Pirates will soon make landfall on Bayshore Boulevard and Tampa’s biggest pirate party will commence. This long-awaited Tampa tradition brings the pirate out of everyone. They may be loud and rowdy, but you have to be smart. Read our pirates guide for a safe and fun experience for 2023’s Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest. Don’t forget to dress the part. Read the list below and visit any of the suggested treasures in Tampa for costuming, beads and festive gear.
Make a Plan
This is the first and most crucial step. You’ll need to plan out what time you want to arrive and leave because Uber prices go up by the second. If you’re driving, plan extra time to find parking and consider reserving a spot in a paid lot in advance. If you are going as a group or meeting people there, a rendezvous point needs to be established prior to arrival. Trust us, it’s nearly impossible to find people in the crowds.
Check the Weather
You never know what kind of weather Tampa is in for. Consider while shopping what the weather is forecasted to be like. This will help narrow your outfit choices. It could be hot, rainy, windy or freezing – check before you dress.
Whether it is hot or cold, the Florida sun will still be shining down on you. Apply SPF accordingly.
Taking after the pirates, booze is a popular beverage choice during Gasparilla, but drinking water before the festivities and throughout the day will help you stay hydrated. Pack a large water bottle before you go so you’re not stuck searching for a refill station or convenience store.
Stay Close to Your Friends
Bayshore is miles long and there will be thousands of people gathered, so it’s easy to get separated from your friends. In case you do get separated or your phone dies (what a dreadful thought), a predetermined meeting spot will save the group.
Prepare for the festival by eating a nutritious meal before you head out. You want to last the entire parade, which goes until 6 p.m. (not including unofficial after parties taking place around town). Lines will be long at surrounding restaurants and bars, so snag a reservation if you can. If you aren’t so lucky, pack protein/granola bars to keep you going throughout the day.
This is a day to celebrate José Gaspar and his crew of pirates. To do so, it helps to immerse yourself in the spirit of the event. How often does an entire city come out and pretend to be pirates? Take advantage of this unique event. Dress like a pirate, catch as many beads as you can, watch all the floats and revel in being part of an iconic part of Tampa’s history and culture.
Get Your Outfit
For Tampa residents, Gasparilla is the Halloween of January and the only acceptable costume is that of a swashbuckling pirate. Find the perfect outfits and accessories at these shops.
South Tampa Trading Co.
1916 S. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, Fl 33629
Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Beads, baubles, britches and bling” is the motto at South Tampa Trading Co. This one stop shop has all the essentials for your pirate adventure. Read our story all about it here.
3808 E. M.L.K. Jr. Blvd., Tampa, Fl 33610
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The currency at Gasparilla is beads and the more beads you have the better. With a large variety of beads, finding the perfect bunch to match your outfit couldn’t be easier. Whether you’re throwing beads from a float or trying to catch them in the crowd, Buccaneer Beads has you covered.
4006 W. Cayuga St., Tampa, Fl 33614
Tuesday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Pirate Fashions is the real deal for pirates to come alive. Having been featured on TV and in movies, you can become an authentic pirate. You can place an order for a one of a kind outfit or pick up already made gear.
Excited for Gasparilla? Get some local knowledge from Pete Lackman, the 2022 captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.