Double up on fun, food and family in Tampa and Orlando - only 70 miles apart. Fly into Tampa and hop over to Orlando while you're at it. Guided by our Top 10 list below, enjoy the best these two sunny cities have to offer in just four days.
Tampa's Top Five
1. The World-Famous Beaches of Tampa and Clearwater
Take in Clearwater Beach, awarded TripAdvisor®’s 2016 Traveler’s Choice #1 Beach in the US and #20 in the World, where you can treat yourself to miles of sugar-fine white sand, the distinction of these fabulous beaches. From Clearwater to historic DeSoto, get ready for a perfect day in the sun; and bring the whole family: visitors frequently spot dolphins, manatees and more in their natural habitats. Insider Tip: Don't forget Fido! Fort DeSoto has dog-friendly beaches.
2. Tip-Top Thrills - Busch Gardens®
Bring the (older) kids and ditch endlessly long lines. While many families are slightly obsessed with “the mouse,” head over to Busch Gardens® Tampa for great entertainment that’s easier on the wallet. For kids who have graduated from the cartoon character age group, this park is prime for rides big and small, plus plenty of shows…not to mention much shorter lines.
3. Need a (Cat) Nap?
Tampa’s truly wild side comes out at Big Cat Rescue™, a must-see for every visitor. Don’t throw this to the lions on your next trip: enjoy seeing big cats in their natural habitat, and learn all about their stories from passionate volunteers who serve as guides and caretakers for these gorgeous animals.
4. Hiddden Haunts for the Discriminating Foodie
From the largest wine cellar in the world, to perfectly crafted brews and great bar fare, take in Bern’s Steakhouse and Cigar City Brewing®. Bern’s famous wine cellar has grown to hold the distinction of the largest collection in the world. Today, the cellar contains more than 6,800 different selections with over half a million bottles, including vintage selections dating back to 1973. Great brews and small plates abound at Tampa’s growing craft hot spot, Cigar City. Stop in for a tour and sample from a selection of 25+ beers on tap. The brewery itself appeals “to both hardened beer geeks and brew novices with eyebrow-raising flavors and commitment to quality.” 5. Tops in Tampa Want more? Seasonal events include the Gasparilla Festival, at its height in late January. Stop in during the late Spring to catch America’s top baseball talent showing off their stuff during Spring Training. Other must-do, year-round excursions include:
- Lowry Park Zoo (rated one of America’s Top 10 Zoos in 2015)
- Amalie Arena (home to the champion hockey team and great concerts all year long)
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium (see Winter the dolphin, star of the movies Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2!)
- The Florida Aquarium
Orlando's Top 5
1. The Mouse's House: Walt Disney World
It’s the Happiest Place on Earth; need we say more? Walt Disney World® is the most popular destination in the world for amusement park aficionados. With four whimsical parks from the Magic Kingdom, to the Animal Kingdom®, playing in their two epic water parks or strolling Downtown Disney will require plenty of energy (but your kids have more than enough, right?). Insider tip: Florida residents save on tickets and special offers throughout the year.
2. Butter Beer, Anyone?
At Universal Orlando®, entertainment is for all ages. Between Universal Studios Florida, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure, Wet 'n Wild Waterpark and City Walk, adults and kids alike have their choice of action-packed day, from mind-blowing coasters and behind-the-scenes tours of movie favorites.
3. Acrobats Abound: Cirque du Soleil
Located in Downtown Disney’s West Side in a custom-built, free-standing theater, Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba, meaning to “live it up” in French, is an unforgettable journey to uncover passions thought to be lost long ago. This highly acclaimed performance features acrobats, gymnasts, and other skilled performers and is the only resident show outside of Las Vegas!
4. Eye-Magine Yourself Here
The amazing new Orlando Eye, a 400-foot Ferris wheel with amazing views of the theme parks and I-drive, is a must-do for the whole gang. Your family will make lasting memories of stunning views. Before taking in this feat, enjoy miniature golf, shopping and fine dining all along the 11-mile stretch of the famous International Drive.
Insider Tip: Take the I-RIDE Trolley service until 10:30 pm to avoid traffic or parking fees.
5. Sea the World from Orlando
The tenth most-visited amusement park in the United States, SeaWorld® Orlando is an animal-lover’s favorite. Learn about life under water with live shows and encounters, animal exhibits and rides during your visit. You can also enjoy a swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove or just have fun acting like a sea animal in the water park next door, Aquatica®.
Insider Tip: Check out Exclusive Park Encounters to get even closer to the animals you love.