Navigating spring break week. Spring break is here, and Tampa Bay is expected to see a surge in tourism. More than half a million students and staff from the Tampa Bay area will be off at the same time for spring break in mid-March, on top of a recent surge in tourism. While it’s true that the beaches and downtown restaurants will be busy, the area offers plenty of out-of-the-way places to explore. Here are some ideas for ways to spend spring break at both the busy spots and some quieter, off-the-beaten-path destinations.

While it’s true that spring break in Tampa Bay can be crowded, there are plenty of ways to explore the area on and off the beaten path. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, navigating spring break week is always fun. There’s something for everyone to enjoy during this busy time. TBT

  • Busch Gardens

    The Tampa theme park is always popular when local kids are out of school, and even more so during spring break. Busch Gardens recently opened a new attraction, the Serengeti Flyer, a “screaming swing” ride that flings riders 135 feet in the air on a giant pendulum swing. The park is also beginning its annual Food and Wine Festival, which runs weekends March 10-May 21.Busch Gardens

  • The Beaches

    The Suncoast beaches are a big draw, and spots like Clearwater Beach are notorious for their spring break party scene. Arriving before 10 a.m. or waiting until sunset can make hunting for parking a bit easier. A new option this year is the SunRunner, which shuttles people between downtown St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach. The PSTA bus system also has a Beach Trolley that runs daily from St. Pete Beach to downtown Clearwater for $2.25 per trip.

    Spring Break

    (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret Pink)

  • Day Trips

    If you’re looking for a day trip, consider the seasonal Cross-Bay Ferry between downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg, which runs through May 1. It offers four trips daily on Wednesdays and Thursdays, eight trips daily on Fridays and Saturdays and six trips on Sundays. Tickets are $12 each way, $8 for seniors, free for children 4 and younger. Another option is the Pirate Water Taxi in downtown Tampa, which makes 14 stops from Tampa’s Riverwalk to the Channel District and Davis Islands.

    Tampa Riverwalk

    (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

  • Off The Beaten Path

    Keel and Curley Winery in Plant City offers behind-the-scenes tours daily, which take about 45 minutes to complete. Tours are $25 per person, and you can also walk through the farm grounds, meet farm animals, and enjoy the winery, brewery, and restaurant. Nature hikes are another great way to explore the area. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Lettuce Lake Park, and Lake Rogers Park all offer beautiful trails and views of nature.


    (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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