If you are looking for a beach vacation with a twist, check out Tampa Bay, a stunning location with great weather, laid back hangouts, community initiatives and a distinctive art culture. Sunsets and beaches, Tampa Bay will take your breath away. Neighborhood shops, restaurants, and kava, Tampa Bay offers visitors plenty of opportunities to contribute to the local economy. Professional graffiti and tattoos, Tampa Bay is packed with unique body and street art. Here are 7 reasons to put on your favorite swimsuit, lather up with sunscreen and head to Tampa Bay for your next vacation.
1. Beautiful beaches
Florida is known for its long stretches of white sand sanctuaries. Tampa Bay certainly does not fall short in this department. With so many beaches in such a concentrated area, it is no surprise that they each have a different aura, attracting unique crowds. Whether you are looking for a haven to relax, a spot for a family outing, the perfect place to retire or a 20’s–30’s party, Tampa Bay will have the beach for you.
Indian Rocks Beach is a small beach with a nearby park. It is quiet, and has an older crowd. Clearwater Beach is a bit more crowded with more of a family environment. St. Pete’s Beach and Tampa Bay beaches are more concentrated with bars, like Whiskey Joe’s at Tampa’s Courtney Campbell Causeway, making these locations more attractive for younger crowds such as college kids on spring break. Whichever beach you choose, just make sure to do the stingray shuffle, as the Floridians call it, where you shuffle your feet to avoid stingrays as you enter the water.
2. Breathtaking sunsets
If the beaches did not convince you, the sunsets will. In the Sunshine State, it is no surprise that there are plenty of sunsets. The flat expansive land and gulf-lined western horizon make Tampa Bay a wonderful spot to watch the sun set. Whether it be from a rooftop restaurant, a white-sand beach or driving down the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the sunsets in Tampa Bay are simply stunning. Since the state gets very little rain, it is very likely visitors will get to see at least a couple of breathtaking sunsets. Grab dinner at one of St. Pete’s beachfront restaurants, catch happy hour at a rooftop bar or have a picnic on Sunset Beach. No matter what you choose to do, as the sun goes down, the sky will erupt into a free color show.
3. Kava, kava and more kava
Tampa Bay is heaven for fellow kava enthusiasts. With so many awesome spots to choose from, travelers can visit a new kava bar every single day. In Tampa Bay, kava is available at every hour of the day. Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar is open 24/7 for those looking for a late-night kava treat.
Low Tide Kava is a laid-back bar with welcoming and friendly staff and a neighborhood feel. At Low Tide, the first shot is on the house so be sure to start here if you are new to kava. This spacious bar has comfy indoor seating in a space decorated with bright earthy art. Low Tide Kava also has an outdoor patio area for those that want to soak up the sun while they enjoy their kava.
In the heart of Downtown St. Pete, Grassroots Kava House is a trendy kava and coffee bar with a goal of supporting both the local and kava communities. Grassroots Kava House has a sophisticated vibe with a modern looking bar downstairs. Out the back door and up the stairs you will find a spacious crisply decorated spot to enjoy your kava while reading a book. This space is also used for yoga classes every week. From this upstairs haven, step outside onto a balcony where you can enjoy your kava with a view of Central Ave. The kava does not stop here. A quick surf on the web will guide visitors to plenty of other kava cafes all over the Tampa Bay region.
4. Local shopping
The local scene does not end at Grassroots Kava House. Take a stroll further down Central Ave where you will find plenty of local shops. The effort to “Keep St. Pete Local” flows down the street. The Looking Glass is a local crystal and metaphysics shop located at 2329 Central Ave. Here you can find, gemstones, crystals, psychic readings and more. Further down the street at 683 Central Ave, you will find White Owl Market, an antique shop with the motto “Never The Same Place Twice”. Less than a block away, you will find the Morean Arts Center at 719 Central Ave. The art center displays work from local artists, hosts classes and has a free art walk the second Saturday of each month from 5PM–9PM. Walk down Central Ave to discover more unique local adventures.
5. Local restaurants and markets
Taking local to the next step, Tampa Bay also has local markets, food co-ops and restaurants. Further down the street at 1626 Central Ave, Leafy Greens Cafe offers diners a menu full of raw organic specialties. The goal of the restaurant is to try to connect locals to great quality healthy food that has not been processed or genetically modified. The menu is packed with unique raw foods, including the Tuscan pizza, the Thai curry soup and the mouthwatering raw cacao pudding pie.
If you are looking to prepare your own food, check out Rollin’ Oats, a locally owned café and market that has been bringing local goods to Floridians since 1994. The produce section is stocked with only 100% USDA organic faire making it the perfect spot for shoppers looking for good quality food. Located at 2842 Dr. Martin Luther King St. in St. Pete and at 1021 North MacDill Ave. in Tampa, Rollin’ Oats overs visitors a market for shopping, a café for relaxing or working and even has a space where yoga classes take place. If you are interested in a local travel experience, Tampa Bay has plenty to offer.
6. Street art
Local does not end in the shops and restaurants and art does not stop at the Morean Arts Center. The streets of Tampa Bay are swimming with murals and artwork from a variety of artists. Wandering around the streets of Downtown St. Pete, you will find unique work from local artists like Daniel Mrgan and Carrie Jadus as well as pieces from international artists like the Cuban Michel Mirabal and Chilean Dasic Fernandez. With styles ranging from impressionism to graffiti, the streets will appear to many different art palates. St. Pete Mural Tour (linked below) offers guided tours of the art as well as interactive maps and information about the artists, making it a great resource for those interested in learning more about the passion behind the work. With such a variety of unique work, Tampa Bay is a wonderful location for art enthusiasts.
7. Ybor Street tattoos
In Tampa Bay, the art does not stop on the street. A walk down Ybor Street will introduce visitors to a whole new realm of art. Body art. The vibrant streets of historic Ybor City are abundant with tattoo parlors where people get ink added to their body every day. Body art offers a style of art where collaboration and communication between artist and canvas are vital for a successful piece. To witness this type of art unfold is simply magical. Whether you are looking for a new tattoo or just want to have a unique experience, Ybor Street will provide excitement during your stay in Tampa Bay.
Visit Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay, where the sun is always shining, the kava is always cold and the ink is always fresh. A visit to this gorgeous beach destination will be full of breathtaking sunsets during evening beach walks, memorable laughs over a cup of grounding kava and unique shopping that supports the local economy. Tampa Bay also offers visitors plenty of opportunities to experience a large variety of free art whether it be on the street, in the art center or tattooed onto someone’s arm. Visit Tampa Bay for an eclectic experience during your next beach getaway.
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