Want to go on a vacation that will score big points? When you visit Tampa Bay on Florida’s Gulf Coast, you’ll find everything from championship sports teams to incredible local amenities – and you’ll learn firsthand why many national surveys have named the region as a winning vacation destination! Kong Vacation Homes, a family-owned and -operated vacation homes rental business, is headquartered in Tampa Bay and offers four professionally designed and impeccably clean homes to serve as your family’s home base while in the area. Let us be your guide to “Champa Bay” during your stay!
Why “Champa Bay”?
Tampa Bay is home to the 2021 National Football League’s Super Bowl champions ( Tampa Bay Buccaneers), the 2020 National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup winners ( Tampa Bay Lightning), Major League Baseball’s American League East finalists ( Tampa Bay Rays), and the United Soccer League’s conference finalists (Tampa Bay Rowdies) – so locals fittingly crowned the region “Champa Bay”!
But sports titles aren’t the only ones that the area has earned! From the Today show to U.S. News & World Report, Tampa, is recognized as a great place to live, work, play, and – of course – visit! Click here for a complete list of the “best of” accolades that the region has earned.
Once you’ve decided to visit, what are the top things to do? Kong Vacation Homes – with the help of our friends at Kong Management Group – has compiled this list of activities for your vacation that are sure to be a grand slam:
Start with a Walk
A great way to explore Tampa is by taking a walk along the Hillsborough River! The Tampa Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile pedestrian trail, running along most of the downtown Tampa waterfront from the Channelside District to the Tampa Convention Center and then to Tampa Heights! This continuous, scenic path connects you to the Tampa Arts District, parks and public spaces, museums, attractions, and more.
Or you can really take a walk on the “wild side” at one of the Bay area’s renown animal attractions!
With 63 acres and more than 1,300 animals, it’s no wonder that ZooTampa at Lowry Park is among TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 Zoos in the U.S.”, and it has been voted as the #1 Family Friendly Zoo in the US by Parents Magazine in the past, too! In addition to naturalistic animal exhibits, educational programming, and even up-close animal encounters, the Zoo also focuses on conservation and includes an acute care facility for injured manatees.
At The Florida Aquarium, located in downtown Tampa, you can continue your animal adventure! This nationally recognized aquarium is home to 9,000 animals in a facility that features a 500,000-gallon coral reef habitat, a wetlands trail, and a 100,000-gallon exhibit for their three conservation programs, which focus on sea turtles, sharks, and coral. Outside of the aquarium, there’s also a Splash Pad water play area for kids! Capacity is limited, and online reservations are required for visitors.
If you want to take the adventure to the next level, make sure to visit Busch Gardens Tampa Bay! This 335-acre African-themed animal theme park is located in the heart of Tampa, and it’s internationally known for its roller coasters and thrill rides. But did you know that Busch Gardens is also Tampa’s largest zoo, providing world-class care to the more than 12,000 different animals living on-site? In fact, U.S. News & World Report named Busch Gardens Tampa Bay one of the best zoos in the country!
After you’ve visited the animal habitats or toured the “Serengeti” by safari, you might just want to relax with a great meal. With seasonal festivals like Food & Wine, you’ll have many options!
Speaking of options for refreshments, did you know that Tampa has earned the reputation of being one of the best beer cities in the Southeast? If you love a local brew, then make sure to check out local breweries like Cigar City Brewing Co., Coppertail Brewing Co., Zydeco Brew Werks, Brew Bus Brewing, Cigar City Cider and Mead, and many more. Check out this list of breweries to visit!
If you’re looking for a taste of Tampa, the city’s neighborhoods can introduce you to the flavors of the region! Tampa’s cuisine is influenced by several cultures, including Cuban, Spanish, and Italian, and often featured seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. A growing hotspot as a foodie destination, many celebrity chefs now have restaurants in Tampa Bay, including Top Chef favorite Fabio Viviani and Michelin star chef Joe Isidori, just to name two! Whether you’re looking to dive into an authentic Cuban sandwich or experience a gourmet meal, you can do it in Tampa!
Arts and Culture
While food is one way to experience the local culture, Tampa’s museums immerse you in the region’s past, help to celebrate the present, and even offer a glimpse of the future! From the Tampa Bay History Center to the Henry B. Plant Museum and the Glazer Children’s Museum to the Tampa Museum of Art, you can learn all about the rich history of this former cigar city and its cultural diversity. Here’s a list of Tampa’s must-see museums!
After your museum tour, you might be ready to head outdoors to experience the flora and fauna of the Tampa Bay area firsthand. It’s time to head to…
The Great Outdoors
With its prime location on Florida’s gulf coast, the outdoor beauty of the Tampa Bay region beckons visitors and locals alike! From the beaches to the crystal springs, there are so many ways to enjoy nature. If you love to fish, canoe, snorkel, hike, or just relax in the sun, here’s a guide to Tampa’s parks and other outdoor resources for you!
Or maybe you’d like to check out the championship sports that the region has to offer!
Hockey season is in full swing, and you can catch a Tampa Bay Lightning game at the Amalie Arena! With social distancing and limited capacity, fans of all ages are excited to be back in the arena to watch the action on the ice.
For baseball fans, the 2021 Major League Baseball season began on April 1 – and runs to October 3. Head to St. Petersburg to see the Tampa Bay Rays in action at a game at Tropicana Field. The Rays have worked with MLB and local health officials to create a safe fan experience while visiting the ballpark.
This spring – and any time of year – there’s so much to experience in “Champa Bay.” We’re sure that you can see by this list how the region has earned its reputation as a top destination! And you can really vacation to the fullest – like a true champion – when you stay with us at Kong Vacation Homes!
All of our vacation homes are single-family rentals with smart-home technology, offering you security and peace of mind during your visit to Tampa Bay. Our homes include spacious living areas and comfortable bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, state-of-the-art TVs and gaming systems, and even free high-speed Wi-Fi. Some homes also feature heated pools and hot tubs, too! We provide contactless check-in and check-out at all rentals, and we also follow Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning Initiative for your health and safety. Take a virtual tour of our Tampa Bay properties here!