3 of the Coolest Things To Do on the Gulf Coast
1. Go parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico.
Feel the wind in your face as you get a bird's eye view of the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding Florida coastline during your parasailing adventure. Fly solo, go as a duo or even as a group of three. Parasailing is gentle enough for all ages, while also exhilarating and relaxing all at the same time. Once you try it, you'll want to do it again and again. The views are spectacular and the experience is one of a kind.
Eagle Parasail is a local Gulf Coast favorite and is located at John's Pass in nearby Madeira Beach. Eagle Parasail offers over 25 years of experience, certified captains and US Coast Guard inspected vessels for the safest and best parasailing adventure possible. Eagle Parasail gives you a dry takeoff and landing with trips on the hour all day long. Put it on your Florida Gulf Coast bucket list!
2. Visit the Florida aquariums.
Stay cool while you explore the amazing underwater world of the Gulf Coast. Florida has two amazing aquariums that are close and convenient to your Indian Rocks and Indian Shores vacation rental. Visit one or both if you can!
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is not exactly like the aquariums you may have visited in the past. They exist to rescue marine animals (dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, etc.), rehabilitate them from sickness or injury, and release them back into their natural habitats. CMA is also the home of Winter the Dolphin, star of Dolphin Tale the movie (and its sequel). A majority of the resident animals–including Winter–cannot be released due to a variety of reasons, so you will see them in permanent habitats and learn their stories. You’ll also see a number of animals currently undergoing rehabilitation in our working animal hospital. The staff and volunteers give presentations and talks throughout the day at various habitats and exhibits, educating you in a fun way about the work they do. Included with your general admission ticket is access to Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure, located near the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This location is an indoor museum housing props, sets and costumes from the Dolphin Tale movies, a hurricane experience exhibit, interactive games and more. They provide free boat shuttles (weather permitting) and trolley shuttle service between the two locations all throughout the day. You can learn more about the CMA's residents and exhibits here.
The Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa is another local favorite for all ages. Discover one of the best aquariums in the country in beautiful downtown Tampa. A wonderful family destination with plenty of fun activities like Swim with the Fishes, Penguins: Backstage Pass and a Wild Dolphin Ecotour. Don't miss The Splash Pad, the aquarium's outdoor water fun zone for the children! With awesome exhibits, dolphin cruises, daily shows and more, you'll get up-close-and-personal with some of the Gulf Coast's most adorable residents. Explore the Wetlands Trail, take a journey to Madagascar, discover more about the bay, beaches and coral reef, and learn more about all of the commotion in the ocean in the best way possible. See why the Florida Aquarium has been named one of the top 5 kid-friendly aquariums by parents and kids alike.
3. Spend the day at a Gulf Coast theme park or water park.
Have some wild water adventures and get your adrenaline fix at two of the best Florida attractions around. One focuses on having a splashing good time while the other is especially suited for thrill seekers. Go ahead and do both if you can!
Adventure Island Water Park in Tampa Bay is the perfect place to cool down on a hot Florida day. Adventure Island Tampa's Key West atmosphere invites you to relax and enjoy the delights of soaking it up in the water or on the shore. With an array of wonderful meals and amenities, life here is one carefree experience after another. Escape into water-soaked excitement at Adventure Island where guests of all ages can ease into island time in a place where corkscrew slides, waterfalls, a giant wave pool, a rambling river, and other family attractions create a laid-back atmosphere and hours of sun-drenched fun. Your toughest decision? Whether to hit the slides for some fast-paced fun or grab a siesta in your own private cabana.
Busch Gardens Tampa is the ultimate family adventure park, featuring an unparalleled combination of animal encounters, live entertainment and world-class thrill rides. Busch Gardens is open 365 days a year, but it's always best to check the current hours and daily agendas before you go. All shows, exhibits and rides are included with park admission but food, dining experiences, merchandise, Behind-the-Scenes guided tours and animal interactions are optional and an additional cost. Check out their special events, including Summer Nights, which offer even more bang for your buck with extended hours and featuring park-wide party zones, summer cuisine, thrill rides in the dark and an all-new summer ice show at the Moroccan Palace. There's never a dull moment here!
Many of these Gulf Coast attractions and more are part of the discounted Tampa Bay CityPASS program which offers bundled savings on the best things to do around town and at popular local attractions. It's a half-price savings with additional perks including skipping most ticket lines. Interested in learning more? Check out which Gulf Coast attractions are included plus more details on our Tampa Bay City Pass page.
What's your favorite way to stay cool and have fun during your Florida Gulf Coast vacation?