Hotel at a Glance: Holiday Inn Express Tampa North–Telecom Park
Located right in Tampa’s Telecom Park, Holiday Inn Express Tampa North–Telecom Park is just down the road from the University of South Florida. It’s also an easy drive to Tampa’s white-sand beaches and theme parks. For added convenience, this new hotel provides a free shuttle to local corporations within a 5-mile radius; these include Circle K, Verizon, USAA, and the VA Hospital.
- Where you’ll stay: Guest rooms include a mini refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, 32-inch high-definition TV, and free WiFi.
- Squeeze in a workout: The hotel features an outdoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center stocked with a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, and weight machine.
- A free hot breakfast is served every morning in the dining room off the lobby.
- Recent accolades: TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014
- Grab lunch and dinner at Central Park Restaurant and Top China Restaurant, located within the hotel complex.
- Convene with nature: The Holiday Inn is a short walk from Lettuce Lake Park, near the banks of Hillsborough River. It’s a quiet spot for a stroll.
Tampa, Florida: Sunny Days, Beaches, and Busch Gardens
Given that Tampa has more than 15 white-sand beaches and nearly 250 sunny days a year, it should come as no surprise that Forbes magazine ranked it the fifth best city in America for enjoying the outdoors. Set on the Gulf Coast, about 90 miles southwest of Orlando, the city offers abundant green spaces as well as year-round opportunities for fishing, surfing, and golfing on waterfront courses.
Roller coasters and exotic animals share real estate at Busch Gardens Tampa, a theme park designed to evoke the thrills of an African safari. Like a big cat sprinting after its prey, Cheetah Hunt—one of the park’s newer thrill rides—reaches speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Back on solid ground, you can get up close and personal with more than 2,000 animals living in detailed replicas of their natural habitats.
The nearby Courtney Campbell Causeway provides easy access to Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg, picturesque towns located on the peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. They’re known for their festive seafood restaurants, as well as outdoor attractions such as dolphin-watching cruises and nature preserves. For shopping, head to Tampa’s International Plaza and Bay Street, home to luxury retailers such as Burberry and Tory Burch.