Tarpon Springs is a city in Pinellas County, Florida. It is known for its implication in the sponge diving industry and its strong Greek presence. In fact, it has the highest percentage of Greeks of any city in America.
Follow US-19 north, which connects Tarpon Springs from St. Pete, following Florida's Gulf Coast. Tarpon Ave has a junction with US-19, while to reach the Sponge Exchange you will want to follow Spruce St/Live Oak St from their junction with US-19 and merge right onto Hibiscus St, which crosses Pinellas Ave to become Dodecanese Blvd and leads to the shoreline of the river and docks.
There is limited public transportation in the city. Having a car is your best bet here. There are also taxis available.
Various bayous border the city and are perfect places for a stroll or, if possible, a leisurely boat ride. On Epiphany day, a Greek-Orthodox Holiday, the holiday is commemorated with the traditional diving for the cross, where young men dive in the Spring Bayou, on Spring Street, to recover a sunken cross.
- 1 Sponge Docks, Dodecanese Ave. This area is the centre of all sponging and fishing activity in the city. Right by the water, the street features many shops, restaurants and attractions. Although a bit tacky, there is a dishevelled charm to it.
- 2 Tarpon Ave. A charming old street featuring historic buildings and a few shops.
The Tampa Bay area is best known for its authentically rolled Cuban cigars in Ybor City, so why not light up un auténtico cigarro cubano from the cigar stands on Dodecanese Blvd? One local cigar stand called "Dreams of Cuba" offers panatelas puros as well as a nice hot cup of Cuban coffee as you stroll the streets, shopping.
- 1 Anclote Key Preserve State Park (three miles off Tarpon Springs and accessible only by boat). A historic site. Amenities include primitive camping on the northern portion of the island as well as picnic pavilions and grills. Wildlife includes the American Oystercatcher, Bald Eagle and Piping Plover. The park is unique in that a lighthouse, built in 1887, is on the southern end of the key. Three Rooker Island, south of Anclote and part of the preserve, remains an important Gulf coast beach-nesting bird sanctuary. The park has such amenities as beaches, birding, primitive camping, boating, fishing, hiking, picknicking areas and wildlife viewing.
At the Sponge Docks, there is a small shopping mall on Dodecanese Blvd. called the Sponge Exchange, with multiple stores to explore the sponges, knick-knacks and other souvenirs.
- 1 The Sponge Exchange, 735 Dodecanese Blvd, ☏ . The Sponge Exchange is a small outdoor shopping mall with about 40 businesses to enjoy; some are restaurants, but most are shoppes, some are sponge-related. From the white and blue Greek-style walls to the fountain and live Greek music found within, this place will give you an idea of a modern Tarpon Springs shopping village.
The cuisine of Tarpon Springs mostly revolves around the Greek culture, so it's not uncommon to see gyros, souvlaki, and other Greek foods.
- 1 Captain Jack's, 21 Oscar Hill Rd, ☏ . Su–Th 11AM-10PM; F Sa 11AM-midnight. Captain Jack's is considered by many as the hotspot restaurant of Tarpon Springs. This restaurant, grill and tiki bar has an amazing waterfront view, especially the outside tables. Mid-range.
- 2 Hella's Restaurant, 785 Dodecanese Blvd, ☏ . Greek cuisine.
- Mama's Greek Cuisine, 735 Dodecanese Blvd #40 (Sponge Exchange), ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. For 20 years, they fed the sponge divers and their families authentic Greek food and it's now a popular local spot. Budget option.
- 1 The 1910 Inn, 32 W Tarpon Ave, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. $150-200 per night.
- 2 Hampton Inn & Suites, 39284 US-19 N, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
Tarpon Springs is a relatively safe city. The area around the docks, Pinellas Avenue and Tarpon Avenue are all easily walkable.
|Routes through Tarpon Springs|
|Atlanta ← New Port Richey ←||N S||→ Palm Harbor → Saint Petersburg|