10 Best Day Trips From Tampa, Florida - Updated 2024

day trips from tampa
John Cedrick
John Cedrick 
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 6 min read

Situated along Florida’s Gulf Coast, Tampa is a major business center, renowned for its dining and nightlife destinations. Revel in the hot nightlife spots in historic Ybor City and fire up your sense of taste at a number of fine-dining restaurants that saturate the downtown area. But that’s not all, Tampa also caters to both laid-back people and thrill-seekers. The Tampa Riverwalk, for instance, is an urban park dedicated to those who want to relax and enjoy its soothing ambiance. Have fun to your heart’s desire at Busch Gardens — a nature-themed park with thrilling rides and animal exhibits. You’ll also find it interesting to learn about the culture and history of the region. Having been a former Spanish colony with close ties to Cuba, its culture has Ibero-American origins. But enough about Tampa, Florida is full of other gems for the world to discover. Find out more about some of the best day trips from Tampa, Florida.

1. Saint Petersburg (from USD 85.0)

Besides the usual famous landmarks of Saint Petersburg, such as its abundant, beautiful, and award-winning beaches, world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum, and the beautiful Fort De Soto Park, you can experience this city from a whole new different perspective. Immerse yourself in a number of exciting and educational activities, starting off with seeing dolphins, manatees, and other marine fauna in their natural habitat.

Then, visit the Sunken Gardens, a tropical attraction that features thousands of plants, land animals, and an aviary. Lastly, cap off your day by visiting Saint Petersburg’s oldest museum.

Tip from Trip101 local expert

John

John
Tampa

For nature lovers, Fort De Soto Park in St. Petersburg is an absolutely gorgeous place to spend the day. Situated at the tip of the peninsula that creates the northwestern part of Tampa Bay,  Fort De Soto Park offers some of the top beaches in America as well as wildlife watching! You will frequently see dolphins swimming by off shore and a multitude of migratory birds whose beautiful colors are a delight to see. You can also take one of the ferries to the small islands off the coast of the park, which is a wonderful addition to a day trip to Fort De Soto Park! 

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Saint Petersburg Eco Segway Tour

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

124 reviews

2. Clearwater Beach (from USD 37.0)

Exemplary and picture-perfect are just some of the adjectives that describe Clearwater Beach. This magnificent stretch of white sand is deserving of its namesake and it features crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and calm waves that draw in tons of visitors, year-round.

Clearwater Beach just might be the best beach destination in Florida and for good reason. One can enjoy jet-skiing, paddle boarding, and parasailing here, among many other activities, then unwind on the beachfront promenade that’s lined with casual seafood restaurants and cafes. If you’re full of the city life in Tampa, consider taking a day away to play and unwind on this beautiful white sand beach.

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Clearwater Beach Dolphin Watching Tour

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

4657 reviews

3. Jacksonville (from USD 449.0)

Besides the usual sights and sounds of Florida State, Jacksonville offers a completely different perspective. With the youngest population in Florida, you can expect an abundance of hip and modern activities here.

It’s also an ideal getaway trip for those seeking some outdoor activities. accomplishment. Enjoy fishing in the picturesque St. John’s River, Jacksonville’s main waterway, and learn some new fly fishing techniques. You’ll have access to an expert guide, complete gear, a boat tour, and lunch. If you want to experience a once-in-a-lifetime fishing trip, this day trip is for you.

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Guided Fishing Trip in Jackson Hole

Duration: 4 to 10 hours

187 reviews

4. Punta Gorda

Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area, Punta Gorda, Florida
Source: Photo by Flickr user Judy Gallagher used under CC BY 2.0

Punta Gorda may seem like a laid-back city at first glance, with its recently restored historic district, but the truth is, the city is more than this, hosting many natural attractions. It’s also home to a unique waterfront destination, called Fishermen’s Village. You’ll find almost everything here, including gift and clothes shops, thrift and specialty shops, restaurants, a military heritage museum, and luxury villas lining the boulevard.

Moreover, you can enjoy some leisurely walks and sightsee along Harborwalk to check out the lavish mansions along the coast. This city is the epitome of a relaxing sightseeing destination, with streets lined with huge palm trees, brick lanes, and many other classic elements, surrounded by modern villas.

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5. Sarasota

Sarasota
Source: Photo by Flickr user Piutus used under CC BY 2.0

One of the foremost Gulf Coast cities in Florida, Sarasota boasts a diverse mix of culture, local delicacies, circus performances, and pristine beaches. Its boulevards are lined with tall trees and you simply can’t run out of attractions to see here.

Take a leisurely walk and marvel at the local sights of the city. You might end up shopping along the way because the city is saturated with an array of shopping destinations and is home to numerous fancy boutiques and shops. Despite being a mid-sized city, Sarasota has plenty to offer its visitors. Dubbed “Florida’s Cultural Coast”, schedule in a splendid performance at one of the theaters around the city or be mesmerized by the art pieces at one of the many galleries and museums. Explore this wonderful city during your day trip and unwind in its soothing ambiance.

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6. Miami (from USD 69.0)

Miami is a renowned vacation spot, not just for people within the country, but from around the world, as well. From its stunning long beaches, the trendy nightlife of South Beach, opportunities for deep-sea fishing, cultural festivals, and its Little Havana, Miami is a place packed with wondrous landmarks and culture.

But, besides its local sights and sounds, Miami is also a haven for foodies. This day trip food tour will take you on an eating spree unlike any other to one of the best Cuban restaurants outside Cuba itself. Fire up those tastebuds by tasting some local cuisine, such as flan ice cream, guava pastries, and chicken plantain cups. To cap off the day, you’ll immerse yourself in the local culture in the Cuban district, meet local artists, and listen to some Cuban music – music guaranteed to make you sway.

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Miami Little Havana Food and Walking Tour with Tastings

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

6201 reviews

7. Fort Lauderdale (from USD 29.0)

Another gem that caters to beach-lovers and nature enthusiasts is Fort Lauderdale. It’s the foremost beach destination in Florida and home to many water-sport activities.

But besides its pristine beaches, Fort Lauderdale boasts another natural wonder – its rivers and waterways. The river is home to many exciting boat tours and this day trip is one of them, which will take you along Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway. The fun starts when the themed tour fires their water cannons towards their rival boat! Piracy is the theme of this tour and you’ll fend off both parties until only one remains! Experience this fun and unique boat tour that is perfect for families and kids who just want to have fun.

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Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal Waterway Family Pirate Cruise

Duration: 1 hour

1306 reviews

8. Tallahassee

Tallahassee Skyline
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user UrbanTallahassee used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of Florida’s oldest cities, Tallahassee is considered the cultural and historic heart of the state. Its downtown is home to a historic district that houses precious old homes that still follow the old road layout dating back centuries, complemented by historic inns, bars, restaurants, and local culture.

The capital of Florida state, Tallahassee is known for its genuine southern hospitality. Expect respectful and lively locals to greet you at every turn to lighten your mood – the perfect mood for sightseeing and exploration. Enjoy your day visiting museums, unwinding in parks, being mesmerized at art galleries, and bonding with the animals at the local zoos. This is a place of beautiful nature, which will surely captivate you at every turn – Tallahassee has everything!

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9. Naples (from USD 50.0)

Naples is the cosmopolitan capital of Florida and for many reasons. The city is known for its high-end shopping on Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South. It’s also renowned for its luxurious golf courses, mansions, and fine dining.

But Naples isn’t all about the glitz and glam of city life, it’s also an ideal place for nature-lovers and beach enthusiasts. Explore an abundance of local fauna here, such as birds, dolphins, and the rare manatees on a sightseeing cruise. Be mesmerized by its mansions, breathe in the soothing air on Keewaydin Island, and see so much more. This day trip will get you closer to the spirit of Naples.

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Naples Sightseeing Boat Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

850 reviews

10. Orlando (from USD 185.0)

too wet for my pretty little new clothes
Source: Photo by Flickr user Valéria Almeida used under CC BY 2.0

Orlando is known to be a magical place and not just because of Disney World. It’s an ideal place for all ages, whether you’re a millennial, baby boomer, or an old-timer. Despite the fact that Orlando is known as a theme park haven, the city has grown to hold a number of world-famous attractions, including Madame Tussauds Orlando, the Orlando Science Center, the Orlando Fire Museum or the National Vietnam War Museum, and ICEBAR Orlando.

Sure you can enjoy Orlando at street level, but how about we spice things up? This day trip adventure takes you on a thrilling hot air balloon ride over Orlando. Experience Orlando from a new perspective, quite literally, and cap off your day with a champagne toast and some post-flight snacks.

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Orlando Sunrise Hot-Air Balloon Ride

Duration: 3 to 4 hours

10 reviews

Enjoy these hidden gems around Florida within a day's trip from Tampa

Though Tampa is quite a gem in its own right, Florida has just so many hidden gems that need exploration. Whether you’re a beach-lover, nature addict, a city person, or just want to have a fun and adventurous day, Florida surely lives up to its name. Visit a myriad of popular attractions outside Tampa and immerse yourself in a well-deserved day trip with a soothing ambiance.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Based in Manila, Philippines, and born and raised there, John Cedrick is a Civil Engineer by profession with a deep-seated passion for writing. He aspires to establish a renowned blog while...Read more

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