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Tampa Boat Tours picture in Tampa
Patti McConville / Getty Images

Key Info

Details

  • Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.9
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    3.0
  • Facilities
    3.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Make the most of Tampa's coastal location with a boat tour around its bay. You'll have your pick of tour options, including sunset sails, half-day trips and dolphin cruises. If you're already planning to visit the Florida Aquarium, consider penciling in some time for its Wild Dolphin Cruise. The tour, which departs from the aquarium daily, includes a 75-minute ride on a 72-foot catamaran. The aim of the tour is to get far enough into Tampa Bay to see the hundreds of bottlenose dolphins that call the area home, but you'll also likely spot several bird species and the occasional sea turtle. Note that you'll have to purchase the aquarium's combo ticket if you want to tack this experience onto your visit.

Tampa Bay Sailing Tours also comes highly recommended by past travelers. Trips on the company's 36-foot catamaran range from half- to full-day tours around the bay and include snacks and beverages. Tickets range from $79 to $119 per person, depending on the length of the tour. For a more traditional sailing excursion, consider booking with Olde World Sailing Line, also a favorite among recent Tampa visitors. This 44-foot sailing yacht ups the luxury with its private sunset dinner cruises and full moon sailings. 

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#1 Busch Gardens Spanning 297 acres and boasting more than 12,000 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games, Busch Gardens is a popular way to spend a day under the Tampa sun ... Read more » Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

#2 Tampa Theatre Even if you're not in town for a film screening or performance, visitors highly recommend a stop at the beautifully ornate Tampa Theatre. When it was built in 1926 ... Read more » Jeff Titterington / Courtesy Tampa Theatre

#3 Florida Aquarium Located on the southeastern edge of downtown Tampa, the Florida Aquarium houses a massive collection of marine life  20,000 animal and plant life, by the last count. Past visitors ... Read more » Courtesy the Florida Aquarium

#4 Boat Tours Make the most of Tampa's coastal location with a boat tour around its bay. You'll have your pick of tour options, including sunset sails, half-day trips and dolphin ... Read more » Patti McConville / Getty Images

#5 Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center Tampa is a city made for animal lovers willing to pay the price for cuddly, unique and cute. Science centers, zoos and aquariums that don't charge at least a ... Read more » James R.D. Scott / Getty Images

#6 Big Cat Rescue This northwest Tampa spot is more sanctuary than zoo; while here, you'll have the chance to learn all things concerning bobcats, tigers, cougars, lynx, snow leopards  even house cats ... Read more » Holmes Palacios / Flickr

#7 Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Spanning 60 acres, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo boasts natural habitats, educational shows and interactive animal encounters, water play areas, and a handful of rides. Here you'll find a ... Read more » Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

#8 Henry B. Plant Museum Travelers like the setting of this museum and National Historic Landmark just as much as its contents. Housed in the Moorish Revival Tampa Bay Hotel on the University of Tampa ... Read more » Courtesy Henry B. Plant Museum

#9 Glazer Childrens Museum If you're in Tampa with young kids (12 and younger), consider a stop at the Glazer Children's Museum. Though Tampa isn't short on kid-friendly attractions, most of ... Read more » Matthew Paulson / Flickr

#10 Tampa Bay History Center If you're interested in learning more about Florida's first inhabitants, then a stop at the Smithsonian-affiliated Tampa Bay History Center should be on your itinerary. Spanning 60,000 square ... Read more » Courtesy Tampa Bay History Center

#11 Ybor City Pronounced ee-bore, this northeast enclave of Tampa was once a hotbed for coffee manufacturing and hand-rolled cigars  factory workers would roll millions of them annually. Now it’s a ... Read more » Getty Images

The Scorpion picture in Tampa
Tampa Theatre picture in Tampa
Florida Aquarium picture in Tampa
Tampa Boat Tours picture in Tampa
Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center picture in Tampa
Big Cat Rescue picture in Tampa
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo picture in Tampa
Henry B. Plant Museum picture in Tampa
Glazer Children's Museum picture in Tampa
Tampa Bay History Center picture in Tampa
Ybor City picture in Tampa
The Scorpion picture in Tampa
Tampa Theatre picture in Tampa
Florida Aquarium picture in Tampa
Tampa Boat Tours picture in Tampa
Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center picture in Tampa
Big Cat Rescue picture in Tampa
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo picture in Tampa
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Glazer Children's Museum picture in Tampa
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This Busch Gardens coaster features a 360-degree vertical loop. Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

To truly experience the Tampa Theatre, recent travelers say you have to attend a performance. Jeff Titterington / Courtesy Tampa Theatre

The Florida Aquarium shelters approximately 20,000 animals, including sharks, African penguins and polar bears. Courtesy the Florida Aquarium

Make the most of Tampa's coastal location with a boat tour around its bay. Patti McConville / Getty Images

Vacationers appreciate a little break in their itineraries to see manatees swimming through the Tampa Electric water plant, and they don't have to pay an arm and a leg for the privilege. James R.D. Scott / Getty Images

Recent visitors say that if you're a fan of these majestic cats, you'll love a visit to Big Cat Rescue. But remember: This is more of a sanctuary than a zoo, meaning the focus here is on education, not entertainment. Holmes Palacios / Flickr

At Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, you'll find a variety of animals from around the world, including African elephants, koalas, orangutans, penguins and tigers, among other species Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

The Henry. B Plant Museum bills itself as the nation's only Victorian railroad resort museum. Courtesy Henry B. Plant Museum

If you're in Tampa with young kids (12 and under), consider a stop at the Glazer Children's Museum Matthew Paulson / Flickr

Spanning 60,000 square feet and ideally situated on Tampa's waterfront, the history center aims to showcase 12,000 years of Florida's history through three floors of exhibits, educational films and interactive displays. Courtesy Tampa Bay History Center

Pronounced ee-bore, this northeast enclave of Tampa was once a hotbed for hand-rolled cigars. Getty Images

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