Tampa combines beautiful beaches with thrills-and-spills theme parks and endless golf courses, little wonder that millions of visitors take cheap flights to Tampa each year.
A natural playground, the city has lots to offer by way of recreation. Apart from beach bathing, visitors will discover that the lakes and Hillsborough River offer opportunities for diving, sailing, snorkelling, fresh or saltwater fishing and kayaking.
One of Florida’s largest estuaries surrounds Tampa. Some of the wild fowl that congregate here every day are threatened species. The area is also a wildlife haven and has nature parks and refuges including the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, set up for the protection of the West Indian Manatee. Busch Gardens is home to more than 35 endangered species and is renowned for its breeding programmes.
Ybor City in downtown Tampa is a buzzy shopping, dining and nightlife venue. The city was established in 1886 as a centre for cigar factories, today the area is preserved as Ybor City State Museum where visitors can savour the flavour of old Tampa.
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The climate is sub-tropical with high levels of humidity. The weather is fantastic year-round. Temperatures range between 18 and 35 degrees Celsius (64-95 degrees Fahrenheit) year round. Winter temperatures very rarely drop below freezing.
January to April is high season when most visitors arrive on cheap flights to Tampa. Several festivals take place during these months including Gasparilla Pirate Fest (January), Florida State Fair (February), Florida Strawberry Festival (late February/early March) and Apollo Beach Manatee Arts Festival (March).
May, October and November are shoulder months.
June to September and December are low season when visitors can save on flights and accommodations.
There are many ways to get around downtown Tampa and Ybor City. You can walk, but the rest of the city has a network of buses, trolleys and historic electric streetcars to get you around. To get to the airport, Ybor City, Busch Gardens or the Museum of Science and Industry, hop on one of the HART line buses. If you’re travelling at the end or beginning of winter months, you’ll notice extra traffic on the weekends. Many northerners come to Florida to escape the snow, and north-south routes can quickly become clogged.