Tampa CityLiving in Tampa Bay provides never ending sun, fun, and enjoyment! This city is filled with exciting entertainment venues, beautiful beaches, shopping plazas, and dining experiences. Just think about it – people will travel thousands of miles just to see what you get to experience near your Tampa home every day!

Here are five tips on how you can enjoy the best that Tampa Bay has to offer and make every day an exciting staycation.

Tip 1: Live It Up at Festivals and Events

Tampa Bay is a melting pot of arts, sports, and entertainment offering residents and travelers alike a wide array of unique events:

  • Gasparilla Season – Yo-ho-ho your way to discovering exciting treasures in your city! This annual celebration has a full-schedule of events for both adults and children, with everything from a Children’s parade, art festival, and music festival, to a coastal invasion and four-mile Parade of Pirates through Tampa’s city streets. Dress up, collect some beads, and join the festival with live music and entertainment.
  • Bay Area Renaissance Festival – Travel back in time to the 16th century! Held every weekend in spring, join the kings and queens of the court for food and drinks, and to see live armored jousting and 12 entertainment stages all in 7 themed weekends.
  • Outback Bowl – Need your sports fix? Every January at Raymond James Stadium you can feel the roars of more than 65,000 college football fans cheering from the stands. See two of the best teams in the SEC and Big Ten Conference go head-to-head. This famed event extends over first week of the new year with a New Year’s Eve parade, fireworks at the Florida Aquarium, and an intense college Battle of the Bands at Busch Gardens.
  • Music Festivals Galore – Catch the rhythm of tropical ska, raggae, and roots music at the Chillin Music Fest, dance to the Latin vibes of the Conga Caliente Festival, or groove to popular favorites at the Big Guava Music Festival – Just to name a few!

Tip 2: Experience Wildlife with the Tampa Bay CityPASS

Giraffes at the zooPeople come near and far just to see the wildlife that Tampa has to offer and you should too! The Tampa Bay CityPASS makes visiting these attractions an affordable option, saving you more than $100 per adult!

  • Busch Gardens – See rare and endangered species, pet a kangaroo, and help rescue animals! Did we mention Busch Gardens is home to some of the fastest, wildest roller coasters in the nation?
  • Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo – This zoo is one of the most popular in the southeastern U.S., with more than 1 million visitors annually and more than 1,200 different animals in conservation, rescue, and rehabilitation. Here, adults and children alike make friends with creatures big and small and have one-on-one experiences with giraffes, tortoises, llamas, horses, and more.
  • The Florida Aquarium – Home to more than 20,000 aquatic animals and plants, The Florida Aquarium has 5 different exhibits that showcase the aquatic ecosystems all around the world. From the alligators and otters of the Wetlands Trail to the colorful display of the Coral Reef, this nationally recognized aquarium never disappoints!
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium – This unique aquarium is home to Dolphin Tale star, Winter, and inspires rescue, rehabilitation, and release. Here you can meet with the resident marine animals and learn about the life-saving work they do behind the scenes.

Tip 3: Enjoy the Sun and Sand

Anna Maria IslandLiving in Tampa means every weekend (and in between), you can experience the world-class beaches, white sand, and surf that some only dream of visiting. Enjoy the crystal waters of Clearwater Beach, the quieter locals-favorite Indian Rocks Beach, or the soft sands of Siesta Key, ranked one of the best beaches in the US! The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico offer more than a dozen Tampa Bay beaches with soft sand, whispering waves, plus entertainment and dining!

Surrounding the beaches, you’ll find live-music, fresh-caught seafood, and shopping on the boardwalks. For a more hands on experience, visit McCormick’s Waterski, Wakeboard, and Cable Park for the exciting thrill of riding the waves and catching wind in the Florida sun!

Not a fan of salt water? Dive into one of the many nearby fresh water springs that Tampa Bay has to offer including Eureka Springs Park, home to a beautiful botanical garden, or Lithia Springs Park, a warm natural spring with camping grounds. Canoe along the Hillsborough or Alafia River, or take an eco-tour to discover some of Florida’s best kept treasures!

Tip 4: Give Yourself a Culture Shock

Tampa is full of rich history and beautiful architecture. Visit the Straz Center for the Performing Arts for unique theater and performances. The Tampa Bay History Center embodies the growth and heritage of the surrounding area with interactive and cutting edge exhibits. Check out the Dali Museum for the best of Salvador Dali’s surrealist inspiration, or the Tampa Museum of Art showcasing both contemporary and modern works.

Spend the day in Ybor City, a melting pot for immigrants in the 1880’s, home to famous cigar factories, and Tampa’s National Historic Landmark District. Today, Ybor City is an exotic blend of historical landmarks, dining, dancing, culture, and nightlife.

Tip 5: Drink the Beer & Eat the Food

Food_BeerTampa is quickly becoming the best place for craft beer lovers and foodies alike to congregate and tantalize their taste buds! There are plenty of local gems throughout Tampa Bay like Cigar City Brewing, home to more than 25 unique craft beers, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, the first licensed brew-pub in Florida, and more than 60 additional Tampa Bay breweries where you can wet your whistle.

Do yourself a flavor and take part in the many food festivals happening in Tampa Bay year round! Try an assortment of delicacies at the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival, gooey goodness at the Mayor’s Mac & Cheese Throwdown, the finest cuisine from the Festa Italiana, or try a bit of everything that Tampa Bay has to offer at the Annual Best of Tampa Bay!

Live in Tampa Bay

Are you looking for a new home near all of these exciting events and activities? Highland Homes builds new homes in Tampa Bay with a variety of single-family and townhomes designed for your life and priced from the mid $100’s to $300’s. To learn more about neighborhoods, browse home plans, and find your new home, visit www.HighlandHomes.ORG or call the Tampa New Home Specialists at (863) 797-4999.