Averaging 361 days of sunshine a year, Tampa, Florida is the ideal beach destination. From the city’s downtown you are only a short drive from several beaches, including family-friendly ones with full amenities such as Clearwater Beach as well as quiet and more peaceful stretches such as in Caladesi Island State Park. The mild climate means that Tampa is a year-round tourist destination with the high season being in the summer and around spring break time. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Archibald Beach Park
2.Tampa Beach: Ben T. Davis Beach
3.Caladesi Island State Park
4.Best Beaches near Tampa: Clearwater Beach
5.Tampa Beach: Davis Island Beach
6.Beaches near Tampa: Egmont Key State Park
7.Fort De Soto Park
8.Indian Rocks Beach
9.John’s Pass Beach
10.Beaches near Tampa: Madeira Beach
11.Pass a Grille Beach
13.Sand Key Beach
14.Beaches near Tampa: St. Pete Beach
15.Treasure Island Beach
15 Best Tampa, Florida Beaches
- Archibald Beach Park, Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Kinsey - Fotolia.com
- Tampa Beach: Ben T. Davis Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Peter - Fotolia.com
- Caladesi Island State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Den - Fotolia.com
- Best Beaches near Tampa: Clearwater Beach, Photo: Courtesy of WideAwake - Fotolia.com
- Tampa Beach: Davis Island Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Natalia Bratslavsky - Fotolia.com
- Beaches near Tampa: Egmont Key State Park, Photo: Courtesy of sbgoodwin - Fotolia.com
- Fort De Soto Park, Photo: Courtesy of AlexF76 - Fotolia.com
- Indian Rocks Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Norm - Fotolia.com
- John’s Pass Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Norm - Fotolia.com
- Beaches near Tampa: Madeira Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Kinsey - Fotolia.com
- Pass a Grille Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Robert - Fotolia.com
- Redington Beach, Photo: Courtesy of baluzek - Fotolia.com
- Sand Key Beach, Photo: Courtesy of lunamarina - Fotolia.com
- Beaches near Tampa: St. Pete Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Robert - Fotolia.com
- Treasure Island Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Javier C. Acosta - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of elvirkin - Fotolia.com
More Ideas: University of Southern Florida Botanical Gardens
The University of Southern Florida Botanical Gardens located in Tampa , Florida is 16 acres of garden and greenbelt with more than 3,000 species of living plants and animals in natural habitats. More than 35,000 people visit the gardens annually which is also home to plant festivals and research in medical botany, and botany education.
The USF Botanical Gardens was established in 1969 and served as a teaching and research facility throughout the next two decades for the biology department of the university. Greenhouses were added and fencing installed in the 1970’s when temperate and tropical trees and shrubs were planted that can still be seen in the gardens today. The palm garden, wetland forest, and sand scrubs were added into the 1980’s as well as the conservatory where classes and workshops are taught and flowering plants are still displayed.
The 1990’s saw a lot of growth with the building of additional structures and new gardens and an increase in visitor traffic outside of the college and research scientists. Today, the USF Botanical Gardens attract visitors from all over the world and host many special events and botany festivals. The gardens are open to the public 7 days per weeks and closed for federal holiday. There is an admission fee with discounts for children, seniors, and students with valid I.D., and members.
USF Botanical Gardens is located on The University of Southern Florida next to Lake Behnke. The gardens are meant to be strolled through with the trails being accessible from the parking lot. The collection of plants includes fruit trees, palm trees, temperate forests, meat eating plants, tropical and subtropical plants and trees, as well as native species.
There are more than 3,000 living species of plants divided into several individual gardens including the Wetland Forest, Fruit Orchard, Temperate Forest, Flowering Trees, The Butterfly Garden, Florida Native, The Sandhill, Palms, Scrub, Rainforest, Shade Garden, Carnivorous Plants, Cycads, Cactus & Succulents, Bamboo, Grasses, and other flowering species, as well as herbs and a scent garden.
The gardens are also home to over 60 species of birds, many insect species including bee hives in the apiary, cats, gopher tortoises, and several species of butterflies and moths that represent the vast biological diversity of Southern Florida.
The USF Botanical Gardens are used for research by USF students and faculty. Educators from the community may also call the University to schedule field trips during public hours and can also access many educational resources including a full course on Bee Keeping, Landscaping for Central Florida, and Invasive Species with Federal and State regulations all through the USF Botanical Gardens website. Under the Bee Keeping Course, there are 15 different courses that provide instruction for all a bee keeper needs to know to keep a hive successfully operating and producing honey.
Volunteers at USF Botanical Gardens are also more than happy to share gardening tips with visitors and materials are available related to the gardening of cacti, succulents, bromeliads, ethnobotany, and how to make grow boxes specifically. The USF gardens also educates on sustainability and sustainable gardening practices. Volunteers can teach visitors how to make rain barrels and harvest rainwater for use in landscaping.
There are annual and special events that are hosted by and at The USF Botanical Gardens. An events calendar is accessible on the website with updates and the ability to make reservations to special events and ticketing information.
Fall Plant Festival- This annual plant festival typically takes place in October and has been a popular festival for over 25 years. Local vendors sell plant and garden wares, scarecrow displays and information on gardening clubs and societies. There are also workshops and children’s activities.
Taste of Honey Event- The Annual Taste of Honey Event is held in September with tickets available in advance or at the door. More than 100 honeys from around the globe are available to be sampled and purchased at this event that features live music, workshops, and door prizes.
Spring Plant Festival- The Annual Spring Plant Festival features local and commercial vendors that sell their gardening wares and hold workshops with a focus on butterfly plants, free arts and crafts, children’s activities, getting your garden spring ready, and expert gardening advice. This event takes place in April.
Summer Plant Festival- The Annual Summer Plant Festival in June is much like the Spring Festival with a focus on butterfly attracting plants, workshops and gardening. All proceeds support the USF botanical gardens with an admission fee for the public and free parking.
12210 USF Pine Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, Phone: 813-974-2329
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More Ideas: HorsePower for Kids Inc.
What started as a horse farm in the Tampa Bay community, HorsePower for Kids, Inc. is now an farm animal sanctuary. The sanctuary is a non-profit organization that offers a farm experience and petting zoo to the public, organizing several fun and educational camps as well as activities like bonfire ranch parties, horse camps, horseback riding, critter camps, group field trips, and a petting farm for adults and children aged 6 years and older.
HorsePower for Kids, Inc. strives to share its passion for animals by organizing extensive animal interaction events that also benefit the community. Interacting with animals builds one’s emotional quotient while caring for animals teaches responsibility and respect towards vulnerable creatures. The farm prides itself on its impeccable social responsibility towards its community; the farm houses rescued animals and raises donations for the betterment of underprivileged children in the Tampa Bay area and to care for their animals.
Petting Farm - Hands-on interaction with farm animals, including feeding and petting every animal. The session also includes a group discussion and a Q&A session.
Pony Ride - Height-appropriate ponies are led by experienced staff while the visitor gets a chance to sit in the saddle.
Train Ride - A guided train ride around a pond, providing a view of farm animals on one side of the train.
Parties & Services - Celebrate a ranch-themed party with the animals on the farm or arrange for the animals to visit your party location.
Pet Boarding Service - Let the farm take care of yourbeloved pets while you enjoy your holidays. Prices are charged by the day.
Fun on the Farm Program - A free event organized once a month that offers free entrance to their petting zoo, pony rides, train rides, playground, and crafts, and offers lunch when scheduled.
· Children and adults are charged at $7 (per person) and the ticket includes a train ride
· Children under 12 months visit the farm for free
· Pony rides are charged an extra $3
· The farm offers annual membership that is valid for a year. Membership for a family of 2 is $50 and $100 for a family of 4.
The farm accepts donations of any amount as they believe no donation is too small. All their proceeds from fundraisers and donations go into taking care of their animals and helping the Tampa Bay community with scholarships and financial aid to underprivileged families.
They accept donations made in person at the farm or online donations via credit card and you can even support them while you shop online at specific sites.
Back to: Things to do in Tampa, Florida
HorsePower for Kids, Inc., 8005 S. Racetrack Rd. Tampa, Florida 33635, Phone: 813-855-8992
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More Ideas: SS American Victory Mariners Museum
The SS American Victory in Tampa is a World War II ship that is one of four fully operational ships from the period. On board visitors will find a Mariner Museum complete with exhibits dedicated to American maritime history, rare artifacts, war memorabilia, and more throughout nine decks and many rooms.
The SS American Victory was built over the course of 55 days in 1945 as part of a call for 531 ships to be assembled for the war effort of World War II. The ship served in the Korean and Vietnam wars following World War II and was granted a restoration in 1985 that attuned to $2.5 million.
A decade later the SS American Victory was headed for the scrap yard when Captain John C. Timmel decided to acquire it and transport it from Virginia to Tampa Bay where it would serve as a maritime museum. The steamship is still fully functioning in 1940’s era glory. The ship arrived in Tampa Bay in the fall of 1999. After 80,000 hours of restoration time the SS American Victory could sail again on September 20, 2003 with nearly 500 passengers on board.
The SS American Victory is 455 long and 109 feet high weighing over 10 tons. There are 9 decks and a 2 Allis Chalmers marine steam turbine engine that is fully operational, with 500,000 cubic feet of cargo space on board.
The SS American Victory is open 7 days a week with hours posted online. They are closed on certain holidays. Tickets can be purchased on board with discounts for groups of 10 or more and museum members.
Tours- Visitors can relive history through self-guided or docent lead tours of the exhibits. A self guided tour comes with a visitor’s guide received at admission and is a go at your own pace adventure through the ship. Docent lead tours must be booked in advance and a lead by experience and expert docents.
The Ship Store- The ship store offers apparel, souvenirs, artworks, mugs, books, games, and more for visitors. Merchandise is only available in store.
Field Trips- Hour long educational programs are available for school and homeschool group field trips. Students will learn about the life of sailors during wartimes, merchant ship life, and hands on activities for their age level. Tour the cargo holds, radio rooms, wheel house, mess halls, lifeboats, engine rooms, and cabins in the Passage Back in Time Field Trip.
Educator’s Resources- Educators can partner with the SS American Victory for resources on major themes in American history including the women’s suffrage movement, Florida’s maritime history, Corld War Era, World War II, and other educational programs. The programs coincide with the guidelines outlined in Florida’s Sunshine State Standards.
The SS American Victory hosts an annual Independence Day Family Fun Fest on July 4th. The evening opens at 6:30pm featuring food, music, adult beverages, and family activities followed by the Channelside fireworks show at dusk. Tickets are needed for admission.
Visitors looking for a private rental option in the Tampa Bay area can rent the SS American Victory with use of both indoor and outdoor spaces for wedding receptions, corporate events, birthday parties, banquets, and other affairs. There are catering options that the SS American Victory staff have as preferred vendors as well as bar service, DJ and Specialty lighting services available through preferred vendors.
Become a Member
Membership has a lot of perks such as discounts on admission to the Florida Aquarium, Henry B. Plant Museum, MOSI during certain months, Armed Forces History Museum, and a discount in the Ship Store with free admission to the SS American Victory. There are also discounts and newsletters that you can receive with membership with all perks subject to change at any time.
There are memberships for students, teachers, individuals, and families. Some of the family membership plans include guest passes, free tickets to special events, and a free behind the scenes tour for the tour tier level of membership.
American Victory Ship is always looking for volunteers in administration, marketing, public events, and educational programs. Maintenance and restoration crew members with valid USCG are always needed as well with volunteers receiving discounts in the store, a free t-shirt and appreciation parties. More information on how to be a volunteer can be found on the SS American Victory website along with a downloadable volunteer packet.
705 CHANNELSIDE DRIVE, TAMPA, FL 33602, Phone: 813-228-876
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