Florida”s third largest city (after Jacksonville and Miami), Tampa is often overshadowed by Orlando, just 90 miles to the east. But with water at every angle, sugar-fine beaches nearby, Busch Gardens and a wonderful zoo and aquarium to boot, this west coast Florida city rolls out the options for vacationing families.
Large chain hotels close to dining and attractions abound, but you”ll also find some new boutique-style properties in the mix, too. These are the best family hotels in Tampa, as rated by our team of experts and other families like you..
Written by Janet Malin
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
Proximity to the airport (just 5 minutes away by complimentary shuttle) and a sublime setting on a nature preserve fronting Tampa Bay are among the perks at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay near downtown Tampa. Among the amenities kids love are two pools, Ping-Pong tables in the sand, a boardwalk for exploring native Florida wetlands and hammocks for lounging. Sunday brunch at Oystercatchers restaurant, with its atmospheric outdoor tables overlooking the bay, is a Tampa family tradition.
The Westin Tampa Bay
With a location that puts you near the airport and within a straight shot of Clearwater Beach (30 minutes away) and downtown Tampa (about 20 minutes), the 244-room Westin Tampa Bay has a private beach with lounge chairs fronting the bay and a great heated indoor swimming pool. The two-room suites offer privacy for families and sleep up to four people, with a kitchenette for economical meals in.
Le Meridien Tampa
Set inside a renovated historic courthouse in downtown Tampa, within blocks of the recently revitalized Riverwalk area, the restaurants of Channelside, Glazer Children"s Museum and sports arena, this 130-room Starwood property is well suited for families in search of an urban adventure. The ongoing Family Package offered at Le Meridien Tampa means kids eat for free in the hotel restaurant with the purchase of an adult meal. And you"ll get 25 percent off the room rate when you book an additional room for your kids. There"s an outdoor pool -- small but sufficient -- for cooling off.
Fronting a busy intersection near two major shopping malls, the location of the InterContinental Tampa isn"t a seller in itself. But a stay here puts you about 10 minutes from downtown and within about 30 minutes of Clearwater Beach and Busch Gardens, too, making it one of the best family hotels in Tampa. The 323 rooms include suites with bedrooms separated from the living space. There"s complimentary shuttle service to the airport (10 minutes away). And the rooftop pool is a sweet spot for a refreshing dip with city views.
Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina
Admire bobbing boats in the marina at your doorstep, then stroll five minutes along the water to Channelside and the Amalie Arena while staying at the 27-story Marriott smack dab in downtown Tampa. You can catch a streetcar right from the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel ($5 per person, unlimited on and off) to reach Ybor City, with stops at the aquarium, cruise port and other attractions along the way. There"s an updated onsite pool, too. And the 700 rooms include a few suites, although none have kitchenettes.
Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Airport Westshore
This corporate hotel is also popular with families looking for cheap and cheerful accommodations near the airport pre- or post-cruise. Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Airport Westshore ticks all the boxes with a pool, decent onsite restaurant, in-room fridges and microwaves and suites with separated living and sleeping areas. You"re close to the airport and downtown here, making for a convenient day or two stay on either end of a Tampa trip to the beaches or Busch Gardens.
Wingate by Wyndham Tampa USF/Busch Gardens
Treating the kids to a day at Busch Gardens or Adventure Island Water Park? The Wingate by Wyndham Tampa USF/Busch Gardens, just 2 miles from the theme park, offers free shuttle service throughout the day, making it easy to leave your car behind and relax. After a day at the parks, enjoy the outdoor swimming pool or indoor hot tub (the pool isn"t heated during the winter, when you probably won"t want to swim in it). The hotel"s complimentary breakfast buffet has hot dishes and a total of 40 items that make it outclass most of its competitors.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa
Two queen beds and sleeper sofas in the suites mean that it"s easy to accommodate a family of six for a relative bargain at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa within walking distance of Busch Gardens (you can actually see the rollercoasters from here, and there"s a complimentary hotel shuttle to take you to the park if you want to save your walking for when you get there). Kids under 18 stay for free with adults and there"s an outdoor swimming pool and a free buffet breakfast to get your theme park mornings off to a well-fed start.
Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
Put your family close to the airport, the world-class shopping of International Plaza and Bay Street, downtown Tampa and the trendy areas of Hyde Park and Soho with a stay at Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel, one of the best resorts in Tampa. While the outdoor swimming pool is about the extent of onsite activities for kids, the concierge can help with babysitting services and theme park discounts. And the property"s location in the middle of it all really can"t be beat.
Hampton Inn Tampa/Ybor City/Downtown
Popular with families cruising in or out of the port of Tampa and visitors keen to explore historic Ybor City, the Hampton Inn Tampa/Ybor City/Downtown is a familiar representation of the chain"s convenient properties. You"ll recognize the standard free breakfast (including those great make-your-own waffles!), and the 138 rooms offer the convenience of microwaves and refrigerators. A free shuttle operating within 3 miles of the hotel makes it easy to park and forget about your car while you"re exploring Ybor City and surrounds.
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