Weekend Getaways Close to Tampa Bay

We all need a break from the craziness of this year. Why not take a break with a quick weekend getaway to refresh and spend some quality time with family and friends. My family and I have taken a couple of mini-vacations this year to recharge our batteries. We have either rented a house through Airbnb or stayed in a hotel. Below is a list of my top five weekend getaways close to Tampa Bay.

Top 5 Weekend Getaways Destinations:

  • Clearwater Beach: (Time: >30 min.) Clearwater Beach has some of the most amazing beaches in Florida and it’s close to home. You can spend the weekend checking out the local attractions such as the Clearwater Marine Aquarium with Winter the Dolphin, hanging out at the beach, and then eating dinner at my all-time favorite restaurant, Frenchy’s. Here’s are a link for ideas on what to do in Clearwater.

  • Orlando: (Time: 1.5 hrs.) My family and I go to Orlando all the time. We love visiting Walt Disney World and enjoying all the parks. Now that the theme parks are reopened with new safety measures, check out their websites to visit them. Links to- Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. If you’re not interested in the theme parks, here a list of 50 things to do in Orlando besides theme parks. And, if you really want to up the adventure, consider traveling by bus from Tampa to Orlando!

  • Naples: (Time: 2 .5+ hrs.) Naples is known for its high-end shopping and restaurants, beaches, and boating this is a great getaway for the weekend. We recently stayed here and rented a house near the beach. We loved going to the beach several times a week, walking the dog and enjoying the local restaurants in the area. Their Pier was a great highlight for the kids along with visiting the shops at Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South which are local shopping spots in the historic downtown area.

Naples, Florida
  • Ichetucknee Springs: (Time: 2 .5+ hrs.) Past Gainesville, FL, the Ichetucknee Springs is one of the most beautiful Florida State Parks and considered one of Florida’s natural lazy rivers. It is fed by nine springs, the Ichetucknee River lets visitors experience the natural beauty of its blue-green water. You can go tubing, kayaking, paddleboard, or canoeing through shaded hammocks and forests of cypress, maple, oak, and pine. (NOTE: I would wear water shoes, lot’s of sunscreen and know that the water can be chilly.)

  • St. Augustine: (Time: 3+ hrs.) The oldest city in the nation, St. Augustine has great historic attractions and is located between Northeast and East Central Florida. Some of our favorite places to visit were the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century fortress with draw bridges. The Lighthouse & Maritime Museum but be ready to climb up the staircase of the lighthouse. Lightner Museum, the former Alcazar Hotel built in 1888 by Henry Flagler, is one of the most unique art collections from shrunken heads to stunning collections of stained glass and crystal.

Remember to research the cities and venues before you visit them. A lot of destinations have limited hours or restrictions due to the COVID pandemic. I hope you enjoy these ideas for weekend getaways close to Tampa Bay. If you need to make some face masks for your trip, check out my recent blog on 3 face masks you can make at home. 

Denise moved to Tampa a couple of years ago and loves it. She’s a proud wife and working Mom of two beautiful teenage daughters and their little dachshund princess, Mollie. She grew up both in Maracaibo, Venezuela and Miami, FL. She loves spending time crafting, baking, Netflix binge watching, getting her nails done and reading romance novels. Professionally, Denise has over 20 years’ experience in corporate communications. She received her B.A. from the University of Central Florida and M.B.A from Rollins College. On the weekends, you’ll see her family at gymnastics meets or her daughter’s choir concerts. You can follow her on Instagram (@girlswanttohave) and Pinterest (@dtwilson8488).