Tampa getaway in November??

Jul 18th, 2006, 04:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 141
Tampa getaway in November??

My husband and I are planning a 3 night getaway in Tampa, leaving Nov 21 and returning Nov 24th. I am undecided about staying in Tampa City vs one of the nearby beaches (Clearwater, St petersburg). We plan to visit Busch Gardens, and the Aquarium and as well as enjoy some good nightlife. I would love to be able to relax at the beach in the mornings and head out for fun during the afternoon, but from what I have read the weather does not seem to be that warm in November. We also do not want to rent a car for such a short weekend. IF we decide to stay in Tampa City will we still need a car???

Thanks for your suggestions

louise1928 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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If you want to stay in Tampa, then you will need a car to go to the beach, as I'm sure a taxi is too much.

If you stay downtown Tampa and don't go to the beach, then you probably wont need a taxi. The hotels may have shuttle service to/from Busch gardens and the airport. Also, there is a trolley that goes around downtown and to the Aquarium. We stayed at the Marriot Channelside and loved it. Very nice hotel. Ybor City is a few blocks away (clubs/bars) and all the other Channelside restaurants are nearby.
alliegator is offline  
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:41 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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A really fun trip is out to Caladesi Island. You drive from Tampa over to Dunedin, and park at Honeymoon Island State Park. You take a boat shuttle over to Caladesi ($8 a person I think for a round trip ticket). Then you can hang out and enjoy the beach - it was just named the second best natural beach in Florida. It will be quiet and not alot of people. Plus there's some hiking and even a concession stand for snacks.


Or, you could just visit Clearwater Beach, which is wonderful - white white sand, great to walk on in your bare feet.

I think you should get a car, it will make your trip much more enjoyable.

Perhaps a good location would be the Grand Hyatt near the airport? That way you're only 15 minutes to the beach and about 20 minutes to Busch Gardens? It's a wonderful hotel, one of the best in the area, plus it's right on the bay (not really swimming material but beautiful nonetheless).
birder is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 11:43 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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As a local, I can tell you that mass transportation in the Tampa Bay area is abyssmal. Getting between Tampa and the beaches will absolutely require a car. If you want to spend your mornings on the beach, then stay on one of the Pinellas County beaches. But don't be fooled: Clearwater is not the same as Clearwater Beach, and St. Pete is not the same as St. Pete Beach. The mainland cities are divided from the islands by the intracostal waterway, so a waterfront hotel may not be on the beach. If you just want to be on the water, then stay in Tampa along the Bay. Busch Gardens is at the north end of the city, while the airport and aquarium are at the south end.
sgerhar1 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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November can be very nice still. You may not want to swim (although some tourists do all year long), but it will be lovely walking the beach. Head out to Caladesi as Birder suggested, or almost as nice, Ft DeSoto, just south of St Pete Beach...easier to get to as you can drive to it, but it's still remote, with sand dunes, no congestion, no buildings other than the fort, no nuttin but pretty beach.

In your shoes I'd stay at the beaches and rent a car to get to Busch, the Aquarium (terrific) or Ybor City. Not sure of your age group...I found nothing at all to love about Ybor except perhaps Columbia Restaurant, but if you are 20's or 30's, you might feel differently.

The Grand Hyatt is a beautiful hotel...on the edge of the bay and you'd have the benefit of a heated pool by the water if you wanted to swim...but you'd be lacking the beautiful sand of CWB or SPB area, the dolphins, more sea birds, waves and on and on. disclaimer..my husband ran the hotel and we lived in it for 8.5 years until last March. It is convenient...but still 40 minutes to CWB and perhaps a hair less to SPB. It's convenient too if you want to get to Ybor or Busch, providing you have a car. I don't know of any of the downtown hotels even that provide transportation to Busch.

The things you want to do are all spread from one end of the area to the other, and it's a broad area to begin with so definitely yes, go with a car rental...you'll be much happier!
Malesherbes is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 01:03 PM
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As you seem to indicate the weather can be very "iffy" at Thanksgiving. My very first Thanksgiving to Florida, I flew into Ft. Myers, got off the plane and was hit with light snow flurries. That was an extreme, but I've had some pretty cold ones since too. On the other hand we've sweated over over turkey dinner out by the pool as well.
Just so you don't arrive basing all your plans on "Florida Sunshine" and weather.
Jul 21st, 2006, 04:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,258
The weather can be wonderful in November and I think rarely cold. Snow flurries? When? 1989??? Yes it is very rare.

You will need a car if you are doing the Tampa and beach thing. The Grand Hyatt is a superb hotel and the Marriott Waterside which is closer to the aquarium is wonderful as well. The Channelside complex which is right next to the aquarium has nicer places for nightlife than Ybor imho at this point. I hope you have a great time in my city!
coldwar27 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 80
Here is an alternate! Stay in downtown St Pete. Vinoy is wonderful but a little pricey. Drive over to St Pete Beach for the mornings. Downtown St Pete is walkable. Great Dali Museum. Visit the Fort Desoto Beach Park. Take a day an drive to Busch(40 miuntes or so depending on Traffic.
rhmuir is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 06:28 PM
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Not 1989, more like about 1974 -- I didn't mean it was a regular thing.
On the other hand, I'd hesitate to say that it is "rarely cold" in Naples in November, and generally it is warmer here than in Tampa. But maybe we have different ideas of "cold".
Jul 22nd, 2006, 07:15 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 476
My first Thanksgiving in Tampa I remember rollerblading along Bayshore Blvd and it being so cold my nose was running. Lovely recollection, yes? It was 1996 or 7.
Malesherbes is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 04:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,258
I would be very happy for it to be COLD - whatever that means - right now. Geez!

Unrelated - I'm headed down the street to the Grand Hyatt for meetings this week OO.
coldwar27 is offline  
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