20 Adventurous Things To Do In Tampa Bay

adventurous things to do in tampa

As a Tampa local, I have to say that our city provides access to so many fun things to do in Tampa Bay. With great weather and a waterfront location, there is an abundance of outdoor activities in Tampa to enjoy, especially if you’re looking for things to do during Superbowl LV in Tampa in 2021.

I’ve partnered with Hotels.com to bring you some of the best activities Tampa Bay has to offer.

When planning a visit to Tampa, there are accommodations for every style of traveler, from waterfront hotels downtown to entire homes for rent near all of the best activities.

Here are 20 adventurous things to do in Tampa Bay that the Outdoorsy Diva recommends.

1.Ride a Waterbike

Tampa Bay Water Bikes
things to do in tampa
outdoor activities in tampa

Explore the river on a waterbike. This unique watercraft is part bicycle and part surfboard and very easy to do. This is still one of the most adventurous things you can do in Tampa and a great way to see the Tampa Riverwalk.


2. Busch Gardens

busch garden Tigris things to do in tampa

Take a ride on the wild side at the world-famous Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. It’s one of my favorites because it’s part theme park and part zoo. If you’re up for the thrill, check out Tigris, the tallest launch coaster in Florida.

Spring of 2020 will also bring North America’s tallest and the world’s fastest and steepest hybrid coaster to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay is the ultimate family adventure, offering 300 acres of fascinating attractions based on exotic explorations around the world. Busch Garden is one of the country’s premier zoos with thousands of animals representing more than 200 species and lots of animal encounter experiences. For more information, visit BuschGardensTampaBay.com.

Here’s a helpful guide from our friends at Themepark Hipster for everything you need to know about planning your trip to Busch Gardens.

Click here to get discounted tickets to Busch Gardens!


3. Florida Aquarium Encounters

florida aquarium 
things to do in tampa
outdoor activities in tampa

Aside from the amazing exhibits, there are some very cool water adventures offered by the Florida Aquarium.

You can snorkel a coral reef, swim with sharks, or hang out behind the scenes with penguins. They even offer adult sleepovers!


4. Kayak and SUP Downtown Tampa

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kayaking in Tampa

The best asset of Downtown Tampa is its proximity to the water. Take in an amazing vantage point of the skyline and the Tampa Riverwalk from a Kayak or a SUP on the Hillsborough River.

There are outfitters to rent kayaks at the Public Heights Market and at the Marina near the convention center.

Click here for a special rate on renting kayaks and SUPs.


5. Rent an eBoat

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Rent an eBoat to explore the downtown Tampa waterways.  No boating license is required and docking is permitted at multiple waterfront restaurants. 

You can plan a picnic on the water and enjoy the breeze on the bay.

If driving a boat isn’t your thing, they offer the option to charter a captain.

If you’re an experienced boater visiting the area and looking to get on the water, consider a boat rental.


6. Animal Encounters at ZooTampa

Feed giraffes, pet white rhinos, play with penguins, or get up close and personal with a baby elephant. These are just some of the awesome encounters offered at ZooTampa.


7. Ride the Cross Bay Ferry

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Catch the Ferry service from downtown Tampa to downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. This is a comfortable and unique way to see both sides of the bay while having a drink and taking in the views.

The ferry runs seasonally so check the schedule for season dates and ferry run times.


Check out my favorite things to do on the Tampa Riverwalk!


8. Aerial Ropes Course and Zipline

MOSI sky trail
adventurous things to do in tampa
outdoor activities in tampa

Tampa MOSI offers a fun ropes course and zip line that is fun for all ages.

For a Tampa zipline course with views of nature while you climb check out the ropes and zip line course at Empower Adventures.


9. Swim in a Freshwater Spring

florida springs
Lauren snorkeling in Silver Glen Springs / 1000 Reasons Photography

Florida is home to hundreds of freshwater springs, and there’s even one right here in the Tampa Bay area. Lithia Spring is a natural spring with camping and picnic amenities.

But I would be lying if I said it’s the best of our Florida springs. I recommend you plan a day trip and drive just a little further north to Crystal River or Ocala National Forest and do some spring hopping.

My favorites so far are Weeki Wachee Springs, Three Sisters Springs, Silver Glen, and Alexander.


Click here for a skydive discount deal.


10. Manatee Viewing Center

manatee viewing tampa
adventurous things to do in tampa
tampa outdoor activities

See the manatees cuddle in the warm waters near the Big Bend Power Plant at the Manatee viewing center.

Then hike the boardwalks and climb the observation tower for amazing views of Tampa Bay.

The best part is this is a completely free activity.


11. Indoor Skydiving

indoor skydiving tampa
things to do in tampa
tampa outdoor activities

If you’re not quite ready to jump from a plane, the next best thing is indoor skydiving at iFly.

Click here for a discounted ticket for indoor skydiving.


12. Big Cat Rescue

things to do in tampa
tampa outdoor activities
Photo Credit: Lauren Gay

Tour the Big Cat Rescue operation that is home to over 80 species of cats. This is one of the top rated adventurous things to do in Tampa Bay and all proceeds go to the care and conservation efforts for the cats.


13. Ride a Cycleboat

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tampa outdoor activities
paddleboat tampa

If the idea of drinks and paddling on a boat with your friends sounds like a good time, then the Kraken Cycleboat is for you.


14. Segway Tour of Tampa

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segway tampa

Tour Tampa Bay on a segway. Explore the waterfront and points of interest downtown.

Click to get discount deals for a segway tour.


15. Hillsborough River State Park

hillsborough river state park rapids
adventurous things to do in tampa
outdoor activities in tampa

Hike or camp at Hillsborough River State Park. It’s a scenic park with the only natural class II rapids in the state of Florida.

There are also suspension bridges, places to fish, and kayaks and canoes to rent for paddling. This state park is one of the best outdoor activities in Tampa.


16. Horseback Riding

black girl on a horse
adventurous things to do in tampa
outdoor activities in tampa

Gus Trent’s Horse Ranch is one of my favorite outdoor activities in Tampa. Plan a fun day doing a trail ride with Gus. He’s great for beginners or experienced riders.


17. Bike Through Tampa

tampa riverwalk
adventurous things to do in tampa
tampa outdoor activities

Explore Tampa on bikes with a local guide on a 3 hour tour.

Rent bikes and scooters to ride along Bayshore Blvd or explore the Tampa Riverwalk on bike.

The Courtney Campbell Causeway is a beautiful paved trail that takes riders over Tampa Bay.


18. Winery and Brewery Tour

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tampa outdoor activities

Visit Keel and Curley winery. Sample unique fruit wines made here in Florida. You can also do a cider tasting and tour the winery.


19. Black Business Bus Tour

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tampa black bus tour
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See another vibrant and bustling side of the city of Tampa. The Black Business Bus Tour is an informative and tasty tour that takes you to black-owned businesses throughout Tampa.


20. Be a Beekeeper For a Day

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Spend a couple of hours at a farm as a real life beekeeper. Yes the suit is included. Learn about how to care for the bees and why they are so important to the ecosystem.

Take home delicious local honey made from your new bee friends.

Bonus: Go Island Hopping

quiet beaches in florida egmont key state park
Egmont Key State Park / Lauren R. Gay

One of the great things about Tampa Bay is the proximity to some of the best beaches in the country and some even ranked as best in the world.

Though they aren’t within Tampa city limits, they are just a county away and within less than an hour’s drive.

Egmont Key State Park and Shell Key Preserve have turquoise waters that will make you feel like you’re in Tulum, Mexico or on a Caribbean island. Caladesi and Anna Maria Island are also islands in the bay area. Just a short drive and a scenic ferry ride will take you to your very own island escape.


Research each of these specific activities for current guidelines, limitations, and/or closures due to COVID-19. This post contains affiliate links that compensate me for purchases made. See full disclosures.

Check out these other Florida Destination Vacation Planning ideas!

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adventurous things to do in tampa
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adventurous things to do in tampa
things to do in tampa for the superbowl

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Nicole Claesen
    February 8, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    As a Florida native, I love this post! My Dad used to live near Tampa and there are so many fun things to do. This is a great guide for anyone planning on visiting Tampa!

  • Reply
    Kiana
    February 8, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    We haven’t visited Tampa yet, but hopefully someday. Thanks for the great tips!

  • Reply
    Ron Joshua
    August 27, 2020 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for these helpful tips on what to do in Tampa, especially about the waterbike. Seems like my kind of town.

    • Reply
      Lauren
      August 30, 2020 at 8:32 am

      THanks for reading Ron.

  • Reply
    Global Munchkins
    July 6, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post. Can’t wait to read more.

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