18 Best Day Trips From Tampa, Florida (2024 Guide)

Make the most of your time in Tampa with this guide to the most incredible day trips from Tampa! You won’t want to plan your visit without this!

Tampa is one of the best cities to visit in Florida! From iconic sports teams to the thriving culture and arts scene, to the award-winning theme park of Busch Gardens, there is so much to do there.

Explore downtown Tampa and broaden your mind at the museums, or meander down the Riverwalk. Though Tampa could entertain for days on end, a day trip outside the city is always a great idea!

Tampa is conveniently located in the middle of Florida’s Gulf Coast, so there are tons of amazing day trips that are only a short journey away.

With world-class beaches like Clearwater and St. Pete only about 30 minutes away, you don’t have to go far to lounge on the sandy shores of the Sunshine State.

If you’re looking for more than just beaches, there are a wide range of attractions right on the outskirts of Tampa Bay. From Hillsborough River State Park, which is only 25 minutes away, to Fort De Soto Park which is only 40 minutes away, you can hike in the wilderness and immerse yourself in history right next to downtown Tampa.

And if you want to venture a bit further out of Tampa Bay, you can enjoy day trips to a famous theme park or two in Orlando, or check out the arts and culture scene in downtown Sarasota.

There are truly so many options, so get ready to experience the best of Florida’s Gulf Coast with these fun day trips from Tampa!

Check out our ultimate 3 days in Tampa itinerary for more ideas in the city!

18 Amazing Day Trips From Tampa

From checking out the Sunken Gardens and Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg to experiencing the world-famous theme park of Walt Disney World, to hiking nature trails in some of the stunning Florida state parks, there are so many incredible day trips from Tampa!

The best way to get around is with a rental car, as public transport isn’t that popular in Florida. But there are plenty of places to rent a car so you can tackle any Tampa day trip!

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

Honeymoon Island State Park

  • Distance from Tampa: 26 miles
  • Driving time: 40 minutes

Just west of Tampa Bay on Florida’s Gulf Coast lies Honeymoon Island State Park, a coastal paradise that offers travelers a serene and idyllic getaway. This picturesque park boasts breathtaking white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush natural landscapes.

Honeymoon Island State Park is named because of its romantic atmosphere. Couples can stroll hand-in-hand along the shoreline, bask in the warm sunshine, and immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature.

But anyone can visit this gorgeous island! Honeymoon Island State Park also offers various recreational activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and birdwatching, making it an ideal destination for honeymooners and other travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure.

With its stunning beauty and romantic ambiance, Honeymoon Island provides the perfect backdrop for creating lasting memories and escaping the bustling city.

Honeymoon Island
An aerial view of the stunning Honeymoon Island State Park

Orlando

  • Distance from Tampa: 84 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

The fabulous city of Orlando in Central Florida is absolutely one of the best day trips from Tampa. Especially for travelers with kids, Orlando has world-famous theme parks that are fun for the entire family.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the enchanting magic of Walt Disney World Resort, where they can explore the iconic Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, meet beloved Disney characters, and experience thrilling rides and attractions.

In addition to Disney World, Universal Studios Florida offers the opportunity to step into the wizarding world of Harry Potter, where visitors can roam the streets of Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade at this immersive theme park. Also, check out the Islands of Adventure or Volcano Bay, or get a combo ticket that includes all the Universal Studios Parks!

With its exhilarating roller coasters, captivating shows, and immersive experiences, Orlando’s theme parks provide endless excitement for visitors of all ages.

Beyond the theme parks of Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios, Orlando offers a plethora of other attractions and activities. Disney Springs is a lively and enchanting shopping, dining, and entertainment district that captivates visitors with its magical atmosphere.

With its charming waterfront setting, Disney Springs provides another option besides theme parks for those on a day trip to Orlando!

Fort De Soto Park

  • Distance from Tampa: 33 miles
  • Driving time: 40 minutes

Another one of the best day trips from Tampa is Fort De Soto Park. This expansive park encompasses a stunning landscape of pristine beaches, mangrove forests, and diverse ecosystems.

One of its highlights is the historic Fort De Soto, a former military outpost that offers a glimpse into the area’s rich history. Visitors can explore the fort’s structures and learn about its significance through informative exhibits and displays.

Fort De Soto Park is also home to a network of hiking trails that wind through lush vegetation, providing opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. The beautiful sandy beaches, with their calm waters and picturesque views, are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.

Additionally, anglers can enjoy fishing from the park’s piers or launch their boats for a day of exploring the surrounding waters. Fort De Soto Park truly offers a peaceful and natural retreat, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking relaxation in a stunning coastal setting.

Apart from its natural beauty, Fort De Soto Park provides a range of recreational activities for visitors of all ages. The park features a dog-friendly beach where four-legged friends can frolic in the sand and surf. There are also camping facilities available, allowing visitors to extend their stay and fully immerse themselves in the park’s tranquility.

Kayaking and canoeing opportunities abound, with serene waterways and mangrove tunnels waiting to be discovered. With its blend of historical significance, abundant wildlife, and breathtaking natural surroundings, Fort De Soto Park offers a memorable experience for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone seeking a peaceful escape from the bustle of everyday life.

Clearwater Beach

  • Distance from Tampa: 25 miles
  • Driving time: 35 minutes

Beach lovers absolutely have to add this day trip to their bucket list! Only a 35-minute drive from downtown Tampa, Clearwater Beach is the perfect place to spend a sunny Florida day.

Sun-seekers can bask in the Florida sunshine, relax on the beach, or take a refreshing swim in the clear, calm waters. The beach is also dotted with a variety of beachfront resorts, restaurants, and shops, allowing visitors to indulge in delicious cuisine, shop for souvenirs, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lively promenade.

Whether it’s building sandcastles, catching breathtaking sunsets, or partaking in thrilling water activities like jet skiing or parasailing, Clearwater Beach promises an unforgettable seaside experience.

Clearwater Beach
Clearwater’s white sand and blue water make for a perfect beach day!

Anna Maria Island

  • Distance from Tampa: 55 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour

Anna Maria Island, nestled on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is a picturesque barrier island that captivates visitors with its white sand beaches and tranquil atmosphere. This seaside paradise makes a gorgeous day trip from Tampa Bay and allows travelers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty that surrounds them.

With its soft white sands and azure waters, the beaches of Anna Maria Island provide a perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and strolling along the shore.

Quaint shops, local eateries, and art galleries can be found in the island’s charming towns, offering a delightful blend of small-town charm and coastal sophistication.

Explore the island’s nature preserves, indulge in fresh seafood, or unwind amidst the laid-back ambiance of Anna Maria Island on a fun excursion outside Tampa Bay!

Read next: 24 Amazing Things To Do In Orlando

Rainbow Springs State Park

  • Distance from Tampa: 95 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Rainbow Springs State Park, located in Dunnellon, Florida, is a hidden gem known for its stunning natural lazy river and picturesque surroundings.

The park is home to the mesmerizing Rainbow Springs, full of blue-green pools and cascades. Tube, canoe, or kayak along the gently winding river, enjoying the beauty of the refreshing water and the lush greenery that lines its banks.

Aside from the popular lazy river, Rainbow Springs State Park has vibrant flora and fauna, including turtles, fish, birds, and a variety of tropical plants.

One of the best day trips from Tampa, Rainbow Springs State Park offers a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts and a perfect escape into Florida’s natural wonders.

Saint Petersburg

  • Distance from Tampa: 23 miles
  • Driving time: 25 minutes

Just a short drive away from downtown Tamp lies St. Petersburg, a vibrant coastal city known for its stunning beaches, thriving arts scene, and lively downtown district. Located on the edge of Tampa Bay, St. Pete offers miles of pristine sandy shores, including the renowned St. Pete Beach.

The downtown area, lined with trendy boutiques, theaters, concert halls, art galleries, and charming sidewalk cafes, is a hub of activity. The Salvador Dali Museum, showcasing the works of the iconic surrealist painter, is a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

The city’s waterfront is adorned with scenic parks, such as Vinoy Park and North Straub Park, offering picturesque views of Tampa Bay and providing space for outdoor events and festivals. Sports enthusiasts can catch a baseball game at Tropicana Field, home to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Whether it’s exploring the vibrant art districts, checking out the Salvador Dali Museum, or catching a Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to all interests.

The city also embraces its rich history and cultural heritage, with attractions like the Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens. This serene botanical oasis and cherished historic landmark is a highlight of the area. The Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens span four acres and feature winding paths, vibrant tropical plants, and cascading waterfalls.

Related: Don’t miss this list of the best things to do in St. Petersburg!

Sarasota

  • Distance from Tampa: 60 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour

Another great Tampa day trip is the gorgeous seaside city of Sarasota. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant arts scene, and rich cultural heritage, Sarasota is just an hour away from Tampa Bay and makes a beautiful day trip.

With its pristine white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters, Sarasota’s beaches, such as Siesta Key Beach and Lido Beach, attract sun-seekers and water enthusiasts from around the world. Beyond the shoreline, downtown Sarasota boasts a thriving arts and cultural community, with renowned institutions like The Ringling Museum of Art and the Sarasota Opera House.

Visitors can explore charming neighborhoods filled with historic architecture, indulge in gourmet dining experiences, and browse boutique shops and art galleries.

Whether it’s attending a captivating performance, immersing oneself in nature at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden, or simply enjoying the laid-back coastal lifestyle, Sarasota is one of the most fun day trips from Tampa.

Check out more things to do in Sarasota here!

Ringling Museum
Sarasota’s Ringling Museum is a beautiful landmark.

Fort Myers

  • Distance from Tampa: 127 miles
  • Driving time: 2 hours

Beach lovers willing to make the 2-hour drive from downtown Tampa will have a blast in Fort Myers! This gorgeous city in southwest Florida makes an amazing day trip or weekend trip from Tampa.

With plenty of beaches, lagoons, and waterways for kayaking or standup paddleboarding, there are so many ways to get outside and enjoy the Sunshine State.

Fort Myers is also steeped in history, with the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford serving as popular attractions. In addition to its natural and historical attractions, the city boasts a thriving arts and cultural scene, with art galleries, theaters, and live music venues.

With its warm climate, beautiful surroundings, and abundance of recreational opportunities, Fort Myers is a delightful destination for those seeking relaxation, exploration, and a true taste of coastal Florida.

Sanibel Island

  • Distance from Tampa: 158 miles
  • Driving time: 2.5 hours

Not far from Fort Myers lies Sanibel Island. This tropical oasis also suits weekend trips from Tampa as it is quite far. You wouldn’t have time to fully explore Fort Myers and Sanibel Island in one day, but you could do both on a weekend getaway!

However, you could experience the beauty of Sanibel Island on a day trip from Tampa! This captivating barrier island is known for its natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and pristine beaches.

Sanibel’s main attraction is its world-famous shelling beaches, where visitors can stroll along the shoreline and collect unique seashells that wash ashore due to the island’s unique east-west orientation.

The island is also home to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, where they can spot a wide array of migratory birds and explore the diverse ecosystem of mangroves and wetlands.

With its relaxed atmosphere, stunning sunsets, and opportunities for outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking, and biking, Sanibel Island offers a tranquil day trip from Tampa Bay and a chance to connect with nature in a truly picturesque setting.

Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island is a beautiful place for a day trip from Tampa.

Hillsborough River State Park

  • Distance from Tampa: 21 miles
  • Driving time: 25 minutes

One of the quickest and easiest day trips from Tampa is the nearby Hillsborough River State Park. This expansive park is centered around the picturesque Hillsborough River, where visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, or fishing in the calm waters.

The park’s extensive network of trails weaves through lush forests, showcasing the area’s beauty and providing opportunities for hiking, biking, and wildlife spotting.

One of the park’s highlights is the historic Fort Foster, which offers a glimpse into the region’s past with its well-preserved structures and educational exhibits.

From having a picnic at the picnic tables by the river, to swimming in the park’s pool, or exploring the winding trails, Hillsborough River State Park is a great way to escape the city for a few hours.

Looking for more things to do in the Sunshine State? Here is our list of the 25 Best Things To Do In Florida!

Silver Springs State Park

  • Distance from Tampa: 103 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Located just under 2 hours north of Tampa near Ocala is the breathtaking Silver Springs State Park. The shimmering oasis of pristine waters here is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking, making it one of the most beautiful day trips from Tampa.

The highlight of the park is Silver River, where visitors can take a scenic boat ride and witness an abundance of wildlife, including manatees, alligators, and various bird species. Silver Springs State Park also offers hiking and biking trails that wind through lush forests, showcasing the area’s diverse flora and fauna.

With its enchanting natural setting, abundant recreational opportunities, and a chance to connect with Florida’s wildlife, Silver Springs State Park provides a captivating experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Bok Tower Gardens

  • Distance from Tampa: 66 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

A unique, family-friendly Tampa day trip option is Bok Tower Gardens. Located in Lake Wales, Florida, this breathtaking botanical garden and sanctuary captivates visitors with its serenity and iconic singing tower.

Nestled atop Iron Mountain, Bok Tower Gardens features a meticulously designed landscape adorned with lush foliage, vibrant flowers, and tranquil water features. The centerpiece of the gardens is the Singing Tower, an architectural marvel housing a carillon of 60 bells that fill the air with enchanting melodies.

Visitors can explore the meandering pathways, discover themed gardens, and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of the tower and surrounding structures.

Bok Tower Gardens also offer a variety of educational programs, nature trails, and birdwatching opportunities, allowing visitors to connect with nature and find solace in the peaceful ambiance.

Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is a true gem, where art, music, and nature blend harmoniously to create a serene and unforgettable experience.

Bok Tower Gardens
Experience serenity at Bok Tower Gardens.

Caladesi Island State Park

  • Distance from Tampa: 27 miles
  • Driving time: 40 minutes

Another one of the best day trips from Tampa is Caladesi Island State Park, located off the coast of Dunedin, Florida. This lovely barrier island is accessible only by boat, and has some incredible beaches and wildlife.

Visitors can relax on the powdery white sand, swim in the azure Gulf of Mexico, or embark on nature trails that wind through the island’s lush vegetation.

Caladesi Island State Park is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, including nesting sea turtles and migratory birds, making it a haven for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

With its untouched beauty, and opportunities for beachcombing, shelling, and kayaking, Caladesi Island State Park offers a serene getaway from the city.

Heading further south? Check out our list of things to do in Naples, Florida!

Crystal River

  • Distance from Tampa: 80 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

One of the most popular day trips from Tampa for nature lovers is Crystal River, located along Florida’s Nature Coast.

The crystal-clear springs and waterways of Crystal River provide a sanctuary for manatees, allowing visitors to snorkel or swim alongside them in their natural habitat. The area offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, including kayaking, fishing, and boat tours, with the chance to encounter diverse wildlife along the river’s banks.

Additionally, Crystal River is a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico, providing access to pristine beaches, where visitors can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the coastal scenery.

With its abundance of natural wonders, Crystal River is a haven for nature enthusiasts and a perfect destination for those seeking an unforgettable encounter with manatees and a taste of Florida’s unspoiled beauty. Book a pontoon boat cruise with snorkeling and swimming so you can get amongst the marine life in Crystal River!

Ocala National Forest

  • Distance from Tampa: 112 miles
  • Driving time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Though it’s a bit of a drive to this stunning place, the drive is worth it! Ocala National Forest, located in Central Florida, is a sprawling wilderness that showcases the region’s natural biodiversity and offers a myriad of outdoor adventures.

Spanning over 600 square miles, Ocala National Forest is home to sapphire springs, refreshing lakes, and an extensive network of trails. Nature enthusiasts can explore the diverse ecosystem of the forest, which includes towering pine trees, cypress swamps, and unique sand pine scrub habitats.

Visitors can hike, bike, or horseback ride along the scenic trails, go fishing or boating in one of the many lakes, or simply enjoy a picnic surrounded by the tranquility of nature.

The forest also offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, with the chance to spot deer, turkey, black bears, and a wide array of bird species.

Ocala National Forest is a true haven for outdoor recreation and a sanctuary where visitors can immerse themselves in the unspoiled beauty of Florida’s wilderness.

Ocala National Forest
Escape the craziness of the city in the serene Ocala National Forest.

Tarpon Springs

  • Distance from Tampa: 28 miles
  • Driving time: 40 minutes

Tarpon Springs is a unique city near Tampa known for its rich Greek heritage, vibrant sponge diving industry, and charming waterfront.

The city’s historic Sponge Docks are a major attraction, offering visitors the opportunity to learn about the traditional Greek sponge diving culture and explore the quaint shops, restaurants, and bakeries that line the waterfront. Tarpon Springs is famous for its authentic Greek cuisine, with numerous restaurants serving delicious Mediterranean dishes.

The city also hosts various cultural festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing Greek music, dance, and traditions. Visitors can take boat tours, go fishing, or try kayaking along the picturesque Anclote River.

Tarpon Springs is a fun destination that beautifully combines Greek heritage with coastal charm, providing an enriching experience for all who visit.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

  • Distance from Tampa: 56 miles
  • Driving time: 50 minutes

Last but not least on our list of the best Tampa day trips, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is an enchanting destination that transports visitors to a world of underwater wonders.

The park is renowned for its mesmerizing live mermaid shows, where talented performers donning mermaid tails gracefully swim and perform in an underwater theater.

In addition to the famous mermaid shows, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park offers opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and canoeing in the pristine waters of the Weeki Wachee River.

Drift down the gentle streams and keep your eyes peeled for turtles, seabirds, and manatees. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is a great day trip for people of all ages, and there is something fun for everyone.

Wrapping Up

There are so many epic day trips from Tampa! Whether you’re in the city for 3 days, a week, or more, it’s definitely worth renting a car and taking a day to explore somewhere else in the area.

From amazing state parks and beaches, to cool cities and towns like Orlando or Sarasota, there is so much to see and do around beautiful Florida!

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

Gabby Boucher

Gabby Boucher

After four years of working in hospitality, volunteering abroad and travelling for fun, Gabby has developed a knack for budget travel and admiration for different cultures. Her travels have taken her through the cloud forests of Ecuador, into the villages of eastern Europe, across the islands of Thailand, and to the beaches of New South Wales, Australia, where she is currently living with a working holiday visa. She plans to continue her adventures around the world for as long as possible. Follow her on her blog, and on Instagram.

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