Explore Greek Culture And Heritage
- Attend the Epiphany Celebration on January 6th, the largest such celebration in the Western Hemisphere.
- Watch the Greek Independence Day Parade, taking place each March.
- Visit St. Michaels Shrine, a reported site of miraculous healings.
- Visit the iconic St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, home to gorgeous stained glass windows, crystal chandeliers, marble pulpits and more.
- See Cycadia Cemetery, on the National Register of Historic Places and the burial site of more Greeks/Greek-Americans than anywhere in the U.S.
- Stroll down the World Famous Sponge Docks and experience the feeling of a working waterfront like ones in Greece.
- Shop for sponges at many of the Greek sponge shops.
- Take a boat ride on an original Sponge Boat with St. Nicholas Boat Lines and learn the history of the sponging industry.
- Take an audio-guided walking tour through historic Greektown.
- Check out the Greek cultural exhibits and educational videos at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum.
- Participate in Night in the Islands, a traditional glendi-style festival with Greek music, dancing, food and more on the Sponge Docks.
Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
Tarpon Springs isnt known as the sponge capital of the world for nothing. For visitors interested in getting up-close-and-personal with this unique slice of the citys history, theres no better place to do it than the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.
The docks are one of Tarpon Springs most visited attractions, and in many ways, are the citys cultural, economic, and historical heart.
Over the years, theyve played vital roles in the citys development. Though the natural sponge business isnt what it once was, the docks are a free and fascinating place to visit and deserve an hour of your time.
Popular Attractions In Tarpon Springs
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Take In Sunset At Fred Howard Park
Named for former Mayor of Tarpon Springs Fred H. Howard, this 155-acre public park is located on the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the most visited parks in Pinellas County. The white sandy beach is a popular north county swim area and offers the perfect location for visitors to enjoy spectacular sunsets. Its also a great place to see local wildlife such as nesting ospreys, eagles, dolphins, and occasionally manatees.
Youll access the Park via a 1-mile long causeway, which gets crowded during the busier winter times of the year.
Parking at Fred Howard Park is $5. If youre looking for free parking, nearby Sunset Beach offers free parking, but the sunset photos from Fred Howard Park will be more scenic.
Police Shoot And Kill Man In Tarpon Springs
A man reported to be carrying a military-style rifle was shot and killed by Tarpon Springs Police officers Saturday night.
According to a police report, several calls reported a man was walking down Pinellas Avenue near the intersection with Tarpon Avenue, pointing a gun at cars driving by. Around 9:27 p.m., officers arrived at the intersection, and the man pointed the gun at officers and at several occupied cars on the road. Officers then fired at the man, striking him several times, according to the police report.
The report said once the man had been shot, officers began administering first aid before the man was transported to Bayonet Point Hospital. He was pronounced dead upon arrival.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorneys Office are actively investigating this case. The officers involved and the man who died are not being identified at this time, police said.
This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.
Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill
Editor’s Note: There’s no photo available at the time of writing
While the establishment opened in 2005, the team behind Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill has been in the seafood business since their arrival in Tarpon Springs in the 70s. The business originated as a shrimp boat selling seafood, and it has evolved into what the restaurant is now. Try their wide selection of sushi and steamed seafood along with some of their specialties: Due West Snapper, Madame Butterfly, Galilee, and E. Sea Rider! Pair these with some of their Rusty Bellies Sangria, and youre good to go.
Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill
Opening hours: Tue – Thu: 11am – 9pm Fri – Sat: 11am – 10pm Sun: 11am – 9pm
Tarpon Springs Wildlife Tours
The clear, temperate waters off Floridas Gulf Coast are home to a huge variety of marine species and are another of the areas major attractions.
From manatees and sea turtles to predatory birds and the massive, silvery tarpon after which the city is named, Tarpon Springs and the surrounding areas are a nature lovers paradise. Many guests opt to experience the splendor and wildlife as part of a guided tour.
Several tour providers and packages are available, ranging from a half-hour to multiple hours the dolphin and sea turtle tours are among the most popular.
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Brooker Creek Preserve Tarpon Springs Florida
The Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs, Florida is a county-owned and managed nature preserve. Cared for by Pinellas County, the preserve spans across approximately 9,800 acres, providing abundant space for outdoor recreation activities, such as hiking, horseback riding, and birding. The Environmental Education Center at the Brooker Creek Preserve offers a number of interactive exhibits and displays for visitors to explore to learn about both the local history and natural history of Florida. There are also interpretive and educational programs available. A network of equestrian and hiking trails provide people with a chance to explore the preserves ecosystems.
3940 Keystone Rd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688, Phone: 727-453-6800
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Head Over To Silverking Brewing Company
If you are exhausted after all the travel, then head over to the Silverking Brewing Company to relax for some time. Tarpon Springs craft beer scene is evolving by each passing day.
If you want to try out some of their artisanal beer then this fish-themed brewery will definitely offer you something new to experiment. Did you know this brewing company is situated inside an abandoned fire station?
Wine lovers can also check out Springs Castle Winery which is the only winery that offers European-style wine east of Mississippi.
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Shrine Of St Michael Taxiarchis
Florida is so full of sand, sun, and seafood that many guests overlook less commercial but more unique attractions. For those looking for less of the former and more of the latter, a short trip to the Shrine of St. Michael Taxiarchis would be the perfect way to spend an hour.
The shrine is located near the sponge docks, making it convenient to see in conjunction with them many locals and visitors claim that it holds significant powers.
The story goes that the shrine was built for a boy dying from a tumor, but that shortly after its completion, he recovered its held a special spot in local lore ever since.
Take A Ferry To The Anclote Key State Park Lighthouse
The island of Anclote Key is home to the Anclote Key Preserve State Park. It is located just three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs and is accessible via private boat or ferry.
The state park has many isolated, romantic beaches with exceptional shelling.
The state park is also great for bird watching and over 40 species of birds can be seen.
A historic lighthouse built in the late 19th century is also a major attraction.
The beaches are open to tent camping and day picnics. You can get more information about the state park here.
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Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill Tarpon Springs Florida
The Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill in Tarpon Springs, Florida is named for the love of fishing of the family who owns and operates the seafood restaurant. This fishing is primarily gulf group fishing, as the nickname Rusty Bellie applies to the large male gag grouper, typically caught by true-at-heart fishermen. The Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill serves some of the freshest, wild-caught, Florida seafood in the area to guests Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00am until 8:00pm. The menu here features many dishes named after some of the fishermens beloved boats as a way of giving them credit.
937 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-934-4047
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Brooker Creek Nature Preserve
As Pinellas countys largest preserve, consisting of almost 8,700 acres, this is a must-visit for the outdoor adventurer looking for things to do in Tarpon Springs. In the preserve, you will hike through forested wetlands and pine flatwoods. Brooker creek is not a park, it is a wilderness area. Dont be surprised if you come across Floridas native wildlife. Some of the animals you may see consist of deer, turkeys, raccoons, gators, turtles, and much more.
There are multiple trails to walk as well as an equestrian trail if you wanted to do it by horseback. The mosquitoes in any wetland area are fierce, I suggest you bring plenty of bug spray and sunscreen.
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Known as the sponge capital of the worldâ the historic riverfront town of Tarpon Springs is located along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico just 40 minutes north of St. Petersburg. The city has a Greek heritage owing to the arrival of Greek sponge divers in Tarpon Springs to grow the now-famous sponge industry. The Greek community is famous for some of the finest Greek restaurants, including Mamas Greek Cuisine, Hellas and Mykonos, markets, and bakeries in the country.
The city, named for the abundance of fish found in nearby waters, offers numerous attractions along with beautiful miles of waterfront. The city hosts famous Sponge Docks, downtown center listed on the National Register of Historic Places, antique stores, art galleries, and specialty shops housed in buildings dating from the late 1800s. The Tarpon Springs Performing Arts and Cultural Centers offer concerts, theater, art and historical exhibits, and other quality programs. Dodecanese Boulevard, which follows the riverfront, has gift shops that carry everything from home goods to unique Greek and Florida Souvenirs, to natural sponges to olive oil soap.
Keep reading for the full list of the best things to do in Tarpon Springs, FL.
Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm
Beaches In Tarpon Springs In Florida
There are two wonderful beaches here, both equally beautiful. The first is Fred Howard Park, 155 acres stretching along the gulf of Mexico. Its a great place to swim, sunbathe on the white sand and even jet ski.
The second of the beaches in Tarpon Springs is Sunset beach. This beach is used more frequently by locals and is a little less crowded. It has a lovely picnic area and there are even BBQ grills.
Both beaches are free to use. They make a great addition to the list of things to do in Tarpon Springs Florida.
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Go On A Shopping Spree
It cannot be that you are at Tarpon Springs and you return empty-handed. The best way to avoid that is to go shopping. We have listed out some of the must-visit shops at Tarpon Springs. Do pay them a visit. If you love handmade incenses or soaps then visit GetAGuru that has a middle-eastern décor.
Other than that, you can visit Loris Sponges and Soaps to get a selection of amazing souvenirs or gifts. Stop by Miss Merries Sweets & Treats to try out their saltwater taffy or pack some candies for the trip back to home.
You can even check out the Spice and Tea Exchange for a range of available options of spices, teas, pepper, etc.
Two Frogs Brewing Company
If youre visiting Tarpon Springs without kids, grab a few drinks at this relatively new brewery in town. Despite only opening in 2017, two of their beers have already won awards! Reviews of the establishment also comment on how friendly the staff is, so youre sure to have a great time when you stop in.
Two Frogs Brewing Company has brews for $5-9, along with wine for $7 per glass. Theyre closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and while their hours vary a bit depending on the day, the latest they close is 9:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. They are located at 151 East Tarpon Avenue Tarpon Springs, FL 34689.
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Icipate In The History Hunt At The Historic Train Depot
Another of our favorite Tarpon Springs what to do on a hot summer afternoon!
For lots of local flavor and history, visit the Historic Train Depot Museum.
The museum is housed inside an old train depot that was built more than 100 years ago.
The museum has lots of historical exhibits and artifacts dating to WWI, WWII, and the beginning of the sponge industry.
The Train Depot Museum is also the Welcome Center and you will find everything you need to explore Tarpon Springs right here.
Kids will love the History Hunt in the museum and the train memorabilia in the gift shop.
For learning more about the history and culture of the Greek community, visit Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum located near the Spring Bayou.
Tarpon Springs Historic District
Historic downtown Tarpon Springs is a quaint slice of heaven and is often referred to as the Antique District.
An easily accessible area perfect for culture and history-minded travelers who dont mind being on their feet, its a particularly popular destination for those interested in doing a bit of shopping.
Featuring many antique shops selling everything from vintage jewelry and clothing to furniture, housewares, and pricy collectibles, its the perfect place to spend a few morning or afternoon hours. There are restaurant and coffee shops nearby for when you need to relax and refill your tanks.
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Tarpon Springs Splash Park
Vacations have a magical way of making hard-earned money disappear with frightening efficiency. For those in need of a free and kid-friendly entertainment destination, theres no better place than the Tarpon Springs Splash Park.
Not surprisingly, the splash park is a popular place that can get downright crowded during peak summer times, so its not a good idea for those looking for a little peace and quiet. But it features many amenities like slides, fountains, and pools, as well as some cool animal replicas like a manatee and tarpon.
Parents whod rather watch the action from a safe distance will appreciate the covered seating areas.
View Picasso And Other Artworks At The Art Museum
If you are wondering, what to do in Tarpon Springs Fl for culture lovers, then this is for you.
Art enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs.
The museum is located in the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College.
It has lots of modern and contemporary artwork from the 20th and 21st century and features paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographic work, etc.
We loved the beautiful and introspective permanent exhibits as well as the interesting rotating exhibits and recommend keeping aside an hour or two to see the museum.
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Attend Shark And Alligator Feeding Sessions
The Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium is a family-owned, small aquarium that is known as the Tarpon Springs Aquarium.
Currently, it is located on Dodecanese Blvd but is set to move to a newer, larger location in 2020.
The aquarium has tanks of grouper, tarpons, hermit crabs, shrimp, squids, sharks, stingrays, alligators, and turtles.
Children can also watch shark and alligator feeding sessions and learn more about these animals.
They also have a few touch pools and snake demonstrations for children.
Read more about the aquarium feeding times here.