Despite the 2020 pandemic decimating tourism by almost 22% in Tampa Bay, the city still hosted almost 20 million visitors in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, the ‘Big Guava’ enjoyed a steady increase in visitors for a solid ten years. But now, the Buccaneers tough schedule isn’t the only thing drawing in crowds. The Tampa Bay Lightning recently won their back-to-back Stanley Cup.
And while sports always bring a draw of seasonal tourists, there’s more behind why this area is getting so much attention as of late.
The Tampa Bay area includes the areas of Hillsborough, McKay, Old Tampa, and Lower Tampa Bays. For this study, we include areas to the north of the City of Tampa as well.
Although hotel bookings halved during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tampa Bay strongly outperformed similar and competing cities.
Tourist attractions bring in regular visitors to support jobs, but also serve local residents in keeping kids off screens. With its pristine beaches and a lush green tropical feel, it’s hard to think of the area as anything more than a vacation destination. However, there are almost three million people that call the Tampa Metro area home.
With double digit increases in home values, and still showing no sign of stopping even as interest rates rise, it’s best to get in sooner rather than later. (And don’t forget about that Netflix bump from its debut of “Selling Tampa” in late 2021.)
Here are the Top Ten Safest neighborhoods in Tampa Bay, from highest to lowest safety rating.
All of these areas offer great options for families no matter which side of the water you’d like to live or work!
For those seeking a quiet refuge from city life, Ruskin is located among natural attractions like small beach waterfronts and the Little Manatee River. There is manatee viewing at Apollo Beach just to the north and numerous nature preserves throughout the area that serve as sanctuaries for bald eagles.
These quaint communities are great for families as housing costs have not spiked like the surrounding areas. That’s probably due to the fact that this area doesn’t have many swimmable beaches, although water sports, such as sponsored by the Davis Island Yacht Club, are common for residents to partake in.
This tiny boating community is on the southernmost tip of the peninsula that holds Clearwater and St. Petersburg, where Tampa Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico. Residents are a 40-minute drive away from Tampa. Island life in Tierra Verde is casual as most people are there to enjoy the marina, walk their dogs along the beach, fish, kayak around Fort De Soto Park, say hi to native tortoises, and venture around old military structures. It is considered very safe, perhaps because it is so far out of the way, but still has access to all the amenities offered in St. Petersburg.
The Lake Magdalene area is situated north of downtown Tampa adjacent to the University of South Florida. While it’s a great place for student rentals, most homes are owner occupied. And the cultural makeup is diverse, boasting large Cuban and Portuguese ancestry, and many who speak English, Spanish, Italian, and French.
Additionally, there are tons of things to do with Busch Gardens and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo just a few minutes away. This neighborhood is also situated near highly-rated Carrollwood, which rings Lake Carroll.
These small towns are just minutes away from Clearwater Beach, assumed by many to be among the best beaches in Florida.
Honeymoon Island State Park is one of the local favorite activities and is open 365 days a year. At $8 per vehicle, you can drive over to the barrier island that protects the mainland’s beaches from big waves. Among the mangrove swamps and tidal flats, bird lovers can find osprey nests, shorebirds, and an increasingly rare virgin slash pine forest, a type of tree used in the naval industry since colonial times.
Keystone is the most northern neighborhood that made our list. It sits slightly off the beaten path to the north of Tampa and west of Highway 582. Average home values are just shy of seven figures, and while commutes are worse than comparable neighborhoods, the area is considered very family friendly. About half of residents hold executive, management, and professional occupations.
Activities include visiting Crystal River one hour to the north to see manatees at Three Sisters Springs, or heading to Weeki Wachee State Park 30 min to the north. This old-timed Florida attraction featuring an underwater theatre showing “The Little Mermaid”, and a host of other tours, camps and activities.
Town N’ Country sits 20 minutes to the northwest of downtown Tampa and is host to abundant restaurants, coffee shops, and young professionals. Only 36 percent of residents are married, but it’s still a great place for families as schools are above average and safety is better than surrounding areas. This area is diverse, and more than half of residents speak Spanish at home.
If you decide to live in St. Pete Beach, expect your new pastime to be walking along John’s Pass Boardwalk to get to restaurants and shops. This small city is upscale, with yachting and wineries, but also has great schools like Admiral Farragut Academy. The nearest town is St. Petersburg, with Tampa located only a short 30-minute drive away.
This small waterfront city is ripe with historical attractions and lively markets. And with nearly two-thirds of the population registered as single, it’s a great meeting place for anyone looking for love. In fact, residents have the potential to meet their soul mate at the Salvador Dali Museum, get married at the Sunken Gardens, and take their future kids to Great Explorations Children’s Museum. St. Petersburg has it all.
New, upscale homes at affordable prices are being built in Parrish, which sits on the southeast side of Tampa Bay. It’s family-friendly sitting outside of the big city with great schools and low crime. Most residents commute to either Tampa or Bradenton.
Brandon is a great suburb for young families. It’s growing because it has great highway access points that allow you to quickly get from Tampa to the west, to state parks and biking trails to the east. But because it’s growing faster than roads can be expanded, traffic seems to be a consistent complaint from residents.f
Still searching for the perfect fit?
Want to match yourself with the perfect neighborhood in Tampa Bay? Head to www.nhscore.com to search areas matching your personalized criteria to see how they rank in safety, schools, politics, and much more.