Car hire in Tampa
Hiring a car in Tampa
Sprawling Tampa may look like many other cities at first glance, with its busy commuters, buzzing atmosphere and shiny skyscrapers. However, the businesslike side of Tampa is just the initial facade, as the city is actually fast becoming one of the most stylish places to visit in Florida.
With numerous museums, gorgeous green parks and contemporary buildings mixing with older architecture, there is plenty of culture to soak up. If you love good food, you also won't be disappointed as trendy new restaurants offering gourmet cuisine keep popping up.
There are also lots of opportunities for day trips, allowing you to see more of this area of the USA. This is why hiring a car in Tampa is such a good idea.
What you need to know
You're sure to be able to find the right car for your holiday in Tampa as there are nine different car rental companies to choose from. The majority of firms are rated as being 'excellent', so you know you'll get great service.
It is easy to book your car when you use Holiday Autos' booking tool, as this will show you all the cars that are available during your holiday. Our booking engine displays how much your rental car will cost without any hidden charges. You'll also get free amendments and cancellations, and around the clock support without having to pay any card fees.
Where to pick up your car
Picking up your hire car couldn't be easier, as you can do so as soon as you've landed at the airport. Several car hire firms operate at Tampa International Airport (TMP) so you are able to collect your luggage and just go. Many of the car hire companies have desks in the arrivals hall so you shouldn't have any trouble finding them. Others offer free shuttle buses to their offices.
You can also arrange to collect your car at other points in the city, but there is not as much choice if you choose to do this.
Wherever you want to pick up your car, make sure you book it in advance as this will ensure you get the right vehicle. You'll also find it much cheaper than arranging car hire once you arrive in Tampa.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Tampa offers the chance to enjoy some attractions that are suitable for the whole family and hiring a car will allow you to fit as much into your trip as possible. You can head to an adventure park to spend a day in the sunshine riding roller coasters, get up close and personal to wildlife, or learn about Tampa at a museum. There are numerous historical sites to visit, both in the city and further afield.
Of course, you can also take a day out from exploring and just lounge on one of the gorgeous beaches dotted along the city's coast. The white sand, bright blue water and palm trees will make you feel like you're in a tropical paradise and then you can head straight back into the city. With the freedom that car hire provides you with, Tampa really is your oyster.
A great day out for everyone is only around 30 minutes away from the centre of Tampa via the 40th Street. Busch Gardens is a huge entertainment and adventure park with an exciting Africa theme. Here you'll find live music, rides and a collection of exotic animals that are housed in environments that mimic their natural settings. There is a lot to do so make sure you dedicate a full day to exploring the park.
It may seem strange to head out on a drive simply to see and cross a bridge, but the sunshine Skyway is definitely worth the short journey to Tampa Bay. The 12 mile-long bridge essentially looks like a motorway on stilts, the middle section of which arches up to allow ships to pass beneath it. This design feature was created when a cargo ship crashed into the old bridge in 1980, causing a section of it to collapse. As well as being iconic, the Sunshine Skyway offers amazing views as you drive across it.
Big and little kids alike will be happy to know that Tampa is just over an hour away from both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, allowing you to visit one or both during your stay. No matter which you choose to go to, you'll get to enjoy thrilling rides and meet some of your favourite characters. If you want to skip the lines, book entrance into the park in advance and invest in a fast-track ticket.
If you have an interest in the USA's space race, you can't miss out on visiting the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Station. Around two hours away via I-4 E, the centre is the site of numerous shuttle launches. You'll also find the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which has some great displays for you to learn more about NASA and the space projects undertaken in the country.
Top attractions to visit in Tampa
While Tampa may seem like a city that is all business, you'll find plenty of attractions to visit, especially if you have a hire car at the ready.
Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center
The Manatee Center at Apollo Beach is situated right opposite the Tampa Electric power plant. The plant produces warm water, which attracts the manatees to the beach and allows you to see them reasonably up close at the viewing centre. Sometimes there will be a lot of manatees in the area - especially if the surrounding water is cold - but it can be hit and miss. However, it is definitely worth seeing if any of the animals are swimming around while you're in Tampa.
One of the most beautiful historic buildings in the city is Tampa Theatre. This stunning movie palace was constructed in the 1920s and incorporates various architectural styles to create a unique and luxurious building. The cinema shows old and new films but seeing a classic is the perfect way to fully appreciate this building.
Tampa Bay Historical Center
Learn all about the rich history of Tampa at this museum, which has exhibits featuring finds dating back 12,000 years. This fascinating centre is incredibly interesting, so make sure you dedicate a good amount of time to your visit. As well as the historical exhibitions, you'll also find a temporary gallery that allows you to see fresh things each time you go.
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