What’s the difference between Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Pete?

Many first-time visitors to Florida wonder which area they should visit. With many popular attractions in Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Pete to choose from, we know it can be a hard decision to make.

That’s why we’re taking a look at each city to give you the lowdown on which place is right for your visit. Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Pete are all within a 40-minute drive of each other and under two hours from Orlando, so if you can’t pick, why not visit them all?

At Real Florida Adventures, we’ve been showing visitors old and new the Sunshine State for more than 40 years, so we know a thing or two about these cities! If you’re planning a trip to our state and want a little help organizing your dream vacation, get in touch.

Whether you’re looking for Unforgettable Day Trips from Orlando or something special on custom-made Private Tours of Florida, Orlando, and More, our local team is here to do the hard work. All you have to do is focus on enjoying your adventure!

Explore the Bustling Streets of Tampa, Florida

More than just the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich, Tampa has plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Start in the historic Ybor City neighborhood to learn about how this city was once known as the cigar capital of the world.

In Ybor City, you can also enjoy shopping in the mall while you soak up the area’s Latin American heritage. This city within a city also has its own history museum, beautiful parks, and delicious Spanish and Italian restaurants to try.

Beyond Ybor, movie lovers can step back in time at Tampa Theater. Built in 1926, this community gem is a non-profit theater showing documentaries and independent movies. Top up on your culture at this old-school building that hosts over 700 events a year.

If you’re looking for something to do with the family, visit the Tampa Museum of Art. Not only is this a beautiful place architecturally, but the collection includes everything from Roman sculptures to contemporary art. There’s also an art station for your little Picassos in the making!

After you’ve had your fill of culture, head to Downtown Tampa to ride aboard an old-fashioned streetcar or take a cruise to explore the bay. Whether you want cocktails on a rooftop bar with epic city skyline views or some delicious fresh seafood, it’s all right here.

If you want to try something a little different, head to Busch Gardens Tampa. The gardens have a zoo and an amusement park. So you can splash down the waterslides and see elephants and orangutans all in the same place (though not at the same time!).

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Bask in the Beaches of Clearwater, Florida

If you want a break from bustling city life, the white sands of Clearwater are ready and waiting. This laid-back city has ideal weather almost all year round. Not only does Clearwater host thousands of human visitors each year, but a fair amount of dolphins and turtles, too.

This city has plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy if you’re traveling with little ones. 

Start your Clearwater experience at the world-famous fishing spot Pier 60, where you can meet the inhabitants at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. There are touch tanks, tours, and interactive activities, plus the Aquarium is also a working animal hospital! 

Budding pirates can test their sea legs on Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. This two-hour sea experience is full of swashbuckling things to do, including a treasure hunt and hearing stories from fearsome pirates.

If you’re looking to relax as a couple or a friendship group, the beach offers a welcome space to unwind. Grab a cocktail and a book or a beach ball and enjoy the waves. Don’t forget your sunscreen! 

If you want to shake up Clearwater’s three miles of coastal bliss, there are plenty of escape rooms and helicopter journeys over Clearwater Beaches. Prefer to stay closer to the surface? Then enjoy a ride aboard the world’s largest speedboat – aptly named Sea Screamer. Our Sea Screamer Clearwater Beach tour is packed with family fun!

However you choose to experience Clearwater Beach, the beauty of this coastal paradise will leave you feeling well-rested and entertained.

Soak up the Culture of St. Pete, Florida

St. Pete, or St. Petersburg as it’s also known, offers visitors the best of the beach and the city in one cool location. To get to this city, drive across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which connects St. Pete to lower Tampa. Travel by night to see the bridge illuminated in neon colors.

This city is perfect for arts and culture lovers, as St. Pete is home to the Salvador Dali museum, the Imagine Museum of fine glass, and the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art. So, if dripping clocks and western shoot-outs are your vibes, you’ll be right at home.

St. Pete not only has award-winning beaches, but the new 26-acre St. Pete Pier is a great waterfront escape for families, friends, and couples. Head to the bars and restaurants and watch the sunset over the water and see the city lights twinkle into life.

If you’re green-fingered, check out the botanical beauty of the Sunken Gardens. Here, you’ll encounter more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers in a manicured and magical garden. Keep your eyes peeled for flamingos!

Whatever the weather, which is consistently pleasant, St. Pete’s is full of activities to sink your teeth into. Outdoorsy visitors can enjoy golfing, boating, and fishing here. Classical music lovers can catch a concert at the Mahaffey Theater, where Florida’s resident orchestra resides.

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That brings us to the end of our virtual tour of Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Pete. We hope we’ve helped you narrow down your vacation spot by showing you the highlights of each city. If you’d like to add more excursions to your list, check out our Unforgettable Day Trips from Orlando.

Our dedicated, local tour guides are here to help make your vacation stress-free and fun for the whole family. Whether you prefer life in the fast lane or chillaxing on the beach, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch to find out how we can plan your dream trip. Until then, stay sunny!

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