At the end of last summer, I had a work trip to Tampa Bay. I decided to stay the weekend to see the city and the nearby Clearwater Beach.
I stayed at the Grand Hyatt close to the airport. It was situated right next to the Bay and had some great views from the hotel rooftop.
The breakfast was served at the 1823 restaurant situated on the top floor of the hotel. Although I would classify it as slightly expensive, there was variety of food for breakfast paired with fresh fruits.
If you’re looking for something cheaper and want more options, there is a free shuttle service from the hotel to the nearby International Plaza mall. There are a lot of dining places there that you can choose from. I visited the Brio Tuscan Grille for dinner on one of the days. Since I was a solo traveler on this trip, I chose to get a yummy shrimp appetizer from their light menu! It was more than sufficient.
Tampa was never on my ‘places to go’ list. When I got there, I really liked the place and realized it should have been on my list all along. There’s plenty of fresh air and it’s beautiful.
Travel Tip: Tampa does not have a lot of public transportation so be ready to drive or take taxis everywhere. I rented a car from the airport so it was easy to move around to eat and see places.
My friend joined me 2 days later and we decided to see Tampa on a Segway with the Magic Carpet Glide. I thought it wasn’t the best idea and I would fall and break something. I was wrong. Segway is so much fun and there are very little chances that you may fall! Our guide trained us before we started the tour.
Travel Tip: Look for a Groupon or a deal for the Segway tour. You can spend as low as $30 per person to see the entire city.
The tour took us along the Bay on the River Walk Project of Tampa, past the Times Forum(a huge area), the Gasparilla Pirate Ship and many more places. My favorite part of the tour was riding through the University of Tampa. The architecture of the main building was majestic like a Disney structure. I’ve consolidated some pictures from the tour in the gallery below.
Travel Tip: The tour is about 2 hours and it is extremely hot in the summers. Dress accordingly.
If you want to get some nice summer cocktails by the water, you should head to the local Bahama Breeze Island Grille there. It is on the bay, has live music and refreshing drinks.
I spent the next 2 days in St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beach! If you are in the Tampa Bay area, make sure you visit these places which are a very short distance from the city. The bay is vast and the best view of it is on the way there. It is a long highway with the water on both sides! Be sure to check it out!
Travel Tip: While driving to Clearwater, try renting a convertible car so you can enjoy the view to the fullest!