Destination Guide: Florida Northwest

Notable Cities in Florida Northwest: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Ruskin, Clearwater


This region of Florida is one of the most easygoing and culturally diverse parts of the state, with beaches, a rich art district and amusement parks to boot. If you enjoy a mixed bag of activities for your vacation, Florida Northwest can provide you entirely new experiences with every journey.

Must-See Attractions

Busch Gardens Tampa
Consistently one of the top amusement parks in the country, Busch Gardens Tampa contains almost 300 acres of unfiltered fun and entertainment. Their vast roller coaster and ride collection covers every level of thrill and you can even watch one of their many stage shows. Oh, and the park is also home to one of the biggest zoos in the country, housing more than 12,000 animals.

Photo credit: Dave Parkinson, Lowry Park Zoo docent.

Photo credit: Dave Parkinson, Lowry Park Zoo docent.

Lowry Park Zoo
Speaking of zoos, this is one of Tampa’s main attraction, especially if you have kids. Lions, monkeys, koalas, elephants, parrots and more make up the zoo’s diverse population. Even better, you can find hands-on exhibits where you can interact with the animals. When it comes to having an educational and immersive zoo experience, you won’t find much better than Lowry Park Zoo.

Tampa Bay History Center
We’ve never heard of anyone wanting to go to Tampa for the history, but this history center could have that effect on you. The building sits on a peaceful waterfront location and once you’re inside, you’re met with vibrant exhibits that covering thousands of years of Tampa history. You’ll find information from Tampa’s first ever inhabitants, their cigar industry in a classic cigar store setting and cattle ranching. It’s immersive, entertaining and you’ll learn something!

Photo courtesy of St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area CVB.

Photo credit: St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area CVB.

Caladesi Island
Named among the top beach destinations by Trip Advisor for 2014, Caladesi Island is just a 20 minute ferry ride from Honeymoon Island (which you should also check out), 20 minutes west of Dunedin. Take a walk on the three-mile nature trail or the adventurous three-mile kayaking trail surrounded by mangrove trees. You’ll find an abundance of wildlife and an active ecosystem, making this one of the only entirely natural islands you’ll find along the Florida Gulf Coast.

Also Try…

Festivals and Events

Photo credit: Outback Bowl/Steve Jacobson.

Photo credit: Outback Bowl/Steve Jacobson.


  • It can get hot in Tampa, but it has never hit 100 degrees.
  • Babe Ruth hit the longest homerun of his career at Plant Field in Tampa. It rocketed 587 feet out of the stadium in a preseason game.
  • Florida’s first industrial district came about from a cigar manufacturer in Ybor City.

Suggested Resorts

  • Beso Del Sol Resort
  • Madeira Bay Resort
  • The Palms Resort
  • Barefoot Beach Resort

Member Feedback


Photo credit: Member Bernie C.

Corey is a writer from Overland Park, KS, and has been with Global Discovery Vacations since September 2013. Once a sportswriter, he traveled the country and became proficient in airport security line etiquette and leaving items in hotel rooms.

4 thoughts on “Destination Guide: Florida Northwest

  1. We were told the Southern area of Florida was booked up was booked up. We were very disappointed I guess we need to make reservations a yeR in advance.

    • Hi Lenore,

      We’re sorry to hear that and we hope you’re able to book something in the near future. That is one of our more popular destinations, so we do suggest booking as early as possible.

      -Happy Travels

  2. Hello I am interested in getting a condo orvacation rental immediately in Kissimmee Florida or Orlamdo with option to buy. Of you could help that would be great. Just two momths ago we stayed at villas at island club and hoping to stay now. Any help accommplishing the mission? Thanks Tamara Twaite I will be calling membet setvices in the am just thought you might be able to help us faster

    • Hi Tamara,

      We appreciate you taking the time to message us, but only our Condominium Reservation department has the ability to book resorts. You can reach them today from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST at 866-467-9007.

      We removed your personal information in this comment for your privacy.

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