Whether you're in the market for a vacation home or a permanent family abode in Florida, you may automatically think of Orlando or Miami. But, there are many underrated waterfront locations in the Sunshine State that can be an even better deal for a family looking for a great deal on some great fun. One such perfect option is the Tampa Bay area. Here are 5 awesome reasons to consider Tampa for your new home purchase.
Lots of Animals. What Tampa may lack in Disney magic, it more than makes up for in live animal magic. Here are just a few of your choices:
- The Florida Aquarium is home to a huge range of sea and coastal wildlife: including sharks, sea turtles, and lemurs. Divers and swimmers can even get wet and wild with the aquarium's sea life.
- Busch Gardens features a world-class wildlife park where you can visit with animals up close.
- Giraffe Ranch is a smaller venue where you can view animals from a safari, the back of a camel, or even on a Segway.
- Lowry Park Zoo is a great mid-range zoo that has a number of excellent natural habitats with free-roaming mammals like elephants. Bring the kids and let them feed giraffes and experience the macaws free-flying twice a day.
- The Big Cat Rescue brings you face-to-face with rescued felines of all sorts. Find this hidden gem in Citrus Park in North Tampa, and be ready to fall in love with some new friends enjoying new lives.
Thrill Rides. Busch Gardens doesn't stop with just animal encounters. It's also home to some breathtaking roller coasters that are sure to wow kids of all ages. You can choose from the outrageous SheiKra coaster that dives at a 90 degree angle or the ultra-fast Cheetah Hunt ride. If you have smaller kids, don't fret... there are plenty of kid-friendly coasters too, as well as a water park ("Adventure Island"). And if your and the kids still want more, remember that Orlando's theme parks are only about 1 1/2 hours away.
Artistic Endeavors. Get hands-on with your kids at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry. Then, hop over to St. Petersburg (about 20 miles west) to take in a little art and science. The Chihuly Collection is a one-of-a-kind exhibit of the artist's unique glass sculptures housed in a brand new venue. And if you like surrealist art, you simply must visit the Dali Museum and view fascinating works like Eggs on a Plate Without a Plate.
Cuban Influence. Ybor City is the Latin area of Tampa, and it boasts the state's only Historic Landmark District. This Cuban neighborhood is an excellent stop to soak in the history of the area, especially the cigar-making past that brought many immigrants to the region. Enjoy Ybor City by day if you want to enjoy the family-friendly area, but be aware that this popular club scene can get rowdy when the sun goes down.
Great Beaches. Florida is synonymous with white sandy beaches, and there are plenty to be found in the area around Tampa Bay. The cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater provide easy beach access and luxurious waterfront apartments for a better price than many more well-known areas in the state. And, while Tampa itself features fewer beaches, it boasts an impressive array of waterfront views of the bay if you want to live closer to the city action.
It's obvious that Tampa is a great way to get more value for your real estate dollar and still be able to enjoy endless family fun and educational activities for all ages and tastes.