Tampa is a traveller's treasure trove. From the quaint Latin Quarter in Ybor City, to sunny beaches on Florida's west coast, to museums dedicated to everything under the sun — photography, modern art, and even cigars — the city is a great destination for families, seniors, couples, and anyone out to have a good time.
A typical Tampa day could start with a visit to the Saturday Market or an exploration of the City ArtWalk. Kids will enjoy a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry, the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens, or Lowry Park Zoo, while those looking to improve their handicap can have their pick of the city's abundance of golf courses. Sports fans who are happier on the sidelines can book tickets to watch the locals in action with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rays, or Lightning. End your day with a meal at one of Tampa's many incredible restaurants which offer you a wide range of cuisines from across the world.
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Most international and domestic flights to Tampa land at Peter O. Knight Tampa International Airport (TPA). Air Canada and WestJet both have direct services from Toronto to this airport and other airlines with services to Tampa include Air Tran, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, United, and US.
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), and Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL), are all located within easy driving distance to Tampa and are sometimes used as alternatives to Tampa International Airport.
Summers in Tampa are hot and humid and even in autumn, temperatures can go as high as 27°C. Summertime flights to Tampa are cheap, so if you don't mind the heat, this is when you should book your tickets for. Airfares are also inexpensive between October and November as the threat of tropical storms keeps most travellers away. That being said, the downpours are infrequent and short, so you'll still have plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors and quirky Halloween parties like Guavaween in Ybor City.
January to April is Tampa's peak tourist season when temperatures average 18-20°C and the city hosts a range of festivals and events including the Outback Bowl football game, Gasparilla Pirate Fest, Florida State Fair, and the Florida Strawberry Festival. If you're visiting Tampa for any one of these, be sure to book your flights as early as you can.
Arriving at Tampa International Airport (TPA)
TPA's Landside Terminal is connected to its four satellite terminals by inter-terminal trains. The airport's Ground Transportation Quadrants are located at all four corners of the baggage claim level, from where you can find most modes of transport into the city. Travel time to downtown Tampa is about 25 minutes.
Details on all the transportation services listed below can be found on the airport's website.
Public Transit: Hillsborough Area Regional Transport has a bus stop near the Red baggage claim area from where you can take buses on Route 30 to downtown Tampa for as little as $2 USD.
Airport Shuttle: Shared-ride services are provided by SuperShuttle which offers passengers discounts for group bookings and children's tickets. A one-way trip to downtown Tampa can cost between $12-$34, depending on which area of the city you're travelling to. You can also book with SuperShuttle for chauffeured luxury cars and limousines, or shuttle services to destinations in Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties.
Hotel Shuttle: While most big hotels offer their guests arriving on Tampa flights a complimentary shuttle service from the airport, some others may charge you for the service. If you're using the hotel's shuttle service, be sure to confirm which Ground Transportation Quadrant the pick-up location is at.
Taxi: Yellow Cab and United operate taxis from the airport's four Quadrants. With a flat fare of $25 USD to downtown Tampa, this is a cheap and convenient way to travel if you're in a group or have a lot of luggage. The price to other destinations is metered and the minimum fare for any trip from the airport is $15 USD.
Car Rental: Rental car counters can be found in the Red and Blue baggage claim areas. On-site companies include Alamo, Dollar, and Thrifty. There are also several off-site companies like Advantage and Payless which provide a courtesy pick-up shuttle from the Ground Transportation Quadrants to their parking lots nearby.
Other: Several private companies operate scheduled and charter bus services from the airport to destinations in and around Tampa. Some of these offer deals and discounts for children, large groups, seniors, and veterans. Booking tickets online is essential and the pick-up area for these services is at the Ground Transportation Quadrants.
Arriving at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ)
SRQ is located an hour and ten minutes away from Tampa, and is served by several international airlines like Air Canada, KLM, Alitalia, and Air France. Domestic carriers with flights to SRQ include Air Tran, US, and Delta.
There are no direct buses between the airport and Tampa so the best way to get to there is to have your hotel provide a shuttle pick-up service, or book a ticket for the Sarasota-Tampa Express which will cost about $40 USD one-way (discounts for family bookings and children's tickets). Alternatively, you can book a chauffeured car, private shuttle service, take a cab, or hire a rental car to get to Tampa, though these will be more expensive options.
Arriving at Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE)
Located 30 minutes away from downtown Tampa, Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is served by low-cost carriers like Allegiant and Vision as well as charter airlines such as Sunwing and Transat Holidays.
At $50-$55 USD, taxi fares to Tampa are on par with SuperShuttle's ticket prices, so if you have a lot of luggage, a cab will be more convenient. You can also book a chauffeured car service with Metro Cars or hire a rental car at the airport and drive yourself to Tampa.
Arriving at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL)
This airport is served only by Direct Air, which has flights to Tampa from cities like Myrtle Beach, Niagara Falls, and Springfield (IL). LAL is a small airport and transport options are limited to rental cars from Hertz or U-Save, and the H&H Transport shuttle service which takes passengers to destinations like Disney, Busch Gardens, and LEGOLAND. The travel time from LAL to Tampa is about 40 minutes.