Rent a bike through Tampa’s bike share program, Coast Bike Share. (Photo: Rafael Tongol)
When you think of vacation, what comes to mind: Unwinding or being active?
If you’re like many travelers, you want to enjoy both — and Tampa, Florida is more than happy to oblige.
On your next trip to this city, you could spend the day biking around the bay (in the water — not on the road!), or getting up-close-and-personal with local flora and fauna. And, with sunshine and warm weather year round, you’ll have every opportunity to enjoy them.
Here are five ideas that will help you get zen — and get moving.
1. Run or Bike Along Bayshore Boulevard
This beautiful street strtches along Tampa’s waterfront and is an excellent jogging or walking route. Along the way, you’ll see some of Tampa’s fanciest homes, and also enjoy stunning views of the city.
The sidewalk along the road is wide and flat, so it’s perfect for runners, walkers and strollers of all levels. It starts just south of downtown and continues for 4.5 mile, making it one of the world’s longest sidewalks.
For those that prefer the two-wheel experience, there’s also a bike lane along the boulevard. You can rent a bike through Coast Bike Share, the city’s bike share program. There are Coast hubs throughout downtown Tampa, with one one along Bayshore Boulevard in Hyde Park.
2. Hike in Hillsborough River State Park
Although you’ll need to drive or Uber to this park, which is 20 miles northeast of downtown, it’s worth it. Open since 1938, it’s one of the state’s oldest parks — and encompassed in lush greenery, it’s a wonderful example of Florida’s natural beauty.
Encompassing nearly 3,000 acres with more than seven miles of trails, it also offers the area’s best hiking. You can walk flat, wooded trails that are suitable for all levels and covered in the shade of live oak, hickory and sabal palm trees. The centerpiece is the Florida Trail, a 5.3-mile loop that meanders along the river — you’ll spot lots of birds and maybe a gator or two.
Hiking not your thing? Explore the waterways via canoe, or ride the trails on a bike; both are available for rental within the park. When you need to cool off, take a dive into the massive, half-acre swimming pool.
3. Enjoy a Massage at Evangeline
This spa, located in the hip Epicurean Hotel, is the place to get a massage. It’s known for its skilled therapists and relaxing setting.
It has an extensive menu of different options, including Swedish, rocks and deep tissue. The two most delectable choices? A dulce delight body wrap, which features a coffee bean exfoliant, full-body dark chocolate mask and sweet-cream milk massage, or an agave nectar scalp massage, during which warm liquid is drizzled onto your scalp.
4. Ride a Water Bike Around the Bay
Never been on a water bike? Well now’s the time to try! A water bike is just like it sounds: a floating bike that allows you to pedal on top of the water. Not only is it a good workout, burning 456 calories per hour, it’s also a great way to see the city’s skyline from the bay.
The Tampa Bay Water Bike Company says its bikes are “virtually impossible to tip,” and allow you to enjoy the water — without getting wet. It’s located downtown and offers hourly rentals of water bikes and biyaks (kayaks pedaled with your feet).
5. Get a Facial at Glow
After all that exercising and sunshine, you’ll definitely need some pampering.
Glow Couture Day Spa has some of the fanciest facials around. It claims its signature facial is the “holy grail of skin treatments,” consisting of a warm sugar scrub, herbal steam bath, oxygen-infused serum and antioxidant mask.
And, so the guys don’t feel left out, it also offers a “gentlemen’s retreat” facial, a “deep-clarifying, purifying and hydrating treatment designed to address the specific needs of men’s skin.”
This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.