10 Facts About Tampa Bay


Shores of Tampa Bay were home to the Weedon Island Culture and then the Safety Harbor culture for thousands of years.

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Term "Tampa Bay" is often used as shorthand to refer to all or parts of the Tampa Bay area, which comprises many towns and cities in several counties surrounding the large body of water.

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Local marketing and branding efforts commonly use the moniker "Tampa Bay", furthering the misconception that it is the name of a particular municipality when this is not the case.

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Tampa Bay formed approximately 6,000 years ago as a brackish drowned river valley type estuary with a wide mouth connecting it to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Tampa Bay is Florida's largest open-water estuary, extending over 400 square miles and forming coastlines of Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties.

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Tampa Bay has been designated an "Estuary of National Significance" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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The pre-contact Indigenous nation most associated with the Tampa Bay are the historic Tocobaga nation, who are known to be among the ancestors of the contemporary Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes of Florida.

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The Tocobaga, who built their principal town near today's Safety Harbor in the northwest corner of Old Tampa Bay, are the most documented group from that era because they had the most interactions with Spanish explorers.

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The trip between Tampa and St Petersburg was almost 50 miles around the north end of Old Tampa Bay and took up to 12 hours by train and over a full day over uncertain roads by car.

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In 1924, the Gandy Bridge over Old Tampa Bay reduced the driving distance between Tampa and St Petersburg to 19 miles.

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