With great beaches, a booming arts and music scene and year-round good weather, Tampa Bay is the perfect holiday destination for families. Those travelling with teenagers will find plenty of options that are sure to interest this hard-to-please subset – including adrenaline junkies, creative souls and those just looking for some Florida sunshine.
Stand up paddle boarding
Stand up paddle boarding – or “SUP” – is a great way to see Tampa Bay’s coastline. Paddlers balance themselves on large boards that look like surfboards and manoeuvre with long paddles while standing. Urban Kai Stand Up Paddleboarding caters to families and can do trips in Tampa or St. Petersburg.
Ybor may be known for its nightlife, but head there during the day or early evening and you’ll find plenty of families taking advantage of the area’s abundant restaurants, cinemas and shops. Teens will especially enjoy the stylish consignment and retro fashion shops La France and Revolve Clothing Exchange. Alternatively, head to nearby GameWorks arcade for some family-friendly competition.
For the adventurous teen, Tampa’s downtown Bro Bowl is a must-see. Included in a Tony Hawk videogame, it’s now a popular skateboarding destination. Nearby, the Skatepark of Tampa offers plenty of space for jumps and tricks on both bikes and boards.
Music-loving teenagers can spend hours inside Microgroove in Seminole Heights, one of the hipper parts of Tampa Bay. Pull them away for lunch at Cappy’s Pizza next door, with its deep-dish pizzas and old-fashioned arcade games. Down the street you’ll find a thrifter’s paradise at Sherry's YesterDayz, a local shop packed full of carefully curated retro wonders.
Clearwater is the “it” beach for the younger set – where miles of powdery white sand meet kitschy beachside shops. Play a game at one of the public beach volleyball courts then grab lunch on the deck of Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. Younger teens and children will appreciate a stop at the nearby Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter the dolphin, star of the movie Winter.
Header photo: Umbrellas dot the shore of Clearwater Beach © Daniel Oines
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Have you visited Tampa Bay with the family? Which teenager-friendly spots were your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Jessica Vander Velde
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About the author: JessicaVeldeJessica Vander Velde
Jessica Vander Velde is a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper. She also blogs about craft beer at Pint-Press.com