Experience the beauty, fun and excitement of summer in Tampa as it is meant to be enjoyed: with family. Whether engaging in outdoor, scenic activities, enjoying the beauty of the bay or cooling off in Tampa’s refreshing waters, this city offers a plethora of family friendly activities every summer. Grab your suits and take the kids and splash around in a natural spring, or put on your hiking boots and enjoy nature firsthand. The best ways to spend a hot day in Tampa offer a little bit of everything for everyone.
Lettuce Lake Park
6920 E. Fletcher Ave.
Tampa, FL 33637
Click here for pricing
Operated by Hillsborough County Parks, Lettuce Lake opened in 1982 and has become a staple for Tampa Bay families for summer enjoyment over the years. The park spans 240 acres and includes a bike path, boardwalk, playground, picnic area, kayak and canoe rentals, a hiking area, and fishing. Its nature study area separates Lettuce Lake from many other Tampa parks and provides a wide array of exhibits perfect for the whole family. Observe the beauty of Tampa’s wildlife from the park’s observation tower, or take in a program with the Tampa Bay Audubon Society.
3932 Lithia Springs Road
Lithia, FL 33547
Click here for pricing
Lithia Springs Park features a natural spring swimming area, playground, shelter areas with grills and benches, a canoe launch, campground area and restrooms. The water maintains a constantly cool 72 degrees and draws more than 200,000 visitors each year. The full area encompasses 200 acres of natural beauty. Because Lithia Springs is a natural spring, it does not attract alligators, making it a safe haven for summer visitors to enjoy its refreshing waters. The park promotes preservation, therefore it is against park rules to pick any of the flowers or other flora. You may not remove objects or wildlife or feed any critters you encounter here. Nature studies and guided walks are available here, as are 40 family camping areas with a barbecue grill, picnic tables, electricity outlets and water faucets. It offers two restrooms with showers and one dump station for garbage.
Caladesi Island State Park
1 Causeway Blvd.
Dunedin, FL 34698
Price: $7 child’s round-trip ferry ride/$14 adults/free children 5 and younger
From the ferry ride to the stunning island setting, a visit to Caladesi Island State Park is one the family won’t soon forget. This natural island on the Gulf coast promises white-sand beaches, fishing, hiking and picnicking galore. The ferry departs from Honeymoon Island State Park, offering tantalizing views of places to boat, snorkel or hunt for seashells along this beach’s three miles of sunny shores. Hike three miles of nature trails if you’re not in the mood for a swim, but don’t forget to pack a picnic for the perfect day out on this sun-soaked island park.
Macdill and Puritan avenues
Bayshore Boulevard winds through downtown Tampa along the bay, measuring 4.5 miles long and 10 feet wide. The boulevard is a frequent destination for joggers, runners, families taking a stroll and roller bladers. It is a central location for viewing historic points of interest, fishing off the rail or sunning on one of the benches. It is common to see plenty of wildlife while walking along Bayshore Boulevard including marine mammals such as dolphins.
Ben T. Davis Beach
7650 W Courtney Campbell Causeway
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 758-8286, (813) 274-8615
Price: free/75 cents and hour parking at 7650 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway
Considered the City of Tampa’s main beach, Ben T. Davis includes concessions, picnic shelters with grilling stations, lifeguards from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., boat ramps and public restrooms. Located on the Courtney Campbell Causeway that connects Tampa with Clearwater, the Ben T. Davis Beach is a popular spot for families looking for a day of fun picnicking, swimming and playing in the sun.
Related: Best Kids Eat Free Deals In Tampa
Charisse Van Horn is a successful freelance writer and blogger from Tampa, Florida. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.