Tampa Bay summer bucket list

When my kids were younger we would make a summer bucket list of items we wanted to do before they had to go back to school. Some were simple like go out for ice cream. Some took more planning like a beach day or visit to a museum. And some were things we would do on our summer road trips like hike to a waterfall or watch a sunset.

Here's our list of 8 bucket-list worthy items to make the most of your summer here in Tampa Bay. Ready, set, go!

Go to the movies 

Escape the heat and rain with discounted summer movies at Regal Cinemas. During the first show of the day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays you enjoy $2 tickets to family movies. Movie offerings include Shrek Forever After, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Sonic the Hedgehog and Sing 2 among others.

Tampa Theatre also has a summer classic movie program. While not all the movies are kid friendly, some would be a unique date night over the hot summer months. Some of the planned movies include Fantasia, Mamma Mia!, The Breakfast Club, The Lion King, Titanic and Casablanca. Movies are on Sunday afternoons at 3pm. Tickets are $10.

Splash pad

Run off steam at the playground

Need a place for the kids to run off steam? Many of Tampa Bay’s playgrounds are shaded and also have covered picnic tables. So pack and lunch and grab the kids and hit these favorite Tampa Bay parks. Bonus: some have splash pads to stay cool during the hotter parts of the day. Maybe you can try a new place you haven’t been to! Check out our favorite playgrounds in Tampa Bay here

River tubing

Water, water, water

We're surrounded by water and we should take advantage of it to cool off. If you’re up for a summer day trip, make the trek to one of the natural springs around our area. While not technically in Tampa Bay, these are easy day trips. Visit Rainbow Springs State Park or Ichetucknee Springs where you can rent tubes and float in cool spring water for hours. Just be aware that the parks close once they reach capacity, almost a guarantee on summer weekends.

Another option is the beach. The Tampa Bay area has some of the best beaches in the country. Check them out here

Visit the aquarium, zoo or Busch Gardens

Pretend you’re a tourist in your own backyard and explore our local entertainment options like the Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa or Busch Gardens. For the kids, all these attractions have splash pads to cool off.

For a different spin on visiting downtown, ride the TECO trolley. The TECO Streetcar is free way to get around Ybor, Channelside and parts of downtown. The 2.7-mile route gives you hop on, hop off access within walking distance of The Florida Aquarium and Sparkman Wharf.

Free or low-cost activities in Tampa Bay

Amazing downtown Tampa Bay murals

Ice cream

Enjoy ice cream

Cool off with a sweet treat at one of Tampa unique ice cream shops. From dipped soft serve to homemade flavors like Oreo red velvet, there are so many options for ice cream around Tampa Bay. Check out some of our favorite local shops here 

Drop a line in the water

Tampa Bay has some of the best fishing spots in the state. And many you don’t need a boat as many area parks have fishing piers. There are some times that taking out the kayak or canoe is fun for fishing as well. Check out some of our favorite fishing spots in Tampa Bay.

Spend the day with nature

From walking trails to equestrian trails to boardwalks and kayaking, Tampa Bay parks are amazing. The weather allows us to enjoy the outdoors all year long and we love taking advantage to view wildlife and get some exercise. Here are 5 of our favorite Tampa Bay area parks.

Baseball game

Catch a baseball game

One of America’s favorite summer pasttimes: baseball. The Rays have been HOT this season, posting one of the top records in the league. And an indoor game at the Trop will keep you out of the rain and sun. Ticket prices start at just $10.

You can also plan to take in a minor league game at Steinbrenner Field (Tampa Tarpons) BayCare Ballpark (Clearwater Threshers), TD Ballpark (Dunedin Blue Jays), Joker Marchant Stadium (Lakeland Flying Tigers)  or LECOM Park (Bradenton Marauders).

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