Tampa Travel – The Local Lowdown
One of the great joys of vacation travel is discovering how the locals get around, and Tampa offers some of the most memorable local transportation in the USA. Here’s our guide to getting around Tampa like a local.
Tampa’s electric streetcars – vacation transport that doesn’t break the bank
Back in 1892, Tampa had a novelty, electric streetcars with smartly uniformed conductors. These vehicles conveyed travelers round Ybor City, Ballast Point, Hyde Park and Sulphur Springs and allowed workers to reach the cigar factories of west Tampa, as well as taking families on day trips to local parks like DeSoto and Macfarlane. They were the circulatory system of the region until 1946, making Tampa among the last cities to let go of its historical streetcar system.
The TECO Line Streetcar system has returned to Tampa, covering Downtown, Channelside and Ybor City, bringing cruise ship passengers to the city and transporting workers just as the original streetcars did. A second phase of development has linked Franklin and Whiting Streets and the Fort Brooke parking garage, unifying downtown and bringing parking within easy reach of all. Best of all, it’s just $5 to travel all day!
Coast Bike Share – vacation transport on two wheels
Coast Bike Share allows you to rent a public bicycle whenever you wish – simply register and then enter your pin to unlock a bike from any convenient station and then return it to any other station in the system – ideal for picnics or sightseeing trips and great for your health as well as the city’s low pollution levels.
The Cross-Bay Ferry – seasonal travel with added romance
Travelling between St. Petersburg and Tampa has never been more enjoyable. The Cross-Bay Ferry, a brand-new pilot project that everybody hopes will return this November, cruises between the two cities twice a day and it’s for foot passengers only. The $10 one-way ticket (children under three travels free) buys you an hour crossing the Bay and gives tourists and locals alike a fantastic chance to enjoy a great meal, some sightseeing and maybe wildlife spotting – dolphins regularly ride the bow waves of cruise liners out of Tampa Bay. River walks and trolley cars connect well with the ferry service.
Pirate Water Taxi – explore Tampa from the water
For a rollicking day out in Tampa, the pirate water taxi system is for you! A single payment allows you to travel the Tampa waterways all day cruising the Tampa Riverwalk, Harbour Island and the Channelside Districts. With more than fifteen stops, the bright yellow water taxi is bound to deliver you close to whatever tourist attraction you desire, from museums to restaurants and Lowry Park Zoo.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit – take the HART around Tampa
Since 1980, the HART system has been serving Tampa. It’s our ‘local’ public bus because the HART #1 bus is a half-block walk from Erehwon Retreat and is a quick and easy way to reach all the best destinations downtown and the University of South Florida.