Tampa is a city defined by its bay and many come here to experience life in and around the water. There are many ways to do so along the surface, in the water or under the sea. Here are the best places to try water sports in the Tampa Bay area.
A trip to historic Fort Desoto can also include snorkeling at Egmont Key. You can reach the key by ferry from Fort Desoto Bay Pier. En route to the destination many have been known to see dolphin, sea turtles and even manatees. You can rent snorkel gear and it’s recommended to take the first ferry of the day to do this. Ferry tickets can be booked here.
Tampa Bay Waterbikes offers the opportunity to bicycle on water. While there are pedals, there are no wheels, instead two kayaks hold the biker solidly above the water without tipping. You can rent these bikes by the hour with a cheaper second hour and discounts are available for teachers, students, military, law enforcement and seniors.
What better way to relax than to take a canoe silently downstream along the Hillsborough River, looking at wildlife. At Canoe Escape, canoe rides start at one hour and can be booked up to an all-day adventure. See ibis, deer, turtles, birds and even alligators. Canoe Escape is located 16 miles outside of Tampa at John B. Sergeant Park.
If scuba diving is your thing, go with this friendly charter to experience the best diving Tampa has to offer. The owners are very experienced divers and know how to find the best artificial reefs, ledges and shipwrecks. They operate a coast guard-inspected and certified dive boat, run trips March to November and are located next to the Seminole boat ramp in Clearwater.
This company offers boutique boat and kayak ecotours from Clearwater. The boat tours are aboard a 14-passenger custom designed vessel, built for shallow water tours. The tour covers a 20-mile area including popular sites, wildlife habitats and the backwater channels of Tampa Bay. Reserve in advance during season at the Gulfport Municipal Marina in St Petersburg. Boat tours leave from Gulfport Municipal Marina and kayak tours leave from the marina in Clam Bayou Nature Preserve.
If you’d like to catch some real fish, head out with Tampa Fishing Charters into the Gulf. Catch snook, flounder, snapper or trout. Trip includes bait, tackle, license, insurance, gas, ice and fish cleaning. Bring your own lunch, snacks and drinks. The most convenient location for Tampa is at Channelside, but they are also accessible in two other locations.