10 day trips from Tampa Bay

If you want to hit the road, but not go too far, you’re in the right place.

Crystal River shines blue. It is surrounded by trees.

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is under 100 miles from TBAY.

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Don’t get us wrong, there is nowhere we’d rather live than the Tampa Bay area. That’s why these day trips are all within ~2 hours from where we call home, so you don’t have to go too far.

Outdoor adventures

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

Step, swim, or kayak through this paradise where crystal clear waters offer unique wildlife opportunities. We recommend a see-through kayak tour to get the best view of manatees. Pro tip: The best time to see sea cows is from mid-November to late March.

Ocala National Forest

Enjoy ~600 lakes, as well as springs, sand pine scrub forest, trails, fishing spots, as well as a host of Florida flora and fauna walking around this tree-laden paradise. Camping is also available.

Siesta Key

There’s no shortage of amazing beaches right here in TBAY, but if you want to try a new spot on the sand, the beaches on Siesta Key might be your best bet. Siesta Beach was named the No. 2 beach in the entire country by Trip Advisor for its open space, white sand, and tranquil Gulf of Mexico access.

Small-town charm

Marion County

Do you like horses? Then this is the place for you. Marion County has more horses + ponies than any other county in the US with 1,200+ horse farms. We recommend the World Equestrian Center in Ocala to catch a show.

Cedar Key

Take yourself back to old school Florida at this tiny island of ~900 permanent residents. Seafood, arts festivals, fishing, and wildlife spotting are some of the best things to do here. Check out our full guide to make the most of your trip.

Punta Gorda

Travel down to Southwest Florida for great seafood, independent shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as a weekly, year-round farmer’s market on Saturdays. Fishermen’s Village is our recommendation for bites, buys + views.

St. Armand’s Key

Explore 130+ stores, galleries, coffee shops, bars, and restaurants on this quaint island. Minutes from Sarasota to the east and white sand beaches to the west, St. Armand’s is an oasis of indulgent choices.

The sun sets over the Caloosahatchee River from behind the Edison and Ford Winter Estate. The sky is blue and orange.

It’s easy to see why Edison and Ford liked it here.

Photo by TBAYtoday

Exploration with education

Edison and Ford’s Winter Estates, Fort Myers

Explore the winter homes of two visionaries + their blooming gardens with 400+ plant species from six different continents. Situated right on the Caloosahatchee River (we can’t pronounce it either), the 21-acre botanical gardens are joined by an abundance of wildlife, and are a sight to behold at night when the twinkle lights turn on. See for yourself.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota

Learn about the The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus just a short way away from TBAY. Stroll through the gardens, enjoy waterfront views of Sarasota Bay from John Ringling’s grandiose old winter home, and check out the circus-themed exhibits + galleries.

Fun fact: The circus is coming to Tampa early next year and will perform at Amalie Arena from Friday, Jan. 5 to Sunday, Jan. 7. In case you missed it, there are no longer any animals in their shows.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Merritt Island

To the Space Coast, and beyond. Get lost in the stars, learning about NASA’s history, current missions, and the potential future of space exploration. There’s so much to see and do, it’s easy to spend a full day here. Grab tickets.