seafood and locally made Florida tea are for sale. Food vendors sell breakfast treats and lunches. Craftsmen sell their wares. There’s even a guy who will sharpen your kitchen knives for you while you wait. All that goodness, and music too. So enjoy a different side of modern downtown Tampa and enjoy the Sunday market community.
5620 W Cypress St, Tampa, FL 33607, USA
Cypress Point Park offers a relaxing nature escape in the city. Plentiful amenities include a children’s playground, a disc golf park, covered pavilions, and jogging trails.
1101 Country Club Way South
Sometimes it is hard to find a piece of “old” Florida; a reminder of what the Tampa Bay area looked like when settlers first came in the 1800s. Luckily Boyd Hill offers the visitor a glimpse into that not-so-distant past. Spend an hour or two wandering through a Florida wilderness set on the beautiful shores of Lake Maggiore (only 10 minutes from downtown St. Petersburg). Well maintained and signed trails and boardwalks make it easy to enjoy the various habitats and critters. An aviary is home to a number of birds who have been rehabilitated from injuries but are not able to return to the wild. The Boyd Hill Preserve is 240-acres of lake, marsh land, pine flatwood forest, marsh woodlands, and sand scrub. The gopher tortoise make Boyd Hill its home and it is delightful to watch a pair lumber across the trail. Roseate spoonbills, anhingas, egrets and herons all hang out in the lake and marshes of Boyd Hill. Ospreys and bald eagles are known to roam and nest in the area as well. Are you in the St Petersburg area and maybe have had just about enough beach? It can happen. Maybe you want to take a break from the umbrella drinks on the patio? How about spending the day immersing yourself in the nature here. When that umbrella calls, you can be back in no time.
1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
Fans of the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí need not travel to Spain‘s Costa Brava to explore an exceptional display of his work. St. Petersburg’s Dalí Museum houses the private collection of Reynolds and Eleanor Morse, the largest assembly of pieces by the artist outside Europe. Among the museum’s 2,100 items by Dalí are paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos and much more, including many of the artist’s most important works.
1800 Weedon Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702, USA
There is more to the St Petersburg/Clearwater area than beaches and boating; there are quiet pockets of nature filled with beauty and wild creatures. Weedon Island Preserve is one of those spots. Located on the northwestern shores of Tampa Bay, it is a quick 20 minute drive from downtown St Petersburg. This 3190 acre marine ecosystem is accessible by kayak, boardwalk, pier, and a small system of upland trails. We rented kayaks for a half-day and paddled through a well-marked water trail. Sweetwater Kayak Rentals delivered the kayaks to the water’s edge and provided life vests, paddles, and good advice. With a bit of a shove, we were off onto the waters of Weedon Preserve. We paddled in sheltered bays watching American oystercatchers and egrets scavenge for food. We glided through earthy-scented mangrove tunnels where the outside world melted away into quiet paradise. Another day we watched the sunset from the fishing pier. A Great Blue Heron walked along one railing while we leaned against the other, content to savor the late afternoon light. A swish in the water heralded a small group of dolphins, one a youngster. A walk up the observation tower is rewarded with an expansive view of the mangrove “islands” with the downtowns of Tampa and St Petersburg just a glimmer in the distance. For more information about Sweetwater Kayaks, check here.
The weather may stay mild and snow may not fall from the sky, but Christmas still arrives in a big way to downtown St Petersburg. By the day after Thanksgiving, bayfront North Straub Park is all decked out with animated light displays, sparkle lights, and the town Christmas tree. The tree is officially lit on the Friday evening after turkey day (at 7pm) Located off of Beach Drive and overlooking the Vinoy Yacht Basin, North Straub Park becomes a winter wonderland complete with skating rink, Santa, the City Christmas Tree and for one afternoon (usually the first weekend in December) SNOW!!! Brought in by the truckload, it gives the chance to Florida kids to play in the snow. Around the same day as the snowfest, the City of St Pete hosts the annual Santa Parade which starts on Central Ave and ends at North Straub Park. Last but not least, the St Pete Rotary Club sponsors the annual Illuminated Boat Parade, (this year on December 14th). Scores of boats of all sizes load up on lights, reindeer, inflatable santas, and boom boxes blasting out holiday cheer. Locals bring beach chairs and sit along the waterfront to watch the cheery parade.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks