With historical significance in both Tallahassee and Tampa, the Florida State Fair has been progressing and growing alongside its residents since 1904. Many of the same events that brought people to that original fair still are going on today, with awards given to prize bulls, pies, and quilts.
RV Camping spots with full hookups are available allowing visitors to enjoy everything the fairgrounds has to offer. Traveling in the Tampa Bay area during February means slightly warmer temperatures may be experienced.
The fairgrounds themselves are outfitted with plenty of midways rides and good carnival food at affordable rates. There are 325-acres of indoor and outdoor complexes, many of which are open year round. There is the Expo Hall which has courts and catering, with the adjoining Entertainment Hall often hosting a market and other events. Guests can also explore the beautiful Botanical Gardens and the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center with everything from horse and dog shows, along with a Grand Prix, and other activities.
Overall, the Florida State Fair is a perfect stop for any RVer as it offers a fun time, plenty of things to do, and all during an incredible time of year for Florida. Centralized near the middle of the state, this excursion is an easy add on to any family vacation.
Pricing to get into the Florida State Fair is around $10 to $15 per person. Children below 11 and Seniors above 55 are offered reduced pricing, while kids 5 and under may enter for free. Armbands which allow riding of anything in the park usually cost around $30, with it being slightly cheaper if ordered in advance.
Overnight camping in RVs is available for around $20 a night. Keep in mind that pricing can vary depending on the day of the week. Florida State Fair tickets are available online.
There are multiple ways to get to the Florida State Fairgrounds, with most out of state patrons opting in to follow either I-275, I-4, or MLK Jr. Blvd. The fairgrounds is located southwest of Interstate 4, just north of 574. Most vehicles, including RVs, find little problem making it into the campground.
There are over 17,000 lit spaces on the fairgrounds, with parking passes necessary for all vehicles. The fairgrounds do not provide an official trailer limit for the parking lot, but Florida State Law limits trailer length to 40'. How much you pay is determined by the amount of space you take up, with more parking space needed equating to more spent. A pass is required to get back into the parking lot so make sure that you keep it on you. Parking prices can vary depending on your vehicle, with cars averaging $10 while RVs and buses often have separate pricing.
Located in the City of Tampa there is plenty to offer in terms of transportation. Buses routinely visit the fairgrounds, especially during the Florida State Fair. Private shuttling via taxis or online transportation apps is quite doable as well in this area.
Camping facilities are located on site and for RVs only. Around 200 spots are available, with more during special events. While calling ahead isn't necessary, it is recommended. RV hookups like electricity, water, and sewage are available. If all of the RV camping spots are taken don't despair, as there are plenty of options available in the surrounding area.
There are multiple RV campgrounds to choose from in the wider Tampa area. Fairgoers can find camping as close as a five-minute drive from the fairgrounds. RVers can ask to stay for up to a month and look for basic RV hookups along with internet, television, and a heated pool. Getting back to the fairgrounds is usually quick, but delays are expected during fair week.
Stretching across a total of 330 acres, guests are sure to find plenty to do here. The Florida State Fair itself is self-contained and is just a short walk from the parking lot. For those that wish to traverse the rest of the fairgrounds and visiting area like the Equestrian Center or Botanical Gardens, a small motorized vehicle like a golf cart or scooter is permitted.
Naturally, being located in the sub-tropical climate of Florida means that even the height of winter is relatively warmer when compared to northern states. Clothing should be tailored to the climate with jeans, long sleeves, and a warm outer layer. Travelers may also wish to pack a jacket or short sleeve shirt to help with layering.
Cooking is permitted, but it must be with either a gas or electric grill. All camping must be done via RV, so tents and awnings are not permitted on site. If you have a pet with you make, sure you have a leash and clean up bags on hand.
Thankfully the Florida mosquito isn't often out in the February months, and the UV index is low as well. Bug spray and sunscreen are still a good idea to have on hand. While water and minor first-aid are available on site, having your own kit can help manage simple matters fast.
Cooking on site is permitted in the campground but within reason. This means no open flames, charcoal, or bonfires. Gas and electric grills can be used though. Remember to check fuel regulations and fill up your RV tanks before arriving for simplicity once at the fairgrounds.
The Tampa area is teeming with plenty of options to choose from to help keep you and your crew fed and happy. You can expect to find all the typical American fast food options, along with Mexican, Italian, and Asian. Travelers may also wish to visit the Hard Rock Cafe within the vicinity.
Fairs bring a unique brand of merchants and this one is no different with everything from kettle corn, rainbow grilled cheese, and just about fried everything on the table. Guests may also enjoy over-the-top options like the Redneck Burger, bacon ice cream, and the pizza cone. Non-food vendors include those that sell toys and provide various types of entertainment. While many vendors do accept credit and debit, cash is still recommended.
While the Florida State Fairground Authority (FSFA) is no doubt thorough in their safety procedures there are a still a few things you should do. Some rides may not be recommended for guests that are pregnant, have heart problems, or suffer from vertigo. FSFA can also not oversee the campgrounds so any personal belongings should be put inside of your vehicle and securely locked.
In February, temperature averages are generally higher in Florida than in the Northern States. Tampa sits in the central portion of the state and may have temperatures that dip a bit up or down from the north and south perimeters of Florida. This is also one of the driest months of the year, typically with fewer days of rain. Weather is known to fluctuate sometimes erratically day to day in the area, so additional packing is recommended.
Basic first aid in the form of bandages, ointments and so forth are available on site. Someone suffering from a major medical emergency may need to be taken to an offsite to a nearby hospital. Tampa General and Memorial Hospital are both 20 and 15 minutes away respectively via a toll road.