Port Tampa Bay
The attractive city of Tampa is wrapped around a gleaming waterfront, that just happens to be Florida's most important port. Fine dining, sunny weather, outstanding nightlife, and attractions aplenty make this one of the USA's most enjoyable cities. Whether you're in Tampa for a day or much longer, you'll feel like you're on vacation even before you embark on one of the many cruises through the Western Caribbean, offering all sorts of cruises along the stunning Mexican Coast.
This is a major cruise ship terminal, with five lines (Carnival Cruise, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise) leaving from the warm-water port. Tampa's official language is English, but Spanish is widely spoken. The currency is the US dollar, available at ATMs close to the terminal.
How to Get to Tampa
Two of the most popular attractions are right across from the Port of Tampa's Terminal 2 (Carnival Cruise Terminal), The Florida Aquarium and Channelside Bay Plaza, a popular shopping and entertainment complex. Taxis can take you downtown or to the surrounding beaches and attractions, though more adventurous souls could use the [TECO Line Streetcar], which connects the cruise terminals to Ybor City and downtown, connecting to [HARTline buses] around the city and bay.
Inexpensive private shuttles run between the cruise ship terminal and Tampa International Airport (TPA). Make reservations in advance.
One Day in Tampa
Perhaps Tampa's most famous attraction is right on the waterfront, easy walking distance from the cruise ship terminals: The Florida Aquarium. While it's well worth a wander, those eager to see the bay's undersea wildlife up close can Swim with the Fishes, a safe, controlled introduction to scuba diving in a small "coral reef" populated by more than 2,300 fish. More adventurous travelers could even dive with the sharks.
Other world-class area attractions include beautiful white-sand beaches, many of them protected; Busch Gardens, a popular amusement park with a great zoo and other family-friendly attractions; and Ybor City, the historic Latino quarter, famed for its hand-rolled "Cuban" cigars. Foodies already know about Tampa's tasty crab croquettes, but may not realize that the Cuban sandwich was introduced to the United States right here!
- The Florida Aquarium
- Ybor City
- Hyde Park
- Tampa Museum of Art
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- Tampa Adventure Island
- Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)
- Weedon Island Preserve
- Downtown Tampa
- Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum
- Sunken Gardens
- Little Manatee River State Park
- Alafia River State Park
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium