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The Tampa Bay Area

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Tampa Convention Center

Tampa Convention Center

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Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

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Swamp in Tampa

Swamp in Tampa

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If you seek a destination that's no one-trick pony, the Tampa Bay region is a spot you can't miss. Encompassing an area from Tarpon Springs to Tampa proper and all the way south to Sarasota, it's one of those unsung places as dynamic as it is appealing—and word has definitely started to spread about its charms. With its long list of attractions—from pristine beaches to world-class museums—it's easy to see why.First and foremost, Tampa Bay's beaches are some of the best in the country. Whether you want coarse or fine sand, and whether you seek a mellow day of shelling or a raucous romp on a crowded stretch of waterfront, this place has it all. Of course, you can choose from a range of water activities, including charter fishing, parasailing, sunset cruises, kayaking, and more.The region has its share of boutique districts spotted with shops and sidewalk cafés. Tampa's Hyde Park Village and downtown St. Petersburg's Beach Drive are among the top picks if you're looking to check out some upscale shops and dine alfresco while getting the most of the area's pleasant climate. Vibrant nightlife tops off Tampa Bay's list of assets. Ybor City attracts the club set, and barrier islands like St. Pete Beach offer loads of live music and barefoot dancing into the wee hours.Tampa Bay has lots of family-friendly attractions, too. You can check out Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, to name a few. And art fanatics will find an astonishing array of attractions, including Sarasota's Ringling Museum of Art, St. Petersburg's enrapturing Salvador Dalí and Dale Chihuly collections (both permanent and housed in exquisite new digs), and Tampa's Museum of Art. Come prepared to explore and see for yourself what a compelling, unforgettable place the Tampa Bay area really is.

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Things You Can’t Miss

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Hands-On Fun at Tampa’s MOSI
Hands-On Fun at Tampa’s MOSI

The young — or young at heart — can try the Museum of Science & Industry’s zip line. Explore the science behind natural disasters in Disasterville.

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Image Credit

ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy

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Commune With Nature at Fort De Soto Park
Commune With Nature at Fort De Soto Park

Explore five interconnected islands of mangroves, wetlands and palm hammocks, which provide refuge to loggerhead sea turtles and 328 species of birds.

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Image Credit

Larry Lynch / Alamy

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(Do) Big Cat Rescue
Samantha's Pick (Do) Big Cat Rescue

I always miss my cat whenever I travel. I get my fix at this sanctuary with its beautiful bobcats, tigers, cougars and jaguars. Snuggling is discouraged.

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Image Credit

Niels Busch / Getty Images

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New Air Travel Rules

Review TSA's latest airline regulations and air travel rules, and be prepared the next time you fly.

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Barrier Island Bliss!
Samantha's Pick Barrier Island Bliss!

I love to stay right on St. Pete Beach. No matter what the hotel’s price range is, the beach is the same, with pristine white sand and warm Gulf water.

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Image Credit

Franz Marc Frei / Getty Images

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Common Mistakes When Packing

When packing for your trip, don't overpack. Light travel is much more enjoyable. These travel tips help eliminate items you don't need to keep your luggage in check.

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Find Paradise at Caladesi Island State Park
Find Paradise at Caladesi Island State Park

This completely natural island features what some consider the best beach in the world. As you’ll see, this isn’t the most controversial of opinions.

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Image Credit

Raymond Gehman / Getty Images

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Travel Photographers Share Their Secrets for Memorable Photos

Try these 10 easy tips from the pros on your next vacation.

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Get Up Close at the Florida Aquarium
Get Up Close at the Florida Aquarium

Feeling game? At Florida Aquarium, visitors have the opportunity to put on a wetsuit and go swimming with the 20,000 aquatic plants and animals on show.

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Image Credit

John Coletti / Getty Images

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Take a Safari at Busch Gardens Tampa
Take a Safari at Busch Gardens Tampa

It may be known for its hair-raising rides, but Busch Gardens is also one of the largest zoos in the country. See over 2,000 animals roam the open plains.

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Image Credit

Thomas Damgaard Sabo / Damgaard Photography / Getty Images

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Don’t Miss the 19th Hole at Fox Hollow Golf Club
Don’t Miss the 19th Hole at Fox Hollow Golf Club

A round at the Fox Hollow Golf Club in New Port Richey is best followed with a bite to eat at the course restaurant. Be sure to get a table near a window.

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Image Credit

Medioimages / Photodisc / Getty Images

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Enjoy the Outdoors at Hyde Park Village
Enjoy the Outdoors at Hyde Park Village

There aren’t many places in the U.S. where an open-air shopping mall could thrive, but Tampa just happens to have perfect weather all the time. Embrace it.

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Image Credit

Paper Boat Creative / Getty Images

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