Sunny and upscale Wesley Chapel, Florida, is a hidden destination tucked within the confines of the Tampa Bay Metro Area.
I've always known it was supposed to be the largest and most populous city of Passo County, but it still remains an unincorporated census-designated place.
However, this hasn’t stopped my hometown from creating and maintaining many unique attractions and destinations for our entertainment.
From large lagoons with gleaming blue waters to sprawling retail spaces, there’s a wide range of places to be and activities to try while on this side of Florida.
So, for your next getaway, why not travel here?
Here are the best things to do in Wesley Chapel, Florida:
Make a Splash at Epperson Lagoon
Epperson Lagoon is the crowning glory of our town, a large aquatic facility built as a getaway for us residents of Wesley Chapel.
This 7.5-acre attraction is the world’s first “man-made sparkling lagoon,” built in 2018 and filled with purified water.
The result is a water park with bright, crystalline waters that glow baby blue under the Florida sun.
And because of the large and spacious pool, there are so many things to do here.
I love going swimming or trying watersports like paddleboarding, kayaking, and even sailing with small boats.
For the kids, there are many inflatable slides and tubes that make for a playful and fun pool experience.
The tropical beach-inspired banks also offer an experience like no other, with food concessionaires, lawn games, and many other amenities for our enjoyment.
I particularly like the palm trees and the great views they provide.
There are plenty of drinks available, but I do wish they had better food options.
Spend a Few Hours at Wesley Chapel District Park
When living in a town as populous and affluent as Wesley Chapel, you might think there would be many parks where residents can enjoy nature and the outdoors.
Most of the suburbs have their own lakes or large ponds, backyards with small forests, and sprawling grounds within their exclusive communities.
So it's not a surprise that the town only has one public park, and it was only installed in 2008.
Wesley Chapel District Park is a spacious facility with features and amenities fit for the kind of lifestyle that the town's residents have.
Shaded gazebos, verdant grounds, high-grade play structures, and courts—you'll see many well-equipped and well-maintained attractions here.
There's even a street hockey court, something you won't see in your average US public park.
Of course, you'll find many trails that are ideal for biking, jogging, and walking for those who like to stay fit.
I've been to this park many times, and there's always plenty of sports to play and plenty of parking.
I usually go to the basketball courts, although I've seen the soccer field and a kids' playground as well.
Test Your Skating Skills at AdventHealth Center Ice
Florida is known for its balmy temperatures and sunny skies, so ice skating is probably the last thing in your mind during your trip to Wesley Chapel.
But thanks to technology, there’s a place here cold enough to maintain a sheet of ice on the floor for ice skating.
AdventHealth Center Ice is a popular destination for those who want to experience a wintertime activity even in the middle of summer.
I've been there several times, and it never disappoints.
It’s the largest skating rink in the southeast US, so you can expect many things to do here.
Aside from ice skating, the venue also hosts sports like hockey, curling, and figure skating.
I've watched a few hockey games there, and the atmosphere is always electric.
There are also educational programs where you can learn the basics of ice skating and even the aforementioned sports.
I took a beginner's ice skating class, and the instructors were patient and helpful.
So when your family needs a break from the humidity of Florida, head over to this cool attraction.
Join a Traning Session at Saddlebrook Resort
Saddlebrook Resort is an award-winning destination that also serves as a training facility for golf and tennis.
In fact, this place has frequently graced the lists of top training facilities in the world in the aforementioned sports.
But before it achieved these prestigious recognitions, the 480-acre property served as a resort where visitors could get a taste of authentic Florida.
That is why the original owners made an effort to preserve the natural sceneries here while integrating modern amenities.
So you can expect verdant golf courses and tennis courts with a backdrop of cypress trees and the occasional birds calling out to their kind.
I recently had the opportunity to join the programs offered for both tennis and golf, which cater to all skill levels and ages.
The experience was fantastic, and I can see why Saddlebrook Resort is considered one of the top training facilities in the world.
The instructors were knowledgeable and patient, and the facilities were top-notch.
During my stay, I also had the chance to enjoy some of the other amenities that the resort has to offer.
The rooms were huge, clean, and lovely, and the property itself was stunning.
I spent a few days by the pool, played golf, and even tried my hand at tennis.
The kids in my family had a blast playing on the amazing football-turfed field, and we all decided to make this our yearly family retreat.
Explore the Stores of the Shoppes at New Tampa
The Shoppes at New Tampa is one of the premier retail spaces here in Wesley Chapel.
With more than 188,000 square feet of space, this shopper’s paradise has numerous stalls, restaurants, and galleries for everyone to visit.
Publix is a Florida institution, and their supermarket here is stocked with all the goods I need for my daily life.
One of my favorite places to visit at the Shoppes is Pinot’s Palette.
I've joined a few art classes there and tested my skills in using various media while sipping glasses of wine.
The instructors are fantastic, and it's always a fun and relaxing experience.
There are also plenty of other dining establishments and entertainment facilities.
I've tried several of the restaurants, and they've all been great.
The food is delicious, and the service is always top-notch.
Ace a Hole in One at Lexington Oaks Golf Club
Whether I'm playing with friends or just practicing on my own, I always have a great experience at Lexington Oaks Golf Club.
As a resident of the town, I can say that this premier outdoor facility truly reflects the lifestyle of the community, with well-maintained grounds, a challenging but well-planned course layout, ponds and fountains that also serve as water hazards, and many other amenities.
I can guarantee you an exceptional experience on this 18-hole course, and you might even want to return for another round.
Omari’s Bar and Grill is the golf club’s own restaurant, and it’s as famous as the course itself.
With its relaxing atmosphere, large menu, and friendly staff, the establishment provides a pleasant dining experience for everyone.
I always make a stop here before starting my game or staying awhile after finishing one to enjoy the delicious food and cozy ambiance.
See Colorful Birds at Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary
As a bird lover, I couldn't resist visiting the Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary, and I must say, it's a must-add destination to any avian enthusiast's itinerary.
This facility serves as a rehabilitation center for birds, operated by professionals who adore these winged creatures.
And as the name implies, these birds are “exotic.”
You won’t typically find them in Florida’s forests and swamps, as most of them are rescued from the illegal pet trade market.
From vibrant and friendly parrots to majestic macaws, there are more than 800 species in the aviary at any given time.
I was welcome to view and make some limited interactions with these birds.
I was surprised at how happy, well-fed, and clean these creatures are compared to other zoos in the country.
Unfortunately, none of them are available for adoption, as the sanctuary has a mission to return or relocate these birds to habitats where they are free and happy.
During my visit, I also checked out their store, which was amazing!
It was extremely clean, and the selection of birds, food, supplements, toys, and cages was impressive.
Watch a Film at the Grove Theater at Wesley Chapel
Living in Wesley Chapel, I have the privilege of having The Grove Theater right in my backyard, a brilliant entertainment hub that also provides a cool respite from the sticky Florida heat.
This venue was once known as the Cobb Theater but has since been transformed under new ownership into what they're calling the "movie theater of the future."
I've seen firsthand how the developers spared no expense in creating this state-of-the-art facility.
The new Grove Theater boasts 12 individual theaters, and it's truly an experience like no other.
In half of them, you can mix movie-watching with dining or even join spin classes while enjoying a film.
But if you're more inclined towards a traditional cinema experience, don't worry.
The other half of the theaters offer pure cinematic pleasure with plush seating, meticulous sound design, and perfectly angled screens for optimal viewing.
No matter what you're in the mood for, you can always count on having an amazing time catching the latest big-screen hits at The Grove Theater.
Join an Annual Event at the Shops at Wiregrass
As a resident of Wesley Chapel, I can say that most of us have more than enough to spend on our wants and needs, so it's no surprise that there’s more than one retail center here.
The open-air layout makes the Shops at Wiregrass different from Shoppes at New Tampa, and I love it.
There are so many shops, restaurants, stalls, and entertainment facilities here, ready to cater to all your needs.
It’s also pedestrian-friendly, so I always feel comfortable while exploring the mall.
The annual events bring a lot of people here, as it’s a chance for us residents to partake in the community spirit and mingle with other locals and visitors alike.
There’s the Symphony in Lights Holiday Extravaganza, Spring & Fall Fair, Artisan Street Market, and many others.
If you want to join in one of these events, make sure to check out their calendar!
On my last visit, I tried some amazing French pastries at Le Macaron and had a great dinner at Noble Crust.
I also noticed that the JCP Salon had a new stylist who specializes in color and highlights, and her work looked fantastic on Instagram.
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills at Mouse Trap Escape
If you’re someone who enjoys the challenge of puzzles, clues, and thrilling mysteries, then Mouse Trap Escape is the ideal destination for you.
The themed rooms here are perfect for friends and family, and you can try the Hostel, the Octagon, the Dungeon, and various other options depending on your mood.
You’ll be required to work together, test your intuition, and use your problem-solving skills to escape the locked room.
It’s an exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience: you’ll try to solve puzzles, find hidden clues, and connect the dots to get out.
Unlocking the lock and being free is the most rewarding experience, and it’s the highlight of the day for many visitors.
So head over to this attraction and challenge yourself.
Try Delicious Meals at Grillsmith
No trip to my charming town is complete without trying out some of the local favorite dining establishments.
One of these is Grillsmith, considered a Wesley Chapel institution that serves refined and delicious meals in a space that exhibits luxury.
It’s a chef-inspired restaurant concept offering innovative dishes inspired by world cuisines, so I'm always in for some exciting flavor palettes when eating here.
The menu consists of classic American fares with twists and upgrades that enhance the taste and textures of every dish.
I love enjoying fusion salads, delicate desserts, a large selection of fine wines, and of course, grilled steaks cooked to perfection.
I always make sure to reserve a table before I go, as the restaurant is often full because of its reputation.
Explore Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area
On the northwest end of Wesley Chapel, I found the scenic Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area, part of the larger Cypress Creek Preserve.
It's a quiet and underdeveloped attraction that serves as the perfect getaway for those who want to escape the urban noise.
With its beautiful wetlands, woods, clearings, and trails, the area offers lots of opportunities for nature hikes and wildlife encounters.
I had a grand time spotting wrens, herons, woodpeckers, owls, and many other species that call this place home.
There are also some camping sites here, but most people, including myself, prefer to go backcountry camping to experience a self-sustained outdoor excursion.
Practice Your Skills at Highland Axe Throwing
Axe throwing is an activity that practically anyone can enjoy, and I started sticking axes in no time!
Highland Axe Throwing's venue is open to those 18 years of age and older on Friday and Saturday nights.
Sunday is available to children aged six and older with a paying adult.
When I reserved a special event, my party exclusively used the venue, including all designated lanes, aims, seating places, and axe instructors.
Their expertly qualified teachers walked us through the axe-throwing process before accompanying us as we completed various tasks and activities our group had chosen.
I was initially a little scared to go, but I ended up loving the experience!
Play with Your Creative Imagination at B Creative Painting Studio
I recently visited B Creative Painting Studio and was amazed by the large selection of ceramics they have.
All of their colors are non-toxic, which is great for kids and adults alike.
They offer various glasses, plates, miniatures, and specialty products to choose from.
There were so many different paint colors, along with stencils, imprints, and other materials to use creatively.
The B Creative Painting Studio personnel were always available to advise on design and execution, making the experience even more enjoyable.
I had a blast painting pottery with my son.
The space is nice and open, and there were many options to choose from.
My son was already talking about the next piece he wanted to do before he even finished his first one.
The owner was great to talk to, and she helped with anything we needed.
On another visit, I went with my daughter-in-law, and we had a wonderful time picking out and painting our masterpieces at B Creative!
Bernadette and her team are so welcoming and encouraging that you can't help but catch their joyful vibe.
Grab a Cold Beer at Florida Avenue Brewing Co.
I recently visited Florida Avenue Brewing Co., which is named after its initial placement on one of Tampa's most famous highways.
In 2010, they started on a quest to provide everybody with an unforgettable craft beer journey.
Their kid-friendly taproom has sixteen draft lines and a full-service restaurant offering beer, wine, and creative cocktails.
I took a stroll through their walk-in beer cave, relaxed in their outdoor beer garden, and even got a glimpse of their cutting-edge manufacturing plant.
Florida Avenue Brewing Co. also provides three distinctive event venues, perfect for business meetings, birthday celebrations, and just about anything else.
They offer private function personnel, rental facilities, a selection of food and beverage options, and a total of over 9,500 square feet of adaptable space.
I visited Florida Avenue Brewing Company on a Saturday afternoon for lunch with my husband.
We have a Brew pass and decided to check off the Wesley Chapel area breweries.
This was our first stop due to the full food menu.
I was surprised by the size of the venue – it's huge, with lots of seating indoors and a massive outdoor area.
You could definitely spend the day hanging out with friends outside, drinking beer here.
We sat at the bar and ordered from the very attentive bartender.
I got a blueberry wheat beer and the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich.
I originally ordered a delicious-sounding pimento cheese sandwich, but they were out of pimento cheese, which was a real bummer.
Treat Yourself to a Facial Massage at Bliss Facial Spa
Modern skincare, therapeutic procedures, a calm setting, and a special guest-centric method to wellness come together at Bliss Facial Spa to provide genuine regeneration and rejuvenation.
Their spa program enlivens the senses and promotes the highest level of relaxation with services like the Premiere Facial and Bamboo Massage.
The knowledgeable staff offered me a high degree of individualized care and a therapeutic journey intended to restore and return harmony to my lifestyle.
Bliss has hosted various events, from wedding parties to birthdays, and I found that a day spent at the spa is the ideal group activity.
Discounts are given to all parties, and they have access to free champagne, mimosas, and refreshments.
Delight in Italian-Inspired Meals at Noble Crust
Noble Crust represents the gastronomic crossroads of exquisite Italian cuisine and ingredients from the South.
I've been coming here for years, and it never disappoints.
The menu at Noble Crust reinvents the Italian food experience with regionally sourced fresh ingredients and a refined yet well-worn ambiance.
They create inventive meals by combining fresh farm recipes and seasonal menu items to blur the lines between Italian and Southern cuisine.
One of my favorite things to order during weekend brunch is the French toast with bananas – it's so yummy, you just have to savor the flavor!
And I can't forget to mention their pizza and fried chicken, which are both absolutely amazing.
Noble Crust Italian Restaurant is where my friends and I gather and eat, with indoor and outdoor seating, friendly tables, and an open kitchen.
The kitchen puts us in the middle of the activity, and the bar offers handcrafted beverages, high-quality wines on tap, and a variety of created beers and drinks.
The patio is created for year-round use and welcomes visitors to settle in.
It's the ideal place to enjoy creative drinks, mouthwatering small meals, and wonderful conversation due to a retractable roof, chairs, air conditioning, and heat warmers.
I remember the first time I visited this location, I sat at a table adjacent to the sidewalk and was impressed by the very attentive waitstaff.
I also loved the shared Doc Marten footwear between the hostess and front house waitstaff.
The meatball and Brussels sprouts appetizers were both excellent during that visit.
Other Things to Do Nearby
After your tour of Wesley Chapel, why not visit these other destinations nearby?
Trek the Trails of Lettuce Lake Park
Just a short drive south from where I live in Wesley Chapel, you'll find the stunning Lettuce Lake Park.
It's the perfect blend of natural beauty and modern amenities for those of us who like a bit of comfort with our outdoor excursions.
Although it's located just outside the hustle and bustle of Tampa, the park draws a considerable crowd owing to its expansive 240 acres.
One of the most striking features of this park is the boardwalks that wind through various ecosystems.
As I stroll along these paths, I'm treated to views of lush freshwater wetlands, hardwood forests, cypress domes, and rivers, all teeming with a wealth of native flora and fauna.
The park also provides picnic areas, viewing platforms, and playgrounds, making it a fantastic spot for a family day out.
But the park isn't just about leisure; it's also an educational hub.
The Audubon Resource Center at Lettuce Lake Park is a must-visit.
It's a treasure trove of information about the local wildlife, geography, and other unique features of this region of Florida.
I always make sure to drop by whenever I visit, and I learn something new every time.
Find Gators at Hillsborough River State Park
Tucked away near the southeastern edges of my hometown, Wesley Chapel, you'll find Hillsborough River State Park, a natural oasis teeming with hidden gems.
This expansive park, spanning a whopping 3,383 acres, is a melting pot of diverse wildlife, plants, and attractions that make it a favorite spot for visitors from Tampa and neighboring regions.
One of the best parts about living here is having access to over seven miles of trails that weave their way through the park.
These trails lead me to large ponds, picturesque bridges, stretches of dense forests, and typical Floridian swamps.
The park's rivers and creeks are a delight for kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts, especially for those keen on getting a glimpse of the local alligator population.
Ah, yes, the alligators. They're something of a Florida trademark, and you'll have ample opportunities to admire and photograph these magnificent creatures.
But take it from me, a local, you must maintain a safe distance.
A close encounter with an alligator could land you in a dangerous situation, to say the least.
Spend a Day in Tampa
Since I live in the Tampa Bay Metro Area, I often visit the bustling city of Tampa itself.
It’s only a half-hour drive from Wesley Chapel, and it has lots of sights, activities, and attractions waiting for you.
There are plenty of beaches, golf courses, restaurants, and amusement parks that welcome anyone regardless of age or preference.
My room was spacious, with comfortable beds, a fridge, a workstation, and a sitting chair, which was a pleasant surprise.
The hotel was conveniently located near shopping areas and lots of restaurant options.
I liked it so much that I booked another stay for another work trip.
Don’t be intimidated by the affluent residents of Wesley Chapel: they are friendly and welcoming to those who are curious enough to pay attention to their community.
And there are plenty of things to see and do that you won’t experience in other places within the region, like ice skating and dining in a movie theater.
So when planning your itinerary, check out this list for the must-visit destinations.