Tampa, Florida, is located along the Gulf Coast and is a surprisingly diverse place to visit. There are world-class beaches, of course, but Tampa is also home to parks, festivals, and some of the oldest coastal towns in the county. Whether you want to relax on the beach, go to a Scottish festival, ride some class II rapids, or visit the Sponge Capital of the World, there is something in Tampa for everyone.
Head to Tampa's Channelside District to explore 12,000 years of Florida history at this Smithsonian affiliate museum. From the area's native inhabitants, the Seminoles, Tocobaga, and Timucua, to Spanish conquistadors, treasure hunters, a map library, and a 1920 cigar store replica, there's plenty of ground to cover and many tales to tell once you step out of the enormous elevators. The family-friendly exhibits span three floors and are interactive. Tampa Bay History Center runs free 90-minute guided tours of the city's historical sites.