80 things to do now that warmer weather is (finally!) here

After a record winter cold stretch, 80 degrees never felt so good. We're expected to get there today in some pockets of the Tampa Bay area as we slowly creep into true Florida spring weather. What to do to celebrate this long-awaited milestone? We have 80 suggestions.


° Frolic in the Riverwalk fountain.
° Take cheesy pictures at Dinosaur World in Plant City.
° Go fishing at the Ballast Point Park pier and have a bowl of chowder from the Taste of Boston restaurant.
° Stop by Xtreme Juice on a Sunday for buy-one-get-one smoothies.
° Post a snappy Facebook update to make all your northerner friends jealous.
° Buy a root beer float at St. Petersburg's Dairy Inn and go sip it by Crescent Lake.
° Rent a canoe and take it down the Hillsborough River.
° Go camping at Fort DeSoto Park and take a short drive to the beach to explore the old fort.
° Take a guided walking tour through Ybor City, then stop by the Columbia restaurant to cool off with a glass of sangria.
° Remove sweater from dog. Get Fluffy a new bathing suit from Downtown Dogs in Hyde Park.
° Lounge in Henry B. Plant Park, then cool off at the Henry B. Plant Museum.
° Soak up some rays and watch the planes at the beach near Peter O. Knight Airport.
° Have lunch at the Florida Aquarium restaurant's outside patio.
° Eat a crepe at the Tampa Downtown Market on a Friday afternoon.
° Stand on the bridge near Busch Gardens' Tanganyika Tidal Wave and get soaked by the ride's plunge.
° Rent a motor trike from Largo's Mojo Scooters and ride it along Clearwater Beach.
° Get up the nerve to take the 210-foot drop on Adventure Island's Gulf Scream water slide. Skimpy bikini not recommended.
° Sit on one of the outdoor porch picnic tables and eat a BBQ dinner at Kojak's.
° Cool off in the dark, plush Tampa Theater, order a beer and watch a movie.
° Dive the D. T. Sheridan, one of the best wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico.
° Swim with the Mad Dog Triathlon Club on Wednesday evening out at Pass-A-Grille Beach.
° Navigate a stand-up paddle board at St. Pete's North Shore Park.
° Go for a beach run at Treasure Island. Leave your shoes at home.
° Park bench + good book.
° Eat a grouper sandwich at the original Frenchy's on Clearwater Beach.
° Take a nap on the beach. Don't forget sunscreen.
° Camp in your back yard.
° Longboard skateboard along the bike trail at Fort DeSoto.
° Have an apricot beer on the deck at the Dunedin Brewery.
° Skim board North Clearwater Beach.
° Jump on the bike and take a nice long ride on curvy road to nowhere.
° Take a wine cooler out to Sunset Beach, where it's still legal.
° Float on an inner tube down the Ichetucknee River. Yeah, it's a drive, but worth the effort.
° Swim up the Rainbow River.
° Join the beach party crowd at Caddy's On The Beach.
° Pretend it's 1985 and spray Sun-In in your hair.
° Hit the trail at Hillsborough River State Park and feel the 10 degree drop in the woods.
° Catch and release a snook. A picture lasts a lot longer than a fillet.
° Go for a full-moon paddle on Tampa Bay.
° Get a spray tan, then slather on the SPF 50 before laying in the sun.
° Decorate your front yard with inflatable fish, turtles and dolphins.
° Fly a kite on Treasure Island.
° Catch a tarpon off the Skyway Bridge.
° Watch the Tampa Bay sunrise from your own rooftop.
° Bike north on the Upper Tampa Bay Trail until you hit the Ballyhoo Grill, then order a piña colada.
° Run through the fountain at the new Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa.
° Launch your kayak off the Lowry Park boat ramp and wash up at Ricks on the River for a beer.
° Get a fresh smoothie at the Seminole Heights Market and dance barefoot in the grass to some local music.
° Sit at the outside patio of The Hurricane and order peel-and-eat shrimp and a rum runner.
° Take a thrill ride on the speeding Sea Screamer out of Clearwater Beach.
° Look for the perfect loofah while strolling through the sponge dock shops on Dodecanese Boulevard in Tarpon Springs.
° Walk along the gulf beaches and look for shells or fossils that resemble Star Wars characters or religious figures.
° Scan your fridge for any leftover fruit juice and freeze it in a bowl. Scrap into smaller bowls for homemade shaved ice.
° Plant a baby fruit tree in your yard. Go with something exotic, like star fruit or lychee.
° Get a giant bubble wand and master the art of bubble blowing.
°

Listen to live music at St. Petersburg's Saturday Morning Market as you enjoy a homemade empanada.
° Break a sweat.
° Visit Swedish and Canadian ice hotel Web sites and shiver just thinking about it.
° Take your kids to the Cypress Forest Spray Park in Oldsmar.
° Go to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve for some quality bird watching.
° Go to Big Top Flea Market for some quality people watching.
° Fetch the morning paper in your boxer shorts.
° Scan the weather page and chuckle at poor Fargo and Minnetonka.
° Drive across Bayside Bridge with all four windows down.
° Finally get around to cleaning all the leaves, acorns, oak pollen strands, dead lizards and general muck from your swimming pool.
° Go to a walk-in nail salon and pedicure your feet out of boot-and-sock misery.
° Build a sand castle at Beer Can Beach.
° Head to the southern neighborhoods of St. Petersburg and look for city's elusive monkey.
° Play miniature golf by yourself.
° Go bathing suit shopping at International Plaza.
° Go roller skating — not roller blading — on Bayshore Boulevard.
° Park as far north as you can on Clearwater Beach and walk to Caladesi Island.
° Visit the Florida Estates Winery vineyards and pick up a bottle of hybrid wine.
° Go to a discount store and buy a cheap desk fan.
° Take a recess with your co-workers and go outside to play dodgeball.
° Sample hot dogs from downtown hot dog vendors and rank the top five.
° Stop and smell the roses. Or whatever flowers survived the winter freeze.
° Get a gelato at the Tampa Museum of Art and eat it outside.
° Check out a book from Mirror Lake Library and read it in by the lake.
° Get an orange swirl soft serve at Sun Groves.

Compiled by Times staff writers Emily Nipps, Terry Tomalin, Kim Wilmath, Alex Zayas, Katie Sanders, Stephanie Hayes and Hilary Lehman.

80 things to do now that warmer weather is (finally!) here 03/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 7:20pm]

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