Plus, For the Bay Clothing Co. opens a storefront.
 
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Today’s Forecast

84º | 80% chance of precipitation | Sunrise 6:39 a.m. | Sunset 8:12 p.m. | Tides | Old Tampa Bay | High: 12:38 a.m. + 8:55 p.m. | Low: 3:25 p.m. | Clearwater Beach | High: 8:01 a.m. + 5:38 p.m. | Low: 11:24 p.m. | Full Weather Report | Traffic Report

 
Summer plans loading...
A fort surrounded by cerulean water, a wall, and mangroves
Here’s a peek at Dry Tortugas’ Fort Jefferson. | Photo by Ruggy Bea rLA Photography via Wikimedia Commons
Hankering for a summer national park road trip, without springing for flights to the West Coast or hopping in a camper van? We’re here to help.

Move over Zion and Yosemite... we’re heading to Florida’s very own slices of stunning natural beauty. The Sunshine State boasts three of its own national parks — all within driving distance of Tampa Bay + worth checking off your bucket list.

Everglades National Park

It’s on every Floridian’s bucket list for a reason. Folks tow their bug spray and floppy hats for thousands of miles to take a peek at the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.
  • Drive time: ~3.5 hours from Tampa
  • Highlights: This is the place to see Florida wildlife like manatees, American crocodiles, and Florida panthers in their natural habitats. There’s too many eco-adventures to take within the park, from biking and hiking to bird watching and fishing.
  • Try this: Yes, you can drive through the Everglades, but we recommend booking an immersive experience like Captain Mitch’s airboat tour or a boat tour through the mangroves. What’s more, you can even go glamping or stay on a house boat within the park. Check out lodging options. Entrance passes to the park run $20-$35.
Snorkelers take in coral underwater

Make sure to pack your mask to snorkel Biscayne National Park.

|

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Biscayne National Park

Located just an hour away from Miami, this park is Florida at its finest. Picture this: mangrove-fringed shorelines, peaceful open waters, sunken shipwrecks, colorful coral reefs, and lighthouses.
  • Drive time: ~4.5 hours from Tampa
  • Highlights: Tons of open water for snorkeling, fishing, boating, diving, and paddling. Plus, 500+ species of fish, keys for hiking and camping, and the Maritime Heritage Trail.
  • Try this: Make a reservation for a paddle adventure, snorkeling trip, or heritage trail through the Biscayne National Park Institute. You can also sign up for volunteer marine debris cleanup trips within the park. While the park doesn’t charge entrance fees, you might need to pay docking or camping fees.
 
Asked
 
Which park makes you want to pack your bags?

A. Obviously the Everglades
B. Biscayne is calling my name
C. My boat is headed to Dry Tortugas
 
 
Events
 
Wednesday, May 15
  • St. Pete Paint and Sip: Waterlilies and Willows | Wednesday, May 15 | 6-9 p.m. | Green Bench Brewing Co., 1133 Baum Ave. N., St. Petersburg | $39 | Let the folks from Wine and Canvas guide you in painting the tranquil beauty of waterlilies and willows — arrive 15 minutes early to order your brew.
  • Sunshine City All Stars | Wednesday, May 15 | 8:30-10 p.m. | Sunshine City Comedy Club, 5501 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach | $25 | Chuckle along to local comics or visiting comedians alike.
Thursday, May 16
  • Casa Azul Spirit Tasting | Thursday, May 16 | 6-8 p.m. | Hyde House Public Studio, 1646 W. Snow Ave., Tampa | $85 | Sample a variety of Casa Azul’s spirits over light bites by Bouzy.
  • Bento Box Creations | Thursday, May 16 | 7-9 p.m. | BRU Florida Growler Bar, 8729 Gunn Hwy., Odessa | $55 | Learn the Japanese art of making a bento box, complete with gyoza, savory dumplings, and Japanese potato salad.
Friday, May 17
  • One Night of Queen | Friday, May 17 | 8 p.m. | Mahaffey Theater, 400 1st St. S., St. Petersburg | $48+ | Watch as Gary Mullen & the Works re-create a complete Queen concert with hits like “Killer Queen,” “We Are the Champions,” and of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Saturday, May 18
  • KPB Gandy Beach Cleanup Monthly Series | Saturday, May 18 | 9 a.m.-12 p.m. | Gandy Beach, 13090 Gandy Blvd. N., Gandy | Free with registration | Join Keep Pinellas Beautiful to assist with a shoreline and mangrove cleanup — make sure to register.
  • Tampa CATSTRAVAGANZA | Saturday, May 18-Sunday, May 19 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa | $0-$25 | The world’s most beautiful cats compete for the crown at this family furr-iendly event.
  • International Museum Day | Saturday, May 18 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Tampa Museum of Art, 120 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa | Free | Enjoy a free visit to the downtown Tampa museum’s collection of Greek and Roman antiquities + modern and contemporary art.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
News Notes
 
Open
  • For The Bay Clothing Co. just opened its own South Tampa brick and mortar location at 4200 Henderson Blvd. The local sports-themed shop sells all kinds of Tampa Bay gear — from 813 polos and Rays shirts to Bucs hats. (Tampa Bay Business Journal)
Watch
  • Welcome to the stakeout. TBAY’s own Johnathan Rodriguez, executive chef at Sal Y Mar, makes his Food Network debut on “Supermarket Stakeout” tonight at 9 p.m. Tune in to watch Rodriguez whip up dishes for judges in a parking lot using $500 of groceries. (Creative Loafing Tampa Bay)
Announced
  • Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille is celebrating National Yucatan Shrimp Day with a jumbo giveaway. Order any Yucatan menu item at the restaurant through May 23 for a chance to win a Yeti cooler packed full of Doc Ford’s swag and goodies. (I Love the Burg)
Coming Soon
  • Meet Publix at Wiregrass Commons. The new prototype store will be located along Wiregrass Ranch Boulevard + offer options like patio seating areas, buffets, and a bar serving brews, coffee, and wine. (Tampa Bay Times)
Ranked
  • No. 5. That’s where WalletHub ranked the Tampa Bay metro area on its Best Summer Travel Destinations list. The rankings took into account the cost of the cheapest flight, number of attractions, and the average price of a two-person meal.
Plan Ahead
  • Fourth of July plans are already lighting up the calendar. Hillsborough County Fairgrounds is hosting its first-ever Fourth of July festival. The free event, “Catch the Spirit & Celebrate America, presented by Odiorne Insurance,” will feature a drone light show, pet costume contest, eats, and live entertainment. (That’s So Tampa)
Sports
  • Dig into Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ second round pick — Chris Braswell. Get game coverage, analysis, insights, interviews, and more from local experts of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Locked On’s daily podcasts.
    Wellness
    • Cornbread Hemp’s CBD Sleep Gummies are available in two strengths and made with high-quality USDA organic CBD extract. Get 30% off with code CBDSLEEP30.*
    Home
    • Did you know you could finance your fixer-upper with home equity? You could get up to $50K with a HELOC — calculate your payment.*
     
     
    Arts
     
    🌸 What’s blooming at The Dalí this spring?
    A plate with a floral design by the artist Salvador Dalí.
    This is just one of the pieces included in the “Reimagining Nature: Dalí’s Floral Fantasies exhibit.” | Photo by The Dalí Museum
    You might not think of floral designs or botanical prints when you think of Dalí. But you should.

    This weekend, head to The Dalí Museum to check out the latest exhibit: “Reimagining Nature: Dalí’s Floral Fantasies.” On display from Saturday, May 18 through Sunday, Oct. 20, the collection “showcases flowering plants reimagined by Salvador Dalí,” according to a release.

    In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Surrealism, the exhibit brings together the legendary artist’s oil paintings + three suites of images based in the tradition of botanical prints, archival materials used for inspiration, and Dalí’s designs for fashion advertising (like a Vogue magazine cover image of a flower-headed woman).

    Spring into action

    The Dalí is also offering a whimsical wealth of events to take in the beauty. Here’s a selection from the bouquet:
     
    The Buy
     
    Graduation gifts. Celebrate the end of the school year with graduation gifts for the recent grad in your life.
     
     
    The Wrap
     
    Bailey Lefever in a park near a pond Today’s edition by:
    Bailey
    From the editor
    My personal favorite coffee shop — yes, you heard it here first — just released its summer menu. Head to Bandit for its Housemade Ricotta Toast, Shrimp Salad Bun, and Chill’d Summer Bowl, oh my!
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