Make a Splash in Tampa Bay: Adventures on the Water

Fall may be in full swing, and winter may be approaching, but when it comes to warm weather all year long, Tampa Bay is where it’s at. Known for its 365 days of sunshine, powder white beaches and glistening bays, Tampa, Florida, is the place to be for adventures on the water no matter the season. From a peaceful afternoon kayaking to the thrill of a jet ski, you’ll find endless opportunities for fun in the Florida sun.

Are you ready to make a splash in Tampa Bay?

Gather your mateys and climb aboard the Lost Pearl Pirate Ship Cruise for an action-packed adventure on the water in Tampa Bay. Not only will pirates entertain with water cannons and tales of their plundering at sea, but you can enjoy family-friendly games and become pirates in training. You’ll learn how to load a cannon, follow the captain’s orders and defend your ship from rival pirates. The Free at Sea Bar serves up complimentary domestic beer, wine, and cocktails for adults. The ship is sometimes dry-docked throughout the season, so be sure to confirm cruise dates in advance.

The Lost Pearl Pirate Ship in Tampa Bay, Florida. Photo Courtesy of C Watts.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city for water excursions at Hillsborough River State Park. Just a short drive from downtown Tampa, this park offers more than 3,800 acres to explore. Spend an afternoon fishing for bass and catfish, canoe or kayak along the river (keep a look out for wildlife such as woodpeckers and deer) or take a dip in the park’s community pool. You can also take a walk along the river rapids, the park is home to Class II rapids, a unique occurrence in Florida.

Ready for a thrill? Rent a jet ski from Tampa Watersports for an exciting ride on Tampa’s coastal waters. Experience the adrenaline rush of total freedom as you rip through the waves and see the sights of Tampa from the water. With a professional staff, modern jet skis, and safety equipment, you’ll feel prepared and equipped for your adventures.

While not technically on the water, you can zipline OVER the water at Mobbly Bayou Preserve State Park with Empower Adventures. Feel the thrill of gliding over the water and tree canopy as you take in the natural landscape around you. Experiences range from daytime excursions to sunset and moonlit tours.

The waters surrounding Tampa Bay are home to an abundance of wildlife, and dolphins tend to make playful appearances on a regular basis. In Tarpon Springs, Island Adventure Dolphin Cruise is one of the most popular tour companies to see dolphins and manatees. There are multiple cruises to choose from the Daytime Dolphin Adventure to the Sunset Dolphin Tour, where you not only can see these majestic animals but witness a spectacular sunset over the Gulf.

Kraken Cycle Boats is the answer for a relaxing afternoon on the water. Paddle your way around the waterways for a unique view of downtown Tampa. It’s BYOB – so grab some beer or wine and enjoy time with friends and family. You can join a tour or book the whole boat, which takes up to 10 guests. 

Kraken CycleBoats in Tampa, Florida.

If you’re looking for a great way to see the sights and make your around Tampa, water taxis are a unique and fun mode of transportation. The Pirate Water Taxi offers daily Tampa tours that stop at popular attractions, museums, restaurants, and more. Your ticket comes with a wristband that gives you unlimited rides and discounts at many venues along the way. You will find many water taxis to choose from throughout the city.

One of the more popular hot spots in Tampa Bay is the Tampa Riverwalk. See the city from a kayak, stand-up paddle board, or water bike as you paddle your way along the Hillsborough River. You might even spot manatees, dolphins, stingrays, and jellyfish.  Don’t miss out on a chance to try a biyak – a water bike mixed with a kayak. It’s a cool way to paddle around the Tampa area.

Tampa’s skyline from the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida. Photo Courtesy of bk.

Love manatees? You can see these loveable sea cows at the Teco Manatee Viewing Center, adjacent to Apollo Beach. From a boardwalk, you can view these majestic creatures attracted to the warm waters of Tampa Electric Co.’s Big Bend power plant. Visit the nature center, follow the mangrove trail, and watch out for dolphins, manta rays, and sharks – all for free.

Avid fishermen should book a day out on the water with Poseidon Fishing Charters. From shark tours to night fishing, you can cast a line in style as pro guides steer you to the top fishing spots in Tampa Bay. Whether you’re seeking offshore or inshore fishing, there’s fun to be had with these charters.

With so much to experience on Tampa’s surrounding waters, you’re sure to need to make another trip, and thankfully, Tampa Bay has so many more adventures to enjoy on land as well. Where will your next adventure take you?

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