Winter Getaway in Tampa

by Michael Satterfield

Tampa might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of Florida vacation destinations, but being just an hour and a half from Walt Disney World, home to world-class dining and one of the busiest cruising ports in Florida, Tampa is a great place to launch your winter escape in Florida.

Offering all of the big city amenities you could want with charming districts that offer a small-town atmosphere easily makes Tampa one of my favorite destinations in Florida. We had a hard time running out of things to do, from craft breweries to outdoor adventures, historic tours, and exciting sporting venues, we took full advantage of our time in Tampa as we road-tripped along the Gulf Coast, here are some of our favorite things we discovered in the Tampa Bay area.

Check out our full Gulf Coast Road Trip story for more fun things to do in Florida.


Tampa is homeport for eight vessels from six cruise lines, offering 4, 5, 7, and 14-day cruise itineraries. With easy parking and great hotels near the cruise port cruising out of Tampa Bay is easy, be sure to plan to spend a few extra days before or after your cruise in the city to check out some of the other awesome activities.

Learn more about cruising out of Tampa Bay HERE.


From Ulele a restaurant that is inspired by Native Floridian dishes to the Rez Grill which is conveniently located in the Seminole Hard Rock resort there is no shortage of amazing food in Tampa. Stop off in the Latin Quarter at La Cabana Restaurant for Authentic Colombian Cuisine the food is amazing and prices are reasonable, or head over to Hyde Park Village and get some classic American at Goody Goody Burgers, be sure to save room for their famous pies.

Outdoor Adventures:

Take a guided or self-guided canoe through the wetlands just outside of Tampa with Canoe Escape exploring the local wetlands, you are sure to see a number of birds, fish, and of course alligators. If you want to do some urban exploring by boat the Tampa Bay Water Bike Co. lets you paddle along Bayshore Blvd or explore Davis Islands. If you want to explore by foot be sure to put Morris Bridge Park or the Booker Creek Preserve for great nature hikes or bicycle rides.

Take in a Tampa Bay Lightning Game:

Most people don't think of hockey when they think of Florida, but with the NHL season running October-April taking in a game on your winter holiday is a great way to enjoy a night downtown. The Tampa Bay Lightning has a passionate fan base that packs out the arena and makes for an electrifying experience. With tickets starting at just $20 it doesn't have to break the bank to enjoy an NHL game on your trip to Tampa. CLICK HERE for Schedule and Tickets.

Breweries and Wineries:

Tampa has a growing brewery scene that is on par with anywhere in the country, leading the way are breweries like Coppertail Brewing Co. and Tampa Beer Works, but with over 20 local brewers you are sure to find one that you'll love. If wine is more your style Aspirations Winery is just across the bay in Clearwater, while a short drive out to the east will take you to Keel and Curley Winery. But no visit to Tampa would be complete without a stop at Tampa Bay Rum Co. which offers distillery tours where visitors learn the process of making their famous Gaspar's Rum.

No matter if you are cruising into port, road tripping through, or just visiting on business, the Tampa Bay area has so much to offer. Tampa is also one of the least expensive airports to fly into in Florida, so if you are planning a Disney vacation or Caribbean cruise be sure to put Tampa on the list.

Big thank you to our friends at Acura for loaning us the new RDX for our Gulf Coast Road Trip Series.