Tampa Bay area
Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater MSA
Location in Florida
|Other major cities|
| • Estimate |
|Ranked 18th in the US|
|Time zone||UTC−05:00 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−04:00 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||813, 727, 352, 863|
The Tampa Bay area is a major populated area surrounding Tampa Bay on the west coast of Florida in the United States. It includes the main cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. It is the eighteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with an estimated population of over three million.
The exact boundaries of the metro area can differ in different contexts. Hillsborough County and Pinellas County (including the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and several smaller communities) make up the most limited definition. The United States Census Bureau defines the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as including Hillsborough and Pinellas counties along with Hernando and Pasco counties to the north.
Other definitions are
This wider area may also be known as Central West Florida as part of Central Florida.
The population of the Tampa Bay MSA is estimated at 3,142,663 people as of 2018.
The following is a list of principal cities and unincorporated communities, including census-designated places (CDPs), located in the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater MSA based on the 2010 U.S. Census:
Each of these cities has a population in excess of 250,000 inhabitants:
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater MSA consists of the following ethnic demographics:
|65 and over||750,138||19.4%|
|MEDIAN AGE||41.39 years old|
|Hispanic or Latino||479,936||11.0%|
|Two or more races||83,861||1.9%|
See also: Tampa Bay
The Tampa Bay area is located along Tampa Bay which it is named for. Pinellas County and St. Petersburg, Florida lies on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and much of the city of Tampa, Florida lies on a smaller peninsula jutting out into Tampa Bay.
Main article: Climate of the Tampa Bay Area
The Tampa Bay area has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers, with daily thunderstorms, drier, predominantly sunny winters, and warm-to-hot springs with a pronounced dry season maximum. On average, two days experience frost per year in the cooler parts of the Tampa Bay area, less than annually in the coastal parts. However, hard freezes (low temperatures below 28 °F/−2 °C) are very rare, occurring only a few times in the last 75 years. The United States Department of Agriculture designates the area as being in hardiness zones 9b and 10a (the latter being western and coastal, due significantly to maritime influences of the Gulf of Mexico and the 400-square-mile Tampa Bay). Plant climate-indicator species, such as coconut palms, royal palms, as well as other elements of Florida's native tropical flora, reach their northern limits of reliable culture and native range in the area. Highs usually range between 65 and 95 °F (18 and 35 °C) year-round. Tampa's official high has never reached 100 °F (38 °C)—the all-time record high temperature is 99 °F (37 °C). St. Petersburg's all-time record high is exactly 100 °F (38 °C).
Pinellas County lies on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and much of the city of Tampa lies on a smaller peninsula jutting out into Tampa Bay. This proximity to large bodies of water both moderates local temperatures and introduces large amounts of humidity into the atmosphere. In general, the communities farthest from the coast have more extreme temperature differences, both during a single day and throughout the seasons of the year.
|Climate data for Tampa, Florida (Tampa Int'l), 1981−2010 normals,[a] extremes 1890−present[b]|
|Record high °F (°C)||86
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||81.1
|Average high °F (°C)||69.9
|Average low °F (°C)||51.6
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||32.6
|Record low °F (°C)||21
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||2.23
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 inch)||6.8||6.6||6.6||4.9||5.5||12.7||15.9||16.0||12.2||6.5||5.1||5.8||104.6|
|Average relative humidity (%)||74.9||73.0||71.8||69.0||69.8||74.4||76.6||78.4||77.6||74.2||75.0||75.0||74.1|
|Average dew point °F (°C)||50.2
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||199.9||202.7||267.5||299.1||314.5||277.8||265.3||249.5||223.0||233.9||201.7||191.6||2,926.5|
|Percent possible sunshine||61||65||72||78||75||67||62||61||60||66||62||60||66|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity, dew point and sun 1961−1990) Weather Channel|
As of July 1, 2019, the largest employers within the Tampa Bay area are:
|BayCare Health System||28,400||Healthcare|
|Publix Super Markets||25,989||Grocery|
|Hillsborough County School District||25,173||Education|
|HCA West Florida Division||18,832||Healthcare|
|MacDill Air Force Base||18,000||Military|
Nearly one in four of the state's business and information services firms resides in Tampa Bay. These firms range from financial services firms to information technology providers to professional services organizations such as law firms, accounting firms, engineering firms, consulting and more. As a gateway to the Florida High Tech Corridor, Tampa Bay is home to many information technology firms along with many business services providers.
Financial services firms:
With more than 50 hospitals, dozens of clinics and ambulatory care centers, the Tampa Bay has an abundance of top-rated health care facilities for children and adults. The region also has a wealth of well-trained medical professionals—nearly 53,000 nurses and more than 9,200 physicians (including physician assistants)—provide care to Tampa Bay residents and visitors every year.
Tampa Bay serves as the gateway to the Florida High Tech Corridor which spans 23 counties. Created as a partnership between the University of South Florida, University of Central Florida and now including the University of Florida, the Florida High Tech Corridor promotes the growth of the high-tech industry across Central Florida.
Academic research is a key component of high-tech growth and a powerful economic engine. The presence of cutting-edge research in the region is vital to technology transfer, which enables innovative ideas discovered in academia to achieve commercialization in the marketplace. Tampa Bay has several powerhouse research centers that are engaged in both pure scientific research and aggressively pursuing technology transfer to enrich people's lives.
Researchers at the University of South Florida's Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Research Center (NNRC), H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and the Center for Ocean Technology at USF's College of Marine Science are researching how to use nanotechnology for a myriad of targeted uses including drug delivery, mechanized microsurgery, customized laser microchips, ways to turn sunlight into electricity, purifying water, storing hydrogen in small nanotubes, designing and developing marine sensors using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and curing cancer. University of Tampa is located in Downtown Tampa, Florida on the Hillsborough River and is a historic university linked back to Teddy Roosevelt.
In 2008 the area's construction based boom was brought to a sudden halt by the financial crisis of 2007–2010, and by 2009 it was ranked as the fourth worst performing housing market in the United States.
Changes in house prices for the area are publicly tracked on a regular basis using the Case–Shiller index; the statistic is published by Standard & Poor's and is also a component of S&P's 20-city composite index of the value of the U.S. residential real estate market.
The University of South Florida's Center for Ocean Technology, which has been a leader in microelectromechanical systems research and development and has been using the technology to collect biological and chemical data to monitor water quality, provided underwater technology for port security at the 2004 Republican National Convention. USF's Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue used its miniature robots to assist rescue teams at Ground Zero following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Tampa Bay is also the location of three major military installations, MacDill Air Force Base, Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg. MacDill AFB is home to the 6th Air Mobility Wing (6 AMW) of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) and the 927th Air Refueling Wing (927 ARW) of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC). Both wings share flight operations of a fleet of KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft and the 6 AMW also operates a fleet of C-37A Gulfstream V aircraft. MacDill AFB also hosts multiple tenant organizations, to include two major combatant commands: United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), which directs military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East; and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), which has responsibility for all special operations forces in the U.S. Armed Forces. CGAS Clearwater is located at the St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport. It is the largest air station in the United States Coast Guard, operating HC-130H Hercules aircraft and MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters with principal missions focused on search and rescue, counternarcotics interdiction, and homeland security. The HC-130 aircraft are slated to be replaced by new HC-27J Spartan aircraft beginning in 2017. Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg is located on the site of the former Coast Guard Air Station St. Petersburg at Albert Whitted Airport. It is home to Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg and is homeport for the USCGC Resolute (WMEC 620), USCGC Venturous (WMEC 625), and numerous smaller cutters and patrol boats.
Primary and secondary education is provided by the school districts of the individual counties making up the region.
The area is home to several institutions of higher learning, including the main campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa and the satellite campuses of USF St. Petersburg. Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, the University of Tampa, Florida College in Temple Terrace, Trinity College (Florida) in New Port Richey, are all four-year institutions located in the area. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University and Troy University also maintain satellite education centers at MacDill AFB.
There are two law schools in the area, Stetson University College of Law and Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Stetson University has campuses in Gulfport and Tampa. The newly built (May 2012) Thomas M. Cooley Law school is located in Riverview.
Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg College, Polk State College, and Pasco-Hernando State College are community colleges serving the area.
The Tampa Bay area is home to a high concentration of quality art museums. Long established communities, particularly those near the bay such as Cuban influenced Ybor City, Old Northeast in St. Petersburg, and Palma Ceia and Hyde Park in Tampa contain historic architecture. Fresh seafood and locally grown produce are available in many restaurants and in weekly farmers' markets in multiple urban centers in the area. Yuengling, the largest American-owned brewer, operates a brewery in Tampa, as does the highly regarded craft brewer Cigar City Brewing.
Arts and culture make a big impact in Tampa Bay. In a single year, the economic impact of the cultural institutions in the Tampa Bay area was $521.3 million, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study. In 2004 5.6 million people attended plays, musical performances, museum exhibits, and other cultural institutions in Tampa Bay, supporting 7,800 jobs.
The Tampa Bay area is highly noted for its beaches, with the warm, blue gulf waters and nearly 70 miles of barriers islands from North Pinellas south to Venice, attracting tourists from all over the world. Three of the beaches in this area, Fort De Soto's North Beach (2005), Caladesi Island (2008), and Sarasota's Siesta Key (2011) have been named by Dr. Beach as America's Top Beach. The 15th IIFA Awards would be held at Tampa Bay Area in April 2014.
Sports attractions, in addition to the teams listed below, include many professional quality golf courses, tennis courts, and pools. Ybor and the Channel District in Tampa, downtown St. Petersburg, and the beaches all along the coast all attract a vibrant nightlife.
The Tampa Bay area is home to an extensive system of state, county, and city parks. Hillsborough River State Park in Thonotosassa is one of Florida's original eight state parks and Honeymoon Island State Park, near Dunedin, is Florida's most visited state park. Pinellas County is home to the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a 37-mile running and cycling trail over a former railroad bed connecting Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg. Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, the remnants of the approaches to the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge forms the world's largest fishing pier in Pinellas and Manatee counties. The shallow waters and many mangrove islands of the bay and gulf make the area popular with kayakers. The gulf is also home to a large number of natural and artificial coral reefs that are popular for fishing and scuba diving. Away from the coast, Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland (Polk county) has been designated as a Great Florida Birding Trail site, a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Main article: Sports in the Tampa Bay area
The Tampa Bay Area is home to three major professional sports teams: the Buccaneers (NFL), Rays (MLB), and Lightning (NHL). The Tampa Bay area also hosts a number of minor-league and college teams.
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||NFL||American football||Raymond James Stadium||Tampa|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||Ice hockey||Amalie Arena||Tampa|
|Tampa Bay Rays||MLB||Baseball||Tropicana Field||St. Petersburg|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||USL||Soccer||Al Lang Stadium||St. Petersburg|
|USF Bulls football||NCAA DI||American football||Raymond James Stadium||Tampa|
|USF Bulls basketball||NCAA DI||Basketball||USF Sun Dome||Tampa|
See also: Baseball in the Tampa Bay area
Major League Baseball teams have come to the Tampa Bay area for spring training since the Chicago Cubs trained at Tampa's Plant Field in 1913 and the St. Louis Browns trained at St. Petersburg's Coffee Pot Park in 1914. Grapefruit League games are still a favorite pastime for both residents and tourists alike every March. The following five Major League Baseball teams play spring training games in the Tampa Bay area:
Minor League baseball has also been a constant in the Tampa Bay area for over a century. The Tampa Smokers, St. Petersburg Saints, Lakeland Highlanders, and Bradenton Growers were charter members of the original Florida State League, which began play in 1919. Current local teams include:
Florida State League (Class A)
The area is also home to several affiliates of the Gulf Coast League, a rookie league in which many young players gain their first experience in professional baseball.
The Tampa Bay area does not have a basketball team in the NBA; the Orlando Magic are the closest team to the area, 85 miles east. The Toronto Raptors made Tampa their temporary home prior to the 2020–21 NBA season during the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitated by restrictions on travel between Canada and the United States that were in effect. Their "home" games were played at Amalie Arena.
The Tampa Bay area has had several teams in minor basketball leagues. The Tampa Bay Titans play in The Basketball League (TBL). Their home games are played at Pasco–Hernando State College. The St. Pete Tide and the Tampa Gunners play in the Florida Basketball Association (FBA). The Tide's home games are played at St. Petersburg Catholic High School, and the Gunners are a travel team.
For more about marine transportation in the area, including the many bridges over Tampa Bay, see Tampa Bay § Transportation.
Main article: List of airports in the Tampa Bay area
Tampa International Airport is the largest airport in the region with 21 carriers and more than 17 million passengers served last year. In addition to the recent opening of a new terminal, improvements are being planned to handle 25 million passengers by 2020.
St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport provides access to commercial airliners, and smaller charter craft. The airport is currently planning an expansion which will include new terminal facilities and runway extension. Dotting the landscape throughout the area, are many general aviation airports for the aircraft enthusiast and smaller corporate jets.
Amtrak provides passenger rail service from Union Station in Tampa. CSX provides freight rail service for the entire Tampa Bay region.
The Cross-Bay Ferry has connected Tampa's Channelside District to Downtown St. Petersburg since 2016. The Pirate Water Taxi, also operating since 2016, has several stops along the waterways in the vicinity of Tampa's downtown area and Channelside District.
Bus service is provided in Hillsborough County by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), in Pinellas County by Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), in Pasco County by Pasco County Public Transportation and in Hernando County by THE Bus. HART and PSTA provide express services between Tampa and Pinellas County, and PSTA provides connections to Pasco County. HART also operates the TECO streetcar between Downtown Tampa and Ybor City. In 2013, HART also began operating a Bus rapid transit system called MetroRapid that runs from Downtown Tampa to the University of South Florida.
On July 1, 2007, an intermodal transportation authority was created to serve the seven-county Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) was formed to develop bus, rapid transit, and other transportation options for the region.
The Tampa Bay area is served by these interstate highways.
Hillsborough County is also served by other roadways such as the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (SR 618) which commutes workers from Brandon into downtown Tampa and the Veterans Expressway/Suncoast Parkway (SR 589) which serves traffic from the Citrus/Hernando County border southward into Tampa. Both of these highways, which are built to limited access freeway standards, are toll roads as is the connecting junction between the Selmon Expressway and Interstate 4.
In Pinellas County, U.S. 19 is the main north–south route through the county, and is being upgraded to freeway standards complete with frontage roads to ease congestion through the north part of the county. Also, the Bayside Bridge allows traffic to go from Clearwater into St. Petersburg without having to use U.S. 19.
The Courtney Campbell Causeway (SR 60) is one of the three roads that connect Pinellas County to Hillsborough County across the bay. The other two are the Howard Frankland Bridge (I-275) and Gandy Bridge (U.S. 92). The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is part of I-275 and connects Bradenton and other Manatee County and Sarasota County commuters into Pinellas County.
C.S. Sargent designated ...major "tree regions" of [North America] ...each distinguished by a complex of tree species... [The] smallest of these ...called "Tropical Florida" ...[in which] 87.5% have an otherwise tropical distribution; in Florida they are at [their] northern limit. ...The distribution of tropical tree species within South Florida is not known in any detail although the generalized distribution of all species is well summarized by Little (1978). A single latitudinal line does not separate the foras of South and Central Florida... Since the factor limiting the distribution of tropical species in a northern direction is almost certainly minimum winter temperature, an approximate indication of the limits... is the 54-degF January isotherm for the state. Figure 5
This is the fifth volume of an Atlas with large maps showing the natural distribution or range of the native tree species of the continental United States. In these five volumes, maps of nearly all native tree species of the continental United States have been published... Florida merits a separate volume because it has more native tree species than any other state (except Hawaii), and because it has a large number of tropical species found in no other State. These trees of mostly limited range can be shown better on large-scale maps.