Take a short, scenic drive from Orlando to Tampa and enjoy the sights in between. Depending on the route you take, the trip can take less than 1.5 hours, making it a great option for a day trip. You will go through towns, wildlife management areas, and past theme parks and lakes before arriving in Tampa. Once there you can enjoy attractions and the water of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Find out below how to drive from Orlando to Tampa and where to stop along the way.
Tips for a One-Way Road Trip from Orlando to Tampa
The drive from Orlando to Tampa is a brief one. You need less than 2 hours to complete the trip if you are lucky enough to avoid rush hour traffic. Because you’re traveling between 2 cities, you’ll need to add extra time if you plan to drive during morning or evening rush hours. Also, keep in mind that the routes that involve roads other than Interstate 4 West have tolls.
Driving Directions from Orlando to Tampa
Once you have your plans in place for getting from Orlando to Tampa, you can choose the best route depending on where you would like to stop along the way, or where in the Tampa area you are headed.
- The most straightforward route is to get on I-4 W and follow that all the way to Tampa. This will take about 1.5 hours.
- A longer route takes highways part of the way. Take Florida Highway 408 W to Florida Highway 50 West. Then take I-75 S and I-275 S into downtown Tampa.
- A third option is to take Highway 408 W and Highway 50 W to Florida Highway 33 S. From here, get on I-4 W and take it all the way to Tampa.
5 Stops to Make Along the Way
Orlando Theme Parks
What better way to start than to spend time at one of the theme parks that Orlando is famous for? Home to Disney World Resorts, Universal Orlando Resort, and more, these are places you must visit if you are traveling with your kids.
Fantasy of Flight, Polk City
Roughly halfway between Orlando and Tampa, Fantasy of Flight is just off of I-4 in the town of Polk City. This is a premier aviation attraction home to over 100 rare vintage aircraft, interactive exhibits, flight simulators, and more.
Dinosaur World, Plant City
A large outdoor park, Dinosaur World has more than 200 life-size dinosaurs for those both young and old to see in their natural habitat. You can dig for fossils, and there’s also an indoor museum with artifacts that’s perfect for rainy days.
Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa
The lovely Lettuce Lake Park just to the northeast of downtown Tampa has a nature center and a long boardwalk all the way to an observation tower. People come for a day spent canoeing or bird watching, and there are also spots for a picnic if you want a break from driving before you reach Tampa.
Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens is a massive African-themed amusement park located in Tampa Bay. There are rides, safaris and animal exhibits at this famed attraction that are a nice alternative to the theme parks around Orlando.
SIXT rent a car in Orlando
We have multiple locations in the greater Orlando area, including at the Orlando International Airport (MCO), where you can pick up one of our premium cars and be on your way. If you are visiting in the winter, book a convertible to take full advantage of the warmer weather. And an SUV is perfect for a family trip in the summer with the air conditioning cranked up. Once you get to Tampa, it’s easy to drop the car off at the airport or at one of our other branches in the city.