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By far, the best way to get to and from the airport is the
Super Shuttle. It picks up and deposits fares from both Tampa International (TIA) and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International (PIE).
If you can, renting a car at the airport is your best bet for arrival, departure and getting around in general. There are a lot of things to do in the St. Pete/Tampa area and transportation is not easy unless you want to limit yourself to a specific area -- if you do -- choose one, the beach or downtown. The in betweens are very suburban.