Top 10 Weekend Getaways From Tampa, Florida - Updated 2023

weekend getaways from tampa
Maria Cristina
Maria Cristina 

Tampa, a city on a bay on Florida’s west coast, is popular as western Florida’s economic hub and tourist center. Tampa Bay, sandwiched by the beaches of St. Pete and Clearwater, and Orlando, is perfect for a quick stop if you are vacationing around the cities of Florida. Drop by Tampa’s famous Busch Garden, a perfect family vacation destination that combines the exciting features of a theme park and an exotic petting zoo. Enjoy a shopping spree at International Plaza which offers more than 200 high-end shops.

Even though Tampa is undeniably a wonderful city, with amazing beach resorts and high-class Marriott hotels that will convince you to stay a little while longer, you might want to go on a day trip to visit other areas. If you agree with this sentiment, then read our list of the top weekend getaways from Tampa, Florida, and book one now.

1. Clearwater Beach (from USD 98.0)

Clearwater Beach, Florida
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michel Rathwell used under CC BY 2.0

If you prefer a Tampa weekend getaway that’s close to the city, then you should consider going to Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater Beach, 28 miles (45.06 kilometers) from Tampa, is popular for its powder-white sandy beaches and deep blue waters. Its coasts are recognized by Forbes as one of the “Best Spring Break Beaches in America”. Its lively downtown area lures in tourists for shopping, live entertainment, and endless dining options. Watch a concert or attend an exhibit at the Cleveland Street District with the jaw-dropping background of the Marina and Clear Water Harbor. Join a boat tour so you can explore the beach and its nearby islands.

Clearwater Beach Tour from Orlando with Dolphin Cruise

Duration: 12 hours

75 reviews

2. Punta Gorda

Punta Gorda FL
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Punta Gorda, one of Florida’s heritage towns, is full of charm and history. It sits at the intersection of Charlotte Harbor and Peace River in northern Fort Myers. From Tampa, it’s an hour and 30-minute drive. This “Sportsmans Paradise” is the location of Florida’s loveliest paddling trails for kayaks in the Southwest. Though it has modern conveniences, it kept its old town vibe with its Victorian-era neighborhoods. This pedestrian and bicycle-friendly historic downtown has a network of pathways running alongside the Peace River. Craving for fresh seafood? There are over 50 privately owned dining options from small pubs to award-winning diners serving the best seafood dishes of Florida. Join one of the Special Events tours that involve alcohol and paranormal investigations done in private.

SW Florida Walking Tours

Address: 117 W Marion Ave, Punta Gorda, FL 33950

Website: SW Florida Walking Tours

3. Naples (from USD 53.0)

Naples FL Pier
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Naples is just 166 miles (267 kilometers) or a 1 hour and 37-minute drive to Tampa. Escape the city and head off to Naples, a former fishing village that was named after a city in Italy. It’s now one of the wealthiest and loveliest coastal cities in the US. Similar to Italy’s coastal town, Naples is blessed with beautiful natural surroundings including Keewaydin Island, Port Royal Mansions, Southwest Florida wildlife, and the Gulf of Mexico. By joining in a sightseeing boat tour, you’ll see dolphins, manatees, and exotic birds like the “snowbirds” living in their natural habitat around the coast.

Naples Sightseeing Boat Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

549 reviews

4. Sarasota (from USD 66.0)

Weekend trips from Tampa, Florida
Source: Wikipedia

Sarasota or “Circus City” is on Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s a one-hour drive to Sarasota coming from Tampa. It’s known for its lovely beaches such as Siesta Beach, one-of-a-kind shopping experience, exceptional dining options, and a robust art scene. Old Stickney Point Road is a popular jump-off point when exploring the city by riding a bike. Follow the biking trail that leads to the sandy shores where you will be witnessing one of the spectacular sunsets in the world. You can hire an electric bike by joining a day tour which takes you to the beach and back to the village. End the day with treats of fresh fruit, cheese, and wine.

Siesta Key Electric Bike Sunset Tour

Duration: 2 hours

725 reviews

5. Orlando (from USD 69.0)

Orlando, Florida - Lake Eola Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Senator2029 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Because of its array of impressive attractions, going to Orlando is undeniably one of the most exciting weekend trips from Tampa that you can try.

Here, you can visit one of its popular tourist attractions, the Kennedy Space Center. This NASA facility has huge exhibits of spacecraft and rockets from different generations of space explorations at the Rocket Garden. See the actual spaceship Neil Armstrong took to the moon and feel the earth vibrate as it simulates a take-off.

The two IMAX movie theaters show films about the International Space Station. Walk over to the Astronaut Encounter to socialize with real astronauts and take selfies with them too. Ride a mock-up of an actual Space Shuttle and experience how a flight simulator works. Upgrade your tickets and share an intimate lunch with an astronaut so you can ask as many questions as you want.

Kennedy Space Center Day Trip with Transport from Orlando

Duration: 10 hours

752 reviews

6. Amelia Island (from USD 55.0)

Fernandina Beach FL Amelia Island Light
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY-SA 3.0

An hour and a half from St. Augustine and half an hour from JAX International Airport is the pearl of Florida’s barrier islands – Amelia Islands. It’s known for its immaculate natural surroundings and expansive beaches the most famous of which is Fernandina Beach. It’s the ideal vacation destination for all and sundry – family outings, amorous retreats, art aficionados, golf enthusiasts, and history buffs. Explore 50 blocks of well-preserved structures with amazing ancient architecture like Florida House Inn. Historic sites like Amelia Island Museum of History are worth the long walk. Discover its lush forests overflowing with exotic wildlife by paddling in a kayak on Lofton Creek under a canopy of Cypress and Southern Live Oak Trees.

Florida Kayaking Eco Tour with Master Naturalist Guide

Duration: 2 hours

127 reviews

7. Delray Beach (from USD 99.0)

Delray Beach Florida
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Don Ramey Logan used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Delray Beach, USA’s “Most Fun Small Town”, is a high-spirited coastal village with a disparate history. It’s popular for its alluring beach environment, flourishing culture and art scene, and vibrant main street - Atlantic Avenue. This walkable street stretches from Interstate 95 to the sunny Delray Beach coastline. It’s filled with brick-lined sidewalks lit by gas-light lampposts; a plethora of restaurants, shops, bars, museums, and galleries; and public displays of arts and culture. Join a three-hour food and drink tour that allows you to experience the city’s intriguing history and amazing architecture that took centuries to build.

Delray Beach Craft Food and Drink Walking Tour

Duration: 3 hours

149 reviews

8. Jacksonville, FL (from USD 10.0)

Skyline of Jacksonville FL
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user DXR used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Jacksonville is approximately a 3 hour and 17-minute non-stop drive from Tampa. It’s among the most economical travel destinations in the country. You can hike and bike as you explore the city and state parks, paddle your way through the waterways, stretch out on 22-miles (35.4 kilometers) of exquisite beaches, or dine in the country’s finest restaurants. You can join the 3Quest Challenge Clue-gathering Game and the tasks will take you on a tour of Jacksonville’s scenic places. It’s a two-hour fun activity for families and friends. Download the app on your smartphone and follow the instructions in completing the three quests.

Clue-Gathering Game by 3Quest Challenge - Jacksonville, FL

Duration: 2 hours

9. Tallahassee (from USD 10.0)

Tallahassee FL old and new capitol
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Craving a long weekend trip from Tampa? Then Tallahassee should be your next destination. Tallahassee, the Panhandle region’s largest city, is also the capital of Florida.

Its semitropical weather and lakes are the perfect stage for outdoor activities and some time in nature. It’s known for award-winning parks and gardens such as Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, a 1,076-acre (435.4 hectares) ornamental garden. Over 700-miles (1126.5 kilometers) of various trails are spread across the gardens and ponds. e.g. Florida National Scenic Trail. You can camp or hike across the 49.5-mile (79.66 kilometers) stretch of trails. Explore its museums and ancient monuments that commemorate their Southern culture and politics. Join a City Scavenger Hunt Tour which is an outdoor activity using an app that will take you on a rendezvous around the city while following clues.

Operation City Quest Scavenger Hunt - Tallahassee, FL

Duration: 2 hours

10. Miami (from USD 40.0)

Night Panorama Miami Florida
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dori used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Miami, the “Magic City”, experiences a perennial summer. Its tropical weather, which is always hot and humid, is perfect for hanging out at the beach. It has at least five lovely beaches you must visit. Since it’s a haven for South and Central American immigrants, its Latin influences are strong in their culture, cuisine, and language. Miami is also notorious for its active nightlife and natural wildlife. It’s located beside the Florida Everglades and is home to America’s biggest tropical wilderness. Explore Biscayne Bay riding the famous Miami Duck, the iconic amphibian famous for tours around town and Miami’s famous sites.

Miami Duck Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

127 reviews

Have fun in Florida

Tampa and its neighboring cities have a lot to offer in terms of tourist entertainment. The lovely coastal scenery, lush wildlife, prosperous surroundings, and unique activities are definitely a lot to look forward to not just for a weekend stay but for an extended vacation. Start the fun by trying out one of the best weekend getaways from Tampa when planning your vacation in Florida.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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