Part of Florida’s west coast, Tampa Bay has some of the best beaches in the world. Those taking a cheap flight to Tampa during the off season can enjoy the ocean breezes by combining trips to the beaches, the lakes and the Hillsborough River, or spend their entire trip in and on the water; snorkeling, diving, sailing, fresh or saltwater fishing, kayaking, or just napping on the beach.
When you step off your flight to Tampa, you get something other than the typical glitz and glam of Florida’s southern cities. Just add a few more golf courses and a laid-back lifestyle and you’ve found yourself in Tampa. Great beaches, sunny skies and lots and lots of golf await travelers on Tampa flights. And there are a lot of activites for the kids, too! Tampa is home to Busch Gardens — a wildlife metropolis where endangered animals and eager humans mingle among the masses. Board the whole family on a trip to Tampa for an unforgettable trip.
It’s not surprising that Tampa Bay also surrounds one of Florida’s largest estuaries and has an abundance of water fowl. Some of the magnificent birds that are seen every day in Tampa are threatened species. The area is also a wildlife haven and has several nature parks and refuges. The well-known Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is home to one of Florida’s largest sanctuaries for West Indian Manatees. And, of course, Busch Gardens in Tampa is home to more than 35 endangered species and is well-known for its breeding programs. The gardens are a whimsical mix of theme park and zoo. They host different events during the year like special night-time openings for Halloween and big shows for New Year’s Eve. The smaller Lowry Park Zoo is also nearby, but if you’re sticking to the beaches on your trip, you might just spot a manatee or dolphin on the coast instead.
Cuban immigrants originally founded Tampa’s Ybor City cigar industry in the 1880s and put Tampa on the map. People booking Tampa flights in search of the hottest destination points for nightlife and parties head straight to Ybor City. Thanks to the millions of travelers booking trips to Tampa for conventions and business expos, the city continues to thrive on the tourist dollar.
Most vacationers booking Tampa flights are heading westward to Florida’s Gulf Coast. However, it’s worth staying in Tampa a few days before you head out to the coast. Visitors to Tampa enjoy top attractions including Busch Gardens, the Gonzalez y Martinez Cigar Factory, and a night dining and people watching in Ybor City.
Tampa can get very hot and humid during the summer months. The good news is that Tampa flights and accommodations are usually cheaper during this season and there’s always a deal to be found. Hurricane season falls from early summer through November. December to May is the most pleasant time of year with average temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and much less rain. January is the coolest month, when the temperature range is 50s to low 70s.
Tampa flights and hotels book up fast during the peak travel season, but in the off-season, travelers looking for cheap hotels and airfare deals to Tampa are likely to get lucky.
Most visitors prefer October through April. The hotels, bars, discos, restaurants, shops, and attractions are all crowded, and the performance arts are in full season.
Budget-minded visitors have discovered that along Tampa’s coast, ocean breezes make the summer quite bearable and many west coast hotels lower their prices considerably. Tampa flights may be cheaper at this time.
The warm weather, nearby beaches and tourist attractions draw loads of traffic throughout the year, especially from March to August. The best ticket and hotel deals are available in the fall and winter, when there’s a slight dip in traffic as school breaks end. Whenever you choose to fly, plan to book tickets at least one to two months in advance to get early bird discounts.
As a popular tourist destination, Tampa has a high demand for flights from major airlines. If you’re heading to Tampa International Airport, expect to travel just over two hours from Houston or six hours from San Francisco. Nonstop flights from New York or Chicago only take about three hours.
More than a dozen major carriers serve Tampa International Airport, making it easy to book flights any time of year. American, Delta, Southwest, Jet Blue, United and Alaska Airlines are top choices for traveling within the U.S. Look for available flights from British Airways, Air Canada, Lufthansa and Cayman Airways for international trips.
Sunny, humid weather persists for much of the year, so feel free to bring shorts, sandals, sundresses and sunscreen to stay cool. Short rainstorms are common in the summer, and having a light jacket and hat on hand can help you dry up. During the winter season from November to February, the weather is cooler and drier with temperatures often dropping below 20 degrees at night. Consider packing some longer pants, dresses and sweaters to beat the chill, but the coolest winter days in Tampa may be perfectly comfortable if you’re from a cold clime.
The main airport in Tampa is Tampa International Airport (TPA) located around 6 miles (9.6 km) from the city. There are several bus services operating between the airport and the city. Car rental and taxis are also available.
There are many ways to get around downtown Tampa and Ybor City. You can walk, but the rest of the city has a network of buses, trolleys and historic electric streetcars to get you around. To get to the airport, Ybor City, Busch Gardens or the Museum of Science and Industry, hop on one of the HART line buses. If you’re traveling at the end or beginning of winter months, you’ll notice extra traffic on the weekends. Many northerners come to Florida to escape the snow, and north-south routes can quickly become clogged.
Tampa caters to families and travelers who crave exploration and excitement. Theme parks, zoos and shopping destinations fill up your daytime hours, while nighttime attractions showcase the college culture and Cuban influences that make the Tampa Bay area special.
Budget for a visit to Hyde Park Village, a picturesque outlet mall set against a backdrop of tree-lined walkways and charming fountains. National and local brands have a home at this popular shopping spot, where you can find a year-round calendar of holiday and themed events. Spend the evening in the Ybor historic neighborhood to sample an authentic Cubano sandwich, catch live music at the Orpheum or party at Czar nightclub.
If you’re staying for several days, buy a city pass for a discounted admission to top attractions, including the Lowry Park Zoo, Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium and Museum of Science and Industry. At Busch Gardens, animal lovers journey through naturalistic habitats for an up-close look at exotic birds and big cats, while thrill-seekers line up to ride the country’s first dive coaster, SheiKra. Crazy about animals? Tour Lowry Park Zoo to feed giraffes, ride an open-air tram and walk through a prehistoric park inhabited by interactive dinosaurs.
Tampa is home to a host of historic landmarks, including the famous Tampa Theatre built in 1926. Whether you’re stopping by for a classic, foreign or indie flick, you’re sure to be won over by the live organ shows, glamorous interior and nostalgic staff. Take advantage of this coastal location with boat tours or a scenic trip down Bayshore Boulevard, a great vantage point for vacationers who enjoy snapping photos of the bay.
Every stay in Tampa brings new adventures, so it’s easy to plan a dynamic trip that accommodates everyone in your party.
If you’re ready for a change of scenery, Cheapflights is your go-to tool to book trips from Tampa to destinations around the globe. As the travel hub of the Tampa Bay area, Tampa International Airport offers nonstop flights to more than 70 major cities. Take your pick of domestic and international carriers, including American, Southwest, Delta, Silver Airways, Lufthansa, Copa Airlines, British Airways and Spirit Airlines. Start your travel plans with top flight deals from Tampa to popular destinations:
Need reliable transportation to the airport? Tampa is a busy city with plenty of options for on-time arrival. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit system sends buses directly to the airport for easy public transport, or you can connect via a Greyhound. If you prefer a private ride, book a taxi, a rental car or seat in a shared van. The city has several taxi and van vendors available by arrangement, so there’s no reason to miss a flight.