I visited Tampa in Florida during a business trip, attending a fertilizer conference. The conference lasted three days from Monday to Wednesday and I decided to stay another couple of days to turn this visit to Florida into a leisure trip.
Tampa is on the Gulf Coast of the United States with a warm climate throughout the year. There are some spectacular beaches nearby within half an hour’s driving distance and the Orlando Disney World is only a couple of hour’s drive away. Watch this video below for some inspiration and then scroll down for more photographs and directions.
Driving Directions For A Weekend Trip in Tampa
The map below displays the route I took while I was in Tampa. I landed in Tampa on a Saturday afternoon and rented a car from Alamo for a week at the airport. For the first night I stayed at the Rodeway Inn in Ybor City, which is a district in Tampa. The Rodeway Inn in Ybor City is about 25 minutes drive away from the airport, near the main freeway of Tampa.
The Rodeway Inn had a swimming pool, a double bed and a 24 hour reception desk plus free parking, which is why I picked this location. It only cost $59 for the night so it was rather convenient.
Ybor City And Its Seedy Night Life
During my research I learned that Ybor City is known for its crime and bail bond businesses, so instead of turning and tossing from the jet lag I decided to drive around town in the middle of the night. The only places open at that time were the strip club, the petrol station, the bail bond shops and McDonalds.
I decided to get a breakfast roll at McDonalds at 2006 N 50th St and then drive around the back streets of Ybor City and visit the car park at the local jail. This McDonalds is open 24/7 and their drive-thru customers have a reserved parking spot with the best views over the strip club the other side of the street.
The Drive to Siesta Keys
Following the McDonals and the drive around Ybor City I went back to the Rodeway Inn by the casino and packed my bags to drive to Siesta Keys, a beautiful beach south of Tampa.
Siesta Keys is rated Number 1 by various travel booking sites for its white sands and almost year-round sunshine. I spent much of the day here after which I drove back to Tampa to prepare for the conference.
I was staying at the Courtyard by Marriott on East Cass Street. This hotel is more expensive than the Rodeway Inn but is also better quality. The next morning I walked down North Tampa Street towards the Marriott Hotel by the Waterside, where the conference took place.
Moxie’s And The Best French Toast
On the way there I stopped at Moxie’s in Downtown, a typical US style eatery and café. They offer table service but you can also buy at the till or order online while you are already in store.
I thought it was quite handy to order online to save yourself a bit of time but I did it the traditional way and ordered at the bar. Their French Toast is most definitely the best French Toast in the whole world. I’ve never had anything like this before, the inside was soft and fluffy but the outside nice and cruncy! Yum!
The Marriott Hotel by the Waterside was another 10 minutes walk away from Moxies. Along the way I stopped to read various signs displaying the city’s history. It turned out that Kennedy’s penultimate visit was to Tampa, after which he was shot dead in Dallas, Texas!
The signs also commemorate the 1909 car race here, various generals and other important dates in the city’s history.
The Marriott Waterside Hotel is a typical high rise building by the convention center where I spent the next three days networking with other business people. If you happen to come to Tampa for business, you can walk around the city center or do what I did and walk down the path along the river. If you are lucky you might even be able to see some dolphins swimming up river!
The Tampa River Walk
The riverside walk in Tampa, also known as River Walk is a new development by the city council. They wanted to regenerate this area and also to preserve the natural habitat of the river. The council seems to have achieved this as dolphins are regularly spotted in the river and various birds and other animals now also call this area their home.
If you walk up north along the river you will find various museums and the university. The Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazer Children’s Museum are well worth a visit after which you can walk across the old Steel Railroad Bridge to check out the buildings on the university campus.