Oldsmar is a small city overlooking Safety Harbor, close to Tampa on the west coast of the Floridian peninsula. Named for its founder, Ransom E. Olds, the city has grown steadily since it was first settled in 1916 by this automobile magnate and his family.
Halfway between Tampa and St Petersburg, Oldsmar offers a quiet place to base yourself if you are exploring the area. There are some great things to in Oldsmar itself too, from visiting the local history museum and flea market to touring the coastline and the beach parks.
Here are the 15 best things to do in Oldsmar, Florida.
1. R. E. Olds Park
Located along the shorefront of the city, the R. E. Olds Park is dedicated to Oldsmar’s founder. This charming waterfront area looks out over Safety Bay, which forms part of the wider Tampa Bay area.
It’s a local piece of history; without Mr. Olds, there would be no Oldsmar, of course. The park is a favorite among locals and visitors looking to relax and take in the views. It’s green and breezy, and you can find a playground for the kids, picnic benches, and short walking trails. Throughout the year, different community events are held at R. E. Olds Park. You can check at the local visitor’s center to find out what’s going on when you’re in the city.
2. Oldsmar Historical Society Museum
To find out more about the city’s history, one of the best things to do in Oldsmar is to visit the Oldsmar Historical Society Museum. This local historical society aims to document and preserve Oldsmar’s history, and they welcome visitors to their little museum who are intrigued to discover more.
Found in the city center – opposite City Hall, in a historic building – the museum is completely free to visit, but just check the opening times. You’ll learn about Mr. Olds and his automobile empire, and why he chose to locate to and then develop Oldsmar into the city you see today. You can find old photographs and exhibits that tell the story of Oldsmar’s founding through to its present-day developments.
3. Oldsmar Flea Market
The Oldsmar Flea Market is one of the best places to visit in the city. In fact, this is possibly the most established tourist sight in Oldsmar, and people visit from all across the surrounding area.
This local market, entertainment complex, and retail area has been serving the community for several decades, but after a brief period of decline, it’s importance was re-realized with a massive new development project and influx of funding. The welcome boost is already bringing in more crowds than ever, who are looking to shop and buy local at quirky stalls and food stands.
The Flea Market retains its classic small-town feel; you can chat with the friendly stallholders and shop owners as you browse through Oldsmar’s best buys and eats.
4. Veterans Memorial Park
Found along the waterfront close to R. E. Olds Park, the Veterans Memorial Park is a charming place to visit in the city.
If you’re looking to escape it all, this is the park to go to. Set in a secluded area overlooking Tampa Bay, the park is wonderfully peaceful and rarely busy. You can find some small walking paths, quiet areas to relax and contemplate life, and of course, a small but moving memorial dedicated to veterans of Oldsmar who have served in the armed forces.
5. Bicentennial Park
Set further inland from Tampa Bay but still overlooking a small lakeside area, Bicentennial Park is another of Oldsmar’s wonderful public spaces.
This quaint green area is a favorite among dog walkers; if you’re traveling with pets, bring them here to run around and enjoy the sunshine. Even if you don’t have a dog, you can stroll along the paths and, if you’re feeling fit, make use of the exercise equipment.
6. Empower Adventures
If you’re in search of an adventure, call in at Empower Adventures. You’ll need to be prepared for a thrilling time and a huge adrenaline rush, as Empower Adventures is Oldsmar’s famous zip lining experience.
You’ll be tackling a high line adventure as you fly along zip lines and climb high above the ground on high-ropes. The tour takes you above the local lakes and reservoirs – and the zip-line takes you within meters of the water itself. You’re led through this obstacle course and zip-lining tour by local professionals, and safety is paramount, of course.
7. Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve
The Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve is where you’ll find the adrenaline-inducing thrills of Empower Adventure’s zip lining course. But if you aren’t looking for a vertical thrill, the preserve has plenty of ground-based scenery to explore on foot.
This scenic area of wilderness is right on the edge of Oldsmar. You’ll find a network of walking trails and boardwalks that cut through the trees, swamps, and creeks found here. It’s an excellent place for walking, kayaking, or canoeing.
8. Mobbly Beach Park
If you’re looking for the beach, then one of the best things to do in Oldsmar is to visit the Mobbly Beach Park. Found along the coast close to the wilderness preserve of the same name, this scenic beach park offers excellent views over Tampa Bay.
It’s a great spot to relax after a long day; you can watch the sun as it sets over the bay and enjoy the soft sand found here.
9. Tampa Bay Skating Academy
Ice skating might not seem like the most appropriate sport to be playing in Florida, but given the notoriously hot and sunny days throughout much of the year, you might just welcome the cold interior of a skating rink.
Oldsmar is home to the Tampa Bay Skating Acadamy, which is one of the region’s most popular and well-known ice skating rinks. You can join free sessions where you simply skate across the ice, sign up for lessons and coaching to improve your skills, or even learn how to figure skate or play ice hockey.
You can watch local ice hockey matches live at the arena too, as local teams battle it out on the ice throughout the skating season.
10. Upper Tampa Bay Park
Just outside of Oldsmar, you can find the scenic grounds of Upper Tampa Bay Park. This conservation area is both beautiful and historic; the park was formerly an important area for local indigenous Americas until around the 16th century.
You can find archaeological relics left behind by the former inhabitants of the area, while the creeks make it an incredibly popular spot for kayaking and canoeing.
No trip to this part of Florida would be complete without a journey to Tampa, one of the state’s most important and well-known cities. Tampa is a metropolis of over 300,000 people, and arriving from the quiet climes of Oldsmar might come as a bit of a culture shock.
There’s a lot to do in the big city though, and there’s more to Tampa than just visiting the famed Busch Gardens theme park, of course. There are water parks, but more than this, there are excellent museums and art galleries, breweries, cafes, and restaurants. While Oldsmar’s small-town charms are great, sometimes you just need to experience somewhere a little bit larger than life, if only for the day – and that’s Tampa.
12. St Petersburg
Overlooking the bay, directly opposite Tampa, St Petersburg is another metropolis stacked with great things to do. St Petersburg is known as the Sunshine City because the city experiences more days of sunshine each year than anywhere else in Florida.
With excellent beaches and day after day of sunshine, St Petersburg is a fantastic place to visit. As well as a spectacular shorefront, the city has a significant number of cultural attractions to explore, including the famed Salvador Dali Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Clearwater is the third-largest city in the Tampa Bay area – after Tampa and St Petersburg. Just a short drive from Oldsmar, it makes for a great day trip.
Clearwater is the perfect place to relax on the beach; the city is found overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, and there are several beautiful barrier islands that are home to spectacular stretches of white sand.
14. Philippe Park
Just across Safety Harbor bay from Oldsmar, you can find the beautiful grounds of Philippe Park. This area of trees and greenery is home to an important Indian mound, which is preserved as a National Historic Landmark.
The park was once part of a plantation which was set up by the area’s first European settler – a Mr. Philippe, for whom the park is named.
15. Lake Tarpon
Lake Tarpon is one of the largest lakes in the Tampa area, and it’s just a few miles away from Oldsmar.
Take the day to explore the different nature parks and conservation areas found around the lake, and take to the water if you’re into kayaking or canoeing to experience Lake Tarpon in the best way possible.