Tampa Car Rental
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Located on the western coast of Florida, Tampa is often overlooked in favor of its flashier siblings- Miami and Orlando. However, this town boasts a unique culture infused with Spanish, Italian, Seminole, and Cuban flavors. Renting a car in Tampa is the easiest way to explore the Tampa Bay region, which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater.
With Enjoy Travel, you can rent a car in Tampa from as little as $5.39 per day, with average rental prices just $36.60 per day. The most popular rental cars to cruise around Tampa is a compact crossover SUV such as a Jeep Compass - all the control and comfort without the bulk. Rent a car with Enjoy Travel in advance to ensure your Florida experience is totally seamless.
Guide to Tampa
With a population of around 400,000 Floridians, Tampa is the third-most populous city in the Gulf state. Although Florida is famous for its hot, humid weather, Tampa keeps things spicy by throwing in the occasional fierce thunderstorm, especially during the summer. Tampa is the third-largest state known historically for its cigar-making. This Gulf of Mexico-based city has plenty to offer, from. Tampa also sees an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, so even despite the odd storm you’ll have plenty of chances to laze by the waterfront. Plus, Tampa is only 30 minutes away from some of Florida’s best beaches, making the perfect place to base your vacation.
A fun fact about Tampa is that it has gone through several name changes. It was originally called Bahía de Espíritu Santo (Bay of the Holy Spirit) by the Spanish pilgrims and that was then changed to Bahía Tampa (Tampa Bay) in 1576. Three hundred years later, it was re-christened 'Tampa Town' before finally being shortened to simply 'Tampa' as we know it today. The immigrants who arrived in Tampa were known as "Tampeños" (or "Tampeñas" for females) regardless of their ethnic background, and their descendants today are generally called "Tampans" or "Tampanians". Now the city has the nickname ‘Cigar City’ due to its history of cigar making.
The typical Tampanian can be found lounging on beaches that overlook the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, taking a couple of shots of tequila with friends in the evenings, enjoying the lovely Lettuce Lake Park with large families and larger picnic baskets, dressing up to attend an opera performance at the Straz Center, or cheering for their favorite pro football or hockey team. One minute you’ll be strolling along the waterfront and the next you’ll be screaming at an amusement park - Tampa has so much to offer.
What to do in Tampa
Start your morning with a brisk jog along The Riverwalk, which spans 2.6 miles along the Hillsborough River. This is the perfect place to see a slice of Tampa in action. If you're traveling with kids, make sure to stop by the Glazer Children's Museum along the riverside. On the other side of Hillsborough Bay is Bayshore Boulevard. You can stroll, run, bike, cycle, roller-blade, and skate along this 4.5-mile pathway here just as well as you could on The Riverwalk. The difference, however, is that your view will be that of multi-million-dollar mansions. Fresh air never looked more stylish.
One of Tampa's iconic attractions is the Henry B. Plant Museum. Henry B. Plant was a magnate and inventor who could be credited for single-handedly catalyzing Tampa's rise from a sleepy beach town to a buzzing metropolis because of his ingenious railway system, which he built in the late 1800s. Due to the ease of transport, Tampa became an industrial powerhouse that specialised in cigars.
Made famous by the wildly popular Netflix-hit, Tiger King, the Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary and rehabilitation center for large felines, including lions, tigers, bobcats, panthers, cougars, leopards, jaguars, and lynx, among several other species. This non-profit organization’s mission is to care for neglected or abandoned wildcats, advocate against the trade of big cats in the continental United States, and educate people about the different feline species. The best time to visit is at night because that's usually when the cats are active and feeding. Due to Tiger King's popularity, there have been non-stop visitors to the Big Cat Rescue so we recommend booking in advance. You may have to shell out a pretty penny (up to $125 per person) but guests believe it to be more than worth it.
One of the best things to do on a hot day in Tampa is to head to Busch Gardens, one of North America's top amusement parks. Infamous for their dizzying "dive coaster" which drops 200-foot at 70 miles per hour, the three-minute ride will leave you speechless and exhilarated. Inspired by the African terrain, Busch Gardens also offers reproductions of the Serengeti Plain and Myombe Reserve, where you can see exotic animals in their "natural" environment. Night safaris are especially popular. Fun fact- The Busch Gardens is, in fact, older than the world-famous Walt Disney World in nearby Orlando!
Eating out in Tampa
One of Florida's oldest, best-known eateries also happens to be the world's largest Spanish restaurant. This family-run place has been serving some of the nation's best Spanish and Cuban fare since 1905. Thought a visit to this restaurant is going to treat only your taste buds? Think again because dinner is accompanied by a vibrant Flamenco dance show every evening (except on Sundays). What started out as a corner cafe serving coffee and Cuban sandwiches now dominates an entire city block in Ybor City, the restaurants' best-known location. The most popular, time-tested dish on the menu is, well, you guessed it- the Cuban sandwich. Advance booking is highly recommended because Columbia is booked up every single night.
One of Tampa's finest four-star establishments, Donatello has been serving authentic Italian cuisine since 1984. Pairing old-school sophistication with impeccable hospitality, owners Guido and Gino Tiozzo have ensured that every single detail about the restaurant was thoughtfully designed, whether it is the valet service, bouquets of roses on the tables, soft lighting, tuxedo-clad waiters, gold leaf ceiling tiles, or the after-dinner drink set to sensuous jazz tracks in the lounge. Donatello is, without doubt, the perfect setting for a romantic night out with a loved one. The menu includes all the classic Italian items. Make sure to try the escargot-stuffed mushrooms, creamy sausage-filled tortellini, and the Agnolotti a La Creme. The knowledgeable waiters will be able to make excellent recommendations for wines to pair with your dinner. For dessert, the Cannelloni Donatello is sure to please. Prices are on the higher side, but patrons consistently rank Donatello highly for service, food, and value.
Tampa Bay Brewing Company
Another family-run favorite on the list is Tampa Bay Brewing, a stylish microbrewery located on the plaza level of Centro Ybor. They have 8 beers that are available year-round, and 38 seasonal beers. If you can't choose between all the options, you don't have to! Just ask for a flight of six house-brewed specialties. Although this is a brewhouse, their food arguably steals the spotlight because guests rave about their award-winning cider chicken wings, spicy curry mussels, beer cheese soup, and Stout Iron Rat Shepherd's Pie. These are so famous and well-loved that they've actually been featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" show. It goes without saying that their beers pair excellently with their inspired food offerings. On a sweltering Tampa afternoon, there's no better place to be than on the open-air patio at the Tampa Bay Brewing with a cold brew in your hand.
Transport in Tampa
The city of Tampa is served by Tampa International Airport (TPA), located 6 miles from the city center. The airport welcomes both domestic and international flights. Some of the domestic carriers include Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Spirit Airlines. Tampa Airport is connected to international destinations across North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe by British Airways, Air Canada, and Lufthansa.
Some of the amenities within Tampa Airport include free Wi-Fi, cell phone charging ports, shuttle service between terminals, real-time flight information, touch screen information kiosks, and travelers aid services. In June 2012, a food court was opened to feature some of the city's most distinctive restaurants, and guess which iconic eatery was selected? The Ybor City Columbia Restaurant!
At the southwestern edge of the airport is the brand new 2.6-million-square-feet Rental Car Center. If you've arrived at the main terminals (A, C, E, and F), just hop on the SkyConnect to reach the Center. Enjoy Travel is available for pre-booking to ensure that your trip to Tampa is seamless. With over 5000 options of cars available, there's a car for every purpose and at every price point. Setting off from Tampa, you can drive to beautiful Florida destinations such as St Petersburg and Clearwater.
When driving in Tampa, remember that the maximum speed limit in Florida and Tampa is 55 MPH unless otherwise signposted.