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How Long Is The Ferry Ride From St. Pete To Tampa?


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Winne Nyberg



Welcome to the sunny state of Florida, where vibrant cities and beautiful coastal towns await exploration. When it comes to traveling between St. Petersburg (affectionately known as St. Pete) and Tampa, residents and visitors have several transportation options to choose from. One popular method is taking a ferry ride, offering a unique and scenic way to travel between these two vibrant cities.


St. Pete is a charming city located on a peninsula on the west coast of Florida, surrounded by the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant arts scene, and cultural attractions, St. Pete has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.


Tampa, located just across the bay from St. Pete, is a bustling city known for its vibrant downtown area, diverse culinary scene, and thriving business community. Home to famous attractions like Busch Gardens and the Tampa Riverwalk, Tampa offers a dynamic blend of entertainment, culture, and natural beauty.


Now, let’s dive into the various options for ferry transportation between St. Pete and Tampa, as well as the duration of the journey and other factors that may affect your travel plans. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing ride on the water or an alternative mode of transportation, the ferry is a fantastic choice that allows you to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Tampa Bay area.


Overview of St. Pete and Tampa

St. Petersburg, often referred to as St. Pete, is a vibrant coastal city located on the Pinellas Peninsula in Florida. Boasting an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, St. Pete is renowned for its stunning beaches, including the popular St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach. The city is also home to a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries and museums, including the renowned Salvador Dali Museum and the Chihuly Collection.


St. Pete offers a rich mix of cultural activities, outdoor adventures, and exceptional dining options. From exploring the historic neighborhoods like Old Northeast and Historic Kenwood to enjoying waterfront dining along Beach Drive, there is something for everyone in this lively city. In addition, sports enthusiasts can catch a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game at Tropicana Field or attend a rowdy tailgate party before a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game.


On the other side of the bay lies Tampa, a bustling metropolis with a unique blend of history, business, and entertainment. This vibrant city is home to various cultural attractions, such as the Tampa Museum of Art, the Henry B. Plant Museum, and the Florida Aquarium. Tampa’s downtown area is a hub of activity, with a lively nightlife scene, upscale restaurants, and a picturesque waterfront.


Tampa is also known for its theme parks and outdoor recreational opportunities. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers thrilling rides and encounters with exotic animals, while the nearby Lowry Park Zoo is a favorite for families. For those seeking outdoor adventures, the Hillsborough River State Park and the nearby beaches of Clearwater and St. Pete offer ample opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and enjoying the Florida sunshine.


Both St. Pete and Tampa have their own unique charm and attractions, making them popular destinations for tourists and residents alike. Whether you’re a beach lover, an art enthusiast, a sports fan, or a foodie, these two cities offer a wealth of experiences to satisfy all interests.


Ferry Transportation Options

Traveling between St. Pete and Tampa by ferry is not only convenient but also offers a unique and scenic experience. There are several ferry transportation companies that provide services between the two cities, making it easy for both tourists and locals to navigate this route.


One popular ferry company is the Cross-Bay Ferry, which operates year-round between St. Pete and downtown Tampa. The ferry offers a comfortable and enjoyable ride, with modern amenities and stunning views of the bay. The journey aboard the Cross-Bay Ferry takes approximately 50 minutes, making it a convenient option for those looking to avoid traffic congestion on the roads.


Another ferry option is the Tampa Bay Ferry, which operates seasonal routes between both cities. This ferry service provides a fun and leisurely way to travel, with open-air seating available to soak up the sun and enjoy the cool sea breeze. The Tampa Bay Ferry offers flexible schedules, allowing passengers to plan their trips according to their desired departure and arrival times.


For those looking to explore the St. Pete and Tampa area even further, there are also sightseeing and excursion cruises available. These cruises offer a unique perspective of the cities and their surrounding waterways, often showcasing iconic landmarks and points of interest. Whether you want to enjoy a sunset cruise or a narrated tour of the bay, these options provide a memorable experience for tourists and locals alike.


It’s important to note that ferry services may have different departure points in St. Pete and Tampa, so it’s advisable to check the specific details and locations before planning your trip. Additionally, ticket prices and availability may vary, so it’s best to book in advance to secure your spot.


Overall, ferry transportation provides a convenient and enjoyable way to travel between St. Pete and Tampa. With various options available, passengers can choose the ferry service that best suits their schedule, preferences, and budget. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Tampa Bay area as you embark on a memorable ferry ride.


Ferry Schedule and Duration

When planning your ferry ride from St. Pete to Tampa, it’s important to consider the schedule and duration of the journey. The ferry companies operating between the two cities typically provide regular schedules to accommodate the needs of passengers.


The Cross-Bay Ferry, for example, operates multiple daily trips between St. Pete and downtown Tampa. Their schedule typically starts in the morning and runs until the evening, offering flexibility for passengers to choose a departure time that suits their needs. The duration of the ferry ride is approximately 50 minutes, allowing for a quick and efficient transportation option between the two cities.


The Tampa Bay Ferry, on the other hand, operates on a seasonal basis and may have different schedules depending on the time of year. It’s important to check their website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information regarding departure times and available routes. The duration of the Tampa Bay Ferry ride is typically similar to that of the Cross-Bay Ferry, taking around 50 minutes to complete the journey.


It’s worth noting that ferry schedules may be subject to change due to various factors, including weather conditions and demand. It’s always recommended to check the ferry company’s website or contact their customer service to ensure that the schedule aligns with your travel plans.


During peak tourist seasons or holidays, it’s advisable to book your ferry tickets in advance to secure your spot and avoid any last-minute availability issues. This is especially important if you have a specific departure time in mind or if you’re traveling with a large group.


With convenient schedules and relatively short travel times, the ferry offers a reliable and time-saving transportation option between St. Pete and Tampa. Whether you’re commuting for work, exploring the attractions in the two cities, or simply enjoying a day trip, the ferry provides a hassle-free way to travel while enjoying the beautiful views of the Tampa Bay area.


Factors Affecting Ferry Ride Time

While the ferry ride from St. Pete to Tampa typically takes around 50 minutes, several factors can affect the duration of the journey. It’s important to be aware of these factors when planning your travel to ensure a smooth and timely experience.


1. Weather Conditions: The weather plays a significant role in the ferry ride duration. During periods of inclement weather, such as storms or strong winds, ferry services may be delayed or temporarily suspended for safety reasons. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip and stay updated on any potential changes or disruptions to the ferry schedule due to adverse weather conditions.


2. Passenger Load: The number of passengers can also impact the duration of the ferry ride. During peak travel times or busy seasons, the ferry may have a higher passenger load, which could result in longer boarding and disembarking times. It’s advisable to arrive early, especially if you’re traveling during popular times, to ensure you have ample time to board the ferry.


3. Traffic on the Water: The Tampa Bay area is a bustling hub for various water activities, including commercial vessels, recreational boats, and cruise ships. Depending on the time of day and the level of traffic on the water, the ferry may experience slight delays as it navigates through the waterways. These delays are typically minimal and factored into the overall scheduled time of the ferry ride.


4. Ferry Maintenance: Regular maintenance and inspections are essential for the smooth operation and safety of ferry services. Occasionally, ferry companies may need to perform routine maintenance or inspections on their vessels, which could result in adjustments to the ferry schedule or the use of alternative vessels. It’s recommended to stay informed about any schedule changes or updates from the ferry company, especially if you have a tight travel itinerary.


5. Special Events or Festivals: The Tampa Bay area is known for its vibrant calendar of events and festivals throughout the year. During these special occasions, there may be increased traffic or temporary closures in certain areas, which could affect the ferry ride time. It’s wise to check for any upcoming events or festivals that may impact your travel plans and make necessary adjustments to ensure a smooth journey.


By considering these factors and staying informed about any potential disruptions, you can better plan your ferry ride from St. Pete to Tampa and ensure a pleasant and timely travel experience.


Comparison to Other Transportation Methods

Traveling between St. Pete and Tampa offers several transportation options, each with its own advantages and considerations. Let’s compare the ferry to other common methods of transportation to help you decide which option is best suited for your travel needs.


1. Driving:


Driving is the most straightforward and flexible option for traveling between St. Pete and Tampa. It allows you to have control over your departure time and provides the convenience of door-to-door transportation. However, traffic congestion, especially during peak hours, can significantly impact travel time. Additionally, parking in downtown areas can sometimes be challenging and expensive.


2. Public Transportation:


Public transportation, such as buses and light rail, provides an affordable option for getting from St. Pete to Tampa. However, the travel time can vary depending on the route and schedule, and transfers may be required. Public transportation may not be as convenient if you have specific departure or arrival times, or if you’re traveling with bulky luggage.


3. Ride-Sharing Services:


Ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft offer a convenient and comfortable option for transportation. They provide door-to-door service and flexibility in terms of departure times. However, the cost can vary depending on demand and surge pricing, and traffic conditions can also affect travel time.


4. Flying:


For those looking for a quick and efficient mode of transportation, flying between St. Pete and Tampa is an option. Tampa International Airport is conveniently located, and several airlines offer frequent flights between the two cities. However, traveling to and from the airports and going through security procedures can add to the overall travel time.


5. Ferry:


The ferry provides a unique and scenic way to travel between St. Pete and Tampa. It offers a relaxed and enjoyable experience, with the opportunity to appreciate the stunning views of the Tampa Bay area. The ferry eliminates concerns about traffic congestion and parking, and it provides a direct route between the two cities. However, the ferry schedules are fixed, so departure times may not always align perfectly with your travel plans.


Ultimately, the best transportation method for you depends on your priorities, such as cost, convenience, flexibility, and the overall travel experience you desire. The ferry offers a refreshing and picturesque option, particularly for those looking to avoid the hassles of driving or public transportation. Consider your preferences and requirements when making your travel arrangements and choose the mode of transportation that suits you best.



Traveling between St. Pete and Tampa offers a range of transportation options, each with its own unique advantages. The ferry provides a convenient and scenic way to travel, allowing you to bypass traffic and enjoy the stunning views of the Tampa Bay area. With multiple ferry companies offering regular schedules and a relatively short travel time of around 50 minutes, the ferry is a popular choice for both locals and tourists.


St. Pete and Tampa are vibrant cities with distinct attractions and cultural offerings. Whether you’re lounging on the beautiful beaches of St. Pete, exploring the museums and art galleries, or enjoying the bustling downtown scene in Tampa, there’s something for everyone in these two coastal gems.


When planning your trip, consider factors such as weather conditions, ferry schedules, and other transportation methods. While driving offers flexibility, public transportation, ride-sharing services, and flying can be appealing options as well. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons, taking into account factors like travel time, cost, convenience, and the overall experience you desire.


Ultimately, whether you choose the ferry or another transportation method, traveling between St. Pete and Tampa is sure to be an exciting adventure. Both cities offer a wealth of attractions and activities to explore, from their picturesque beaches to their vibrant cultural scenes.


So, pack your bags, embark on your chosen mode of transportation, and get ready to soak up the sun and experience the charm of St. Pete and Tampa. Whether it’s a quick day trip or a more extended visit, you’re sure to create lasting memories in these beautiful seaside destinations.