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Published: April 30th 2020
In February 2020, before Coronavirus caused chaos and shut everything down, I was able to spend the month in Florida. Most of the month was spent in Amelia Island (I'll be writing about that more extensively soon), but I had always wanted to see Tampa. The family & I went to Tampa for a couple of days and checked it out. We visited Tampa, downtown, the Riverwalk, the Bay and Clearwater.
I didn't spend enough time in Clearwater to be an expert on the city. My daughter was fighting a cold and after a couple of hours on the beach she wanted to get back to the hotel in Tampa Bay. We did spend a few hours on the beach. The water was indeed clear. It was the clearest oceanwater I had ever seen. While it was pretty, the beach wasn't for me - there were people everywhere. The parking was full - I had to pay $20 to park the car and we had to walk to the beach. Maybe I am just spoiled but in North Carolina at the small beach towns I hang out in, you just park near the beach and walk out onto it. In Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island Florida, I can just hit 4X4 on the vehicle and drive right out onto the sand and park. Clearwater was the opposite of this. The water was probably 65 but I swam in it anyways.
After a few hours on the beach in Clearwater, we decided the city was not for us and we got the heck out of there.
Tampa, the city of Personal Injury Lawyer billboards
I happen to work with injury lawyers, but I was blown away at the number of billboards all over Tampa for injury lawyers. I didn't track them, but, there are a LOT of attorney billboards up. Hundreds. Everywhere.
Thankfully, I did not end up getting rear-ended or in any other type of crash. I did, however, read up on how Florida insurance before I ventured out of North Carolina.. "No-fault" never made any sense to me, but this article about how Florida no-fault insurance works
helped a lot.
Delicious food in Tampa Bay
Since our daughter was sick and we had the family dog with us, we didn't do a ton in Tampa. But, we did eat well. Tampa is definitely a city for foodies and I wish I had more time there. I may be back!
We did make it over to the Tampa Bay History Center. I had an awesome Cuban sandwich from Columbia Cafe
The only thing I really didn't like about Tampa was the bridges. Maybe I was just exhausted and paranoid as everyone in the car was tired of going over them, but some of these bridges were extremely high of the ground, and the walls are only 32" tall. I drove my truck which has a mild lift kit on it and 35" tires. So basically, my tires are bigger than the walls on these bridges. I am terrified of heights but bridges rarely bother me. I almost had to pull over on one of these bridges, but, a tractor trailer behind me prevented me from doing so. I later Googled it, and, indeed, cars do fall off of the bridges
While in the Bay, we also went to check out the manatees. They didn't cooperate the day we were there, but, I did indeed see a manatee. There's a viewing area near a power plant
and the water is warm. Who doesn't like warm water?
More time needed
If I make it back to Tampa I'll be sure to set aside some more time. When I visit a new city, I try to go for at least a week to really get a good feel for the place. However, I do indeed stick with smaller beach towns instead of larger cities. Overall, it's a great city, nothing like Philly or NYC which are crowded and smell bad. Tampa was easy to navigate using your own vehicle and overall looks like a great place. You will not find me there in July though - too hot for me!
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