Tampa Bay Area

Tampa is a major seaport on Florida's West Coast and has a wide range of diversified industries and products. The warm climate allows for almost year round enjoyment of outdoor recreational activities. Florida's second largest tourist attraction, Busch Gardens, is located in Tampa. Within a 90 minute drive are 75 percent of Florida's main attractions, including Disney World, Sea World, and Cypress Gardens. The gulf beaches and numerous lakes are located nearby.

With sunshine nearly every day of the year and two thriving cities, Tampa Bay is one of Florida's brightest spots. Money magazine recently named Tampa/St. Petersburg one of the 12 best metropolitan areas to live in the United States. The average daily high in January is a pleasant 70 degrees,and breezes from the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay help keep summertime highs in the low 90s. The region combines a growing economy with a low cost of living and one of the country's most affordable housing markets.

The University of South Florida is the second largest university in the Southeast and the 15th largest nationally, with a wide range of excellent undergraduate and graduate programs. The Pinellas and Hillsborough county school districts consistently rank highly among the state's systems and provide many innovative programs.

Golf, tennis, boating, windsurfing, roller-blading, and bicycling can be enjoyed throughout the year, thanks to the pleasant climate. Tampa Bay is home to the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, and the MLB's 2008 AL East Champion Tampa Bay Rays. USF has men's and women's teams in most major sports, including a Division IA (Big East Conference) football program, which began in the fall of 1997.

Tampa and Clearwater (in adjacent Pinellas County) feature busy performing arts centers. Ybor City Tampa's historic Latin Quarter, attracts young crowds each week end to its thriving restaurants, clubs, and galleries. In Tampa, the Museum of African Art is home to one of the country's most comprehensive collections, and the Tampa Art Museum and USF Graphic studio are a showcase for important contemporary works. St. Petersburg's Salvador Dali Art Museum offers a unique collection of this artist's works.