As the weather gets colder, you may be ready to enjoy some of the many subtropical delights available in Florida. Tampa is an excellent option for traveling solo, as a couple, or with kids, and offers plenty of fun and interesting sights, but there are a few things you should know:

It’s a good idea to rent a car

Tampa isn’t the most walkable city, and most of its attractions are spread out throughout the city and in the suburbs. That’s why it’s often a good idea to hire a rented car in Tampa. This is particularly smart if you’re traveling with kids, as you can easily pick up your rental car in the airport and either head straight to your hotel or out to explore without needing to use ride-sharing, taxis, or public transport.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of retired people in the area, along with a lot of people on vacation time, so expect travel times to be a little longer.

Get a pass

There are a number of good passes that can save you both time and money in Tampa. One of them is the Tampa City Pass which will give you discounts for admission to the Chihuly Collection, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Museum of Science & Industry, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, the Florida Aquarium, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. 

Choose your season

Florida doesn’t have a winter or fall, and the main seasons are the holiday season, hurricane season, and tourist season. The holiday season is from November to December, Hurricane season is June to November, and Tourist season runs from January to May. If you visit during the tourist season, you’ll have more options for events scheduled, although hotel rates and flights will often be higher, and you’ll also have to deal with more crowds at tourist sites. Holiday season can be a lovely time to visit, with cooler temperatures and colorful boat parades. 

Keep the sun in mind

The good news about visiting Florida? You’ll often get a great tan. The bad news? Too much sun can creep up on you, and it can be dangerous. Make sure you plan for the weather by wearing sunscreen, taking water, and wearing a hat. It’s also a good idea to use a higher SPF than you’d usually use- particularly if you’re going to be out on the water.

Beware of rip currents

This is particularly important to understand if you’re traveling with kids or you don’t spend much time in the sea. Rip currents are strong, fast-moving currents that move from the shore and back out to the sea. They’re dangerous because they often won’t be visible from the surface, and not immediately apparent if you don’t know what to look for. 

Watch the local news and beach for warnings and if you notice yourself or your kids being pulled out to sea, stay calm and swim parallel to the shore until you’re free instead of fighting against it which will simply tire you out. 

Take a road trip

Florida is an amazing state for a road trip, simply because there’s so much to see. That’s another reason why you should head to and find a car that will suit your family. That way, if you’ve had enough of standing in lines and elbowing through crowds, you can make your way to the nearest beach, hit the road, or simply look for attractions that are a little further off the beaten path. 

Have you been to Tampa? What are your top tips? Leave a comment below and let me know.