Tampa Bay AirFest at MacDill Air Force Base is an exhilarating show that exhibits the world of military aviation. This amazing event attracts thousands of spectators from across Tampa Bay and the state of Florida. AirFest showcases firsthand the capabilities of military aircraft and the powerful skill sets of their pilots. It’s happening on March 29-30 in Tampa.

The Ultimate Tip Guide For The Tampa Bay AirFest At MacDill:

The AirFest features thrilling aerial demonstrations from a diverse array of aircraft. They offer fighter jets like the F-22 Raptor and F-16 Fighting Falcon to huge cargo planes and even show off paratroopers. Most of these demonstrations highlight the agility, speed, and precision of these incredible machines, leaving visitors in awe of their power.

They also showcase several other wonderful exhibits as well. AirFest opens up ground attractions letting attendees walk around and explore military aircraft up close and personal from different branches of the armed forces. This is a fabulous event to take your kids to so they can tour static aircraft that are on display and learn about their capabilities. You can even meet the pilots and crew members who operate them. Sometimes you can even touch equipment and watch technology that is employed by today’s armed forces. Find more information about shows and times by clicking here.

Related: How To Get In And Out Of Tampa Bay AirFest In 1 Hour or Less

While you’re at the event you also get to learn about the rich history of MacDill Air Force Base. It’s played a vital role in America’s military operations for decades. Giving you a glimpse into the base’s past and honoring the men and women who have served throughout the years. If you plan on taking your family, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure that you have an amazing time. Since this show is a family event it’s important to prepare yourself especially if you are bringing little kids. A couple of important things to know is since it is a biennial show, many people will attend from all over the state. Traffic will be a huge issue and getting in and out can take hours. We have all your tips listed below to make sure you have an excellent experience.

  • Traffic Will Be Nuts

    Parking is very crowded, but it is worth it to go. There’s parking just outside of the base if you don’t want to fight the traffic getting in and out. Some establishments will even let you use their bathrooms. Also, consider biking down or driving and parking somewhere and biking from about a mile away. Traffic was gridlocked last time. You could see cars sit for hours and make very little forward movement. Follow the guidelines and only enter from the Dale Mabry, MacDill or Tanker Gate. The Bayshore Gate is reserved for on base workers and residents.

    Typical scene during rush hour. A traffic jam with rows of cars. Shallow depth of field.

  • Watch At Restaurant Instead

    You can book a reservation at a nearby restaurant and watch the entire things without even entering MacDill! Hula Bay is offering reservations to watch from there which sounds like an excellent idea.

    Friends taking selfie at rooftop pub restaurant - Young people having fun together at brasserie on brunch time - Happy family laughing and enjoying at saloon cafe bar - Bright and vivid color filter

    Getty Royalty Free

  • Bring A Ton Of Water

    It gets incredibly hot! Way hotter than you think! If the sun is out you might be in trouble if you don’t back extra water! Bring all the bottles with you.

    water bottles drink water

  • Ear Protection

    It will be incredibly loud! Ear protection for everyone is important. Even kids who have ear plugs, over the ear protection still comment on how it’s still super loud.

    hear loud

  • Bring A Chair And Umbrella

    Not only does it get extremely hot but seating is limited. Bring your own seat with an umbrella so you can sit in the shade. That way everyone can relax and not get burned. You can enjoy everything!

    chair umbrella

  • Sunscreen

    That sun will wear you down! Be careful especially with the little ones that you bring all the sunscreens. Even if it’s going to be cloudy make sure you protect yourself. You don’t want to leave with a massive sunburn.

    Sun protection lotion with SPF 30. Blue tube contaiber with sunscreen isolated on white background. 3D illustration


  • Skip The Rideshare

    Because of the limited entry points, mass transportation and rideshare are not authorized for Airfest weekend. It is recommended to take your own car and carpool with as many people as you can!

    If you’re coming from South Tampa and areas of East Tampa, use the Dale Mabry and MacDill Ave gates. If you’re driving from West Tampa, take the S Westshore blvd to Interbay to enter Tanker Way Gate.

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 28: A Lyft decal is seen on a car in the pick-up area at JFK Airport on April 28, 2023 in New York City. Lyft, the ride-hailing app, confirmed that it will be laying off 1,072 employees, which equals to roughly 26% of its corporate workforce. The layoffs were announced last week but no official number was confirmed. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)


  • Get There Early

    Get there extra early! They will and have shut down entry due to having too many people on base. In the past, people have been sitting in line and were forced to turn around and leave line. Gates open at 8a!

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