Tampa Bay's World-Class Resorts Offer Unlimited Sun and Fun

Home to world-class beaches, championship golf courses, and more than 300 days of sun per year, Tampa Bay offers some of the best resort experiences on the globe. To help you decide which of our resorts is the best fit for your vacation plans, 10 Best has gathered a list of the area's top options to choose from.

Our most treasured historic resorts were built with the arrival of Henry Plant's railroad at the turn of the century. Of these, the Don CeSar is perhaps the most famous. The "Pink Palace" as its known, brings to life the beauty and glamour of the gilded age, while skillfully integrating modern, luxurious amenities.

Most of the region's resorts are located on the Gulf beaches, consistently ranked as some of the best in the country, if not the world. If you're looking to be in the heart of the action then the Tradewinds Beach Resort might be the perfect choice. Offering unlimited fun in the sun for the whole family, the resort features a beach-side waterpark, and several pools, restaurants and bars. 

Golf is big in Florida, with Tampa being no exception. The Innisbrook resort boasts four championship courses, one of which hosts a popular PGA Tour tournament every year, while Saddlebrook is known as much for the tennis stars it produces as for its two Arnold Palmer golf courses.

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Tampa's Saddlebrook Resort is a luxurious getaway for those who like to spend time outdoors. It boasts two Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses, 45 tennis courts in all of the major surfaces, and three heated pools, including the massive 500,000 gallon SuperPool. A 5-acre ropes course rounds out the activities available. After you work up an appetite, you can indulge at one of the seven on-site restaurants before relaxing at the European-style spa. Then you can retire to one of the resort's 800 luxurious guest rooms that all feature private patios or balconies, and are clustered around courtyards and park spaces giving the resort a charming village atmosphere.

Recommended for Resort because: Famous for its tennis school and Arnold Palmer golf courses, Saddlebrook Resort Tampa is the perfect getaway for active families.

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Safety Harbor Resort and Spa is located on the banks of Old Tampa Bay and anchors the quaint and charming downtown area of Safety Harbor. This resort is all about wholesome fun and healthy living, with a 50,000 square foot fitness center and spa facility, a fine dining restaurant, and an outdoor Tiki bar and grill. Built in the early 1900's, the spa was designed to take advantage of the restorative and soothing effects of the area's abundant natural springs. Since then it has been lovingly restored and remains one of the finest spas in the country. Three pools on the property, as well as some of the spa's treatments, put the natural spring waters to good use.

Recommended for Resort because: The historic Safety Harbor Resort and Spa takes full advantage of area's natural spring waters and is just a short drive from Tampa International Airport.

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Plantation on Crystal River is upscale but reasonably priced and perfect for lovers of outdoor adventures. Located about 1 1/2 hours north of Tampa, this charming boutique hotel was originally part of a sugar plantation built in the mid 1800s. The grounds are beautiful and the amenities extensive including daily fishing, boating, diving and snorkeling excursions, a large heated resort pool with Tiki bar, 18 hole golf course, and full-service spa. Sophisticated dining is provided by West 82 Bar and Grill that features fresh, local ingredients. The rooms are remarkably spacious with some featuring ground-floor patios overlooking the canal, and all feature coffee makers and fridges.

Recommended for Resort because: If visiting during the winter months, sign up for a snorkeling tour with the manatees. A once-in-a-lifetime experience!

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Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
Photo courtesy of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Ready to party like rock star royalty? Check in to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa. Guests are greeted upon entry with a 50 foot guitar and a sample of items from the Hard Rock's extensive rock memorabilia collection. The rooms are luxurious, well-appointed and feature the latest technology. You can amplify your stay by taking advantage of their "Sound of Your Stay" program providing in-room access to legendary guitars and a tailor made soundtrack for your stay. If you wish to leave your room, you have 170,000 square feet of high stakes games and the latest in slots, five high-end restaurants, and more bars and nightlife options than you can count at your fingertips. After a long night, recover in the recently renovated full-service Rock Spa or get away from the crowds by chilling in a Chickee poolside cabana fully equipped with a TV, fridge, and other cool stuff.

Recommended for Resort because: Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino offers the latest in gaming action as well as world class restaurants and live entertainment daily.

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Sheraton Sand Key Resort
Photo courtesy of Sheraton Sand Key Resort

The Sheraton is all about the water. Located on Sand Key, just south of Clearwater, the resort offers access to both the white sand beach and the Intracoastal Waterway where visitors can take advantage of unique boating opportunities. Their beautiful 10-acre private beach is a playground featuring beach volleyball, jet ski rentals, and private cabanas to kick back. Nature lovers will appreciate the resort's location next to Sand Key Park that offers a boardwalk and nature trail with views of natural coastal habitat. With a bistro, sports bar, and poolside grille, you're guaranteed not to go hungry. The rooms are clean, modern, and offer fantastic views.

Recommended for Resort because: The Sheraton Sand Key Resort offers great amenities, a laid back atmosphere, and plenty of pristine sand located adjacent to Sand Key Park.

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TradeWinds Island Grand
Photo courtesy of VSPC

The TradeWinds is the largest beachfront hotel in Florida located on 20 acres. While it's not the place for a quiet getaway, its size means there is room for almost every amenity imaginable including its own private river where guests can take a paddleboat around the property. The property also features five heated pools, including an adults-only pool and one built specifically for toddlers. With 11 dining options on property, you may run out of time before you get to try them all. There is also the massive High Tide Slide, which can be seen for miles up and down the beach and is guaranteed to keep the kids occupied while the adults enjoy frozen drinks at the pool or on the beach.

Recommended for Resort because: The TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort is a huge, amenity-stuffed playhouse for all ages located in busy, vibrant St. Pete Beach.

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Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort
Photo courtesy of Innisbrook--A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort

The recently renovated and lovingly maintained Innisbrook Resort is most famous for its 4 championship golf courses, including the recently rebuilt Copperhead course which hosts the PGA Valspar Championship every March. The resort itself is friendly and charming with an old-school vibe, perfect for active families, group vacations, and corporate events. Spread over 900 acres of immaculately-kept grounds, the resort features condo-style accommodations equipped with full kitchens, living and dining areas, and private patios or balconies. Meal time is no chore when there are 5 on-site dining options ranging from a high-end steakhouse to a sports bar, as well as room service and grocery delivery. After a long day of golf, tennis, or waterside lounging at one of the resort's 6 pools or at the nearby beach, guests can relax in luxury at the highly-regarded Indaba Spa.

Recommended for Resort because: The Innisbrook Resort, located about an hour north of downtown Tampa, features championship golf, spacious suite accommodations and several tasty on-site dining options.

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Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa
Photo courtesy of VSPC

The beautiful 250-suite Hyatt Regency dominates the skyline and is located directly across from the world-famous Clearwater Beach and Pier 20. This expansive, white sand beach hosts plenty of activities and entertainment including a daily sunset celebration. Play on the beach or head to the pool and enjoy an air conditioned cabana complete with flat screen. For dining, the Hyatt Regency offers a high-end seafood restaurant, a poolside bar and grill, and a breakfast cafe. Relax after a hard day in the Sandava Spa or head out to enjoy nearby nightlife. You're also steps away from other beach-related entertainments, like deep sea fishing and dolphin cruises.

Recommended for Resort because: Located just steps from the world-famous Clearwater Beach, the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa offers extensive amenities and comfortable accommodations.

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The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club
Photo courtesy of Marriott Hotels

Since its grand opening on New Year's Eve, 1925, the Vinoy has been a haven for the rich, famous, and those who love experiencing the best in life. Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and James Stewart are just a few of the celebrities who have enjoyed the hospitality of this beautiful Mediterranean Revival-style hotel. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel boasts its own private marina, a golf course, and tennis complex. In addition, there are three, restaurants, a cafe, and multiple lounges, including one conveniently located next to the spacious and glamorous pool deck. The Vinoy is perfectly located in downtown St. Petersburg, close to a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, cultural, and entertainment options.

Recommended for Resort because: The Renaissance Vinoy Resort is an idyllic luxury resort with a rich history and tons of amenities in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg.

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The Don CeSar
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

The Don Cesar Hotel rises in pink majesty from the white sand and turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This opulent hotel embraces you in Jazz Age glamour and pampering from the moment you walk in the door. Built in 1928, the hotel features a fanciful combination of Moorish and Spanish architecture and has been completely modernized, without losing the romantic ambiance that has made it an iconic landmark. Enjoy lounging by the pools or relax on the beach in a private cabana complete with drink service. You can also spoil yourself in the beautifully appointed full-service Spa Oceana. Dinner is always a celebration at the 4 diamond Maritana Grille where guests enjoy contemporary cuisine surrounded by large saltwater aquariums.

Recommended for Resort because: The Don Cesar is an iconic Tampa Bay resort that delivers glamorous accommodations and world-class service located on the Gulf of Mexico.

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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