Tampa Bay Area
With theme parks, some of the best beaches in the United States, renowned museums, a rich architectural heritage, numerous opportunities for fishing and diving, and a nightlife scene second only to Miami’s, the Tampa Bay area is something of a microcosm of Florida.
Boasting some of the most consistently enjoyable weather in the state, and blessed by the maritime offerings of the bay itself, the Tampa Bay area is rich in outdoor activities. But this is no wilderness retreat: The area’s 2.5 million residents enjoy the major league sports, top-shelf cuisine, big-business opportunities, and cultural offerings befitting one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas.
Tampa is a bustling, sprawling city as rich in history as it is in urban amenities. From the redolent cigar leaves that have given Ybor City its atmosphere for decades to the neck-craning skyscrapers of downtown Tampa and the mansions along Bayshore Boulevard, it’s a city that’s as in touch with its past as it is with its future.
Clearwater may be known to some as the home of Scientology, but the laid-back city has plenty of coastal charm and a steadily revitalizing downtown. The area’s beaches are world-class, but the entire region is defined by the water that surrounds it, from the seemingly endless array of fishing options to the sponge-divers of Tarpon Springs and the manatee-filled springs in the Crystal River area.
While visiting the Tampa Bay area, it’s quickly apparent that visitors are warmly welcomed, but unlike some other parts of the state, one never feels as if the entire area was constructed purely for the enjoyment of tourists. Whether or not this means the locals like keeping their treasures a secret, the best way to get the best out of Tampa Bay is to relax and enjoy it like a resident.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition