Florida is the second largest state when it comes to the length of its coastline, and claiming a large majority of that coastline is Florida’s West Coast. The west coast of Florida stretches from Taylor County all the way down to Monroe County, and has more than 10 counties in between. A few of the most spectacular beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast are Sarasota Beach, Madeira Beach, Clearwater Beach and Sanibel Island.
When you arrive at each of the beaches, you will find yourself with a long list of family friendly activities for all ages to delve into. With clear blue waters and fine white sand, these beaches are one of the most visited places in all of Florida. Visitors and residents alike, will discover the West Coast of Florida to have a very relaxed feel surrounding its many beaches and a more upbeat lifestyle near the larger inland cities.
Some of the most well-known cities located on the West Coast of Florida are Tampa and St. Petersburg. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is considered Tampa Bay MSA, has a population of roughly 3,140,000. With the majority of the growth occurring between the years 2000 and 2010, the population increase has slowed to a steady percentage in the more recent years. There's plenty to do in the Tampa area. If you’re looking for a daytime adventure, Busch Gardens amusement park, Big Cat Rescue, Adventure Island water park, Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Aquarium are all perfect places to check out with the family. For the younger crowd there is a thriving day and nighttime scene happening in and around downtown Tampa. One of the most lively places is Ybor City, which it got its roots in the late 19th century and has since turned into exciting cocktail spots, great restaurants, bars and even art galleries. A fun fact about Ybor City is that it began as a collection of red brick cigar mills.
Situated just on the other side of Old Tampa Bay lies the city of St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is surrounded by water on all three sides while Highway 19 connects it to the rest of the state. St. Petersburg area attractions include Fort De Soto Park, and the beautiful century-old botanic gardens known as the Sunken Gardens. For the more artistic folks, check out the Dali Museum, Morean Arts Center or the Museum of Fine Arts. St. Petersburg has a long list of year-round events for the entire city to enjoy. A handful of must see events are Bluesfest—a waterfront blues band concert with food and drinks, the Annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg—a popular event for IndyCar fans, the annual Ribfest at Vinoy Park and a plethora of holiday parades.
With all the hustle and bustle of activities going on in the Tampa Bay Area, it is also a perfect place for sports lovers. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) and the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) are the three major professional sports teams in the Tampa Bay area. Whether you’re with family or friends, these sporting events are a wonderful spot to get a sense of the TBA’s spirit for their cities. No matter your style, come check out Florida’s spectacular West Coast and you will not be disappointed!