Life in Tampa Bay Florida

My family and I have lived in Tampa Bay, Florida for more than a decade. We share our favorite places to visit, what we enjoy about life in Florida and answer your questions about the heat, humidity, alligators, hurricanes and more.

Even though this website is dedicated to food and home life, one of the top questions I get regularly is about our life in Florida. I love showing you a glimpse of our beautiful Sunshine state in my pictures, videos and social media, so I’m happy to give you more details here.

My husband moved to Florida with his family in 2004. After we got married in 2006, I moved here too and we have lived here ever since. We love the weather (most of the time!), the sunshine, the tropical views all around us and so much more.

Watch the Video About What It’s Like Living in Tampa Bay Florida:

Video Timestamps:

  • 00:00-01:33 Into – how long we’ve lived here and how we came to FL
  • 01:34 Life in Florida, living regular life here, where we vacation
  • 02:38 Some of our favorite things about Florida, describing the Tampa Bay area
  • 07:05 What’s the best time of year to visit Florida?
  • 07:35 Summers in FL (weather, heat, rain)
  • 09:29 How we deal with heat and humidity?
  • 11:21 Weather the rest of the year
  • 16:33 Hurricanes
  • 21:07 Gulf of Mexico vs east coast of FL
  • 23:32 Main Attractions of Tampa Bay
  • 26:05 Downtown areas of Tampa Bay
  • 29:16 Bugs, Snakes, Alligators
  • 32:43 What’s a good area to buy a house?
  • 35:18 Schools
  • 37:29 Churches

Favorite Things About Florida and Tampa Bay:

We live in Tampa Bay, which is on the west coast of Florida. To protect the privacy or our family, we WILL NOT share the city where we live, but needless to say, we’re familiar with this area and all the surrounding cities.

What we love about living in Florida is that most of the year, we have the perfect weather. Summer can be brutal, but autumn, winter and spring are amazing. Weather in the 70s, clear blue skies, tropical views all around and living on the coast means that we are surrounded by water which is stunning. We are near multiple beaches within 30 minutes, so there are lots of choices.

Living on the coast also helps to regulate the temperature. The breeze from the gulf helps to bring down the heat a few notches and is much more bearable than some areas of Florida that are more inland. Plus, we can cool off in the water, which is all around us, so even if we don’t have a pool, we can enjoy the beach anytime.

Since we live here, we still have regular life responsibilities, work, school, and other mundane tasks, so we aren’t on a year around vacation. We don’t spend time on the beach every day. However, I love that there are so many options of things to enjoy any day of the week. After a day of work, we can spend the late afternoon and evening at the beach on a Wednesday night, feel like we’re on a tropical vacation for a few hours and be home in 30 minutes.

We also can take a long weekend and explore other parts of Florida – there are so many to enjoy too.

Cities and Downtowns of Tampa Bay:

Tampa Bay is a populated area and the cities and towns along the coast flow together without any breaks in between. The biggest cities are Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater with many smaller cities and towns in between.

We really enjoy visiting the downtowns, walking thought the streets and parks, visiting restaurants, museums, farmer’s markets and libraries. It’s so enjoyable to stroll and enjoy the views, stop to get some food, go on bike rides or car rides.

  • Tampa
  • St. Petersburg
  • Clearwater
  • Dunedin
  • Tarpon Springs
  • Safety Harbor
  • Palm Harbor


The gulf coast beaches have much calmer waters than the east coast. The waves rarely get to be very rough. The beaches are sandy and there are several that have white sand. The more north you go, the more shells and rocks the beaches will have and the less clear the water. The beaches that are more south have very fine white sand and really blue, clear water. Most public beaches have access to restrooms and a place where you can rinse off when you leave the beach so you’re not bringing tons of sand in the car.

  • Clearwater Beach
  • St. Petersburg Beach
  • Indian Rocks Beach
  • Honeymoon Island
  • Madeira Beach
  • Redington Beach
  • Anna Maria Island
  • Fort DeSoto

Tampa Bay Attractions:

  • Busch Gardens
  • Adventure Island
  • Glazer Children’s Museum
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium
  • Tampa Aquarium
  • Ferry ride from St. Petersburg to Tampa
  • Farmer’s Markets: St. Petersburg, Dunedin – closed during the summer months
  • The Riverwalk
  • Armature Works
  • Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
  • A few hours away: Legoland, Disneyworld

Recommended Restaurants:

  • Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber (Clearwater Beach)
  • Island Way Grill (Clearwater Beach)
  • Guppy’s (Indian Rocks Beach)
  • Cali (St. Petersburg)
  • Armature Works (Tampa)
  • Eddie and Sam’s N.Y. Pizza (Tampa)
  • Dio Modern Mediterranean (Tampa)
  • Frenchy’s (Clearwater Beach and Dunedin)
  • The Library Restaurant (St. Petersburg)
  • Columbia Restaurant (Clearwater Beach and Tampa)
  • Salt Rock Grill (Indian Shores)
  • Engine No.9 (burgers and wings) (St. Petersburg)
  • Bern’s Steakhouse (Tampa)
  • Positano’s Ristorante (Palm Harbor)
  • Mystic Fish (Palm Harbor)
  • E&E Stakeout Grill (Bellair Bluffs)
  • Bascom’s Chop House (Clearwater)
  • Freda’s Cafe and Bakery – best cakes and pastries (Largo)


Since we live here, we don’t stay in hotels or resorts. We explore this area while sleeping in our own beds at night:). When we go on extended vacations, we usually go out of state, so I don’t have any to recommend from personal experience.


Everything that we shared is OUR OPINION. You may have a different experience when you visit and/or move.

We enjoy living in Florida for the time being and raising our family here. We do miss the other seasons, but we have family living in other states so we still get to appreciate winter, spring and autumn regularly too. The past 15 years have been wonderful and we hope you enjoyed a glimpse of Floridian life through our eyes.


  • Liliya

    Hi Olga,
    Thank you for a great post! Lots of interesting information. You mentioned that you homeschool your kids. Would you kindly be willing to share your homeschool journey with us?
    Thank you!

  • Vera

    Thank you for this post! It was very informative in helping me decide which side of Florida I’d like to visit one day. You are a very pleasant person to watch on your videos and I find them both informative and enjoyable.

  • Robin

    Thank you for all the FL info!!! Loved seeing it through your eyes! Tons of work went into that, it shows and is truly appreciated.

  • Tanya

    Thank you for the informative post. We just came back from Florida last week (our first time being there). We’ve been in Sarasota, visited Siesta Beach. My friend suggested me to go there. Have you ever been there? Is Tampa better than Sarasota? I noticed Sarasota is pretty old town with old houses… during the day, not so many people in restaurants and stores. Maybe all of them are at the beach 😂. We liked the Siesta beach but it was quite a walk from the parking to the ocean, and hard with 3 little kids and a stroller …,.

    • olgak7

      I think Sarasota is lovely too. There are many beautiful places to visit and lots of great restaurants too. You just need to know where to go. I am more familiar with Tampa area, so that is why we made the video specifically about Tampa Bay, not Sarasota.

  • Barb Henderson

    I don’t know if you like Thai food, but Thai Star near Madeira Beach/John’s Pass, etc., is the best Thai restaurant we have ever been to. My husband was stationed in Thailand during Vietnam and he said it is the closest to what he had while there. Just thought I would throw that out there. We LOVE Madeira Beach best of all the beaches. My husband also loved Shells Restaurant, but we have not been around that much to get to all the good restaurants. We did go to Salt Rock Grill and LOVED it also. And that Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs was fabulous. Anyway, thanks for sharing your opinion.

  • Vadim D.

    Hi, I stumbled upon your video looking through YouTube about places to live in Florida and yours was the only one (ok, maybe like along with 2 other ones) that was of any practical value and substance. So thank you.

    Question: is there a Russian or Russian/Jewish community in or around Tampa? Stores? Thinking of moving to Florida from Brooklyn NYC and was curious about this. I certainly don’t expect a Brighton Beach level of Russian community but wanted to hear your thoughts. Thanks again.

  • Elena

    What’s a good beach that isnt populated to go to? We prefer the privacy of unpopulated beaches.. what would you reccomend?

    • olgak7

      Most of the beaches that I listed in the post are not as populated and you can find some private areas. If you access the beach from public areas that are not near the main parking, that is the best bet. Indian Rocks Beach, Honeymoon Island, Madeira Beach, Redington Beach, Anna Maria Island, Fort DeSoto. Also, it really depends WHEN you go to the beach. If you go during any school or college breaks, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, even weekends etc. no matter where you go, the beaches will be crowded, it will be a nightmare to find parking and there will be lots of traffic to/from the beaches. ALL of the beaches:).
      We always go during the weekdays, avoid all holidays and breaks, and try to go in the late afternoon/evenings. Easy to find parking, much less people and a much more pleasant experience.
      Or rent a place with a private beach access. That is awesome as well. Only the people that are staying at the same place can access it from that spot. If you rent an airbnb home, sometimes there won’t be any people at all in the beach in front of the place where you are staying.

  • jas

    Hi. Do you know much about cocoa beach area? What are some not so crowded beaches there? things to do? recommendations for a florida trip? thx.

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