Water and Land Sports and Activities
Sports and Water Activities
The Tampa Bay area is home to the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NHL's Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm and Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Devil Rays. There are also major league baseball spring training teams including the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays.
Pinellas County hosts the annual Goodlife Games, an Olympics-style event for senior athletes, and we are an official swimming, sailing, and baseball training site for Olympic contenders. Check out all we have to offer.
Boxing for fitness is offered through private and open workouts at the 49th Street Boxing Club and the Fourth Street boxing gym in St. Petersburg.
Street Racing is Legal! The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg returns in April of each year, with the famed IndyCar Series auto racing, Infiniti Pro Series, SCCA World Speed Challenge, stunt plane airshows, concerts, celebrities and more! The event will be broadcast live on ESPN. It is the 2nd running of the event and the only street-circuit race in the IndyCar Series. The 2005 race attracted over 70,000 attendees with a large live television audience broadcasted to over 140 countries. Drivers will race at speeds in excess of 170 m.p.h. along a 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary circuit that runs through the streets of St. Petersburg and through the Albert Whitted Airport, overlooking the picturesque St. Petersburg waterfront. The event features high fences, tight turns, roaring race cars and and races from both the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). This is a one-of-a-kind event for the Tampa Bay area and the entire southeast United States.
Tickets and Hospitality packages are available online at, by calling 727-824-7223 (ext. 225) or at Ticketmaster online and Ticketmaster outlets. You don&Mac226;t want to miss this!
Baseball and Softball
Major League Baseball came here to stay when the Tampa Bay Baseball Partnership was awarded an expansion franchise. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays began play in 1998 in St. Petersburg. The Rays play their regular season games at Tropicana Field, a 45,360 seat, climate-controlled domed ballpark.
Other teams here for the Grapefruit League are the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin and the New York Yankees in Tampa. Nearby there are the Cincinnati Reds in Sarasota and the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton.
The Florida State League has two baseball teams in Pinellas County, and the New York Yankees' minor-league headquarters is in Tampa. Once a year, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association hosts the biggest stand-alone old-timers game in the county -- the Legends of Baseball -- in St. Petersburg.And of course there is the world-famous Three Quarter Century Softball Club, Inc. "Kids & Kubs" and the slightly younger half-century men's softball league. Each continue to attract national attention and local crowds for their entertaining brand of softball.
Meanwhile, Little League's 11 and 12-year-old all-stars from around the country play the Majors Baseball Southern Regional at Arnold S. White Stadium in Gulfport before advancing to the Little League World Series each August.
Florida basketball fans follow their own college favorites: Florida State University, University of Miami, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida and the University of Florida.
For pure enjoyment and a unique view of the area try a ride on the Fred E Marquis Pinellas Trail, a Rails-to-Trails bicycle-pedestrian path that runs for 45 miles from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg, maintained by the Pinellas County Parks Department.
While the trail is used year-round, Florida's cycling "season" runs from September through April or May, because of cooler temperatures. During those months there is some sort of event nearly every weekend for recreational cyclists. The Tour of Pinellas is an example, sponsored by the Suncoast Cycling Club each April. The St. Petersburg Bike Club also has regular organized rides.
BMX racing is popular with young riders of various ages and skill levels who compete at St. Petersburg's Walter Fuller Park.
Equestrian and Polo
The Winter Equestrian Festival takes place each March at Florida Expo Park at the State Fairgrounds in Tampa. And the widely acclaimed American Invitational jumping competition is an April event now being held at the new Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Also, polo matches are held every Sunday, from January through April, at the Walden Lake Polo Fields in nearby Plant City, Florida.
The waters of the Gulf of Mexico are abundant with salt water species including kingfish, king mackerel, tarpon, marlin, grouper, snook, tuna and sailfish. Numerous boat ramps give access to the Gulf and inland waters and if you don't have your own boat, private charters and party boats are available. Tarpon season runs from mid May through July with tournaments for serious anglers.
Bass and other fresh-water fish are found in Pinellas County's two major lakes: Lake Tarpon and Lake Seminole.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL play in the 65,000 seat, open-air Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. In the north end zone a 103-foot pirate "ship," complete with cannons, shoots soft footballs and confetti when the Bucs score a touchdown.
The Tampa Bay Storm, of the Arena Football League, play their home games at the St. Pete Times Forum in downtown Tampa. They have won five of the six ArenaBowls in which they've played.
Tampa Bay got its own Division I college football team in 1997 when the University of South Florida Bulls took the field for the first time. In addition to our teams, Tampa Bay is home to the Outback Bowl, which is played on New Year's Day at Raymond James Stadium as one of the Bowl Championship Series games.
Pinellas County has more than 40 golf courses, both public and private, that offer year-round play. The very popular Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am is played here at the TPC of Tampa Bay and is one of the favorite stops on the PGA&Mac226;s Champions Tour.
Along with the beaches, the Everglades, and local parks, the Pinellas Trail is a popular destination for hiking and biking. Used by 90,000 persons a month, the Trail runs 34 miles from the north to the south end of Pinellas County, a greenway connecting neighborhoods, county parks and attractions. Trail Guides are available for all its trails.
The NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning skate at the St. Pete Times Forum in downtown Tampa where, in 2004, they were crowned Stanley Cup Champions for the first time in club history.
Alongside the Shuffleboard Club on St. Petersburg's Mirror Lake Drive is a venerable institution that still enjoys a healthy seasonal membership. The St. Petersburg Lawn Bowling Club, established in 1926, is on the National Register of Historic Places and plays host to lawn bowlers from around the world.
Pari-mutuel wagering has a long history in the Bay area with the St. Petersburg Kennel Club: Derby Lane. Races are run live from January through June, with simulcast races the rest of the year. Across the Bay, Tampa Greyhound continues the season with dog races scheduled from July through December.
The city of Oldsmar is the home of Tampa Bay Downs, which offers thoroughbred racing from December to March.
Offshore racing events are another
The Tampa Bay Pelicans Rugby Football Club plays its matches with amateur teams from Orlando, Sarasota, Miami and Jacksonville. In a game with no time-outs, the play is fast and free, the players are comrades and the fans bring their own lawn chairs to the Old Busch Complex in St. Petersburg to watch what has been termed "eloquent violence."
Running and Jogging
In sunlight and twilight, Pinellas parks and sidewalks are populated with serious and not-so-serious runners, joggers and walkers. The Suncoast Runners Club, among others, sponsors weekly events for the novice to the professional, as the sport is as popular for recreation and fitness here as it is for competition. For competitors, the Gasparilla Distance Classic in February attracts more than 12,000 runners for 15k and 5k events in Tampa.
St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront is the site for the Olympic Regatta Training programs where competitors from all over the world practice their skills for Olympic sailing events. The city also hosts mid-winter regattas for several sailing classes including the Lightning, Thistle, Sonar, International 14, and Flying Dutchman.
The Budweiser Cup, one of the largest sailing events in Florida, is organized each year by the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club and the county's oldest and largest sailing school, the Annapolis Sailing School, is located near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg.
Learning to sail is a popular activity for visitors and residents alike so they can take advantage of the boundless opportunities for both day sailing and offshore sailing. A few of the many schools available include:
The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club is the world's oldest and largest shuffleboard club. During the season as many as 200 shufflers attend the daily activities and the club hosts two statewide events and numerous district tournaments. It is the site of the National Shuffleboard Hall of Fame.
Ice skating, roller skating and in-line skating are all to be found in Pinellas County. There are two Olympic-sized facilities for ice skating in the area -- the Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar and Sunblades at the Rubin Icot Center, mid-county on Ulmerton Road (SR 688). The recreational ice rink at Countryside Mall in Clearwater also provides the opportunity for aspiring champions to skate.
A few roller rinks still exist, but Florida in-line skaters like to take to the outdoors finding their own scenic way along streets and paved trails.
Ramps, half pipes and quarter pipes accommodate youthful skateboard acrobats at two locations in Pinellas County. There's a skate park arena at Coquina Key Park in St. Petersburg and at Central Skate Park at 6140 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater.
The Tampa Bay Extreme, an amateur women's team, participates in the W-League of the Tampa-based United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues and plays its games at Countryside High School in Clearwater. In addition, youth leagues can be found throughout Pinellas County.
St. Petersburg's Olympic-size North Shore Pool operates two nationally-recognized programs, including swim team training and one of the largest Masters Swim Clubs in the nation. Members, ranging in age from 22 to 91, hold national records for the most wins. The club hosts many competitive events and an average of nine northern college swim teams arrive at the pool each winter for "training in the tropics."
The Long Center in Clearwater is world renowned for hosting a variety of athletic training and competitions. The Center opened in 1990 as a world class facility designed for community recreation and athletic competition. It includes a 50 meter indoor Olympic sized heated pool, a 25 yard instructional pool, in which both pools are handicap accessible, a 15,000 square foot three-court gymnasium, adult fitness center, and three acres of outdoor playing field.
Tennis is a year-round favorite sport in Pinellas County with numerous public and private courts available and a choice of playing surfaces. Pinellas teams have won national titles and our courts have been graced with many professional players and tournaments including the Davis Cup Finals.
St. Petersburg is home to the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) world-wide headquarters. The WTA hosts tournaments, clinics and visits year round from the world's top-ranked professional women tennis players at their playing site -- the Renaissance Vinoy Resort tennis complex.
The St. Anthony's Triathlon draws 2,000 athletes, amateurs and professionals, to St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront each April to compete in the Olympic distance swim, bike and run event. It is one of the top ten triathlons in the nation in terms of prize money, an Ironman qualifier, and an official stop on the Triathlon Pro Tour.
Pinellas County encourages sports participation for its youth with literally hundreds of teams offering development in soccer, baseball, football, swimming, volleyball, hockey, basketball, tennis, golf, martial arts, sailing, gymnastics and more.
Many high school and area college teams, as well as individual athletes, have claimed state and national championships. Several local standouts have gone on to professional sports careers -- even winning Olympic Gold Medals!