9 Tampa Thanksgiving Activities For A Memorable Holiday

Tampa Thanksgiving Weekend In A Restaurant

Tampa Bay is well-known for its pleasantly warm weather, which is why so many people have made it their new Thanksgiving tradition to migrate to Downtown Tampa to celebrate Thanksgiving with their friends and family.

The Tampa Bay area brings the holiday spirit to life in the subtropical climate by adorning the city with glittering Christmas lights and displays, while popular restaurants boast seasonally inspired menus for traditional Turkey Day meals.

Whether you’re traveling to have Thanksgiving in Tampa or you’re a resident looking for something exciting to do this year with your family, we’ve got all the best ways to ring in the holiday season with your loved ones so you can skip the stress of finding activities while you’re here.


1) Thanksgiving Day Is About More Than A Delicious Meal

There’s so much more to Thanksgiving Day than merely getting together with your loved ones to scarf down a Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving should be about just that: giving thanks for all the wonderful things we have in life. Here at The Tropics Boat Tours, we thrive on giving our guests an unforgettable experience in Tampa Bay.

Climb aboard one of our masterfully captained boats to embark on a dolphin-watching excursion or to watch as the sun sets over the horizon. What better way to show your appreciation and thanks for being in such a beautiful place than slowing down to spend some quality time with your family in the great outdoors?

Contact us in advance to ensure we have seats available for your group on one of our boat tours!

Thanksgiving Celebration At Tropic Boat Tours


2) Simplify Your Thanksgiving Day Plans

If you’re going to be in Tampa for Thanksgiving, then you’re in luck! Whoever said you had to be the one to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for everyone? There are tons of high-end and casual dining locations around Tampa Bay that keep their doors open on Thanksgiving Day, so you don’t have to slave away in the kitchen to roast a turkey yourself.

Create a Thanksgiving tradition by enjoying your Turkey Day meal at one of the popular local restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner so you don’t have to. Here are just some of the standouts:

  • Del Frisco’s Grille – Del Frisco’s serves up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner comprised of favorites like herb and citrus butter roasted turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, along with other traditional favorites.

  • Seasons 52 – Thanksgiving at this Tampa restaurant consists of traditional roasted turkey and pan gravy accompanied with mashed butternut squash, herb stuffing, and a pumpkin pie indulgence.

Other restaurants create a la carte dinner menus for Thanksgiving dinner so you can get your favorites like sliced turkey breast, vanilla bean ice cream with pumpkin pie, soup or salad courses, and many other dishes for the perfect Tampa Thanksgiving:

  • Catch Twenty Three

  • Rusty Pelican

  • The Capital Grille

Enjoy Great Food In One Of The Fantastic Restaurants In Tampa At Thanksgiving


3) Explore Christmas Town At Busch Gardens In Tampa Bay

You’ll find so much more than a delicious meal when you spend your Thanksgiving in Tampa. Head to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens to experience the theme park like never before.

You can meet Santa and his reindeer, ride on a holiday train while singing along to your favorite Christmas tunes, and indulge in plenty of holiday goodies as you wander through this winter wonderland.

Holiday Season At Busch Gardens In Tampa


4) Kick Off The Season With Ice Skating At Tampa’s Winter Village

Though you probably wouldn’t expect to find an ice rink on your travels to Tampa Bay, the Tampa Winter Village has an impressive rink that sees a multitude of visitors every season.

Head to the cafe after you’ve twirled around on the ice for some holiday-themed snacks and drinks to keep the holiday spirit flowing all season long. Not only is this a fun activity to enjoy with your family and friends, but it also creates the perfect holiday date night!

Ice Skating


5) Explore The Hillsborough County Fairgrounds To Discover Holiday Fun

The Hillsborough County Fairgrounds transforms into a winter wonderland where you can embark on horse-drawn carriage rides through a Christmas village, see dozens of animated and still light displays, and so much more.

There’s tons of yummy holiday food to devour, games to play, and crafts to tinker away on with your loved ones. You can also meet Santa and help paint a holiday mural, and even let the kids ride a camel or pony.

The fairgrounds are loaded with family fun for Thanksgiving at this Tampa location, so be sure to make it a must-see stop on your Tampa Bay vacation.

Discover Holiday Fun At The Hillsborough County Fairgrounds


6) Walk Off Your Thanksgiving Meal

A fun way to celebrate Turkey Day here in Tampa if you have your kids or pets along for the ride is to embark on the family-friendly Goody Goody Turkey Gobble marathon. Choose between an 8k, 5k, or 1-mile out-and-back track where strollers and leashed canine companions are welcome to join you.

There will also be games and other family-oriented activities available for everyone, so you don’t have to worry about your less-than-motivated family members enjoying their day.

Goody Goody Turkey Gobble Marathon In Holiday Season


7) Celebrate The Holiday Season At ZooTampa

Who says the animals at ZooTampa don’t enjoy celebrating the holidays, too? Every season, ZooTampa transforms with thousands of twinkling holiday lights and displays that give a warm glow to the place.

See nocturnal creatures in a new light as they are illuminated beneath the Christmas lights, and enjoy the countless holiday treats that await you throughout the Zoo.

Holiday Season At Zoo Tampa


8) Discover The Perfect Holiday Tree At Ergle Christmas Tree Farm

Have you ever wanted to cut down your own Christmas tree? If you’re a local or spending an extended holiday with us here in Tampa Bay, then you have to check out the selection at the infamous Ergle Christmas Tree Farm.

You get to wander through their selection until the perfect specimen jumps out at you, and then our staff will help you cut down the tree to take home for the holidays.

Not only is this a memorable family experience to embark on for a new holiday tradition, but your Christmas tree will last far longer because it hasn’t been cut and sitting in a lot for an unforeseen amount of time.

Ergle Christmas Tree Farm


9) Join The Community For The Annual Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival

Every Thanksgiving Day, there’s a three-day Bluegrass concert that transpires at Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville. Bring your favorite covered dish to share at the traditional family Thanksgiving dinner during the festival.

Come out and get to know the locals, enjoy some soothing Bluegrass music, and enjoy making new memories and traditions with the ones you love.

Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival


Starting New Traditions For Thanksgiving In Tampa

There are countless ways to celebrate Turkey Day here in Tampa Bay, and all of them are full of good food, entertaining activities, and warm Florida weather you just can’t find up North this time of year.

Here at The Tropics Boat Tours, we want to help you make the most of your Thanksgiving experience here in Florida. Whether you want to search for dolphins on your holiday visit or want to indulge in a sunset celebration cruise, our guides are here to help you make the most of it and plan a memorable experience.

Stop by our website to book your tour today!

1 hour 45 minutes
Group Size
Up to 126

Dolphin Exploration Tours

Our Dolphin Exploration Tours will take you from Clearwater Bay out Clearwater Pass on the beautiful emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico (weather permitting) in search of the Sun Coast’s favorite….the Bottlenose Dolphin.

In addition to offering Guaranteed Dolphin Sightings*, your Captain will highlight some fascinating facts about the natural wonders our Gulf Coast offers as well as point out celebrity mansions along the way.

The tour offers something for everyone, including educational information on our area and our wildlife, and optional drink upgrades including unlimited beer and soft drinks for the adults!

Just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

1 hour 45 minutes
Group Size
Up to 126

Sunset Celebration Cruises

The Tropics Sunset Celebration Cruise will take you from Clearwater Bay through Clearwater Pass to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico (weather permitting).

Sail the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico as you view a breathtaking Florida sunset and — if you’re lucky you may witness the legendary green flash.

Your crew will point out some interesting facts about the natural wonders of the Gulf Coast as well as popular sights along the way. We are pleased to include a Complimentary Sunset Champagne Toast for all guests 21 and up."

Group Size
no limit

Tampa Bay CityPASS®

Family fun starts with Tampa Bay CityPASS®! Save 53% on Tampa Bay's top 5 attractions. CityPASS® includes a Dolphin Exploration Tour or Sunset Celebration Cruise with The Tropics Boat Tours. You’ll also have admission to Bush Gardens® Tampa Bay, The Florida Aquarium, Zoo Tampa, and a 4th attraction of your choice. Choose which attraction as you go. Visit the attractions at your own pace, in any order, over 9 days.

Adult CityPASS®: $139
Child CityPASS® (ages 3-9): $124
CityPASS prices are tax inclusive

One easy purchase saves time & money. First, buy CityPASS® online, then click here to choose your cruise and make your reservation.