Hiring a car in Tampa

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Hiring a car in Tampa

As soon as you pick up your rental car in Tampa, you can hit the wide, open, fun-bound road – no matter which direction you head in.

60-second guide to Tampa

In its own head...

"Orlando might have slightly more amusement parks, but does it have miles of golden sandy beaches? No. So come to Tampa, the best place in Florida for a fun family holiday!"

...but more realistically

Indeed, for a wholesome holiday for all the family you can't go far wrong. As well as the beaches there's the gargantuan theme park Busch Gardens. And as for Disney World? It's just a 90-minute drive away.

The vibe

It's America, the vibe is, as always, seriously up-tempo and defined by good, clean fun.

The natives

Imagine an enthusiastic British welcome. Now times it by a hundred and you’re 50 per cent of the way toward the sort of upbeat welcome you can expect in Tampa.

The weather

Winters can be pleasant and mild, but it gets swelteringly hot and humid during the summer. Rent a car with air conditioning to keep you cool as you drive between attractions.

The local speciality

Like all US cities, the choices are diverse. Want burger and chips? You got it! Want it double the size you'd get in the UK? You got that too!

The celebrity

Wrestling legend and star of the much-forgotten film Mr Nanny, the one and only Hulk Hogan hails from Tampa.

Did you know?

Tampa is commonly regarded as the birthplace of Death Metal, a music style just as sweeping and majestic as the name suggests.

They say...

“Encompassing an area from Tarpon Springs to Tampa proper and all the way south to Sarasota, it's one of those unsung places that's as dynamic as it is appealing.” – Fodor’s

5 to see in town...

1. Busch Gardens

Florida, of course, is not short on theme parks, and this African-themed one is certainly up there with anything Mr Disney can muster. The Montu rollercoaster comes with a warning sticker. Insaniacs only.

Where to park:

There's an on-site car park that holds a whopping 5,000 cars. It costs $10 a day.

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2. Big Cat Rescue

No, not overfed domestic cats, but the much more impressive lions, tigers, leopards and other beasts of the jungle. See them all here.

Where to park:

There's free on-site parking for your hire car.

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3. Adventure Island

This enormous and appropriately-named water park boasts swimming pools, pretend waterfalls and a thrilling ride called Sky Drop.

Where to park:

The park's very own car park costs $7 for the day.

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4. Bayshore Boulevard

With over four miles of continuous water-fringed pavement - the world's longest - you have a great opportunity for an invigorating stroll. As long as you don't get run over by a roller-blader.

Where to park:

Metered street parking and car parks are available all the way along the four miles of the Boulevard so just take your pick.

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5. Dinosaur World

Another theme park, this one educational and fun, with more than a little bit of Jurassic Park about it. There are over 100 life size dinosaurs to scare the bejesus out of the little ones.

Where to park:

Park your hire car in the free on-site car park.

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and 4 to drive to...

1. Disney World

You've thundered around rollercoasters, stared agog at mighty lions sweeping across landscapes. Now it's time to get your quota of Disney fun at this legendary theme park.

How to get there:

It's a 90-minute trip from Tampa. Take the I-4 north east to Disney World. You can't miss it.

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2. Hillsborough River State Park

In Britain, parks are used primarily for exercising dogs. Here you can go camping, do a spot of enthusiastic canoeing or tuck greedily into a tasty picnic. Your choice.

How to get there:

Go east on the I-4 then north-east on US-301. It should take around half an hour to get there.

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3. Babe Zaharias Golf Course

Named after a lady athlete who was so good that she won a couple of Olympic gold medals for track and field, then excelled at both golf and basketball. A mecca for keen golfers.

how to get there:

Just a 15-minute journey north from downtown. Take the I-275.

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4. Davis Island

After all the grand theme parks, grab yourself a cappuccino in one of the many pleasant sidewalk restaurants in this Tampa annexe and watch real Floridians go by.

How to get there:

Head south on N Nebraska Ave/SR-45 and continue on past Davis Islands Bridge. It should take around 15 minutes.

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