21 Things To Do On A Layover At Tampa Airport

things to do on a layover on tampa airport featured image
Table of Contents

Tampa International Airport is a great layover spot for travelers heading to the West Coast of Florida and beyond. The airport is known for its efficiency and top-notch amenities, making it a great place to spend a few hours during a layover.

For experienced jet-setters, exploring activities near Tampa International Airport is a must. It combats boredom and enhances your travel experience.

This article lists 21 noteworthy attractions and activities to turn layovers at Tampa International Airport into enjoyable diversions.

Discover a range of options at Tampa International Airport, including world-class dining, local art installations, and downtown Tampa exploration. Carefully curated with time constraints in mind, these options ensure a delightful layover experience.

Adventure Island


Image Credit: Adventureisland

Adventure Island, a popular water park in Tampa Bay, offers adrenaline-fueled fun just 15 miles from Tampa Airport. Exciting rides for adults and children make it a must-visit during layovers.

With its expansive area of around 30 acres, Adventure Island boasts various water slides, pools, and tropical landscapes designed to provide enjoyment. Notable features include exhilarating slides such as Vanish Point, Colossal Curl, and Aruba Tuba.

Adventure Island also offers calm options like Rambling Bayou and Paradise Lagoon for relaxation amidst lush greenery and serene waters. Children can enjoy interactive play areas like Splash Attack or Fabian’s Funport. Ideal for families.

Explore Adventure Island during a layover for lasting memories and a refreshing encounter with Florida’s natural beauty. Ample entertainment opportunities for all age groups.

A visit to Adventure Island is highly recommended for those looking to maximize their time on a layover at Tampa Airport.

Tampa Museum Of Art


Image Credit: Tampamagazines

Experience wonder and cultural enrichment at the Tampa Museum of Art, a vital link between rich artistic heritage and the global art community. Located along Hillsborough River, it’s perfect for thought-provoking visual art during layovers.

The Tampa Museum of Art exhibits ancient and modern works spanning millennia. The permanent collection includes Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities, alongside contemporary photography, sculpture, painting, and mixed media. Temporary exhibitions feature local emerging talents and international masterpieces.

Explore the wonders of the Tampa Museum of Art on a layover for a memorable experience. Encounter diverse artistic expressions and gain insight into our shared humanity throughout history.

Venturing beyond the airport on layovers becomes an enriching adventure, offering new perspectives and personal growth. It’s more than just filling idle hours; it’s a worthwhile pursuit.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa


Image Credit: Cakayak

This entertainment complex offers not only casino games but also houses various dining options and hosts live events to keep visitors entertained throughout their stay.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa boasts an expansive gaming floor with over 5,000 slot machines and nearly 200 table games, including blackjack, baccarat, and poker.

Guests can indulge in high-stakes action at exclusive VIP areas or participate in daily poker tournaments hosted by the venue.

The state-of-the-art facility ensures that players have an unparalleled experience while trying their luck at various games.

This establishment features multiple dining outlets catering to diverse culinary preferences – from casual eateries like Rise Kitchen & Bakery to fine dining restaurants such as Council Oak Steaks & Seafood.

Moreover, those seeking relaxation can unwind at the on-site spa or lounge by the poolside cabanas.

Live music performances and concerts are held regularly within this complex creating an unforgettable experience for patrons visiting during their layover at Tampa Airport.

Museum Of Science & Industry


Image Credit: Pinimg

Explore the captivating Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) during a layover at Tampa Airport. Engage in interactive, educational experiences showcasing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Unveil the wonders of innovation and discovery.

The museum features over 100 hands-on exhibits that cater to various age groups and interests. Among these are a planetarium, simulator rides, 3D printing workshops, and live science demonstrations.

MOSI is home to Kids in Charge!, Florida’s largest children’s science center. It also features traveling exhibits that enhance its permanent collection, offering a remarkable experience for visitors.

MOSI offers entertainment and enlightenment for travelers at Tampa Airport. A variety of activities cater to all, even with limited time. Transform long layovers into educational and enjoyable experiences.

Glazer Children’s Museum


Image Credit: Travelassets

The Glazer Children’s Museum, located in downtown Tampa, approximately 10 miles from the airport, is an ideal destination for families during a layover at Tampa Airport. With over 170 interactive exhibits, children aged 0-10 can engage in hands-on learning, fostering creativity and critical thinking skills.

Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by themed areas catering to different age groups and interests. KidsPort teaches water transportation, My House Your House explores global cultures, Engineer’s Workshop encourages creativity, and Vet Clinic allows role-playing animal care.

There are several designated play zones specifically tailored for infants and toddlers ensuring that even the youngest family members have engaging activities suited to their developmental needs.

Don’t miss nearby attractions when visiting Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park offers beautiful views of the Hillsborough River and is perfect for picnics or outdoor relaxation. The Florida Aquarium is a must-visit for marine life enthusiasts, and the Henry B Plant Museum showcases stunning architecture and historical artifacts from the late 19th century.

Tampa Theatre


Image Credit: Eventective

Tampa Theatre is a historic masterpiece located in downtown Tampa, a short distance from the airport.

Built-in 1926 as one of America’s most elaborate movie palaces, this venue transports visitors to a time when opulence and grandeur were synonymous with entertainment experiences.

The theatre boasts an interior design modeled after Mediterranean gardens under a twinkling nighttime sky, complete with ornate plasterwork, statuary, and gargoyles.

A layover at Tampa Airport presents the perfect opportunity to explore this magnificent piece of history – not just for film enthusiasts but also for those captivated by exquisite architecture and intricate artwork.

With its diverse programming that includes classic films, art-house favorites, documentaries, live performances, and special events like weddings or corporate functions; there is something for everyone.

Guided tours are available for individuals eager to delve deeper into the theatre’s unique past while marveling at its stunning design elements.

Don’t miss out on visiting the iconic Tampa Theatre during their layover in the city.

This extraordinary landmark offers an unforgettable experience filled with rich history and captivating beauty.

It serves as both a testament to human creativity and an enduring symbol of elegance within Florida’s cultural landscape.

Henry B. Plant Museum


Image Credit: Atlasobscura

For a taste of local history and culture during a layover at Tampa Airport, visitors should check out the Henry B. Plant Museum. Located in downtown Tampa, it is housed in the historic 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, formerly owned by railroad tycoon Henry Bradley Plant.

To reach the museum from Tampa Airport, visitors can take a taxi or rideshare service, with a travel time of approximately 15-20 minutes. Inside the museum, guests will be transported to a bygone era characterized by opulent lifestyles, majestic architecture, and technological advancements.

The museum exhibits the opulence of America’s Gilded Age, delving into the life and ventures of its namesake. Exploring the museum offers insights into Mr. Plant’s contributions to Florida’s development, Victorian etiquette, fashion trends, and transportation advancements of the late 19th century.

With its rich cultural experience, the Henry B. Plant Museum is an excellent destination for a layover at Tampa Airport. Plan for a minimum of two hours to fully appreciate all it offers. Exploring this iconic historical landmark can transform your layover into a rewarding educational experience.

Tampa Riverwalk


Image Credit: Treksplorer

The Tampa Riverwalk is a must-visit attraction for layovers at Tampa Airport. Stretching 2.6 miles along the Hillsborough River, it provides a scenic walkway to explore waterfront parks, cultural institutions, and culinary establishments, all while enjoying the beauty of the riverfront setting.

Experienced travelers know that immersing oneself in local culture during downtime between flights significantly enhances the overall travel experience.

Tampa Riverwalk offers diverse attractions for all types of travelers. Art enthusiasts can explore museums like the Tampa Museum of Art and Glazer Children’s Museum. History buffs can visit The Florida Aquarium, showcasing regional aquatic life and maritime history exhibits. The pathway is also lined with a variety of restaurants and cafes, offering both local and international cuisines, perfect for nourishing weary travelers.

Incorporating visits to the aforementioned attractions during a layover at Tampa Airport maximizes enjoyment and provides relaxation and mental stimulation, essential for extended travel periods.

The Tampa Riverwalk offers an ideal opportunity for wanderers to explore the vibrant city of Tampa during idle layover hours, combining leisurely strolling with productive exploration.

Tampa Bay History Center


Image Credit: Travelassets

The Tampa Bay History Center is a must-visit during a layover at Tampa Airport. Located in downtown Tampa’s Channelside district, this impressive facility offers engaging exhibits spanning over 12,000 years of Florida’s rich history, covering 60,000 square feet across three floors.

From native inhabitants to Spanish conquistadors, early settlers, pirates, and pioneers – this museum provides a comprehensive insight into what has shaped Florida over time.

At the Tampa Bay History Center, guests are welcomed with interactive displays highlighting regional life including transportation, agriculture, industry, and commerce. Exhibits feature artifacts from native tribes, centuries-old maps, model ships depicting trade routes, military memorabilia, pioneer home recreations, and more.

There are special sections dedicated to sports legends who hail from the area or have left indelible marks on local communities.

The Tampa Bay History Center offers an enriching experience that educates visitors about historical events and celebrates the unique cultural heritage of the region. Whether seeking shelter or seeking enrichment during a layover, exploring this captivating institution can transform any Tampa layover into an enjoyable one.

Moreover, wheelchair access is available throughout the venue ensuring a comfortable visit for all patrons regardless of their physical abilities.

Armature Works


Image Credit: Squarespace

Armature Works, a historically significant site in Tampa, has been transformed into a vibrant multi-use facility. Located 5 miles from Tampa International Airport, it offers dining, entertainment, a public market hall, co-work spaces, event venues, and scenic waterfront areas with Hillsborough River views. The adaptive reuse of this century-old structure preserves its architectural integrity while reflecting the evolving nature of cities.

The highlight of Armature Works is Heights Public Market, featuring a variety of food vendors offering local and international cuisines. Notable options include Ichicoro Imoto for Japanese ramen, Astro Ice Cream Co. for liquid nitrogen-frozen treats, and Steelbach Ranch for Southern-style fare sourced from regional farms. Visitors can also enjoy craft beers and wines at Fine & Dandy, Cuban coffee at Union by Commune + Co., and explore other gourmet offerings in the spacious venue.

Armature Works offers a range of events for visitors, including outdoor yoga classes with riverfront views and intimate concerts featuring local musicians in their gathering spaces.

Those looking for unique gifts may peruse curated collections at A.W. Mercantile – a retail shop stocking handcrafted items made by independent artisans based in Florida.

This repurposed historic gem truly presents a captivating blend of gastronomic delights, engaging cultural experiences, and opportunities to support local businesses during layovers at Tampa Airport.



Image Credit: Buschgardens

SheiKra at Busch Gardens is a must-try attraction for thrill-seekers during a layover in Tampa. As North America’s first dive coaster, it offers an adrenaline-pumping experience and has received multiple accolades since its debut in 2005.

It offers an exhilarating experience with a 61-meter (200 feet) height, speeds up to 110 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour), and thrilling inversions. Inspired by an African hawk species, SheiKra’s unique design makes riders feel like soaring through the air during its near-vertical drop.

The floorless cars offer unobstructed views enhancing the feeling of flight. Immersive tunnels and water features integrated into the ride layout add more excitement to each twist and turn of this gravity-defying adventure.

For travelers seeking an unforgettable thrill, SheiKra at Busch Gardens is a must-try during a layover. This remarkable roller coaster offers heart-stopping drops, impressive speed, and breathtaking visual experiences, making it perfect for adventurous spirits.

A visit to SheiKra presents a memorable way to spend downtime between flights while exploring all that Tampa has to offer.

Big Cat Rescue


Image Credit: Iytimg

Big Cat Rescue is a must-visit for animal lovers during a Tampa airport layover. Located 12 miles away, this accredited sanctuary provides a permanent home for over 50 abused and abandoned exotic cats, including lions, tigers, leopards, and cougars.

Visiting Big Cat Rescue on a guided tour allows travelers to witness the remarkable rehabilitation work at the refuge and gain insight into the complex issues surrounding exotic cats.

At Big Cat Rescue, visitors are immersed in a lush natural habitat where majestic animals thrive under expert supervision. Knowledgeable guides share each resident’s history, including their journey to the sanctuary and ongoing efforts to ensure their well-being.

Guests can observe the feline residents up close through well-placed observation points, ensuring a safe interaction that respects the animals’ daily routines and personal space.

Visitors leave with memorable experiences and a newfound appreciation for these misunderstood beings and the crucial role they play in maintaining ecological balance.

Big Cat Rescue provides an educational experience while supporting global conservation efforts. Its proximity to Tampa International Airport and commitment to animal welfare make it a must-visit destination for enriching layovers in Tampa.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay


Image Credit: Travelassets

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a must-visit destination for a layover at Tampa Airport. This amusement park offers thrilling rides, captivating animal exhibits, and live shows. With its convenient location, just 15 miles from the airport, visitors can easily access this popular attraction.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has thrilling roller coasters, animal encounters, and themed areas based on African countries. Must-try attractions for adrenaline junkies include SheiKra, a floorless dive coaster with a 200-foot drop, and Cheetah Hunt, a triple-launch coaster that mimics the speed of cheetahs.

Guests can also enjoy up-close encounters with exotic animals like giraffes, zebras, and rhinos on the Serengeti Safari tour or observe majestic tigers in their elaborately designed habitats within Jungala.

Maximize your layover at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay by prioritizing must-see attractions and planning ahead. Purchase tickets online in advance and consider Quick Queue passes for priority boarding on select rides to make the most of your limited time without sacrificing travel time.

Whether you have a short or long stay, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay promises unforgettable adventure and discovery outside the city’s hustle and bustle for those willing to explore beyond Tampa Airport.

The Florida Aquarium


Image Credit: Flaquarium

Diverging from the thrilling rides and lush landscapes of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, another captivating destination to visit during a layover at Tampa Airport is The Florida Aquarium.

This renowned attraction offers an immersive experience with diverse marine life and ecosystems. Located in downtown Tampa, it is easily accessible by taxi, ride-sharing services, or public transportation.

The Florida Aquarium features numerous exhibits that cater to the various interests of its guests.

Explore the Wetlands Trail at The Florida Aquarium to journey through various Florida environments, including cypress swamps, mangroves, pine flatwoods, and wetlands. Encounter free-flying birds, alligators, otters, and other fascinating species along the way.

The Coral Reef exhibit will transport patrons into an underwater paradise with vibrant corals teeming with colorful fish which also serves as a vital research facility focused on coral conservation.

For those seeking more interactive explorations during their layover at Tampa Airport, The Florida Aquarium does not disappoint.

At The Florida Aquarium, touch stingrays and horseshoe crabs at Stingray Beach, and engage with river otters at Otter Spotter Vista for lasting memories. Behind-the-scenes tours offer insight into operations and highlight animal care and conservation efforts.

The Florida Aquarium presents a perfect blend of education and entertainment for travelers seeking respite between flights in Tampa’s bustling cityscape.

Ybor City


Image Credit: Cloudinary

Ybor City, a historic neighborhood located just a short drive from Tampa International Airport, offers an intriguing glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of Tampa.

Established by Vicente Martinez-Ybor in the late 19th century, was a vibrant cigar manufacturing hub and is now a National Historic Landmark District.

Visitors can immerse themselves in Ybor’s unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment while enjoying its eclectic mix of shops, galleries, restaurants, and nightlife.

Exploring Ybor City enables travelers to gain insight into its fascinating past through various attractions that showcase its multicultural heritage.

The Ybor City Museum State Park comprises several preserved buildings including the Casita or workers’ cottage which provides an intimate look at life during the area’s industrial heyday.

The museum features exhibits detailing Ybor’s founding families and their contributions to the development of both Tampa and Florida.

Beyond the museum grounds, Ybor City showcases architectural gems with ornate wrought-iron balconies and red brick buildings reminiscent of old-world Spain.

Ybor City also entices layover guests with culinary options reflecting its diverse influences ranging from Spanish to Cuban cuisine.

Beyond the museum grounds, Ybor City showcases architectural gems with ornate wrought-iron balconies and red brick buildings reminiscent of old-world Spain.

At night, those seeking live entertainment will find no shortage of venues featuring local bands playing everything from jazz to Latin music or comedy clubs promising laughter-filled evenings.

Exploring Ybor City near Tampa International Airport unveils a wealth of attractions, cultivating a deeper appreciation for this truly special destination.

The Dali Museum


Image Credit: Tripadvisor

Located in St. Petersburg, just a short drive from Tampa International Airport, The Dali Museum houses the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s artwork outside Europe.

This museum is not only renowned for its extensive compilation of surrealist masterpieces but also acclaimed for its distinctive architectural design.

The Dali Museum features over 2,000 works by the famed Spanish artist, encompassing various mediums such as paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and more.

Visitors can delve deep into the creative world of Salvador Dali through his most iconic pieces like ‘The Persistence of Memory’ and ‘Swans Reflecting Elephants’.

The institution offers guided tours led by knowledgeable docents who elucidate on different aspects of Dali’s life and work.

These educational journeys allow guests to gain insights into the mind-bending illusions and thought-provoking symbolism prevalent in his creations.

This museum also boasts an impressive structure designed by architect Yann Weymouth which mirrors the artist’s surrealist influence.

A fusion of concrete geodesic dome comprising 1,062 triangular glass panels creates an awe-inspiring visual experience that complements the exhibits within.

Explore The Dali Museum during a layover at Tampa Airport to enhance cultural understanding and make the most of your time before your next journey.

Clearwater Beach


Image Credit: Beachresortcondos

Clearwater Beach, located just 20 miles west of Tampa International Airport, is a popular destination known for its pristine coastline and recreational activities. With powdery white sands and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico, it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the beach.

The area also features various waterfront restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues, ensuring that travelers can fully immerse themselves in the local culture during their layover.

The award-winning Clearwater Marine Aquarium offers educational experiences on marine life conservation. Visitors can observe rescued dolphins, sea turtles, and other aquatic animals up close while learning about the importance of preserving their natural habitats.

Guided boat tours provide guests with further insights into the region’s diverse marine ecosystem and enable them to appreciate Florida’s coastal beauty from a different perspective.

Maximize your layover outside Tampa International Airport with water-based activities at Clearwater Beach. Jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding are readily available for adventure enthusiasts.

Sunset cruises offer passengers stunning vistas as they sail along the tranquil waters surrounding this coastal gem.

Tampa’s shores offer a plethora of memorable experiences for layover visitors with limited time between flights.

The Chihuly Collection


Image Credit: Sunpalacevacationhomes

For an artistic experience during a layover in Tampa, visitors transitioning from Clearwater Beach should consider visiting The Chihuly Collection.

This stunning exhibition showcases the extraordinary glasswork of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

Located approximately 23 miles away from Tampa International Airport, this museum can be reached via a short drive or by using public transportation.

The Chihuly Collection is housed within the Morean Arts Center in downtown St. Petersburg and offers an immersive visual journey through various installations that highlight Chihuly’s signature style.

Guests are greeted with vibrant colors and intricate designs that have captivated audiences worldwide for decades.

Among these captivating pieces are several large-scale installations such as ‘Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier’ and ‘Mille Fiori,’ which showcase the artist’s unparalleled skill in manipulating glass into breathtaking organic forms.

Visitors who allocate time to appreciate The Chihuly Collection will leave inspired by the magnificent creations on display.

Exploring The Chihuly Collection offers access to nearby attractions like the Dali Museum and Tropicana Field, creating a culturally enriching day trip outside of Tampa Airport during a layover.

Lowry Park Zoo


Image Credit: Enjoyflorida

Consider visiting the Lowry Park Zoo during your layover at Tampa Airport. Established in 1957, this renowned institution spans 63 acres and houses over 1,300 animals. Known for wildlife conservation and education, the zoo provides an opportunity to see diverse species from around the world.

The Lowry Park Zoo features themed areas highlighting unique habitats and ecosystems. Safari Africa offers up-close encounters with elephants, giraffes, zebras, and more. Wallaroo Station provides interactive experiences for young explorers. For aquatic life, explore The Florida Aquarium’s exhibits showcasing native marine species like sea turtles and alligators.

Don’t miss out on visiting the Lowry Park Zoo during a layover at Tampa Airport. Just a short 30-minute drive away, the zoo offers an exceptional opportunity to witness diverse species from around the world and experience interactive exhibits.

Maximize your layover in Tampa Bay by planning ahead: reserve tickets online, arrange transportation with taxis or ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft, and immerse yourself in the biodiversity at Lowry Park Zoo.

Teco Line Streetcar System


Image Credit: Tripadvisor

This historical method of transportation provides an efficient way to traverse downtown Tampa and Ybor City and also offers passengers a glimpse into Florida’s rich past.

Established in 2002 as a heritage trolley system, the TECO Line Streetcar consists of eight replica vintage streetcars that are faithful reproductions of those used during the early twentieth century.

The 2.7-mile route highlights Tampa’s iconic locations, including Ybor City, known as ‘the cigar capital of the world,’ and Channelside Bay Plaza with its shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

As riders travel from one station to another, they will be transported back in time while enjoying modern amenities such as air conditioning and accessibility features for disabled passengers.

The TECO Line Streetcar on a layover offers easy access to other parts of Tampa through nearby public transportation options, eliminating travel hassle.

For instance, there are connections available at several stops along the line that allow seamless transfers to local buses or even Amtrak train services.

Maximize your time in Tampa with convenient streetcars and explore numerous attractions, creating unforgettable memories before continuing your journey.

Raymond James Stadium


Image Credit: Wfla

Raymond James Stadium, located just a short distance from Tampa International Airport, is an ideal destination for travelers with a layover who are interested in sports and entertainment.

The stadium in Tampa Bay has been the home of the NFL’s Buccaneers since 1998, with room for over 65,000 spectators. It’s a great place to catch football games and other special events while in the city.

Raymond James Stadium has unique architectural features including pirate ship murals on the exterior walls and two large video boards inside for fans to enjoy high-definition replays and game updates.

The venue also hosts concerts by internationally renowned artists, college football matchups including the annual Outback Bowl, and various community events throughout the year.

Those visiting on non-event days can take guided tours of this impressive facility to learn about its history and gain behind-the-scenes access to areas typically off-limits to the public.

Travelers visiting Raymond James Stadium should consider transportation options from Tampa International Airport. Rental cars, taxis, Uber, and Lyft offer direct routes, while budget-conscious individuals can use public transit like HART buses or the TECO Line Streetcar System connecting downtown Tampa with nearby neighborhoods.

Visiting Raymond James Stadium during a layover can offer a memorable experience and local cultural insight, regardless of preferred transportation mode.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are designated rest zones with padded seating at Tampa airport, but no designated sleeping areas.

Yes, Tampa airport has multiple lounges, including a Delta Sky Club and an American Airlines Admirals Club.

No, there are no lockers at Tampa International airport. However, there are luggage storage services available.

Yes, there are outdoor seating areas at Tampa airport, including a patio area at Airside F with a smoking area and a view of the airfield.

Similar blogs

Scroll to Top