Florida Vacations – Start yours at Tampa International Airport

Florida vacations – start yours at Tampa International Airport

If you think all airports are the same, think again!

Tampa International Airport (TIA) was voted one of the top five layover airports in the world by HuffPost, for:

  •  its simple hub and spoke design,
  • pay per use lounges,
  • free Wi-Fi,
  • 24-hour food options,
  • friendly staff.

But these aren’t the only reasons a Florida vacation beginning at TIA starts well, the airport is also committed to providing a great experience for all travelers, today and into the future.


Tampa International Airport – the future of vacation travel

Located at 4100 George J Bean Pkwy, Tampa, FL 33607, USA, this vast airport site plans ahead. In 2011, the airport team updated its master plan thereby designing a bright future. Three phases of expansion will accommodate a further 17 million passengers annually, resulting in a total vacation rental and holiday trade of over 35 million.

TIA chose a ‘build as required’ approach, offering minimum disruption to passengers balanced by the meeting the needs of future generations. Example – TIA is creating a 2.6 million square foot car rental center by the entrance, in essence, right alongside new airport parking.


Historic Tampa from the air

In 1928 Tampa City built Drew Field, six miles west of downtown Tampa. From 1938 it was a military airfield, training 120,000 combat air crews. Locally-based antisubmarine patrols flew from the field until that duty transferred to the US Navy and Coastguard. Regularly seen aircraft included the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Douglas C-47 Skytrain, North American AT-6 and North American B-25 Mitchell. After the war, as a result, Tampa became a popular destination for international travelers.


Traveling through Tampa International Airport site.

TIA’s wheel and spoke shaped layout make it easy to navigate, regardless of jet-lag. It recently received the Storm Ready designation, meeting an extensive list of criteria set by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS). This means the airport is ready to respond quickly to any severe weather heading our way.

Just six miles from downtown Tampa, this international airport has one other great benefit for long-haul passengers, namely it’s close to the city center and onward travel to vacation rentals like ErehwonRetreat.

What else makes TIA special? Five stars for cleanliness, and four stars for seating and queuing times on Kytra show Tampa is friendly, clean and swift to navigate airport.


Florida vacations begin here

A record-breaking 60.7 million tourists visited Florida in the first half of 2017, making a 4.1% increase over the same six months of 2016. That’s 53.2 million domestic visitors, plus 2.2 million Canadians and 5.3 million other international vacationers.

Moreover, TIA parking just got easier too … alongside the new parking center, three rideshare companies can now pick up fares: Uber, Lyft and Wingz. This reduces congestion plus giving visitors more choice of travel options. In conclusion, whether you’re flying domestically, or traveling long-haul , there’s no better way to start your Florida break than at Tampa International Airport.

Florida and Golf – a long love affair

Florida and golf – a long love affair


Florida and golf


It’s 1886 and Colonel J Hamilton Gillespie builds a small practice golf course in Sarasota. It was the beginning of Florida’s love affair with golf. Henry Flagler, the railway tycoon, immediately asks Alexander Findlay for a golf layout around his Palm Beach hotel, The Breakers, thereby creating the first regulation 18-hole golf course in Florida.

A quarter century later, the San Juan Hotel in Orlando hosts a meeting to form the first state golf association.  By 1915 the first Amateur Championship is held at the Tampa Automobile and Golf Club. This club, now called Rocky Point, opens in 1911. During WWII, the Federal Government closes the course and built prisoner-of-war barracks on the property.

Golf vacation – Florida, the golden destination

Many of Florida’s golf clubs date back to the golden age of Florida travel.  Vacationers wanting a great round of golf, glorious architecture and well-established greens can select from:


Babe Zaharias Golf Club – established in the 1920s in Forest Hills, North Tampa. In 1950 Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias became the course’s female golf professional . Within a year she’d bought the place, immediately renaming it the Tampa Golf club. She won 10 LPGA major championships before her death aged 45, when the club was abandoned. But in 1974 the City of Tampa purchased, restored and renamed the club’s challenging and rewarding course for the average vacation golfer.

Florida and golf

Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club was also built in the 1920s. It’s the first of the ‘returning nines’ – two loops of nine holes, both starting and finishing at the club house. Innovative then, this is now the standard design for most recreational golf clubs.

Sebring Golf Club was begun in 1925 and finished in 1929. Sebring combines a laidback approach with some demanding holes. Infamously, the second hole turns nearly 90 degrees thus tempting the inexperienced golfer to ‘cut the corner’ disastrously!


Women and golf in Florida

The Sunshine State always welcomed women golfers, and they returned the compliment. In 1895 a fire broke out in St Augustine and women tournament golfers donated their winnings to the fire’s victims. During the 1920s, the Tallahassee Country Club unusually allowed women to play  without a male ‘sponsor’ present. In 1925 The Palm Beach Golf Club (now The Breakers) even hired a female golf professional Miss Bessie Fenn, who ran the club for 34 years.



Florida – vacation destination for every golfer

Whether you’re looking for a course that will push you to your limits, a country club where the architecture is redolent of heritage and style, or a family-friendly venue that combines excellent golf with great service and superb scenery, then look no further than Florida!

Top 10 Reasons to visit historic Tampa

Historic Tampa: ten reasons to visit

Historic Tampa offers history, geography, weather and cuisine, so here are a few of our insider tips to help rental vacationers make the best of their Tampa trip.

1. Tampa’s got history

Start at the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel where Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders mustered before heading to Cuba. 150 years ago Tampa was the railhead for cattle shipments to Cuba, as a result influencing every aspect of Tampa life. Today, visitors can take the electric streetcar to Ybor City, whose Spanish-Cuban roots are especially reminiscent of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Beautifully renovated cigar factories make clear the strong links between the two nations.

2. Sandwiches and Coffee

Ybor City was once known as the “Cigar Capital of the World”. Why? Because of 200 factories with 12,000 cigar-makers rolling 700 million cigars annually, outproducing Havana. Difficult to believe? Not if you try historic Tampa’s strong coffee and satisfying pressed sandwiches – uniquely part of our Cuban heritage.  Where do you find the best of both? Family-run Aquila is a great start; fabled for their delectable roast pork. In nearby Seminole Heights Jet City Espresso (5803 N Florida), just half a mile from Erehwon Retreat, dispenses coffee, chai latte and her signature Cafe Borgia, a honey-and-orange-infused latte. For pure Cuban coffee, try El Molino, a simple café attached to Ybor City’s Naviera Coffee Mills, which has been in business for nearly a century (2012 E. 7th Ave.).

3. Beer city

Recently rated one of “America’s Top Ten Emerging Beer Towns”, Tampa has a bounty of brews. Cigar City Brewing (3924 W. Spruce St.) brews up some uniquely Tampa beers: the bright, fruity Guava Grove and the rich Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout.  For more of the local good stuff, head to Seminole Heights. Here you’ll find The Independent; historic Tampa’s pioneer of the craft beer movement. Today it offers rare and unique beers and wines from around the world. In the same neighborhood, Angry Chair has a particularly attractive tasting room with diverse offerings. Folks love C 1949, a quaint, dog-friendly little hole-in-the-wall beer garden with plenty of seating, live music and rotating food trucks outside. Finally, take in America’s oldest beer brewer, right here in Tampa Bay. The Yuengling Brewery, complete with a “biergarten” where you can sample Yuengling’s rich heritage, offers free tours of the facility Monday-Friday.

4. Manatees, the cutest animals on the planet

So, you might not think a giant power plant is the best vacation spot, not so the adorable manatees who winter in the warm waters adjacent to the gargantuan Tampa Electric facility (6990 Dickman Rd., Apollo Beach). The utility company’s built a popular Manatee Viewing Center, with educational exhibits. Winter vacation rentals are the lucky ones because the manatees move off around mid-April only returning in early December.

5. The great food offerings of Seminole Heights

Make tracks for the neighborhood’s Taco Bus, a hipster-junkyard set-up with a very good food truck and outdoor seating. Open weekends all year round (913 E. Hillsborough Ave.) For something more elegant, why not dine at the James Beard nominated ‘The Refinery’? (5137 N. Florida Ave.) Adding to historic Tampa’s range, drop into Ichicoro, a unique fusion of Asian and Cuban ramen (5229 N. Florida Ave.). Finally, check out Ella’s Folk Art Cafe on “Soul Food Sunday” and definitely enjoy the chicken, waffles, live music and fun cocktails like the Po-mosa (5119 N. Nebraska Ave.).

6. Key Lime Pie

So, it might be a staple of the whole South but it began in the Keys. The key lime tree arrived in Florida in the 1500s and historic Tampa recipes for the pie appear in the 1800s, though it became really popular in the 1930s. Some restaurants make it with graham cracker crust, others with pastry. Either way, it’s a must-have and in Seminole Heights we love Trips Diner for this very special confection.

7. The world’s longest continuous sidewalk

Tampa is a record breaker. Consider Bayshore Boulevard, which runs along Tampa Bay through the Hyde Park neighborhood and on to points south. It isn’t just the city’s most scenic street, it’s also a four-and-a-half-mile linear bay-front park favored by joggers and walkers. It’s a fantastic way to work up an appetite for lunch. On Sunday follow the local foodies and make a beeline for lunch at the Wat Mongkolratanaram of Florida (a.k.a. the local Thai Buddhist temple). Here, food vendors set up mid-morning every Sunday, dishing out authentic Thai eats (cash only) to a hungry audience. Stick around to enjoy the riverfront grounds (5306 Palm River Rd.)

Python at Busch Gardens by ClaudiaTampa398. The kids will totally dig it

With exhibits that combine the educational with the awesome, the Glazer Children’s Museum  has always been a hit with the youngsters from day one. Try out the climbing structures that teach about water, or the firehouse with a working pole and drivable “fire truck”. The nearby Florida Aquarium offers exhibits from the dramatic (swimming with sharks) to the educational. Still got energy? There’s always Busch Gardens, Tampa’s most famous family attraction.

9. Life’s a beach

It certainly is in Florida which has miles of beach not covered in footprints or fishing lines. One of Florida’s greatest beaches and hiking areas is at Ft. Desoto State Park, with its nearby beach community of Pass-A-Grille.  Great beach-combing, quaint shops, sunset dining, essentially make it a perfect day out. And talking about perfect days – the sun shines, on average, 361 days a year in Tampa Bay.

10. Historic Tampa – perfect vacation rentals

There are 2,000 restored Craftsman and Mediterranean bungalows in Seminole Heights, offering Arts and Craft vacation rentals like Erehwon Retreat (5801 N Suwanee Ave).  Proprietor owned vacation rentals give their guests the lowdown on all that’s best in the local are, making your trip is unforgettable and your memories wonderful. In conclusion, our comprehensive listing of Area Attractions & Events contains details, maps, addresses, and links to the area’s best entertainment.