Are you looking for a list of the best day trips from Tampa? Look no further! This guide has 19 amazing Tampa day trips, all of which are worth the effort.
Located along Florida’s Gulf Coast, Tampa is a modern city with a cool atmosphere, diverse cuisine, and a touch of history. It’s so amazing that it is a must-see stop on any Florida road trip.
Tampa also happens to be close to many amazing towns, islands, springs, and other attractions. All of these spots make for great day trips from Tampa. Choose between perusing beautiful art museum, soaking up the sun at secluded beaches, and even visiting Florida’s well-known theme parks for your day trips from Tampa.
19 Best Day Trips From Tampa Worth The Effort
Best Tampa Day Trips Within 1 Hour
Caladesi Island State Park is one of the best day trips from Tampa. It’s only accessible by boat, so you really feel as if you’re being transported to an island paradise.
While there, you can simply enjoy the inviting turquoise water and pristine white sand. Do a little kayaking, prepare a beachfront picnic, go for a relaxing swim, or tackle a blood-pumping hike. The day trip from Tampa to Caladesi Island is definitely worth the effort.
To get to Caladesi Island from Tampa, it takes 40 minutes by car.
Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park has had quite an unusual history. Once upon a time, the area was inhabited by Native Americans before two Spanish conquistadors, Panfilo de Narvaez and Hernando de Soto, began the conquest of all of Florida. Once the land became part of the U.S., it was then repurposed for military use as a bombing range. After World War II, Fort De Soto Park finally became open to civilians, as it remains today.
Due to its packed history and wonderful natural landscape, there is so much to do at Fort De Soto Park. Explore the five interconnected islands, take a peek at the historic fort, enjoy the water, or take on the miles of trails.
To get to Fort De Soto Park from Tampa, it takes 40 minutes by car.
Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens
The Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens are one of the most unique day trips from Tampa. This 100-year-old botanical garden is home to over 500 species of plants, including water lilies, cacti, and fruit trees.
In addition to the eye-catching flora, Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens also includes some wonderful fauna. The highlight of the Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens is the group of 22 Chilean flamingos. As a matter of fact, many visitors to these beautiful botanical gardens come especially for the amazing flamingos.
To get to the Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens from Tampa, it takes 25 minutes by car or an hour and a half by bus.
Gamble Plantation State Historic Park
If you’re a history buff, a trip to Gamble Plantation State Historic Park may be right up your alley. This antebellum home was owned by Judah P. Benjamin, the Secretary of State of the Confederacy. It also happens to be the only plantation home still standing in all of Southern Florida.
If you choose to visit Gamble Plantation State Historic Park, consider taking a tour. Not only will you get a lot more out of your visit, but the tours are also very affordable and are offered six times each day.
To get to Fort Gamble Plantation State Historic Park from Tampa, it takes 40 minutes by car.
Honeymoon Island State Park
As with many of the Tampa day trips on this list, Honeymoon Island is another one of the fantastic one tank trips from Tampa. Situated right next to Caladesi Island, the highlight of Honeymoon Island is a perfect four-mile stretch of beach. So enjoy the sun, sand, and water!
In addition to the beautiful beach, Honeymoon Island State Park is also known for the small animals that come to visit the area. Eagles, owls, and osprey fly across the sky, while raccoons, armadillos, and tortoises scurry across the ground.
To get to Honeymoon Island State Park from Tampa, it takes 40 minutes by car.
Hillsborough River State Park
While many day trips from Tampa are beaches, Hillsborough River State Park gives people a chance to explore another side of Florida’s nature: the greenery. With a calming river and seven miles of trails, there’s so much to do in this greenery-laden oasis. Kayak, camp, hike, canoe, or birdwatch during your time at Hillsborough River State Park.
If you happen to be looking for those iconic Florida alligators, they often make an appearance at Hillsborough River State Park. Remember to respect their space!
To get to Hillsborough River State Park from Tampa, it takes just over 30 minutes by car.
Salvador Dali Museum
The Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali is known as one of the most influential artists to ever exist. And the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg is home to the largest collection of Dali’s works on the entire planet!
While at the Salvador Dali Museum, you can peruse hundreds of pieces of mind-bending surrealist art. Many of Dali’s most famous works, including The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and The Hallucinogenic Toreador, are featured at this Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.
To get to the Salvador Dali Museum from Tampa, it takes 25 minutes by car.
Best Tampa Day Trips Under 2 Hours
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, often referred to as simply “The Ringling,” is the official state art museum of Florida. This renowned museum is home to over 10,000 pieces of artwork of all different mediums.
With 10,000 pieces, The Ringling boasts the prowess of a wide variety of artists. Some of the most famous include Marcel Duchamp, Peter Paul Rubens, Gianlorenzo Bernini, and Rosa Bonheur.
To get to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art from Tampa, it takes an hour by car or just under three hours by bus.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is quite an original day trip from Tampa. This natural spring has been turned into a one-of-a-kind mermaid-themed attraction.
It’s really quite difficult to sum up everything that Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has to offer. While the iconic mermaid show is of course the most popular part, visitors can also explore freshwater caves, get the adrenaline pumping at the water park portion, learn about the wildlife of Florida, and even kayak or swim around the spring.
To get to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, it takes just under an hour by car or two and a half hours by bus.
Walt Disney World
One of the most popular day trips from Tampa is undoubtedly Walt Disney World. With the four major parks of Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios in addition to two waterparks, Walt Disney World is packed with entertaining activities.
But not everything at Walt Disney World has to strain your wallet. There are tons of free things to do at Disney, including perusing Disney Springs and going resort hopping. That way, you can get your much-needed dose of pixie dust without breaking the bank.
To get to Walt Disney World from Tampa, it takes just over an hour by car or three hours by bus.
Bok Tower Gardens
Filled with over 200 acres of blooming plants, the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is a popular day trip for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger Florida cities. These vast gardens are filled with breathtaking seasonal plants, including azaleas in the spring and magnolias in the summer. As a matter of fact, the Bok Tower Gardens are so wonderful that they made it onto our Florida bucket list.
While the gardens are definitely a sight to see, many visitors to the Bok Tower Gardens come for the Singing Tower. This 150-foot tower serves as the centerpiece of the gardens and often emits beautiful music. Inside the tower (which is not accessible to the public, unfortunately), there are sixty bells and a playing cabin where a musician sits to conduct those sixty bells into a magical melody.
To get to Bok Tower Gardens from Tampa, it takes an hour and fifteen minutes by car.
There are many places around Florida where people can see manatees, there are few that are more popular than Three Sisters Spring at Crystal River. As a matter of fact, it is one of just a handful of places in Florida where you can consistently swim with manatees!
While manatees are the highlight of Crystal River, there are other things to do there as well. Indulge yourself at one of the many fine dining restaurants, try scalloping for the first time, hop on a jet ski, or stop at the Plantation on Crystal River.
To get to Crystal River from Tampa, it takes an hour and fifteen minutes by car.
Book Here: 3-Hour Crystal River Swim with Manatees
There are tons of theme parks in Florida, but Legoland is one of the most overlooked, despite the fact that it is one of the most exciting day trips from Tampa! Perfect for younger kids, this theme park is packed with amazing LEGO creations, thrilling rides, and a ton of fun.
During your time at Legoland, consider purchasing some LEGOs for your little ones to enjoy when your time at the park comes to an end. These LEGOs can be a little reminder of all of the fun you had during your day trip to the amazing theme park.
To get to Legoland from Tampa, it takes an hour by car or three hours by bus.
Book Here: LEGOLAND Florida Resort Admission Ticket
Rock Springs Run State Reserve
Rock Springs Run State Reserve is one of the hidden gem day trips from Tampa. If you just need a little fresh air and greenery in your life, a trip to Rock Springs Run State Reserve should do the trick!
There are miles and miles of trails coursing through Rock Springs Run State Reserve for biking, mountain biking, hiking, or horseback riding. You can also kayak or canoe all the way to Wekiwa Springs State Park for an additional adventure.
To get to Rock Springs Run State Reserve from Tampa, it takes an hour and 40 minutes by car.
Rainbow Springs State Park
Rainbow Springs State Park is one of the most popular Florida State Parks. Between the glistening turquoise waters, cascading man-made waterfalls, and colorful blooming azaleas, Rainbow Springs State Park seems to exude natural beauty.
But beauty isn’t all that this state park has to offer. You can go tubing down a natural lazy river, do a little swimming, pump your arms while canoeing or kayaking, watch for Florida wildlife, or tackle a hike.
To get to Rainbow Springs State Park from Tampa, it takes an hour and a half by car.
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is a cute little island filled with fantastic beaches and colorful, oceanfront rentals. Despite its small size, Anna Maria Island is packed with things to do, so it’s perfect for everyone!
As expected of an island off the coast of Florida, Anna Maria Island is filled with beautiful beaches, with Manatee Public Beach, Coquina Beach, and Bean Point Beach being a few of the most popular. The island is also filled with delicious restaurants and cozy boutique shops, perfect for a relaxing island getaway.
But if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, Anna Maria Island fulfills that need too. Kayak with wild dolphins, scuba dive at a shipwreck, or canoe through alligators and boar at Myakka State Park.
To get to Anna Maria Island from Tampa, it takes just over an hour by car.
Best Tampa Day Trips Over 2 Hours
Ginnie Springs is one of the beautiful natural gems of Florida. This turquoise spring is perfect for just about any water activity, including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, and cave diving. But the most popular water activity by far is tubing. Simply hop in a tube and float around these calming, beautiful waters.
If you know that Ginnie Springs is exactly your type of place, you can also camp on the Ginnie Springs property. That way, you can extend your day trip from Tampa to be a little longer.
To get to Ginnie Springs from Tampa, it takes two hours and fifteen minutes by car.
The spunky area known as Captiva Island – along with its neighboring island known as Sanibel Island – has something for everyone. If you’d just like to relax and soak up the stunning on a stunning beach, you can do that. If you want to search for rare seabirds and shells, you can do that. And if you want to celebrate Christmas in the summer (or any other time of year), you can do that too.
While there is a wide array of things to do at Captiva Island, the most popular attractions are all centered around the beautiful ocean. Relax on Bowman’s Beach, tour the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, and pay a visit to the oceanfront J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
To get to Captiva Island from Tampa, it takes two hours and fifty minutes by car.
Edison And Ford Winter Estates
As implied by the name, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates once belonged to two of the U.S.’ most influential moguls: Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Known most notably as being the inventors of the light bulb and the assembly line, these two men made enough money to buy themselves winter estates. Today, these estates have been transformed into a historical museum and botanical garden.
While on the premises of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, you can peruse the historic homes, wander through the gardens, and even check out the restored laboratory of these two esteemed entrepreneurs. Do know that tickets for each section of the estate cost an additional fee.
To get to Edison and Ford Winter Estates from Tampa, it takes two hours by car and three hours and twenty minutes by bus.
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