Tampa Destination Guide

All the Boating Information You Need to Set Sail in Tampa

Ocean Adventurer or Bay Dweller? Tampa Doesn’t Care.

Tampa offers some of the most diverse water activities given its unique location on the Florida coast. The Tampa Bay flows right into the Gulf of Mexico so visitors and residents can enjoy relaxing activities on the bay, or venture into the ocean for some adventure. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing Tampa boat rental or some extreme water sport action, Tampa has something to offer and we’ve laid it all out in the guide below (you can thank us later).

Step 1: Plan Your Tampa boat rental Itinerary

Water Activities

Fishing – Redfish, Snook, Trout are popular catches in the Tampa Bay. If you’re really lucky (or if you just have a great guide) you’ll catch what the locals call a “Inshore Slam,” which is catching all three types of fish in one day. Looks like someone is having one heck of a dinner, eh?! Fishing charters start with a Tampa boat rental!

Shelling – The entire west coast of Florida offers great opportunity to find beautiful and rare sea shells. Anna Maria Bay Beach, Bradenton/Cortez Beach, Greer Island Beach, Long Boat Key Beach, Turtle Beach, and Palmer Point are all great locations for a long stroll on the beach hunting for seashells.


Sunshine Skyway Bridge – The Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge stretches across Hillsborough County waters between St. Petersburg and Terra Cerra in neighboring Manatee County. The bridge is a sight to be seen from the Gulf of Mexico on the west side or from the Tampa Bay on the east side. The Travel Channel called the bridge the third greatest bridge in the world. If you get a chance to drive over it you will quickly discover the experience is more like riding a rollercoaster than driving over a bridge.

Jose Gasparilla’s Pirate Ship – Every January the legendary pirate, Captain Jose Gaspar, or “Gasparilla,” who is said to once have terrorized the Tampa Bay area returns to thousands of boaters welcoming his return. His pirate ship sails into the bay and hundreds of vessels and party-goers celebrate with drinks, party beads and pirate attire. The festival, which is celebrated both on the water and throughout the city center, attracts 200,000 plus people every year. Don’t miss your chance to party pirate style!

Food & Drink

Riverwalk – Stroll along the Hillsborough River spotting manatees, dolphins and jellyfish. The 2.4-mile riverwalk is the ideal place to enjoy nature, good food and even better drinks. Dock your boat up and walk around or enjoy the hustle and bustle from the water’s edge. We’re giving you fair warning that if you go at dawn or dusk you may be overrun by joggers. The Riverwalk is a popular place for locals to workout.

Picnics on the Beach – The soft sand of the Florida west coast makes it ideal for picnics.

Egmont Key State Park is primarily a wildlife refuge and only accessible by boat. It’s a remote spot that is perfect for a pre-packed lunch with loved ones. A Gopher tortoise might even join you!

Step 2 – Reserve your Tampa Boat Rental and Start Exploring the Waterways

You don’t need boating experience to enjoy Florida’s west coast waterways. In a few simple steps you can easily rent a boat for your private adventure with boat sharing companies like Boatsetter. Your rental can be cancelled within 24-hours and you have the option of securing an experienced captain if you’d prefer someone else do the navigating.
Spending time on the water is the ultimate break from your day-to-day responsibilities.  Boating is fun for the whole family and the Tampa-Bay area is not a destination to be missed. Start your Tampa boating vacation by checking out the trending rentals below.

Trending Tampa Rentals

Maxum 2000 SR3

This pristine boat has room for 8 and will cost about the same as dinner out...but be way better!

Get Started

Mainship 430

Glory Days is ready to set sail - book her today and see Tampa from the water!

Get Started

Hewes Bonefisher

It’s time for some fishing! Tampa is a bonefishing paradise and this is your perfect boat.

Get Started

Ready to set sail on a Tampa boat rental?

Search our fleet and connect with the ultimate Tampa boat rental experience.

Book your Tampa boat rental