Day trips are the perfect way to have an adventure without going too far from home. And in the Tampa area, there are lots of day trips that will keep you and your family busy at anytime of the year. You might even want to visit some of them twice.
We have grouped these day trip ideas by some of the cities closest to Tampa. Sometimes when you’re out and enjoying an attraction in a city, you also wonder what else is there to do. That is why we have come up with several things to do in each city to definitely achieve that day trip experience.
Which one of these local day trips will you take?
Siesta Key, FL
1. Siesta Key Beach – Hitting the beach is a given, but when you do it at Siesta Key, you’re also getting some of the finest, whitest sand in the world, volleyball, concessions, picnic areas, restrooms, hiking trails, and a playground. Siesta Key has been ranked No.1 beach on several publications.
Family-Friendly Tip: In mid November, stop by Siesta Key for their Siesta Key Crystal Class International Sand Sculpting Festival. You’ll see a host of beautiful sand sculptures for this four day event. You won’t want to miss it. Make sure to take lots of pictures and enjoy the beach.
2. Siesta Key Bike & Kayak Rental (www.siestakeybikeandkayak.com)– High-quality rentals for family fun on land and sea: kayaks, scooters, paddle boards, bicycles, and more.
Weeki Wachee, FL
1. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park – One of the most popular bucket list items is seeing the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee. You can can also rent a kayak or a canoe and experience the calm waters as you get up close and personal with nature’s best. Enjoy a riverboat adventure, or get to know the wildlife.
Bring your swimsuits to enjoy Buccaneer Bay Waterpark, located inside Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, it features four thrilling waterslides, three of which drop you off in natural Weeki Wachee Springs! Don’t worry, there’s a fun spot for the little ones at the Lil’ Mates Caribbean Cove with a fun water play area and wading pool for children six and younger. To really kick back and relax, rent an inner tube and take a cool, lazy float on our natural river that slowly flows around the swimming area.
Family-Friendly Tip: Come early as the park reaches capacity very quickly. Visit their website for hours and schedules for their mermaid shows. It changes with every season.
2. Southern Skies Ranch (13366 Hurricane Dr, Weeki Wachee, FL 34614, (352) 279-3917) – Enjoy horseback riding at its finest at this family owned and operated ranch. For all experience levels from beginner to advanced.
3. Pine Island Park – From beaches and bird watching, to swimming and volleyball, this is the place to spend your day when you want to enjoy all that the beach has to offer close to the city of Weeki Wachee.
St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL
1. Captain Nemo Pirate Cruise – Spend the afternoon with a group of pirates. Scenic views and dolphin sightings await you on this two-hour journey along the shores of Clearwater. Games, face painting, and treasure hunts are all part of the fun along the way.
2. Clearwater Marine Aquarium – This marine life rescue center is home to Winter the Dolphin, star of the popular Dolphin Tale movies. Meet the dolphins and learn all about what it takes to care for them.
3. Fort De Soto Park – Nature in all its glory awaits; the green of the trees, the white sand beaches, and the crystal blue waters beckon. 1,136 acres of interconnected islands provide plenty of places for scores of native plants. Swimming and hiking are also available.
4. Vertical Ventures in St. Petersburg – When you want to climb a rock, but you don’t want to do it on a real mountain, this is the place to go. This state-of-the-art indoor climbing facility offers something for everybody, from the novice to the seasoned pro. They offer family-friendly deals on their website to help with your budget.
1. The Ringling Museum – You’ll find a million things to do at The Ringling. From the history of the circus to the bayfront gardens, there’s so much to do and see that it might take up your whole day trip. Visit on Mondays when admission to the Museum of Art is free.
2. Longboat Key Beach – A different kind of beach than Siesta Key, Longboat Key is a bit more rustic, with granular sand rather than fine powder. However, you’ll find plenty of seashells and sand dollars. Just look for the access points. Make sure to stop by the downtown circle area and visit the shops and the restaurants nearby.
3. Bob’s Train – For an absolutely unique dining experience, head to this restaurant that’s housed in four real-life train cars. Open for lunch and dinner, you’ll find burgers, salads, sandwiches, and unique desserts (chocolate spaghetti, anyone?)
Family-Friendly Tip: Some GPS do not pick up this location. Here are some directions: While on Fruitville Rd, turn North on to School Ave. Follow the bend West as School turns into 3rd St. Take the first right. Continue into the property and Bob’s Train will be on your left.
2211 Fruitville Rd
Sarasota FL, 34237
Tel: (941) 321-5643
4. The Bazaar at Apricot & Lime (821 Apricot Avenue,Sarasota, Florida 34237 (941) 343-2712) You don’t have to be a hippy to enjoy learning to weave or play the ukulele. This indoor market offers lessons in both, plus more. You’ll find a plethora of handmade goods from over 30 vendors.
The market is open on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays from 10 am – 3 pm.The Bazaar is open year round, with the exception of some holidays.
5. Escape Countdown (6525 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231)– A fully interactive entertainment game where you must solve puzzles and find clues to escape from the room before your 60 minute time limit is up. Each game has a different theme. This would be a great family bonding activity to do while you’re near Siesta Key.
Tarpon Springs , FL
1. Sponge Docks – Named after the industry that helped build this Greek community, Sponge Docks offers everything from Greek markets to sponge diving tours. And, of course, sponges.
2. Original Mama Maria’s – One of the best authentic Greek food around can be found here. From the hand rolled dolmades to the charbroiled octopus, the Mousaka to the Baklava, you’ll find everything that Mama’s still making in the kitchen.
3. Spongeorama Sponge Factory and Museum – Learn about the sponge industry and the sponge docks as you watch a movie in the air conditioned theater, and take a tour of the sponge museum—both are free. Afterward, shop for gifts and souvenirs.
4. Tarpon Springs Aquarium – Watch a shark or alligator feeding show, see a snake demonstration, or touch a turtle. The marine life at this family operated business is amazing to see, and beautiful to enjoy.
Dade City, FL
1. Pioneer Florida Museum & Village – This open air museum takes you back in time. Tour the one-room schoolhouse, see the old train depot, or browse through a museum filled with old tools, household items, and farm equipment. You can even explore a few old courthouse record books.
2. Hancock Groves ( 31107 Blanton Rd, Dade City, Florida 33523, (352) 588-3801 ) You’ll have all hands on deck as you pick your own fruits at this beautiful farm. Strawberries, peaches, and the best citrus that Florida has to offer.
This is a fun family activity that will make some lasting memories. They also have pre-picked oranges as well if you want to skip the picking.
3. Treehoppers Adventure Park – Zip through the trees and feel the breeze whip through your hair. For exercise or for fun, it’s all part of a big adventure. They even have a little lemurs course for the little ones so they can experience an adventure of their own.
While there is always more to explore near Tampa, the most important is making memories with your family. Want to learn about more ways to spend fun times with your family? Subscribe to our newsletter.