Central West Florida consist of the Tampa Bay area including the areas north and south along the West Coast of Florida. Bordering the Gulf of Mexico, this region includes part of the Nature Coast, the Sun Coast and the Cultural Coast. The diversity of the Central West region varies from nature, to beautiful beaches, to arts and cultural, to the popular Busch Gardens theme park. 

Central West Florida Region Map

One of Florida's best parks for dynamic biking trails is the Alafia River State Park. The park features 17 miles of bike trails that cover some of the highest elevation changes found in Florida. The park also offers at least 20 miles of trails for hikers and equestrians through pine flat wood, and with the abundance with wildlife it is also great for bird watching. The giant park is also home to a campground, playgrounds, opportunities for canoeing and fishing, and much more.

The South Fork State Park is a rare natural wonder of Florida. The park is very underdeveloped making it ideal for Wildlife viewing, birding, or exploring its hiking trails. The park is home to many rare plant life including its rosemary scrub habitat which is only found in Florida; as well as many rare plants and animals which are not commonly observed. 

Visitors can request a gate code to visit the Wingate Creek State Park and explore its rare and untouched natural habitats. Currently hiking and biking in the park is limited and it is primarily used for nature research, birding, or simply exploring nature. 

February 3 - 4

Location: Florida Classic Park, Brooksville, Florida

This festival celebrates the Native American culture of Brooksville and across the nation! Here you will find Native American performers and vendors selling tons of authentic Native American art and hand crafted goods. 

February 10 - 11

Location: Downtown Sarasota

This festival takes over downtown Sarasota for a weekend of amazing art and culture. It is consistently ranked one of the top 100 Fine Art Shows by Sunshine Artist Magazine. It will feature amazing art by artists from all over the country!

March 3 - 4, 2018

Location: Floral City, Florida

This festival celebrates local agriculture and the many things local farmers produce, including of course, delicious strawberries! In addition to lots and lots of strawberries you will also find live entertainment, children's activities, arts and crafts, and much more!

April 20-22, 2018

Location: The Coliseum, St. Petersburg

The oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeastern United States, third largest in the nation. 100+ Booksellers from all over the country bring volumes of every description from very rare to reading copies on every conceivable subject.

March, 2019

Location: Brooksville

Brooksville celebrates Florida’s fastest growing specialty crop of edibles at the Sixth Annual Florida Blueberry Festival featuring 2 stages of live concerts, kids zone, water slide and vendors with yummy blueberry-infused decadence. 

March 1 - 11, 2018

Location: Plant City, Florida

One of the biggest harvest festivals around, this is a celebration of the local strawberry harvest! Here you will find many farms from the area offering up their strawberries and other products. Plus tons of entertainment and activities for people of all ages.

March 3 - 4, 2018

Location: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Downtown Tampa + Kiley Garden

One of the most prestigious art festivals in the country, Gasparilla brings together some of the best artists from all over the country to show their work and compete for over $70,000 of prize money.

March 31 - April 1, 2018

Location: Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, Florida

Here you can enjoy all kinds of entertainment, art, food. The real star of the show is, of course, the Cuban sandwich. Cuban sandwich contestants from all over the world show off their skills!

April 14 - 15, April 21 - 22, 2018

Location: Keel and Curley Winery, Plant City, Florida

10th Annual Blueberry Festival in Plant City, Florida featuring live entertainment, food and craft vendors, kids area and U-Pick Blueberries. 

April 21 - 22, 2018

Location: Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg, Florida

This is one of the best cultural events of the year in this area! Performing arts and visual arts come together for an amazing experience.

April 13 - 22, 2018

Location: Clearwater Beach, Florida

A 10-day Fun 'n Sun Festival to celebrate the famous beaches of Clearwater that features the notorious sand sculpture exhibit from the best sand sculptors around the world, music, entertainment, live concerts, street performers, sand sculpting classes and so much more. Beach fun for the whole family! 

April 28 - 29, 2018

Location: England Brothers Bandshell Park, Pinellas Park, Florida

Love spicy food? You don't want to miss out on this spicy celebration! Live entertainment and vendors are joined by an amateur hot sauce competition and a pepper eating contest.

April 13-22, 2018

Location: Sarasota, Florida

The Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) is recognized as a world-class platform for thought-provoking films from some of the best known and emerging independent voices. Named one of the Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World by Moviemaker Magazine, the Sarasota Film Festival celebrates international artists, storytellers while enriching Sarasota's cultural landscape.

April 13 - 15, 2018

Location: Venice Airport Festival Grounds, Venice, Florida

Venice is known as the shark's tooth capital of the world, and this is the time to celebrate that! Enjoy live entertainment while you browse over 100 vendors selling original artwork as well as sharks teeth and other fossils.

March 24 - 25, 2018

Location: North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, Florida

Come enjoy the delicious seafood creations from top restaurants in St. Petersburg. Live musical performances, arts and crafts and more. 

April 20 - 21, 2018

Location: Venice Municipal Airport Festival Grounds, Venice, Florida

Award winning barbecue food and amazing bluegrass music come together for this unique event. Come for two days of fun guaranteed to leave you with a full stomach.

March 2 - 4, 2018

Location: Weeki Wachee, Florida

Swamp Fest features tons of music as well as vendors and delicious food. Every part of this growing festival highlights what makes this area special while showcasing vendors from all around!

April 6 - 8, 2018

Location: Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg, Florida

right on the shores of Tampa Bay, this festival allows you to enjoy the tropical setting while you listen to some amazing blues music!

April 21, 2018

Location: Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, Florida

This festival welcomes visitors from around the sunshine state and the world to share in celebration of music, entertainment, exhibits, crafts steeped in Caribbean American heritage with multi-culturism being it's central focus. 

Weeki Wache Springs State Park includes Florida's only spring-fed water park with cool 72-degree water. Approximately 45 minutes north of Tampa, this State Park includes Buccaneer Bay, with an all natural lazy river, a children's play area, water slides that go into the spring, and a mermaid show. 

Website Listings

Home of Winter and Hope, the inspirational Dolphins of Dolphin Tales 1 & 2. This well-known aquarium focuses on rescue, rehab and release. "Clearwater Marine Aquarium is fundamentally a hospital for sick and injured marine life.  However, what we do is so much more.  We inspire the human spirit, through the animals and their stories of survival, which touch all of us. " 

Florida Gulf Coast University opened it's doors in 1998 in Fort Myers to offer innovative programs and degrees to a growing Southwest Florida region. 

Today over 10,000 students attend FGCU. 

Port Manatee is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, South Tampa Bay, the closest U.S. deepwater port to the Panama Canal. One of Florida's largest and fastest growing seaports, Port Manatee offers services for a wide range of cargo.  

Port of St. Petersburg, located on Central Florida's Gulf Coast in Tampa Bay, offers services for large yachts, as well as benefits of marine science/research facilities on port property.

Port Tampa Bay on Central Florida's Gulf Coast, is largest of the Florida ports by tonnage and land and is a full service port for both cargo and cruise ships as well as other maritime activities including important shipbuilding and repair facilities. 

University of South Florida was founded in 1956 and now has more than 48,000 students. Located in the Tampa Bay area with 14 colleges and 3 schools, USF main campus in Tampa, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee.