Today more than ever, the senior traveler is on the look out for an amazing experience that won’t break the bank. Becuase if you plan it right, then the very next month you can do it again! I’m a big fan of what I call micro-tours that are essentially mini-road trips. I created the Senior’s Travel Tours to highlight this strategy. Eventually I’ll be putting some tour packages together around these but for now, feel free to create your own!
What this is basically allowing you to do is hop around a “micro region”, so you can see and experience as much as possible, but you can still stay in the same place each night if you wanted to, and establish some of those relationships with the hotel staff or a favorite breakfast spot that adds some of the spice to a vacation.
If you need anymore help planning, be sure to check out my post on Books For Travel – Florida Travel Guides. Or just leave a comment below and I’ll do what I can to get you more information.
So with that, this Senior’s Travel Deals is focused on the Tampa region of Florida. Going from North to South:
Man o manatee! This place is gorgeous and a truly special place to me. Known as the manatee capital of the world, Crystal River combines beautiful springs with sunsets and white sandy beaches along what is known as the “Nature Coast”.
A manete snorkel tour is a must and exceeds expecations during the winter because of the mild water temperature and the large number of friendly manatees that gather in the springs.
The Three Sisters springs is my recommendation and has been described by some as a “national park in one acre”. You can walk along the boardwalk or else put on a wetsuit and jump in! (come on, jump in!)
If this places catches your fancy you can look for booking options here.
Nope, not Crocodile Dunedin! This small town has a few treasures besides the beautfiul beaches that made me add it to the list.
Number one is the chance to stretch your legs on the bicycle trails that replaced the railroad tracks that go through Pinellas County. It’s a great way to get local and appreciate the natural beauty all around you in this part of Florida.
The second reason is the short ferry ride (15 minutes) over to Caladesi Island State Park (pictured). This pristine barrier island has all the white sand and gorgeous blue water in a natural environment is a perfect picnic day on the beach.
Also, if you’re a Toronto Blue Jays fan, you might want to plan your trip during spring training to catch your favorite team in a laid back environment at the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
To choose lodgings in Dunedin check here.
Just right across the bay from Tampa is Safety Harbor. This charming little town is famous for the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa which allows visitors to be pampered with water from the Espiritu Santo Springs discovered by Henando de Soto in 1539 and believed to offer healing and restorative properties. You can also just go to the springs without the pampering, just so you know…
My main stop in this town are the wide selections of world class restaurants on Main Street. So be sure to plan for a decadent lunch whichever day you plan to visit Safty Harbor.
A perfect post lunch stroll is also provided by a walk along the harbor in Phillippe Park, and for the ancient arborealists out there don’t miss a quick peak at the 500 year old oak tree in Baranoff Park before heading out of town!
Compare the best places to stay in Safety Harbor, including the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa here.
Known for it’s long stretch of white sandy beaches, Anna Maria Island is a beach day paradise. The main drag on the island known as Pine Avenue ends at a wooden Pier built in 1911. If the weather is good, do not miss a day strolling along Pine Avenue lined with antique shops and restaurants.
A local secret, Anna Maria has become known nationally and regionally for it’s beauty and charm. So you’re not alone if you suddenly decide to stay for a few days.
Compare lodging options here.
Venice ain’t just for Italians anymore! We have one too, and it’s in Florida. While some guides will tell you to make sure to get to the downtown with it’s European styled architecture reminiscent of the town’s namesake, I particularly think you should check out the famous community theater, the Venice Theater, and feel the heritage of the town that was once the winter home of both the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. Sadly there aren’t as many clowns on the streets as there used to be in Florida.
Not to be outdone with beaches, the local Caspersen Beach is especially known for successful fossil and shark tooth finds, as well as a great place to get in the water because of the apparently toothless sharks!
To compare places to stay in Venice, Florida look here.
No, not a drink you order at Starbucks, Matlacha is one of my favorite towns because it has successfully stayed a local, quirky, and stubborn fishing village. Populated with eccentric art galleries and fishing fanatics galore, this small island town has a character you have to experience to understand.
The community here is warm and it’s a great place to spend the night on a houseboat!
Look at rentals in Matlacha here.
This place might just capture your heart. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, this place is made for you. Off the beaten path of most visitors and often overlooked by travelers to the nearby island of Sanibel to the south, Captiva has rhythm all it’s own. For my money, this place is the perfect place to end your vacation with two solid days of outdoor activities including, bicycling, canoeing, parasailing, fishing, world-class birding, and of course swimming with dolphins!
Visit the South Seas Island Resort for a night at their tiki bars on the beach and make a toast to your virtual tour guide 🙂
Look for lodging here
Logistic Pro Tips For The “Tampa 7 Town Micro Tour”
Flying in to Tampa’s airport will be key for this tour. Find excellent Tampa flights. The tour goes from north to south as I have the towns listed here and can be done in 7 days easily, but 10 days would be ideal.
If you’ve been to any of these places please drop a comment below to help other SeniorSouthers plan their next adventure!