It’s no secret that a lot of us St. Pete and Tampa locals don’t love driving over the bridge. While we enjoy what our neighboring cities have to offer, we’re also very comfortable staying in our own bubble, especially when we think about getting stuck in traffic on the Howard Frankland Bridge.
Thankfully, there’s a new way to commute from St. Pete to Tampa and vice versa – cue the Cross Bay Ferry! In less than an hour, you can go from strolling Downtown St. Pete’s beautiful waterfront to discovering all that Channelside has to offer.
The commute on the ferry lets you sit back and soak up scenic views of Tampa Bay all while not having to endure a moment of our lovely Tampa Bay traffic. Did we mention it’s air-conditioned? It’s really a win-win all the way around.
The Cross Bay Ferry is a stress-free way to explore more of Tampa Bay. Follow along as we take The Cross Bay Ferry from Downtown St. Pete to Tampa to uncover some of what the Channelside District has to offer. To check the schedule, click here.
Currently, the ferry docks near the Tampa Convention Center are in Downtown Tampa. This location makes it really easy to take the TECO Streetcar once you arrive.
There’s a pick-up spot just a few hundred feet away from where the ferry docks. It’s as simple as hopping on and hopping off. We rode it right down the street to Sparkman Wharf in Channelside!
Pro-tip: The streetcar stops every 15 minutes during ferry operating hours and it’s free! The streetcar line connects to Amalie Arena, Sparkman Wharf, the Florida Aquarium, and Ybor City. You can find out more info about the TECO Streetcar through our guide below!
We didn’t eat breakfast before leaving, so first things first – find coffee and to-go breakfast!
There are scooters just steps away from where the ferry drops off, so we decided to continue with the fun modes of transportation and scoot our way to locate food instead of walking because scooting > walking in the Florida heat any day!
Pro-tip: You can save time and energy by downloading a scooter app ahead of time and pre-loading your credit card info. Once you’ve done that, you just pull up the app, snap a pic of the QR code on the scooter and you’re off! We used Spin Scooters, but they have Bird Scooters around too.
Apps to download:
After getting jacked up on sugar, we continued our scooter adventure and drove up and down the streets of Channelside to admire some of the beautiful murals adorning the sides of usually drab garages, apartments, and office buildings. So many beautiful murals! The best thing? It’s completely free!
There’s a scooter corral right next to the big red Tampa sign across from Sparkman, so we dropped the scooters off there before heading to cool down and venture around Sparkman Wharf.
This is a great spot to grab a beverage and relax for a little while. We decided to grab a drink, catch up, and people-watch while taking in the views of the Garrison Channel and Tampa Bay.
We didn’t want to do too much shopping though, since we planned on taking the scooters for an early dinner and didn’t want to have to carry bags with us. We 100% recommend wearing a crossbody bag, or a small bag, so you can bring bottled water and also have a place to store some shopping finds.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is a beautiful public park that overlooks the University of Tampa campus in the heart of Downtown Tampa. It’s a staple in the community and where tons of outdoor festivals and celebrations take place.
It’s scooter friendly and just a 10-minute ride from Channelside. We can’t recommend this scooter route enough! Taking the scenic route along the Hillsborough River back to Channelside from Curtis Hixon was unbelievably beautiful and one of those “core memory unlocked” moments.
You ride alongside the river, under bridges, through tunnels, and past the Amalie Arena in order to get back. It’s a great way to really feel like you’ve seen a lot of Tampa in one day!
That’s a wrap! The Cross Bay Ferry heads back at 6:15 pm, so we dropped off the scooters one last time and boarded the ferry to head back. It felt amazing to be in the A/C after a long day of exploring…and to think we had all this fun in Channelside without having to drive over the bridge.
📍333 S Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602
The Tampa Ferry Terminal is located on the waterside of the Tampa Convention Center, just west of the Sail Restaurant and Franklin Street.
Venezuelan (she/her) | 📍 Tampa since 2019 | Content Writer & Dog Mom...