Orlando and Tampa are both popular vacation destinations within Florida, and being located just 85 miles apart, it is definitely possible to plan a visit to both, even if you only have three days to spare. This itinerary begins in Orlando, taking you around some of the city’s most famous sights, before a short road trip that will land you in Tampa.
Orlando has always been famous for its theme parks, and this is most definitely an option for your day here, with everything from Disney to Universal to SeaWorld to choose from. However, if you would prefer to see what else the city has to offer, there are plenty of other exciting opportunities that await you. For those who want a day of history, art and culture, there are several museums and other similar attractions to choose from, including the Kennedy Space Center, the American Art Museum, WonderWorks, Madame Tussauds and the Titanic exhibition. Orlando is also known for its unique flora and fauna, so, if you are a nature lover, this could be the perfect alternative if none of these other options appeal to you. From a kayak eco-tour of Shingle Creek and the Everglades, to an airboat ride that will give you the chance to view some of Florida’s native wildlife, Orlando’s natural beauty is definitely not to be missed.
An early start is recommended for your second day, so that you still have some time to spend in Orlando before beginning the drive to Tampa. After a bite to eat at Keke’s Breakfast Café, which is known for serving up the best breakfasts in town, head on over to the Botanical Gardens for a quick tour of the largest camellia collection in North America. Once done, it is time to start the drive to Tampa, which will only take about one and a half hours, so long as traffic is not too heavy. On the way to Tampa, you will pass by the Parkesdale Farm Market, which is the largest strawberry and citrus market in Central Florida, and the sweet treats that you will find here are definitely worth stopping off for. Once you reach Tampa, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the Tampa Bay History Center, where you will learn about the past 12,000 years of Florida’s history, before heading to one of the nearby waterfront restaurants for dinner and drinks.
Tampa is home to a wide range of art museums, and this is a great way to spend your morning. Take your pick from the Contemporary Art Museum, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, and the Tampa Museum of Art, all of which promise to greatly inspire. When it comes time for lunch, head on over to the nearby Tampa Riverwalk, which is a pedestrian pathway that connects Downtown Tampa with the Hillsborough River, and is where you will find a selection of restaurants and other entertainment options. The Big Cat Rescue in Citrus Park is a great place to spend the afternoon, as this animal sanctuary is home to orphaned native wild cats, as well as other exotic felines, that need rehabilitation or medical care. From tigers to cougars to mountain lions, there are over 100 cats to be seen, and guided tours available to ensure that you do not miss out on your favorite felines. When it comes time to deciding where to go for dinner, make Bern’s Steakhouse a priority, as this Tampa institution is known for serving up the tastiest charcoal-grilled steaks in town, along with one of the most epic wine collections in the world.
While spending just one full day each in Tampa and Orlando may not seem like much time, this is still enough to give you a taster of all that the two cities have to offer. From the natural attractions of Orlando to the art and culture of Tampa, this is in itinerary that is bound to appeal to just about everyone.