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First Trip to Tampa - Local Help Please

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McMinnville, TN
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First Trip to Tampa - Local Help Please

We would like to vacation in Tampa this year. We would like to go to Busch Gardens, see a ballgame and go to the beach. I would like to find a hotel that is centrally located between the airport, Devil Rays field, and BG. We will arrive in Tampa late int the evening, go to BG the next and take in a game the day after that. Then we sill drive to the beach for the rest of our stay, as I understand the beach is 45 minutes from BG. I just figured this would make for less driving than staying at beach the whole time....

Also, I would like advice on which coastal town to stay in after leaving Tampa. We would like to relax, and no "spring break" beaches. We have a 9 and 6 year old. The Bilmar in Treasure Island is well rated...any feelings on this place? Is the beach nice here? It looks to be quite a across it to the water in photos...lol. I was also told that Indian Shores is a less crowded/commercialized and relaxing stretch of beach...any input here?

Is the end of June a bad time for crowds in this part of Florida?

All advice welcome!

Brandon, Florida
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1. Re: First Trip to Tampa - Local Help Please

There is an area with a few hotels that might suit you, called Rocky Point. If you look at a map it is at the Tampa side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway (which crosses from Tampa to Clearwater) and is pretty close to the airport.

If memory serves, the hotels are Radisson, Double Tree, Holiday Inn Express, Chase Suites and maybe a Hampton.

Indian Shores will be less crowded than TI or Clearwater Beach and is less commercialized.

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: First Trip to Tampa - Local Help Please

The Devil Rays play in St. Petersburg, not in Tampa. You may want to get a hotel near the airport/Westshore area for the 1st night and then stay at St. Pete beach or one of the beaches nearby for the rest of your stay.

I don't think that summer is peak tourist season in Florida, so the crowds shouldn't be too bad. It is HOT and humid so be prepared.

You may want to post in St. Pete beach forums for more advice on beach hotels. I'm not familiar with the Bilmar. The Don Cesar is very nice but tends to be expensive. I think the Sirrata gets decent reviews and is more affordable. A few months ago I stayed at the Doubletree Redington Beach. It was clean and very affordable. It's on a very quiet area of beach. You can click on my name to see the review.

San Antonio, Texas
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3. Re: First Trip to Tampa - Local Help Please

The airport itself is central to Busch (to the north east) and the Devil Rays stadium, Tropicana Field, (to the southwest), which is downtown St Pete. If it's central to those two locations you are looking for, you could book any of the airport hotels or those around Rocky Point and be central.

In your shoes though, I'd MUCH prefer to get one hotel and not move around during my stay. If you stay in a St Pete Beach hotel, you'll be only 10 or 15 minutes from the stadium. Or, if you stay at the Bilmar, you are probably only about 20 minutes from the stadium. Busch Gardens can be done in a day, so that's one day you'd have a longer drive, but to me it beats packing up, moving, and unpacking again--plus, nothing beats staying on the beach!

The crowds are gone by June. Locals are returning to the beaches. Heat has set in, but you should be OK. Clearwater Beach is the most commercial in the area, but after that, they are all very much the same...TI or Indian Rocks aren't much different from each other.

4. Re: First Trip to Tampa - Local Help Please

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