With so much to do in the Tampa area, it can be difficult deciding where to start. Centuries-old rumors suggest that the legendary Spanish pirate Jose Gaspar—the last of the Buccaneers—stored his plundered booty in the islands off the gulf coast near Tampa. If treasure hunting isn’t your sport of pleasure, perhaps dropping a lure from a deep-sea fishing vessel or casting a line from a bayside dock in hopes of landing a different type of marine jewel is more to your liking. With mile after mile of pristine beaches gently kissed by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, there is more than enough available real estate to while away the time with an engaging page-turner. After a long day of chasing pirates, grouper, and chapters, watching the sun drop into the waters of the gulf while relaxing on the balcony of your downtown Tampa hotel with a fine hand-rolled Cuban cigar is always a perfect ending.
When you are looking for lodging in Tampa, downtown hotels like Le Meridien Tampa are ideal because of their central location. It’s here in downtown, where the Tampa Bay Lightning face off against their NHL opponents at the Amalie Arena on Channelside Drive. Stay at one of the nearby hotels and ride a surge of adrenaline at one of the games. Prefer your professional sports less…frigid? Hop behind the wheel of a car from a downtown Tampa rental company and head south to St. Petersburg to watch the local boys of summer—the Tampa Bay Rays—battle it out for MLB supremacy on the base paths of Tropicana Field.
With Spanish and Southern influences and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa offers dining options that rival even the most popular foodie towns. Hotels like the Embassy Suites Tampa Downtown put you in a perfect location to take advantage of some of the best places to eat in town. For the finest in upscale American Modern cuisine, dinner at Mise en Place is a must. If you find that locally sourced meals are as ethically satisfying as they are fresh, be sure to stop by The Refinery for fabulous farm-to-table fare. When you have a yearning for a down-home fish fry (when in Rome, right?), the black grouper sandwich from Big Ray’s Fish Camp is an absolute must-have. Finally, when the evening calls for fine wine and whiskey mixed with great regional food and even better company, the list of options starts and stops with Cask Social. All of these amazing eateries are right downtown. That said, they are very reflective of the types of establishments that you will find all over the greater Tampa area, from St. Pete’s to the south all the way up to Clearwater north of town. And, when you book your vacation through Travelocity, you’ll save enough money so you can eat at them all.