10 Adventurous Day Trips to Take near Tampa, Florida

scuba in Florida

Tampa, Florida Day Trips

The Tampa Bay/ St. Petersburg area has many outdoor activities and thrilling activities for visitors and residents to participate in. By only driving a couple of hours there is much to explore.Here are a few adventurous Tampa, Florida day trips to enjoy.

1.) Swimming at St. Pete’s Beach

St. Pete’s Beach is a slice of Florida’s tropical paradise in the heart of the quaint town of St. Petersburg. The waters are calm with little to no waves. St. Pete’s beach is a fan favorite.  There are usually always parking spots just keep in mind you have to pay $2.25 an hour.

Tampa, Florida day trips
St. Pete Beach

2.) Hiking in Hillsbourgh State Park

Hillsborough State Park, located just outside of downtown Tampa, has over 10 miles of moderate to strenuous hiking trails. I ventured out there one afternoon in hopes of a short adventure.

With miles of trails to choose from I started with the Bayward Trail so I could see the suspension bridge first. The suspension bridge is a must-see. The second trail I hiked is the ridge. In total, I hiked around 6 miles, which is perfect for a day trip.

Things to do in Tampa, FL

Hillsborough State Park, FL

3.) Kayaking in Weedon Island Nature Preserve

Located on the western shore of Tampa Bay, the Weedon Nature Preserve offers visitors a unique taste of Florida’s wildlife. Kayaking on Weedon Island is particularly interesting because of the mangrove tunnels through which you kayak. On this adventure, you will likely spot birds, spider crabs, mangroves, and if you are lucky, dolphins.

ECOmersion  gives kayak tours in the Weedon Island Preserve. Their guides will take you through all the mystical mangrove tunnels with ease, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost. Their tours are also inexpensive in comparison to tour companies in the area. 

Weedon Island Kayaking

Kayaking in the Weedon Island Preserve
Kayaking in the Weedon Island Preserve

4.) Climbing at Vertical Ventures

Florida is not known for climbing, but not to worry. Located near the Tampa and St. Petersburg area there are two Vertical Ventures climbing gyms.

The gym located in Tampa, is the nearest my house. However, Vertical Ventures in St. Petersburg is larger,  more commercialized, and has more routes. Each gym offers a state of the art facility to practice your climbing skills or just have a fun Saturday with friends.

Two Locations: 
Tampa: 5402 Pioneer Park Blvd Suite E, Tampa, FL 33634
St. Pete: 116 18th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

5.) Trail Biking in Flatwoods Park

I assumed the trail is pretty similar to its name -flat. Yet, I am surprised that the biking trail through the woods has some interesting twists, turns, and bumps.

Florida is a fairly flat state, however, these trails have a few small hills, making it a fun and interesting ride. Unlike other mountain biking trails I have ridden in North Carolina these trails are leisurely and doable for anyone and everyone. However, be prepared to bruise your buttocks. After biking twenty miles my legs felt like jelly and my butt had bruises from the impact of riding for such a long time.

biking in Flatwoods, Florida
Biking in Flatwoods, Florida

6.) Alligator Spotting in Lettuce Lake Regional Park

I turn off of the highway to enter the park, not expecting much because the park bleeds closely to civilization. How can I feel like I am in nature when the highway is so close?

I am, however, surprised at how breathtakingly beautiful this little park is. I stay quiet in hopes of spotting an alligator, from a distance at least. Unfortunately, I didn’t find one, but I did see some other pretty interesting animals along the way. There are several short trails for light hiking and biking. The boardwalk is my favorite aspect of the part, that is what allowed me to get close to some of the Florida wildlife.

Florida Wildlife

Lettuce lake- day trips near Tampa, Florida
Lettuce Lake

7.) Water-sports at John’s Pass Boardwalk

Jet skis, boat rides, and skiing are all adventure sports you can look forward to John’s Pass. After your water-sport adventure, there are several restaurants, shops, and ice creameries in the area to indulge in.

Additionally, there are surf shops and stores nearby to buy all your Florida souvenirs. If you are in search of the best orangeade this is the spot to indulge in it.

John's Pass - Tampa day trips
John’s Pass

8.)Exploring ancient Fort De Soto 

Fort De Soto Park is perfect for a day trip for several reasons. The fun activities include fort exploration, bike & kayak rentals, fishing, and crystal blue beaches. First, I checked out the ancient fort and old cannons.

Afterward I decided to head to the beach. You will be surprised at just how clear and calm these waters are. It is so clear you can see all the fish swimming around you. This is certainly a good beach to bring your snorkeling gear. While swimming at Fort De Soto beach I saw two manatees. One manatee, in particular, I saw up close. After years of hearing about the mysterious ‘sea cow’ it is amazing I finally spotted one.

Additionally, Fort De Soto Park’s pier is a popular place to fish and observe the wildlife found in the park. While I am no fisherman, there are plenty of people on Fort De Soto’s pier who are. Watching the pros carry out coolers of their catches I suspect you will have success fishing on this pier.

Tampa day trips

Tampa Florida day trips

9.) Take a ferry out to Caladesi Island 

This ferry leaves from Honeymoon island will take you to the paradise Caladesi Island. The twenty-minute relaxing boat ride dropped me off right at island’s marina, a quick five minute walk from the beach. I could certainly get used to an island lifestyle. Going late on a cloudy Sunday afternoon I practically had the island to myself.

While I was packing up my cooler and ready to head out about six dolphins swam close to shore. The lively dolphins swam around the island as the sun is setting and I get back in the boat for a ride back to Honeymoon Island. The last boat is 5:30 pm so be sure to make an earlier ride to have enough time to spend on Caladesi Island.Caladesi Island- Tampa day trips

10.) Snorkeling in Devil’s Den

Out of all the places I have visited a few of them, make me take a step back and think ‘this is surreal’-Devil’s Den is one of those places. I channeled my inner mermaid powers and my first attempt at free diving was a success. Additionally, this hidden cave’s blue waters are a blast to explore. Fish and turtles swim in the dark waters.

While scuba diving at Devil’s Den seems thrilling I would not suggest it for beginners. The caves are dark and easy to get lost in. Scuba diving in Devil’s Den is not for novices.

Tampa Florida day trips-Devil's Den Florida

Tampa Florida day trips- Devil's Den Florida
Devil’s Den Florida

Bottom line, I hope you enjoy all 10 of these Tampa Florida day trips just as much as I did!

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