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  1. #1
    Affiliate Network Rep ayakobing's Avatar
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    First Gasparilla trip to Tampa, but what to do there?
    I have decided to take a long weekend vacation in Feb to check out Gasparilla (a.k.a. pirate fest) and have already booked my trip. BUT, I have never been to Tampa before! Any recommendation on where to eat, see and relax?

  2. #2
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Beach, more beach and beach.

    If you drive down to St. Pete's, that is one amazing stretch of coast line. I think Travel Channel voted those beaches top 10 beaches in US.
    When i was there, it was cold and the windy. The beach was decorated with seaweed that was blown in by the windy weather. it was still nice though

    There are a few old forts/castles around there if you are a history buff.

    Or if you are looking for some fun, try this
    http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...h+the+manatees

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    just a half hour north / east of Tampa, is Caladesi Island, the sand, between your toes, is completely orgasmic.

    Florida State Park Named Best Beach in the Nation!
    Caladesi Island State Park celebrated as America’s top beach destination by Dr. Beach
    http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary...05/0522_01.htm

    when you get there, you need to take the ferry across the inlet to get to the the beach that won the award for best beach in the nation (screw you Hawaii!). if you don't cross the inlet via ferry, you'll be on a very ordinary florida beach, still a great time, but the difference in sand quality and other factors is astounding, just across the inlet. the current must have something to do with it, so make sure you plan a long enough stay while there, to take the ferry.

    google map:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...78906&t=h&z=10

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Busch Gardens is in tampa, it's a very good theme park.
    http://www.buschgardens.com

  5. #5
    Affiliate Network Rep ayakobing's Avatar
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    Manatees? I guess I have to learn how to swim first. Caladesi Island sounds great and I will definitely check it out!!

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    if you're into art, the Salvador Dali art musuem is in St. Pete.
    http://www.salvadordalimuseum.org/visit/overview.html

    just a note about the area... west, across the bay from Tampa (several bridges go across), are the cites of Clearwater and St Petersburg. People in the area think of all three as the Tampa Bay area... like the MLB Tampa Rays baseball stadium is actually in St. Pete (close the the Dali museum). so while the Krewe will be gathered in downtown Tampa for the festival, these other places are a very short drive away.

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    manatees are slow, eat vegetarian diets and are warm blooded mammals (winter water's too chilly, they won't be at Caladesi during the winter months like Feb's pirate gathering). however, if you want to go see them, it's also a wonderful thing to go see in Tampa!

    you see, the warm water that exits their power plant makes the perfect winter home for many manatees! and it's a perfect spot to go see them. and it's closer to downtown Tampa than you could possible guess!

    g map:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...=10&iwloc=addr

    details:
    http://www.tampaelectric.com/manatee/

  8. #8
    Affiliate Network Rep ayakobing's Avatar
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    All great information and although Pirate fest will be fun, I enjoy relaxing w/o crowds. So, I will definitely drive over to St. Pete to enjoy some quiet time

  9. #9
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    little personal secret for you... Angel Djambazov recently hooked me up with some pirates in the pacific northwest and we partied with them for a few days... you need pirate scoop, check with Angel. you hook into Angel's pirate friends and you're gonna party like you've never partied before. Angel knows people, don't ask who or why, just wedge your way in a bit with him in Vegas at Aff Summitt, and arrrrrrgggghh, parrrrty harrrrrrd.

  10. #10
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    I've lived in Tampa for most of my life and I haven't missed many Gasparilla parades.

    Busch Gardens is top of the list for things to do, followed by at least one night at the beach. The busy areas will be St. Pete Beach and Clearwater, but there are plenty of quiet condo or hotel areas in between at beaches like Indian Rocks or Reddington.

    There is the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, about an hour south.

    Also remember that the Super Bowl is Feb. 1 in Tampa. So there will be lots of activities surrounding the stadium and downtown the week before Gasparilla.

    Go to VisitTampaBay.com

  11. #11
    Affiliate Network Rep ayakobing's Avatar
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    I was so worried about booking my trip to Tampa because I did not do much studies about Tampa. I actually booked this as Christmas/birthday gift for a special person and I am now confident that this person and I will enjoy this trip!

  12. #12
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Tips for the Pirate Fest....

    Do you have grandstand tickets? If not, its typical parade route, get there early and stake out a good spot.

    Bring cash for street vendors. Plenty of beer, sodas and fair food along the route.

    Bring suntan lotion. Even if its cold, you will get burned.

    Wear comfy shoes. You will most likely doing miles of walking because the invasion starts in the morning, parade in the afternoon and then concerts and parties downtown all night.

    If you want to see the invasion, find a good spot to watch it from, either Bayshore Blvd., Harbour Island or Davis Islands. The invasion is just as much fun as the parade.

    The parade is crazy. Lots of beads, booze and pirates. Grandstand tickets are a good thing.

    Good luck and have fun.

  13. #13
    Affiliate Network Rep ayakobing's Avatar
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    I did not think about buying the grandstand tickets and will look into this a.s.a.p. Thank you so much for the suggestion!! I love my ABW family

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