Fun and Adventurous Day Trips From Tampa, FL
Treeumph! Adventure Course - Bradenton
Treeumph! is a sprawling, 14-acre adventure playground where the surrounding trees have been transformed to become a series of physically challenging games such as a wobbly bridge, rock-climbing walls, zip lining and so much more. Spend a half-day enjoying 100 different games to challenge your mind and body at this aerial obstacle course staffed with highly skilled instructors with years of climbing experience that not only maximize the fun factor for each and every visitor but they also provide peace of mind with their attention to detail in all matters of safety. The degrees of difficulty vary greatly from challenges suitable for pre-adolescent kids and seniors all the way up to super intense courses that push you to your physical limits.
Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve - Hillsborough County
Tampa residents are thankful for this nature preserve. Since the 1960s, these 16,000 acres of floodplain forests and uplands along the river’s flow south from the Green Swamp to the edge of Tampa have been designated to protect the city from potential flooding. Besides performing that very crucial role, it contains more than 60 miles of hiking, biking (paved and off-road), and equestrian trails throughout the preserve and recreation facilities such as picnic pavilions and fishing piers in its parks; it is one of Tampa’s favorite places to spend a day outdoors.
Babcock Wilderness Adventures - Punta Gorda
For a true immersion into the ecological landscape and natural habitats of the many species of birds, reptiles, and mammals that call Florida home, this super cool excursion will unleash your inner adventurer. Whether you prefer to saunter down a walking trail or take a 90-minute tour in an off-road swamp buggy, you’re going to get the nitty-gritty on the ins and outs of a working farm in addition to all the wildlife you’ll meet along the way. You’ll see alligators, many species of birds, cracker cattle, wild turkeys, wild hogs, sandhill cranes, and you just might have a deer-sighting as well!
Ding Darling Nature Preserve - Sanibel Island
This 6,300-acre nature preserve is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. For bird-watchers and even those with a passing interest in our feathered friends, this place is a draw due to its spectacular migratory bird populations. Every day, except for Fridays, you can explore the preserve via car on their wildlife drive, or you can canoe, kayak, bicycle or go on foot. The refuge was created to safeguard and enhance the pristine wildlife habitat of Sanibel Island, to protect endangered and threatened species, and to provide feeding, nesting, and roosting areas for migratory birds. Today, the refuge provides important habitat to over 245 species of birds.
Crystal River Swim With The Manatees - Crystal River
Have you ever dreamed of swimming alongside a sea cow? The Greater Kings Bay estuary and springs are the best places for lawful, passive observation of these gentle creatures. Both experienced divers, as well as novices, are welcome and the facility even provides diving instruction. Manatee tour experiences are best done by snorkeling while wearing wet suits, making the interaction as silent as possible thus making them more inclined to approach and get close. New wetsuits and snorkel gear are all included in the tour, as well as full-service facilities for changing, and videos and pictures of your manatee experience to share with everyone!
Dali Museum - St. Petersburg
The Spanish surrealist artist, best known for his waxy, coiffed handlebar mustache and penchant for melting clocks, has a shrine to his work in nearby St. Petersburg that must be seen to be believed! In the permanent collection, which is the largest anywhere, you’ll find examples of Salvador Dali’s entire career from objects, prints, and photographs to works on paper, paintings, and book illustrations. You can opt for a comprehensive group tour or courageously negotiate the bizarre and wonderful world of the 20th century’s most creative mind on your own.
Dinosaur World - Plant City
If your travel plans include your little ones, this attraction is a can’t miss! If there’s one thing kids from every generation seem to be fascinated by are the massive, prehistoric animals and reptiles that once roamed the earth millions of years ago and this place celebrates in a fun, family-friendly environment. You can wander among hundreds of life-sized dinosaurs in a natural setting, interact with exhibits designed to capture your child’s imagination, and there’s even a dino-themed playground that features slides and swings. And speaking of dinosaurs, the museum allows you to bring your own furry dino as long as they are kept on a leash.
Frank Lloyd Wright Child Of The Sun - Lakeland
Easily one of the most innovative, revered, and controversial architects of his era, Lloyd Wright changed how humans related to space. His major design contributions emphasized an organic flow and rejected the rigidity of the Victorian era. The largest collection of his creations in one place, 18 structures in total, is right here on the campus of Florida Southern College. Self-guided free walking tours are available around the clock and tour maps are located throughout the campus. The grounds are open 24 hours/day and many of the buildings remain open.
Naples Zoo - Naples
A day at the zoo is still a special way to spend time with the family and the Naples Zoo is one of the best around. Nationally accredited and integrated amongst a historic botanical garden, this zoo houses a vast array of animals including some rarely seen in person like the African Honey Badger. Take the Primate Expedition Cruise and wind down a river where you’ll find islands inhabited by monkeys, lemurs, and apes in a natural setting. Have a lunch date with one of the zoo’s residents by hand-feeding one of the giraffes!
The Ringling - Sarasota
Circus impresario and multi-millionaire, John Ringling once owned 25% of all the real estate in Sarasota and he left behind quite a legacy. Comprised of six different museums, the Ringling is home to one of the preeminent art and cultural collections in the United States. Here, you’ll be able to enter the former Ca' d'Zan, an opulent manse inspired by the palazzi in Venice, Italy. Drop in on the circus museum where you’ll witness a parade of memorabilia and even get a chance to squeeze into a clown car! There’s also the Museum of Art where you can wander through galleries filled with treasures by the old masters as well as contemporary art and exhibitions from around the world.
Weeki Wachee Springs - Spring Hill
Weeki Wachee is an enchanted spring where you can see live mermaids, take a trip on a riverboat cruise, learn about Florida wildlife, and swim in the pristine waters at Buccaneer Bay. You can also embark on a paddling adventure down the pristine waterway of the Weeki Wachee River. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is one of Florida’s most legendary and unique family destinations, entertaining audiences since 1947.
Bok Tower Gardens - Lake Wales
At this national historic landmark, famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. created a masterpiece of living art in the form of azaleas, camellias, and magnolias on display everywhere you look. 126 different species of bird congregate here and are viewed by avian aficionados on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Aside from the magical gardens, there is the Singing Tower, a 205-foot neo-Gothic and art deco structure that houses one of the world’s finest carillons spreading its music throughout the garden every day at 1 and 3 pm.
It’s pretty remarkable how many different adventures you can have in a day with just a tank of gas just a couple of hours out of town. Happy road trippin’!