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Tampa Offers Both Land and Water Outdoor Adventure



Tampa's beautiful weather makes it the perfect place to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. There is no end to the activities, from fishing to biking to kayaking. That's not to mention world-class golfing and pristine beaches, which this list won't mention as these activities have their own top 10 list! See here for beaches and here for golf courses. To get you started on the abundance of Tampa's other great outdoor adventures, read on for a list of the 10 Best options to consider.

There are several memorable urban trails perfect for walking or biking including the new Tampa Riverwalk that takes you on a waterfront tour of the city's main attractions. The wide, paved pathway is approximately 2.5 miles long and is perfect for all ages and abilities. There are plenty of pit-stops along the way from shady parks with benches to upscale dining options.

Many of Tampa's outdoor activities center around the city's waterways. Whether you want to be in it, on it, or dragging big things out of it, you can easily find what you're looking for. One popular way to get out on the water is paddle-boarding. To set out on your own adventure, visit Urban Kai, a local paddle-board shop that also provides rentals, lessons, and fitness classes.


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Tampa's Urban Kai is a stand-up paddleboard store located on the Riverwalk at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. In addition to selling paddleboards and gear, they offer rentals, fitness classes, and adventure tours. If you're in town and want to explore the Hillsborough River while getting some amazing exercise, this is the place for you. If you're already experienced, you can rent a board and head out on your own, or you can sign up for classes. Their fitness classes are great for an intense core and upper-body workout as well as for developing balance. You can even join the new trend and try yoga on a paddle board.


Ballast Point Park and Pier
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Named for the spot where arriving ships would off-load their ballast to enter the harbor, Ballast Point Park and Pier is located in a quiet neighborhood of South Tampa. It features a wonderful splash park for the kids, a large playground area, shade trees and picnic tables. One of the most impressive features of the park is the view of the downtown skyline and Davis Islands. There is a long pier that juts out into the Bay and a conveniently located bait shop if you wish to try your hand at fishing. Alternatively, you can grab a bite at the Taste of Boston restaurant. The food is good and you can sit outside and enjoy the views. There is also a boat dock and ramp.




Tampa's Pirate Water Taxi travels the city's downtown waterways and offers visitors and residents an easy and convenient way to visit downtown parks, museums, restaurants, and other attractions. The large, comfortable vessels offer seating for up to 46 and have restroom facilities. There is also a limited beverage menu available on board including beer and wine. There are currently 17 stops and guests are able to hop on and hop off all day for one low price. Time to navigate between the farthest stops beginning at Rick's on the River and ending at the Columbia Cafe on Garrison Channel is approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Check their website for maps of the stops and a handy guide to the nearby attractions. Tickets can be bought at any stop, just look for their distinctive yellow and black sign on the docks along the route.


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Hillsborough River State Park
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


To see the natural beauty of Florida without having to drive very far out of town, Hillsborough River State Park is your best bet. Located upriver from downtown Tampa, in northeastern Hillsborough County, this is one of Florida's oldest and most popular state parks. The list of things to do here is expansive, starting with both full-facility and primitive camping. Canoes and kayaks can be rented to go down the river. In contrast to most segments of the Hillsborough River which are very slow moving, the river here has a rare section of fast-moving water with Class II rapids. There are also numerous picnic areas, a public pool, and numerous hiking trails where, if you're lucky, you will be able to spot some native Florida wildlife.


Lettuce Lake Regional Park
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Lettuce Lake Regional Park is located along the Hillsborough River about half an hour north of downtown Tampa. The river at this point is in its natural state, untouched by houses and development, giving visitors a chance to experience a natural Florida landscape. The park features 240 acres of wooded picnic areas, a playground and a paved path for bikes and joggers complete with fitness course. A haven for nature lovers and bird watchers, the park features an amazing 3,500-foot boardwalk and observation tower where visitors can view a variety of wildlife. Visit the interpretive center for exhibits on the local birds, vegetation, and animals. Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 am the park features a free guided nature walk. You can also explore the river by canoe and kayak as the park features a boat launch and rentals.




eBoats is an electric boat rental company that operates out of a kiosk on the docks in front of the Tampa Convention Center. Renting one of these charming boats is a great way to explore Tampa's harbor, feast your eyes on some of the largest and most beautiful houses in town, and head up-river to explore the bridges, parks, and landmarks that line its banks. The 21-foot, electric boats are quiet, eco-friendly, covered, and only go about 6 mph. They are safe and easy to operate for almost anyone, but if you have concerns, you can spend a little additional money and get a Captain to do the steering for you.




Coast Bike Share provides a convenient and environmentally-friendly transit option in Tampa's most popular neighborhoods. With bike hubs located in downtown, Hyde Park, and Ybor City, visitors can grab a bike and explore many of the city's most popular attractions. To get started, simply visit the website and sign up for a membership. Short-term visitors can get a pay-as-you-go hourly membership, while longer-term visitors may wish to select a monthly membership which includes one free hour of riding per day. While you won't win any races, the cruiser style bikes are sturdy, safe, and vandalism resistant.




Tampa Bay Water Bikes is located on the public docks adjacent to the Convention Center and Sail Pavilion in downtown Tampa. The perfect sightseeing option to get a water view of the city's iconic landmarks, water biking is easy and fun. Also available are BiYaks, or kayaks with pedals. Explore the Hillsborough River, Garrison Channel, and Davis and Harbour Islands. Anyone over the age of 8 is able to operate a water bike making this a great activity for the whole family. Safety gear and instruction are provided. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or in-person.


Bayshore Boulevard
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Yes, a sidewalk is one of Tampa's best attractions. Running from just north of MacDill Air Force Base to downtown Tampa along Hillsborough Bay, the sidewalk that runs along Bayshore Boulevard is the longest continuous sidewalk in the US. It is also south Tampa's unofficial gym, where at all hours of the day you can find many people walking, jogging, biking, and rollerblading down the nearly flat pavement. With the water on one side and some of Tampa's most expensive real estate on the other, the scenery can't be beaten. It's also the location of our most important celebration, the annual Gasparilla parade in late January.


Tampa Riverwalk
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


The Tampa Riverwalk is a scenic exploration of the downtown riverfront and connects most of the popular downtown attractions, parks, and restaurants. The broad paved path runs along, and in places, runs over the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel. Easily accessible to everyone including the disabled, kids, and furry friends, the Riverwalk accommodates walkers, joggers, and bikers. A few of the landmarks you will pass include the Heights Public Market, Waterworks Park, Tampa Museum of Art, Curtis Hixon Park, the Convention Center, and the Tampa Bay History Center. Along the way, you can discover numerous interpretive exhibits highlighting Tampa's history and public art exhibits. The path is almost 3 miles long, but there are plenty of spots to stop for a rest and grab a drink or a quick bite along the way.


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Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye

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