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A couple of days in Tampa before cruise - suggestions please

Airdrie, Canada
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A couple of days in Tampa before cruise - suggestions please

We are planning on spending 2-3 days in the Tampa area before leaving on a cruise in mid March. We thought about flying into Orlando, spending a day or so at Disney World, then hopefully finding a shuttle to Tampa for a day or so. We have not been to Tampa but have been to Siesta Key several years ago and also thought that might be an option instead of Orlando. Would appreciate suggestions of where to go and what to see. I am concerned that certain areas might be very busy due to spring break and not sure of what the weather would be like at that time of year. Thanks for your input.

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: A couple of days in Tampa before cruise - suggestions please

Clearwater Beach is very nice - about 45 minutes west of Tampa. I'm not sure what your interests are. Tampa has Busch Gardens and Ybor City as their main sites. There is also the Florida Aquarium and Lowry Park Zoo. The area is a bit spread out and does not have great public transportation, so a rental car is recommended if you will be exploring a lot. You should also check out cruisecritic.com.

Airdrie, Canada
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2. Re: A couple of days in Tampa before cruise - suggestions please

Thank you for the information. We had thought about Busch Garden but it looks like it is mostly thrill rides. We are seniors and would love to see the gardens and animals but not much for thrill rides. Living in Alberta Canada we don't get many opportunities to go to the beach, so Clearwater sounds very appealing. Is it too cold to go into the ocean in mid March?

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: A couple of days in Tampa before cruise - suggestions please

Welcome fellow Albertan. The beaches from Clearwater Beach to St. Pete Beach are beautiful with beautifully soft, white sand - all close to Tampa. I highly recommend spending the time before your cruise on one of these beautiful beaches.

The different beaches have different personalities. Clearwater Beach is a small busy beach town with hotels, many restaurants, shops, and attractions, all in walking distance. You wouldn't need a vehicle, and there are beautiful, soft, white beaches to enjoy. Unlike Siesta Key, the beach is visible from the street and there are beachfront restaurants/bars and a few beachfront hotels. This area has a wide variety of hotel options from small mom and pop places to new luxury hotels. There are some great places to eat and enjoy beautiful sunsets.

St. Pete Beach is a city with a spread out beach - so the beach is not as busy as Clearwater Beach. If you stayed here, there are beachfront hotels and some of them have restaurants close by and quieter beaches than Clearwater Beach, however, you wouldn't have as many amenities in walking distance.

The beaches in between Clearwater Beach and St. Pete, with the exception of Johns Pass, are primarily quiet beaches, but you would need a vehicle to get around. If you want quiet beaches - they would be perfect.

We love this area and spend every March here. March is the busiest time of year, so if you decide to stay on the beach, make reservation in advance. I hope you have a wonderful vacation and enjoy your stay in Florida.

Edited: 08 June 2014, 12:42
Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: A couple of days in Tampa before cruise - suggestions please

I forgot to answer your question about ocean water temperatures in March. By March the air temperatures are warming up, and you have a good chance of having warm beach weather. Cold fronts can still blow in, so there is a chance the weather will be cool - that's why we love Clearwater Beach. Even on cool days there are things to keep us entertained.

The ocean temperatures will not have warmed up much by March, and the locals will not go in the water. They will tell you it is too cold to swim in. Water temperatures will be about the same as Alberta lake water during the summer. It is cool - but on warm days, we swim in the ocean all winter.

Edited: 08 June 2014, 12:50
Airdrie, Canada
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5. Re: A couple of days in Tampa before cruise - suggestions please

LifesABeach, Thank you so much for the valuable information. i will definitely check these areas out. Clearwater sounds like it may be our best option, as we would like to not have to rent a car. After our winter anything without snow will be wonderful.

6. Re: A couple of days in Tampa before cruise - suggestions please

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