25 OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO NEAR MACDILL AFB
By Chris Walker
IntroductionMacDill Air Force Base (AFB) is in the middle of Florida’s beautiful Tampa Bay and centered between the cities of Tampa and St Petersburg. Surrounded by great beach towns and lots of water, as well as two large cities, there is no shortage of things to do!
Suggested Read:MacDill Air Force Base: In-Depth Welcome Center
COVID-19 NoticeDue to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, many businesses, venues, and parks may be temporarily closed or operating under restricted hours. Many, if not all, of the ones listed here, are likely subject to health restrictions, though new re-openings and closings occur all the time. Check websites and call ahead to learn each listing’s current status.
25 Things to Do on MacDill AFBWith base and two large cities nearby, there are tons of options for things to do both indoors and outdoors. Want to go golfing? Want to take a brewery tour? Maybe just lie on the beach and enjoy the scenery? Click the numbers below to jump to specific activities: (1) Pools (2) Bowling (3) Golf Courses (4-6) Shopping (7) Movie Theaters (8) Gyms (9-11) Outdoor Recreation (12-16) Attractions (17-20) Beaches (21-25) Museums
MacDill AFB Pool
1. MacDill Aquatic CenterCondor St, Bldg 47 MacDill AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 828-6093 or 1 (813) 619-1900 If you want to do some lap swimming to stay in shape, check out the MacDill Aquatics Center.
MacDill AFB Bowling Alley
2. MacDill Lanes8216 Hangar Loop Dr, Bldg 298 MacDill AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 828-4005 A 12-lane facility with league-play, lessons, and party areas.
MacDill AFB Golf Course
3. Bay Palms Golf Course1803 Golf Course Ave MacDill AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 840-6904 Enjoy two 18-hole golf courses, a lighted putting and practice green, 24-hour driving range, pro shop, clubhouse, and restaurant. This has been called “golfer’s paradise” on base with scenic views and challenging courses!
ShoppingKnowing where to shop is vital when you’re moving to a new area. Here are a few options to get you started.
4. International Plaza and Bay Street2223 N Westshore Blvd Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 1 (813) 342-3790 A huge outdoor mall and promenade with more than 150 retail stores and restaurant options for all tastes.
5. Vintage Roost2326 E 7th Ave Tampa, FL 33605
Phone: 1 (813) 304-2134 A fun warehouse-sized vintage shop stocked by many different vendors with all types of items from every style and era you could hope for.
6. Hyde Park Village744 South Village Cir Tampa, FL 33606
Phone: 1 (813) 251-3500 This shopping center is a unique mix of local, regional, and national retailers. Browse high end shopping to local artists and enjoy dining and entertainment across six city blocks in the Historic Hyde Park District.
MacDill AFB Movie Theater
7. MacFlix Base Theater2420 Florida Keys Ave, Bldg 41 MacDill AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 828-3607 Watch movies for steeply discounted rates by seeing them on base. There are also free movies available every Thursday and Sunday at 1400!
MacDill AFB Gym
8. MacDill Fitness Center8115 Cypress Stand St, Bldg 303 Randolph AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 828-4496 MacDill’s Fitness Center is a state of the art and massive complex that features a full ¼ mile track, basketball & racquetball courts, softball field, multi-purpose turf fields, cardio mezzanine, weight rooms, functional fitness area, and sauna. An excellent resource for your mental and physical health!
MacDill Outdoor Recreation
9. MacDill Outdoor Adventure9909 Marina Bay Dr MacDill AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 459-3704 The Outdoor Adventure Program is catered to all kinds of adventures and ability levels including surfing, jet skiing, and deep-sea fishing. Great for groups and family outings!
10. Outdoor Recreation10303 Marina Bay Dr MacDill AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 840-6919 The Outdoor Recreation Center is a consolidated source for rental of all sorts of outdoor camping, grilling, watersports, or sport equipment and a great way to enjoy the area around Tampa Bay without having to spend a fortune buying and storing your own boating or outdoor gear.
11. MacDill Skeet RangeSouthshore Ave, Bldg 1100 MacDill AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 828-5299 Though currently closed for construction, the base does offer a range for the skeet enthusiast.
12. SS American Victory Mariners’ Memorial and Museum Ship705 Channelside Dr Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 1 (813) 228-8766 An imposing yet beautiful ship that sides in the channel of Tampa Bay, it now serves as a well-kept museum with knowledgeable staff on this Victory ship. These ships were used to transport men and material across the seas during WWII and this museum ship is one of only three left in the US with the other two in California.
13. CPonies Tour8410 Manatee Ave W Bradenton, FL 34209
Phone: 1 (941) 773-5196 If you enjoy either horseback riding, the ocean, or both, check out this tour which features horseback rides through the surf or on land near St Petersburg. A unique experience with friendly guides, the horses are mostly rescues and the ride through water aids in their rehabilitation as they gain back strength.
Tampa Bay Area
14. The Brew Bus
Phone: 1 (813) 990-7310 The only tour of its kind, The Brew Bus features multiple different tour loops that will take you to breweries, bars, restaurants, and even shuttle you to hockey games! Check the website to buy tickets and for a schedule of stop locations and hop on!
15. Lowry Park Zoo Tampa1101 W. Sligh Ave Tampa, Fl 33604
Phone: 1 (813) 935-8552 Winner of a 2020 Travelers’ Choice Award from Tripadvisor, ZooTampa at Lowry Park is a spectacular place for animal and nature lovers of all ages. Enjoy and learn about their over 1,100 different animals from all over the world across their 54 acres of exhibits and habitats.
16. Busch Gardens Tampa10165 McKinley Dr Tampa, FL 33612
Phone: 1 (813) 884-4386 From their thrilling roller coasters to their award winning Serengeti Safari, Busch Gardens in Tampa, is sure to delight anyone, no matter what their interests, hobbies, or ideas of a fun day out are. And with their special military tickets and rates, you can make it a fun day for the whole family for a great price.
MacDill AFB Beach
17. Macdill AFB Beach9909 Marina Bay Drive Tampa, FL 33621
Phone: 1 (813) 840-6919 Florida is known far and wide for its beautiful beaches and you won’t even have to leave base to enjoy one. The base Outdoor Recreation Center and Marina includes a stretch of lovely, sandy beach perfect to catch some rays or take a swim.
18. St Pete Beach Florida155 Corey Avenue St Pete Beach FL 33706
Phone: 1 (727) 367-2735 Aptly called the Sunset Capital of Florida, this resort city sits on a barrier island which means there’s nothing between in and the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And with sunshine year-round, you’ll enjoy plenty of great beach time leading up to each of those breathtaking sunsets.
Local tip- if you’re not opposed to walking a few blocks you can find plenty of free parking off of Corey Avenue on the North side of the beach.
19. Clearwater Beach Florida419 East Shore Drive Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
Phone: 1 (727) 461-5088 Rated the #1 beach in the United States and one of the top 10 beaches in the world, the sparkling water soft white sands of Clearwater Beach make it a picturesque place to visit. And with plenty of hotels and great restaurants nearby, it’s perfect for a day trip or an extended vacation right near base. Keep in mind that due to Clearwater Beach’s reputation, parking can be a real challenge especially during Spring Break and the Summer seasons. Check out their website for the best and cheapest places to park.
Local tip- you might even get lucky, scoring one of the few free spots on the North side of the beach next to the tennis court, but you didn’t hear it from us.
20. Sand Key Beach1060 Gulf Blvd Clearwater, FL 33767
Phone: 1 (727) 582-2100 Sand Key Park and its beach is a wonderful spot if you are not a fan of beaching with the tourists. This beach is a much quieter, family-oriented beach, where you can sunbathe without the crowd of people around you. In addition to the sand and surf they have numerous amenities like a dog park and cabanas. Unlike Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach, there are plenty of parking spaces right up front for a flat rate of $5/car.
MacDill AFB Museums
21. Glazer Children’s Museums110 W Gasparilla Plaza Tampa FL 33602
Phone: 1 (813) 443-3861 This interactive installation invites kids to “play with purpose” in order to create lifelong learners. Bring the whole family to the Glazer Museum for a fun, educational day everyone can enjoy.
22. USF Contemporary Art Museum3821 USF Holly Drive Tampa, FL 33620
Phone: 1 (813) 974-4133 Run by the University of South Florida, this art museum features more than 5,000 pieces, including photography and an extensive African art collection. This vital cultural institution houses my numerous acclaimed and famous artists from all over the world.
23. The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts400 N. Ashley Drive Cube 200 Tampa, Florida 33602
Phone: 1 (813) 221-2222 From important historic photos to stunning shots by contemporary artists in the medium, FMoPA sits in the heart of Tampa’s Waterfront Arts District. It’s chock full of amazing exhibits and has programs for children and adults.
24. St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts255 Beach Dr. NE St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: 1 (727) 896-2667 See an amazing and extensive collection of art from the contemporary to works nearly 5,000 years old. Right on St. Petersburg’s scenic waterfront, the Museum of Fine Arts has art of all kinds from the old masters to modern photography.
25. Chihuly Collection720 Central Avenue St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: 1 (727) 896-4527 Dedicated solely to the inspiring artwork of Dale Chihuly, this assembly of 18 installations run by the Morean Arts Center is a sight to see. The building was specifically designed to house and complement the works, which makes the whole thing one big, beautiful work of art.
ConclusionWith Tampa, St Petersburg, the Tampa Bay, and the gulf coast all within short driving distance there is no shortage of things to see or do. We hope this short article will help get you started in enjoying your new home. Get out there and enjoy the beautiful Florida sunshine and remember to use sunscreen!
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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