If you’re making summer plans, here are some exciting places to visit this summer near Tampa, Florida. All of these activities are great for kids and most are budget friendly! Whether you’re a Tampa Bay local or just visiting, there’s something for everyone on this list!
1. Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is one of my absolute favorite beach destinations in Florida. The island offers an Old Florida beach town feel and some gorgeous gulf coastline. There’s plenty of walkable activities and miles of beaches to explore. Anna Maria Island is just about an hour away from Tampa.
Read our full guide to Anna Maria Island
2. Egmont Key State Park
Egmont Key State Park is a very special island off the coast of St. Petersburg, only accessible by boat. There are limited ferries each day from Fort de Soto Park, which gives you a little bit of a private island feeling. You can explore the ruins of three forts and a ghost town, or admire the beautiful beaches and hunt for shells.
Looking for more State Parks? Check out Best State Parks to Visit in West Central Florida
3. St. Pete Pier
The St. Pete Pier was recently completely renovated and reopened in Summer 2020. There are plenty of activities including fishing, biking, and a splash pad. There are multiple dining options as well. The pier has gorgeous views of Tampa Bay, and stunning sunset views.
The New St. Pete Pier: Know Before You Go
4. Sarasota Jungle Gardens
If you have ever wanted to hand feed a flamingo, Sarasota Jungle Gardens provides the opportunity to experience this unique, very Floridian activity! Besides the flamingos, there are many other animals to observe and beautiful jungle-like gardens to explore. This is one of the oldest operating attractions in Florida, so enjoy stepping back into a little slice of Old Roadside Florida. Other activities include animal shows, parrot photo ops, a playground, petting zoo, gift shop and more.
On a Budget? Check out 45 Free & Cheap Things To Do in Tampa Bay
5. Kayaking Through Mangroves at Weedon Island Preserve
Weedon Island Preserve is an expansive park located on the western shore of Tampa Bay. You can rent kayaks (or bring your own) and explore the gorgeous paddling trail through mangrove forests and the shore of Tampa Bay. There are also boardwalk trails through multiple ecosystems and a cool observation tower overlooking the preserve.
6. Pass-a-Grille Beach
Pass-a-Grille Beach is a beautiful beach right at the south end of the Pinellas County peninsula. Because it’s a little farther off the main tourist drag, it’s usually less crowded. Our favorite thing to do is enjoy a rooftop drink and sunset at the classic Hurricane Restaurant!
7. Myakka River State Park
This wild state park is one of the largest in the state of Florida. One of the biggest draws at Myakka River State Park is the Canopy Walk which is a suspension bridge you can walk among the trees. There is also a 74 foot tall observation tower that extends up above the tree tops where you can get a birds eye view of the surrounding area. Alligators, birds, deer and other wildlife are common sightings around the park. Other activities include camping, biking, and tram and boat tours.
Read our full guide to Myakka River State Park
8. Tarpon Springs
Located in north Pinellas County, Tarpon Springs is known for its sponge diving industry and Greek population. Tarpon Springs is one of the most prosperous natural sponge markets in the world and is home to the largest Greek community in the United States. This coastal town is full of rich Greek culture and delicious food, plus plenty of gift shops and handmade goods.
Read our Tarpon Springs Day Trip guide
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9. Ringling Museum and Ca’ d’Zan
The Ringling is a must-do in Sarasota for lovers of art, history, architecture and gardens. Once owned by Circus mogul John Ringling and his wife Mabel, the estate is now beautifully kept and open to the public. There are multiple activities to do within the Ringling Grounds: The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion and beautiful grounds to walk around.
Read our full guide to the Ringling Museum and Ca’ d’Zan
10. Hillsborough River State Park
Hillsborough River State Park is just a few minutes outside of Tampa and offers a unique feature: the only Class II rapids in the state. The park has over seven miles of trails through oak hammocks and pine flatwoods, most with great views of the Hillsborough River.
Read our full guide to Hillsborough River State Park
Shop My State Park Must Haves
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The information in this post was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. If you are planning to visit any of the sites mentioned in this post, we recommend checking the most up-to-date information on their respective websites.
2 thoughts on “10 Places to Visit This Summer Near Tampa, FL”
Recommend Tarpon Springs. Stay for dinner.
That’s a good one too! I love the Greek food! Yum!