A Beginner’s Guide to Tampa

Groups of first-time visitors to the Tampa Bay area may need help with what to add to a short itinerary. Don’t worry! Falcon Charter Bus has you covered with a personalized group transportation service and itinerary ideas for your first Tampa visit. Whether you’re nature lovers or adrenaline junkies, you will have an exciting trip visiting the cities’ top locations in a private Tampa bus rental.  Keep reading to learn more about popular Tampa destinations to add to your trip and the best way to travel. A Falcon Charter Bus rep will be available 24/7 at 813-944-3146 to answer questions you have about booking a Tampa bus rental for your trip!

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How to Travel with a Group in Tampa

So, you’re planning a group trip to Tampa but you're not sure where to go or how to get there? You are in the right place! Falcon Charter Bus works with transportation providers throughout the Southeast to give groups bus rentals in Tampa and beyond! Choose from a wide selection of minibus and charter bus rentals for group trips of all occasions and sizes.

First-time groups of travelers organizing a friends’ weekend or family trip to Tampa can book a compact 18-passenger minibus rental. A compact minibus rental offers a quick and easy way for small groups to travel together anywhere in Tampa and beyond. Do you have a big group looking for fun activities after traveling to Tampa for a business conference? Rent a larger model of minibus for up to 25 passengers or opt for a full-size charter bus rental made for 56 people.

No matter the type of bus rental you book, your ride will be safe, comfortable, and operated by a professional bus driver. You won’t need to worry about transportation logistics like hailing multiple rideshares, parking, or navigating. Relax on a bus rental with features like WiFi, power outlets, flatscreen TVs, and plush seating while the pros take care of the road.

We've put together a couple of sample itinerary options for groups looking for ways to spend a day or two in Tampa.

tampa florida skyline

Sample Group Itinerary 1

If you only have one day in Tampa and want to see a few local highlights sans theme parks, this may be the option for you. Pick and choose spots to add to your day, Falcon Charter Bus will be ready to take you wherever your travels take you in Tampa.


Oxford Exchange

Address: 420 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33602

Phone: (813) 253-0222

Start your day with breakfast or brunch at Oxford Exchange, one of Tampa’s liveliest restaurants. Oxford Exchange boasts a beautiful, bright, European-inspired dining room with an adjoining bookstore and coffee shop. It’s the perfect location for an upscale meal to kick off your day. Enjoy sourdough french toast, short rib benedict, or even stop in later for afternoon tea after 3:00 pm. Oxford Exchange is perfect for large groups and reservations can be made online or by phone.

The restaurant is conveniently located in Downtown Tampa near a variety of other attractions. Hop on your charter bus to other locations around the area or opt for a quick walk over to the Henry B. Plant Museum.

Henry B. Plant Museum

Address: 401 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606

Phone: (813) 254-1891

The Henry B. Plant Museum is located on the University of Tampa campus, housed in a c century-old Moorish Revival-style building. Originally the Tampa Bay Hotel, this now-museum houses exhibits that explore Tampa’s Gilded Age of tourism during the late 1800s. Visits at this museum take about an hour and is a wonderful place for history and architecture lovers to round out their morning.

Once you’ve got your fill of food and history, consider adding a popular, unique experience to your itinerary. Hop aboard your charter bus rental and shuttle about 10 minutes from Hyde Park to the Florida Aquarium in Downtown Tampa.

image of people looking at animals in an aquarium


The Florida Aquarium

Address: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602

Phone:(813) 273-4000

The Florida Aquarium is hailed as one of the best aquariums in the country and is a popular spot for groups of all ages. The aquarium is home to more than 7,000 plants and animals representing aquatic ecosystems from around the world. You’ll learn about animals like spoonbills, tiger sharks, stingrays, penguins, and a variety of jellyfish. The aquarium also has an outdoor splash pad for kids to enjoy on hot Tampa summer days.

Visits at the Florida Aquarium typically last 2-3 hours and groups of 25 people qualify for discounted admission.

Worked up a sweat walking around the Florida Aquarium? Get ready for some refreshments and lunch at Cigar City Brewing. Don't worry if you decide to have a few brews, you’ll have a built-in DD with a ride from Falcon Charter Bus. 


Cigar City Brewery and Taproom

Address: 3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, FL 33607

Phone: (813) 348-6363

Tampa is home to a few breweries but Cigar City is one of the best! Aptly named after the city’s nickname, Cigar City is one of the most successful craft breweries to come out of Florida. The Spruce Street taproom has been the brewery’s home base since 2009 and offers tours, tastings, food, and even private event spaces. The brewery is also family-friendly for groups traveling with kids.

Enjoy a few beers and bites, without worrying about how you’ll get back to your hotel. Your charter bus driver will shuttle you back to your lodging with safety and ease.

Not quite ready to call the day quits? Consider grabbing tickets to a performance at the historic Tampa Theatre to round out your evening.

Tampa Theatre

Address: 711 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602

Phone: (813) 274-8286

The Tampa Theatre is a historic landmark located in the heart of the city’s downtown area. This atmospheric theater-style movie palace was a premier entertainment space when it opened and still welcomes guests today after an extensive restoration process. It still serves its original purpose as a movie theater but also hosts live performances like comedy shows, concerts, and talks. Historic theater tours and field trips are also available with reservations.

Catch a show and leave the driving up to the pros as you relax on your Tampa bus rental after a long day exploring the city.

underwater view of a manatee

Sample Group Itinerary 2 

Groups looking for a busy day packed with excitement may want to opt for this alternative itinerary. You can start your morning with an early breakfast near your hotel before shuttling in your charter bus down to Apollo Beach to kick off your day viewing manatees.


Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

Address: 6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572

Phone: (813) 228-4289

The Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center is about 25 minutes from downtown and is a must-visit location for first-time Tampa visitors. The warm waters of the Big Bend in Apollo Beach attract dozens of manatees in the winter looking for a cozy aquatic refuge. This protected preserve has a 50-foot observation deck for prime viewing, butterfly gardens, short walking trails, and a visitor center with educational information about native flora and fauna. Winter is the best time to spot manatees but the center is a serene spot to visit any time of the year. 

Most visitors spend up to an hour at the center, making it a relatively quick visit during the morning. You can catch up on some extra sleep during the ride while your charter bus driver handles the road. You’ll want to rest up before hitting the next major location on your itinerary—Busch Gardens!


Busch Gardens

Address: 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa, FL 33612

Phone: (813) 884-4FUN

You can't visit Tampa without making a theme park stop. Well, at least if you enjoy theme parks. Busch Gardens is an animal theme park with more than 28 rides, including record-breaking roller coasters. The theme park is best known for its 10 roller coasters, with Iron Gwazi being among the tallest coasters in 2022. Even if you’re not a fan of roller coasters or you're traveling with small children, Busch Gardens has safari-inspired tours, animal experiences, and shows for visitors of all ages.

You can easily spend an entire day at Busch Gardens but most visitors spend anywhere between 4 to 6 hours at the park. If you're planning an extended trip in Tampa, you can grab dual-park tickets that also allow admission to Adventure Island waterpark next door.

Visiting theme parks with a large group can be stressful, especially with arrival, departure, and keeping everyone together throughout your day. A Tampa charter bus rental will allow your group to travel together and relax before and after an exciting theme park visit. Shuttle back to your hotel, rest up, and get ready for dinner (and possibly even a night out on the town.)

image of Ybor city archway in Tampa


Columbia Restaurant and Ybor City

Address: 2025 E. 7th Ave,  Tampa, Florida 33605

Phone: (813) 248-4961

This Ybor City mainstay is amongst the oldest restaurants in Florida and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. The sprawling restaurant opened in 1905 and has 15 dining rooms and 1,7000 seats. With plenty of space and a delicious Spanish-Cuban menu, the perfect place for large-group dining. Enjoy fresh sangria mixed by your tableside, Cuban sandwiches, paella, and homemade flan to round out your meal.

Reservations for large groups are highly recommended. Contact the restaurant directly for reservations and be sure to make them well in advance, as Columbia Restaurant is exceptionally busy.

While you’re in historic Ybor City, consider exploring the popular nightlife neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood is walkable but if you’re tired from your busy day, shuttle on your charter bus between local bars for a nightcap.

Explore Tampa with Falcon Charter Bus

Falcon Charter Bus can help your group make first-time trips a breeze anywhere in the Southeast. Whether you're traveling in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, or even out of state—we’ll make sure your first-time visit includes the best transportation possible. Call 813-944-3146 anytime to learn more about pricing for a Tampa charter bus rental!

Popular Charter Bus Trip Itineraries in Tampa