50 Summer Bucket List Dates in Tampa Bay

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50 Summer Bucket List Dates in Tampa Bay

 

 

Tampa Bay's summer season is quickly coming to a close…holding out the hope for cooler (maybe) fall temperatures, pumpkin spice everything, and some incredible Labor Day and Fall Festival things to do!

 

But before summer finally wraps up, check out 50 pretty amazing ideas of things to do in Tampa Bay, St. Pete, Clearwater and beyond this summer!

 

1. See a classic movie at Tampa Theatre

On select dates now through August, see a wide variety of classic films in one of the country’s best-preserved movie palaces as part of Tampa Theatre's Summer Classics Movie Series. Date night highlights include Jurassic Park, Some Like it Hot, and Casablanca. Silent films in the series (The Gold Rush, The Black Pirate) will feature live musical accompaniment on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ.

 

2. Go tubing in a natural spring

If you’re up for a summer day trip, make the trek to Rainbow Springs State Park, KP Hole or Ichetucknee Springs where you can tube in refreshingly cool spring water for hours. Or, check out one of these must-visit Florida tubing destinations. Just be aware that the parks close once they reach capacity, almost a guarantee on summer weekends.

 

3. Spend the day at a local resort pool

Did you know you can visit several Tampa Bay hotel pools without an overnight stay? Just purchase a day pass through ResortPass and enjoy the amenities for the day without booking a room. Some of our favorite options include The Don CeSar, Epicurean Hotel and Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach.  (Hint:  We also put together a guide to Tampa's coolest hotel pools, which includes day pass options alongside pools that are exclusive to overnight guests.)

 

Summer date ideas in Tampa Bay
Image credit: Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach

 

4. Take a sunset cruise

Beat the heat by booking an evening sunset cruise. There are loads of options throughout Tampa ranging from full-blown dinner cruises to BYOB floating tiki bar tours and dolphin watching excursions.

 

5. Visit the Florida Aquarium

Get in touch with your inner kid by spending a day admiring sea creatures at The Florida Aquarium. This downtown Tampa aquarium has a variety of exhibits include aquatic animals like fish, sharks, penguins, turtles, seahorses and more. Add-on experiences invite you backstage with penguins or on a dolphin cruise.

 

6. See a movie at the drive-in

Pack snacks and park the car for an old school date night at the local drive-in. Multiple drive-in move theaters are accessible from Tampa including Funlan Drive-In, Ruskin Family Drive-In, and the Silver Moon Drive-In in Lakeland, just 30 minutes away.

 

7. Go kayaking at night

Kayaking will never be the same once you've experienced it after dark. Take a road trip to Florida's Space Coast to experience the phenomenon of bioluminescence, which is only active in the summer months and is best viewed during a new moon phase. Or, stay local with a moonlight paddle on the Little Manatee River with Canoe Outpost – Little Manatee River.

 

Summer date ideas - Bioluminescent Kayaking
Image credit: A Day Away Kayak Tours

 

8. Try scalloping

The 2021 scalloping season in Tampa Bay kicks off July 1 and lasts through September 24, 2021. Pasco County’s two-week season opens July 16-25, 2021. This underwater treasure hunt for the quick moving mollusks is an activity even kids can participate in as you mostly focus in the shallow water. Make this summer the year you finally give it a try!

 

9. Cool down with a frozen treat

Popsicles, boozy desserts, and ice cream are the key to surviving Tampa's steamy summers. Cool down with gourmet ice pops from The Hyppo, combine drinks and dessert with Beans and Barlour's boozy desserts, and savor scoops of homemade gelato. Check out our favorite Tampa Bay dessert spots.

 

10. Plan a DIY Armature Works food crawl

Located in the Tampa Heights neighborhood, Armature Works is a public market and food hall. We love the waterfront setting, rooftop bar, multiple food vendors, and large outdoor areas for eating and mingling. For a memorable date, stop at a different food vendor to pick up appetizers, drinks, entrees and dessert.

 

11. Share an ice cream flight

Don't stop at one scoop of ice cream. Sample multiple flavors in an Instagram-worthy sampler box from Revolution Ice Cream. Mix and match scoops to indulge in an assortment of flavors like Drunken Brownies, Hotcakes, and Eurotrash.

 

Revolution Ice Cream sampler - Tampa Bay dessert spots
Image credit: The Revolution Ice Cream Co.

 

 

12. Dine on the Yacht Starship

Departing from Tampa and Clearwater, each tour is an all-inclusive evening aboard a stylish dining yacht. Besides enjoying a 2.5-hour cruise with romantic sunset views, you’ll also be treated to a 3-course meal, open bar (beer and wine) and plenty of time for dancing.

 

13. Check out Summer Nights at Busch Gardens

Get your thrills after dark by heading to Tampa's Busch Gardens for Summer Nights. Through September 6, the park will stay open late allowing you to experience your favorite rides after dark. Other perks include entertainment, specialty food and drink (including glow in the dark cocktails), weekend fireworks and more.

 

14. Go on a Brewery Hop

There's no shortage of craft breweries throughout Tampa Bay, and the best way to see them is to plan a DIY brewery crawl. Pick an area and visit a few new-to-you breweries. Here are a few of our favorites in Tampa and St. Pete.

 

15. Zip line after dark

You don't have to wait until fall to check out one of Tampa Bay's best places to go zip lining. Empower Adventures offers sunset zip line tours every weekend providing a unique view of our gorgeous Tampa sunsets. Or, try a combo course including zip lines and aerial challenges at TreeHoppers Aerial Zip Line Adventure Park, which stays open late until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

Zip Lining in Tampa Bay - Treehoppers
Image credit: Treehoppers Aerial Adventure Park

 

16. Try indoor skydiving

Feeling adventurous, but not quite ready to jump out of an airplane? Indoor skydiving is the perfect date for you. iFLY Tampa invites you to experience the same rush of skydiving within a wind tunnel with an expert instructor by your side.

 

17. Book a staycation

You don't need to leave your zip code for a romantic getaway with your love. Plenty of Tampa Bay hotels and resorts are offering summer deals and packages with serious perks.

 

18. Go glamping at Lake Louisa State Park

Plan a weekend in nature camping with a twist. Lake Louisa State Park's glamping tents include cooling units, a plush queen bed, outlets and more. Cozy details will make you feel right at home, while the temperature control units provide reprieve from the summer temperatures. Get the full scoop on this experience here.

 

Summer bucket list - Go glamping at Lake Louisa State Park outside of Orlando
Image credit: Beth Bell

 

19. Take a day trip to Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-do this summer, even if you’ve visited in the past. Walk among rockets, see the space shuttle Atlantis and Saturn V rocket, be amazed at stunning IMAX films and check out the Heroes & Legends exhibit. Take this summer date idea to the next level by planning your visit to coincide with a rocket launch.

 

20. See an outdoor movie or concert

Pack a blanket and chairs for a free screening of an outdoor movie or live concert this summer. The Gulfport Historical Society has launched a free family-friendly Florida Summer Cinema Series through September. Pair your movie with a date night dinner at Pia's for added romance.

Free outdoor Rock the Park concerts occur on the first Thursday of each month at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and The Straz also has a lineup of free Live & Local concerts featuring local Tampa Bay artists each month.

 

21. Explore Disney after dark during Disney After Hours

Ever wished you could visit Magic Kingdom without the crowds? Late this summer, you'll be able to experience Disney After Hours Boo Bash at Magic Kingdom. This 3-hour event is available select nights August 10 – October 31, 2021. Enjoy Halloween-themed fun, Character sightings, specialty food and beverages, entertainment and more. Adults are even allowed to wear costumes during this event. Tickets start at $129.

 

22. Embark on a drive-thru safari

Get up close and personal with exotic animals without leaving the comfort of your car's air conditioning. Wild Florida, located about an hour and 45 minutes from Tampa, recently doubled the size of its popular drive-thru safari. Throughout the four-mile expedition set on 170 acres, spot 150+ animals and even add on a stop to hand feed giraffes. Stick around to visit the Gator Park afterwards, which is included with the safari park admission cost.

Alternatively, Safari Wilderness is a 260-acre wildlife area in Lakeland where exotic animals roam free. While you can't drive through in your own car, there are guided safari tours in an open-air vehicle with a canopy over top to keep you cool.

 

Image credit: Wild Florida

 

 

23. Attend a night market

For a summer date idea that won't break the bank, visit a local nighttime street festival or art walk after dark. Try St. Pete’s Second Saturday ArtWalk for an after-hours visit to multiple art galleries. Or, find food truck fare and live music at 3rd Thursday Tampa and peruse goods from local artisans at the Heights Night Market on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

 

24. Have a food truck date

Enjoy a trifecta of food trucks, cocktails and live music at 3rd Thursday Tampa, a monthly food truck street festival taking place in Downtown Tampa’s Channel District. You’ll typically find 15+ food trucks set up at each event, which takes place at the Grand Central at Kennedy.

 

25. Spend the day at Keel Farms

Head to Plant City for an afternoon well spent at Keel Farms, a brewery, winery and restaurant all in one. Wander through the vines, sip craft beer and wines made onsite, or attend one of the farm's fun events like sunset yoga.

 

26. Plan a St. Pete Pier date

The revitalized St. Pete Pier reopened to much fanfare in July of 2020. Situated along the waters of Tampa Bay, the Pier is ideal for picnicking, biking, relaxing, waterfront dining and so much more. Check it out on your next date night with our guide to date night at the St. Pete Pier.

 

Best Ways to do Date Night at the St. Pete Pier
Image credit: Kiva Williams

 

 

27. Go on a Sunrise to Sunset Road Trip

Where else can you soak up the sunrise on one coast and then drive to another to drink up the sunset, all in the span of one day? Thank’s to Florida’s peninsular shape and relatively narrow width, you can experience a truly unique sunrise to sunset road trip from coast to coast. For maximum enjoyment, consider making this a two-night venture by booking a hotel on the east coast and another on the west coast. Follow our itinerary for a road trip from Cocoa Beach to Clearwater.

 

28. Spend the Day at The Dali

Experience the awe-inspiring surrealist works of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí at The Dalí Museum in St. Pete. The waterfront setting, artful café and impressive collection make for an awesome day date sure to spark creativity and connection. Oh and, the AC helps, too.

 

Dalí Museum staircase St. Pete
Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

 

29. Book a couples' spa day

Make this the summer of relaxation with a unique treatment designed with couples in mind at a Tampa Bay area spa. Book wine-inspired bliss at Spa Evangeline, unwind with a custom playlist and feel the bass through the massage table at The Rock Spa & Salon, or release stress together side by side in a spa suite at Spa Jardin.

 

30. Check out a rooftop bar

Nothing says summer date night like watching the sun set over the downtown skyline or the ocean. Take the stairs or elevator up a few floors to one of these rooftop bars in Tampa Bay and see the city from a different angle while enjoying a drink or two.

 

31. Fairgrounds St. Pete

An exact opening date has yet to be announced for Fairgrounds St. Pete. But this exciting new immersive art experience and choose your own adventure-style exhibition will definitely be opening in 2021, and hopefully soon! You can sign up for alerts on the Fairgrounds website.

 

32. Watch a Tampa Bay Sunset

One of the best things about living in Tampa is getting to experience all of the incredible sunsets. Our guide to the best places to watch one includes local parks, restaurants, bars and more.

 

Where to Watch a Sunset in Tampa Bay
Photo Credit: Pier 60

 

 

33. Check out an Escape Room

Put your problem solving skills to the test as you work to solve mysteries and decode clues to escape your themed room before your designated time is up. Our Guide to Local Escape Rooms includes six mind-bending options.

 

34. Explore Local Attractions with CityPASS

CityPASS is a ticket experience you can purchase online to enjoy multiple attractions across Tampa Bay. Each pass includes admission to five popular local attractions, including indoor spots like The Florida Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, MOSI, and more. Other options include Busch Gardens, a sunset cruise, dolphin cruise and ZooTampa.

 

35. Peruse Mazzaro's Italian Market

If you and your partner are dreaming of Italy, travel to Mazarro’s Italian Market to stock up on all of the Italian goodies you need for an Italy-themed date night at home.

Mazzaro's Italian Market St. Pete
Image credit: Mazzaro's Italian Market

 

 

36. Check out a local book club

If you and your partner are bookish types, join a local book club! A few of our favorite options include Oxford Exchange's monthly book club and Book + Bottle's new nonfiction book club on the third Wednesday of each month (there's also a fiction option).

 

37. Go Indoor Rock Climbing

Ready to try something new and adventurous? Vertical Ventures St. Pete is a 20,000 square foot indoor rock climbing gym with routes up to 40 feet tall. Memberships are available if you fall in love with the experience and want to make it a regular date night challenge.

 

38. Visit a museum

Go artsy with a visit to Tampa Museum of Art, which offers pay-what-you-will admission every Thursday. Go quirky with the surrealist works on display at The Dalí or by spending a day at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. Or, enjoy hands on fun at MOSI which hosts periodic adults-only nights at the museum.

 

39. Book a backstage encounter at the zoo

Beat the heat and explore the zoo with a behind the scenes tour early in the day. Secrets of the Zoo (final event on June 26) offers early morning backstage access. Other morning events include Breakfast in the Wild (July 17 and August 14) and special animal yoga events.

Summer date ideas in Tampa - Breakfast with animals at ZooTampa
Image credit: ZooTampa

 

 

40. Check out a local cooking class

Taking a cooking class together is a great way to level up your date nights at home. Our top cooking class picks include The Epicurean Theatre's events with top chefs, Sur La Table in Hyde Park Village and the Publix Aprons Cooking School of Citrus Park, which offers monthly hands-on style cooking classes for couples.

 

41. Enjoy an adults-only night at MOSI

Enjoy after-hours access to MOSI just for adults during Science After Dark. This event includes a night of exploring the exhibits while sipping beer and wine and noshing on food samples. Check out the events calendar here for upcoming event info and tickets.

 

44. Take a Day Trip to Disney and see the fireworks

Disney fireworks are officially BACK at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT beginning July 1, 2021. If you've got an annual pass, then consider spending half of the day at a local Orlando resort pool near the parks that offers day passes through ResortPass (like Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin). Then, hit the parks in the late afternoon and stick around for the nighttime fireworks finale. You don't even have to enter the parks to see the fireworks! Here are our favorite vantage points outside the parks.

 

45. Do a TECO Line Crawl

The TECO Streetcar is a convenient and free way to get around Ybor, Channelside and parts of downtown. The 2.7-mile route gives you hop on, hop off access that’ll plant you within walking distance of stops like the Ybor City Museum, The Florida Aquarium, Sparkman Wharf, and Amalie Arena. Take a look at the route and plan your own DIY crawl hopping on and off to sightsee like tourists in your own city.

Image credit: TECO Streetcar

 

 

46. Spend the day at a local waterpark

Nothing says summer like a day spent splishing and splashing at a waterpark. Book a day at Adventure Island to laugh your way down waterslides, float in the lazy river, or just lounge by the water. Check out the park's brand new waterslide, Solar Vortex, which offers a thrilling raft ride experience.

 

47. See a show at The Straz

Tampa’s top performing arts center has a lineup of free outdoor concerts featuring live musicians, theatre performances, comedians and more this summer. Check out what’s on the calendar.

 

48. Go ice skating

Who says you have to wait until the holiday season to go ice skating? TGH Ice Plex, AdventHealth Center Ice and Tampa Bay Skating Academy (3 locations) all offer ice skating sessions year round.

 

49. Plan a drivecation

It's not summer without at least one vacation! But you don't need to board an airplane this summer; plan a drivecation to explore new-to-you corners of Florida instead. Or, escape the state to head to Georgia, the Carolinas, or Tennessee, which are all totally doable road trips.

 

50. Join the fun at Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival

Nearly every night of the year visitors, street performers, and artisans gather for this lively sunset celebration on Clearwater Beach that’s a must anytime you’re in the area. The celebration kicks off two hours prior to sunset and continues for another two hours post sunset.

 

 

Feature image credit: Pier Teaki

More summer date ideas:

 

 

 


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