Five ways to (temporarily) beat the heat this summer in Tampa Bay

Colossal Curl is the new thrill slide at Adventure Island. [Photo courtesy of Adventure Island]
Colossal Curl is the new thrill slide at Adventure Island. [Photo courtesy of Adventure Island]
Published July 21 2015
Updated July 21 2015

It's that time of year when even the ocean can't get the cooling off job done. The salty Gulf waters in mid-summer are the opposite of refreshing. Wading in feels like taking a big warm bath. Getting out feels like stepping directly into a sauna.

The good(-ish) news is there are plenty of activities and destinations in Tampa Bay that can help you (kind of) beat the heat.

1. The Riverwalk in Tampa, which hugs a 2.4 mile stretch of the Hillsborough River downtown, hosts a handful of vendors offering river-related recreation, like water bikes, biyaks (bike kayaks) and paddleboarding.

2. To the north in Pasco County, check out the newly opened SunWest Park and up the ante on your beach game. The county-owned, privately operated beach park offers an aqua park with inflated water toys, volleyball, kayaking and paddleboarding in addition to its swimming area, a spring-fed lake facing the Gulf of Mexico.

3. If you're feeling especially outdoorsy, visit one of Florida's original waterparks: the natural springs. Best thing about them: the water temperature holds steady below 75 degrees, even in July.

4. It may be time to re-visit Adventure Island, the water park arm of Busch Gardens in Tampa. New to the 30 acres of family-friendly fun is a brand new 622-foot long thrill slide called the Colossal Curl.

5. And there's always ice cream. For a quick cool that will satisfy your sweet tooth, hit up one of the many ice cream or frozen yogurt shops around Tampa Bay. Find a list of Tampa Bay's top 10 old-time ice cream shops here.

Contact Katie Mettler at or (813) 226-3446. Follow @kemettler.