22 Delightful Things to do in Tarpon Springs, Florida

Visiting Tarpon Springs on Florida’s Gulf Coast? Read our epic guide to the best things to do in Tarpon Springs. Explore the Tarpon Springs sponge docks, have a Greek meal on Dodecanese Blvd, take a sponge boat cruise, buy olive oil, and learn all about the sponge industry in this Greek city in Florida.

For a charming coastal town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Tarpon Springs is unapologetically, exotically Greek.

In Tarpon Springs, sea divers dive for sponges and Greek eateries are all over the town.

The smell of gyros wafts down the streets and handmade signs for fresh baklava can be seen in restaurant windows.

Once in a while, someone speaks in Greek and the foreign words sound fascinating.

Deep blue water surrounds the boats at the dock and anyone can easily mistake it for the Aegean Sea.

Watch Now: Best Things to do in Tarpon Springs, Florida Story

Welcome to Tarpon Springs, Florida – the Sponge Capital of the World!

I love visiting American small towns with an interesting history or foreign character or friendly people. The country has, in particular, many towns that feel distinctly European.

These are not like your typical immigrant enclaves in New York or Chicago.

Here, the original residents have created unique identities for their cities by adhering to their European culture, architecture, and traditions.

We have visited many such towns: Eureka Springs in Arkansas is reminiscent of Bath and other Victorian towns.

Solvang in California is beautifully Danish. Helen in Georgia is a replica of a Bavarian town in the Alps.

Tarpon Springs is different from the rest. It feels more authentic than other tourist towns.

As an immigrant myself, I thoroughly appreciated the efforts taken by this small town to keep it’s Greek Heritage alive.

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We visited Tarpon Springs during our epic Miami Key West road trip. We originally intended to see Miami and then catch our flight back to Houston from Tampa.

But a hurricane chased us out of the Keys and from Miami-Dade County to the Gulf Coast.

So we went with the flow, changed our plans, spent a couple of days on Sanibel Island and then made time for Tarpon Springs attractions.

Serendipity, you know!

Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Where is Tarpon Springs Florida?

Wondering where is Tarpon Springs in Florida?

Tarpon Springs is located in Florida’s Pinellas County less than an hour away (32 miles, approx 45 mins) from Tampa.

It is located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, north of Clearwater and Dunedin.

Tarpon Springs makes an excellent vacation spot or weekend getaway or even day trip from the Tampa Bay area on the Gulf Coast.

History of Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs is named, most uninspiredly, after tarpon fish which were common in these waters.

However, the true story of Tarpon Springs starts at the Sponge Docks.

Sponges grew abundantly in the Gulf waters surrounding Florida’s central coast.

The sponge industry took off and grew at a tremendous rate.

It created jobs for sponge divers and attracted Greek immigrants from the Dodecanese islands who were used to diving for sponges in the Aegean Sea.

They came to Tarpon Springs, settled there, and thrived. They brought along their culture, language, cuisine, and traditions.

With time, the sponge industry declined but the Greek Heritage was there to stay.

The next generation of immigrants founded Greek restaurants and eateries.

With time, Tarpon Springs became the next tourist destination in Florida.

The Sponge Docks still exist today and are the town’s major tourist attractions.

…which brings us back to our weekend in Tarpon Springs!

We fell in love with this charming town.

It has many tourist attractions and is the perfect weekend getaway from Tampa.

We have written this detailed guide to the best things to do in Tarpon Springs for the purpose of helping you plan the best trip to the area.

In our Tarpon Springs Travel Guide, you will find recommendations for popular activities, restaurants, parks, cruises, and more tips to visit Tarpon Springs Florida.

Let’s get planning!

Tarpon Springs – Sponge Capitol of the world!

Where to stay in Tarpon Springs

There are not that many accommodation options in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

We stayed in the Hampton Inn & Suites in Tarpon Springs and loved the family-friendly environment and the relaxing hotel pool. The rooms are also big and clean and we had a good stay.

Other popular places to stay include Tarpon Inn or Quality Inn & Suites. Tarpon Shores Inn is also a good place to stay.

Budget Tip: Use a deal aggregator like Hotels Combined to find the best hotel deals in Tarpon Springs. Find the best rates now.

If you are a big group, then Tarpon Springs also has some historic mansions available for stay: Paradise in the Sun, the Grand Historic Home, and the waterfront Dolphin Cove Villa.

You can also stay in nearby Dunedin which has more options but by staying closer to the Sponge Docks, you can enjoy the local flavor of Tarpon Springs.

Best things to do in Tarpon Springs, Florida

Tarpon Springs attractions, whether big or small, all center around the two main streets of Dodecanese Blvd and Tarpon Avenue.

Tarpon Springs Downtown is cobblestoned and pretty and the town has many eclectic shops to keep you happy.

Here is our list of 22 delightful things to do in Tarpon Spring Florida – we hope this Tarpon Springs tourist information helps you plan the best trip ever!

Explore the Historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Undoubtedly, the #1 attraction in the area! The town of Tarpon Springs thrives around the Sponge Docks.

Tarpon Springs is known as the ‘Sponge Capital of the World’. It is here that Tarpon Springs began and it is here that Tarpon Springs continues to grow.

The Historic Sponge Docks is the epicenter of Tarpon Springs tourism.

History of the Sponge Docks (Photo – Pixabay)

The sponge industry developed in the area towards the end of the 19th century.  It grew vastly and in its heydey, was valued at 3 million dollars a year.

The sponge boats harvested sponges from Key West to the Florida panhandle. It contributed significantly to the growth of Tarpon Springs and the economic boom in Florida.

The Greek technique of diving for sponges was implemented in the area and led to larger harvests.

This, in turn, attracted the Greek immigrants who established the now largest Greek population inside the US.

You can experience this history for yourself at the Sponge Docks.

Taking a stroll along the Sponge Docks is one of the most popular Tarpon Springs fl things to do.

There are many things to do at Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.

We walked along the Dodecanese Blvd, along which the Sponge Docks are located, and imagined ourselves in Greece.

We saw the sponge boats come in with fresh loads of harvested natural sponges. We saw men in diving suits separating, cleaning, and unloading the sponges.

You too can see the sponge boats in action at the docks. It is fun to watch and a great way to spend time while in the town.

Take the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks boat rides

The Sponge Docks is from where a variety of cruises and boat tours depart and are among the most popular Tarpon Springs Florida things to do.

The tours start from the Historic Sponge Docks and continue down the Anclote River into the Gulf Waters.

Here are the main types of tarpon springs boat rides and the companies offering each type of tour:

Sponge Diving Tours in Tarpon Springs

You can take a Sponge Docks boat ride and see the sponge divers dive for sponges.

These Tarpon Springs sponge boat tours are usually about 45 minutes long and the sponge boats take visitors into the river.

Here you can see a sponge diver move across the river bed, cut a live sponge, and return to the boat.

It is fun to watch the divers at work.

The cruises include information about Sponge Docks history and hands-on with various types of natural sponges.

Sponge diving excursions are offered by St. Nicholas Boat Lines.

Sponge diving boat tour, fishing tours and wildife tours are available for visitors

Tarpon Springs Dolphin Tour

Tarpon Springs dolphin tours are also a great option for those interested in dolphin and marine life watching.

The water has lots of other wildlife viewing opportunities including manatees, tarpons, eagles, seagulls, ospreys, sea turtles etc.

Odyssey cruises which depart from the front of Hellas Restaurant and Bakery are most popular.

They have guided hour to hour and a half long tours which narrate history of Tarpon Springs, information about area’s wildlife by an onboard naturalist, and dolphin watching.

Spongeorama Cruise lines also offer dolphin watching tours along with Tarpon Springs sightseeing cruises.

Tarpon Springs shelling cruises and boat rides

The special shelling only tours pick up passengers and drop them off at the Anclote Key Preserve State Park.

The state park has many beaches that are perfect for year-round shelling.

The gulf side of Florida coast has exceptional shelling and visitors can easily find sand dollars, shells, driftwood, and other treasures.

Odyssey Cruises and Spongeorama Cruiselines both have shelling cruises which stop at the Historic Anclote Key Lighthouse on Anclote State Preserve.

Sunset Cruises

The sunset cruises are most popular with couples.

The cruises are romantic and you can spend quality time with each other.

Most cruises include drinks on board.

This is a great way to learn about Tarpon Springs history and see wildlife while experiencing a beautiful Florida sunset.

Sunset cruises are offered by both Odyssey Cruises and Spongeorama Cruise lines.

For special events, you can also book private charters.

Apart from the cruises, you can also rent a pontoon boat for the day at Tarpon Springs.

Private charters are offered by Sponeorama Cruiselines, Day Dream Charters, and Palm Harbor Charters.

Also Read: 20 Best American Road Trips of all time to take this summer

Eat Greek food on Dodecanese Blvd and sip on a Baklava Martini

As mentioned, Tarpon Springs has a large Greek population and there are many Greek eateries, restaurants, and bakeries located in the town.

Most are around the Dodecanese Blvd, but you can also find a few near Downtown Tarpon Springs Florida and on the other streets.

Interior of the ever popular Hellas

One of the popular restaurants in Tarpon Springs is Hellas.

Our parking lot attendant recommended this place and we enjoyed it.

It is a big, vibrant restaurant with an adjacent bakery. The decor seems a bit kitschy and garish but the food is quite good.

The menu is extensive. We had the Shrimp ala Hellas, their special entree, and the Greek style scallops.

However, the real star was the intriguing drinks menu – it offered many unique specialties.

We ordered Tiramisu Martini and Baklava Coffee and both were excellent!

Many customers were also ordering the Flaming Saganaki cheese and we could hear loud cheers of Opa throughout our meal!

While we had a proper sit-down meal at the restaurant, you can also grab savory Greek pastries and baklavas on the go at the Hellas Bakery.

One of their popular items is the baklava cheesecake.

Here’s a tip: dine here and they validate your parking.

Other places to try Greek food include Mykonos, Dimitri’s on the Water, Mr Souvlaki, Yiannis, or Mama’s Greek cuisine.

If you are craving seafood, then Rusty Bellies Grill located next to the water is a great option.

On our next day here, we tried Rusty Belly’s but the wait was too long, over an hour.

Other good places for seafood include Mystic Fish Grill or Tarpon Turtle Grill.

Most Greek, seafood and other restaurants in Tarpon Springs serve excellent food but can have long waiting lines on weekends, so plan accordingly.

Baklava Coffee and Tiramisu Martini!

Buy the famous Tarpon Springs sponges

Near the Historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, you will find many shops selling the famous sponges.

The sponges harvested from water near Tarpon Springs are supposed to be the finest in the world.

Before you buy one, here’s some Natural Sponge 101.

Sea sponges were used for bathing by the Romans in ancient times and continue to be a popular bath accessory even today.

Natural sea sponges are actually a type of aquatic animals that grow in the shallow waters along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The sea sponges are harvested (cut) by hand by sponge divers.

The sponge then simply grows back and is thus, renewable… that is not to say, sponge harvesting doesn’t deplete them.

However, the Florida sponge industry regulations control the harvesting and ensure that the sponges have enough time to regenerate.

So you can safely go ahead and buy one!

The shops around the Sponge Docks sell a variety of sponges in various types, shapes, and sizes.

Since these sponges are locally harvested and of high quality, they are extremely durable and can easily last up to 4 or 5 years.

Plus, you would be helping the local sponge industry and Tarpon Springs!

While there are many shops, we first visited Spongeorama, which is a sponge souvenir shop / museum.

They have lots and lots of sponges but we didn’t buy them here, they felt expensive but you may have a different experience.

They also a free sponge documentary in a small theater.

The documentary is quite interesting, though it’s a bit dated.

We bought our sponges at the Tarpon Sponge Exchange.

The girl at the counter shared lots of interesting information about wool sponges, loofah sponges, and their best uses.

Other great places to buy sponges include Lori’s Sponges and Soaps and the Sponge Factory.

Shop for sponges!

Buy artisan products including olive oil, handmade soaps, and spices

Tarpon Springs, the little Greek town in Florida, has many delightful little shops selling everything from handmade soaps, seashells, kitschy decor to oils, authentic Greek food, beachy dresses, and more.

Here are a few of the must-visit shops that we discovered during our visit.

Lori’s Sponges and Soaps has amazing handmade soaps which make perfect gifts for Christmas, birthdays, anniversary’s and other occasions.

They have a great selection of face and body soaps in interesting scents and fragrances. I bought a small lemongrass soap and sponge set as a souvenir.

For more variety, visit GetAGuru for handmade soaps, incenses, fabrics, and paintings.

They have everything uniquely arranged in a Middle-Eastern Souq setting.

The Spiceman’s Kitchen is a fun stop to look at all the bottles of spices, unique foods, sauces, rubs, and seasonings.

They have lots of specialty hot sauces, wings sauces, BBQ sauces etc plus they have free samples.

The Spice and Tea Exchange is also worth a visit.

They have lots of different spices including various types of peppers and paprikas, many kinds of sugars, and unique blends of teas.

If you are craving sweets, visit Miss Merrie’s Sweets and Treats shop.

They had yummy chocolates and candies but what really caught my eye was their impressive collection of saltwater taffies.

All sorts of fun things to buy!

I loved stepping inside the Tarpon Springs Olive Oil Company and checking out their over 10-12 types of olive oils including the garlic and herb-infused one.

For Greek-inspired jewelry and clothing, visit Antonia’s Boutique and Gifts.

And of course, I can’t leave a town without searching for local bookshops. I visited Back in the Day Books in Tarpon Springs.

The bookstore had lots of eclectic and unusual books but I was short on time and didn’t find anything immediately for my taste.

Admire the beautifully decorated bikes around the town

Update: The Bikes are no longer there and I’m just glad I saw them when we visited, however, I will ask you to read the unique story behind them and admire the pictures!

When we visited Tarpon Springs, there were many charmingly decorated bikes placed all over the town.

Some were decorated with vibrant flowers while some others were in unique materials including CDs in front of an electronic shop and so on.

And of course, there was a sponge bike in front of a sponge shop!

We admired the bikes and took a lot of pictures, thinking they were public art… and that might have been the end of the story but for the power of social media!

When I first wrote this post, it was shared by the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks site and one reader led me to Warren Gregory, the man behind the bikes.

We connected and I even got an opportunity to talk to him about the cool bikes!

These beautiful bikes are created by Warren, a Tarpon Springs resident.

When we talked, he owned a houseboat in Tarpon Springs and lived there but was going to Europe for the summer.

If you take the sponge diving boat cruise, you can see his boat for yourself. The guides can point it out for you too.

Warren got the idea of placing decorated bikes around the city from the time he spent in Amsterdam, where it is common practice to decorate bikes.

The first few bikes, he placed stealthily in the middle of the night and their appearance became quite a mystery! You can read all about it here.

The sponge bike!

The bikes are decorated as per Warren’s fancy.

When we spoke, he had about 32 decorated bikes all over the town and planned to place a couple more before he went to Europe to… guess what??

Place decorated bikes in different European cities!

We wish success to Warren in his endeavors; the bikes are beautiful works of art and bring a smile to everyone’s face!

Try delicious craft beer at the local breweries

The Tarpon Springs craft beer scene is continuously evolving and offers excellent quality artisanal beers.

I was really intrigued by their locations: from within an old pharmacy to an old fire station, and covering everything in between including a family home!

Here are some of the must-try breweries in Tarpon Springs:

Two Frogs Brewing Company is located in an old pharmacy and their interior looks like a Prohibition-era saloon.

We sampled quite a few beers here and I loved their chocolatey one.

It reminded me of the one I had in Florida Keys Brewing company in Islamorada on our way to Key West.

Saint Somewhere Brewing Company has both an interesting name and interesting location.

It is housed inside a house! Go figure!

We loved their cozy tasting room which seemed to be inside the original living room as well as the patio seating.

The beers were good but they didn’t have anything to eat.

Silverking Brewing Company is located inside the old fire station and is created by local fishermen.

It has a fishing-themed sports bar-style decor and really great beers.

Wine lovers will enjoy a trip to the Tarpon Springs Castle Winery.

For more information about the breweries and to create your own craft beer trail spanning Dunedin, Clearwater, and Palm Harbor, visit here.

Another of Warren’s bikes!

Go antiquing in Tarpon Springs Historic District

Tarpon Springs Historic District in Downtown has lots of antique shops.

Most of them are located along Tarpon Avenue; many of these specialize in various kinds of antiques.

This area is popularly known as the ‘Antiques District‘.

Antique lovers will love exploring the Court of Two Sisters, a spacious antique shop with one of a kind pieces including jewelry, furniture, and other memorabilia.

Other antique shops include Carter’s Antique Asylum, Finders Keepers, Unique Finds, One Amazing Find, Antiques Forever, etc.

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.

Seek solitude and blessings at the St. Michael shrine

For a spiritual experience, you can visit the Shrine of Saint Michael Taxiarchis.

It is a serene little shrine and has an interesting story behind its building.

The shrine is located a few blocks away from the Sponge Docks and was built to fulfill a little boy’s wish who lay on his deathbed.

The boy’s tumor miraculously recovered and since then the shrine has attracted those who seek healing. You can read the complete story behind the shrine here.

Spongeorama (Photo – Wikimedia Commons)

Stroll in the Tarpon Springs parks, swim and relax on the beach, and watch a beautiful sunset

Pinellas County, where Tarpon Springs is located, is home to many beautiful parks.

These parks have some of the best beaches near Tarpon Springs Fl.

They also have excellent hiking trails, picnic areas, bird watching, camping, and boat launches.

The Pinellas County parks are the gateway to outdoor adventures and the Gulf Coast and one of the most fun things to do in Tarpon Springs.

Exploring these county parks and preserves is the perfect way to extend your Tarpon Springs sightseeing and day trip into a long weekend getaway.

Most of these parks are a short distance away from Tarpon Springs and feel serene after the tourist crowds on the Sponge Docks.

Fred Howard Park is the most popular park. Families, couples, tourists, and locals all like to hang out here.

The beach is good for playing in the sand, sunning, or swimming.

There are chairs and umbrella rentals available if you want to just lounge.

The water is still and clear, making it good for snorkeling.

The park also has watercraft launch ramps and water sports facilities.

There are paddleboards and kayaks rentals available nearby.

If you kayak/paddleboard far enough you can also spot dolphins on a calm day.

The park has a mile-long causeway to access the Gulf and this causeway has great fishing spots.

The sunset views from the park are also spectacular.

Unfortunately, the beach gets quite crowded during peak time on weekends, so to experience the solitude and natural beauty we recommend visiting at sunrise or on weekends.

Fred Howard County Park (Photo – Flicker/Mark)

The Fred Howard County Park has ~$5 parking, so if you are looking for a free beach, try Sunset Beach.

As the name suggests, it’s a good spot to watch the sunset. You can play volleyball on the beach and people watching here is fun.

In the summer, the beach also hosts concerts.

Craig Park is another good park located along the Bayou.

It is located within the town and great for strolling along the water’s edge in the evening.

We enjoyed walking under the palm trees, spotting the manatees and people watching.

Some other must-visit Tarpon Springs parks include Brooker Creek Preserve, A. L. Anderson Park, and Whitcomb Bayou.

Brooker Creek Preserve is Pinella County’s largest park and has miles of hiking and horse riding trails.

There is an educational nature center that displays a short movie presentation but is open only on weekends.

The preserve has great wildlife viewing and is high on Tarpon Springs to do list for outdoor enthusiasts.

At the preserve, you can spot alligators, tortoises, bayou birds, snakes, and lizards.

Victorian houses along the waterfront (Photo – Pixabay)

A. L. Anderson Park is another great natural area to spot wildlife including the famous Florida alligators.

It has short as well as long hiking trails over marshy areas.

The park is located along Lake Tarpon and has picnic tables, boat launch ramp, biking trails, and fishing spots.

It is perfect for spending a day outdoors with the family and is among top Tarpon Springs activities.

Whitcomb Bayou is Tarpon Springs urban park.

From the bayou trails, you can view lots of beautiful mansions, big old trees, and spot manatees in the bayou in winter.

The bayou park also holds many local events and is a favorite with residents.

For more beaches near Tarpon Springs Florida, consider a cruise to Anclote Key.

Visit the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, dance at a festival, and learn about Greek culture

Tarpon Springs has remained true too it’s immigrant roots and offers immersive opportunities to learn about the Greek Culture.

For those who like visiting churches and cathedrals, the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral is a must-visit.

It is located in the heart of downtown Tarpon Springs and is a very beautiful building inside out.

The stained glass windows and painted ceilings are stunning; the silence inside is something to be savored.

The Greek Orthodox Church is at the center of the most sacred festival in Tarpon Springs.

The Day of Epiphany is widely celebrated in Tarpon Springs on 6th January every year.

This Greek festival has been observed since ancient times and on this day the Greek Orthodox Priest blesses the water and the boats, that bring livelihood to the area.

Then the priest throws the Holy Cross into the waters of the Spring Bayou and local boys jump into the water to retrieve it.

Inside the Greek orthodox church in Tarpon Springs (Photo – Flickr / Avinash)

After the Holy Cross has been retrieved and the retriever blessed, the celebrations focus around the Sponge Docks where the Feast of Epiphany is held and music, Greek dancing, and food are abundant throughout the day.

The Epiphany celebration is attended by tourists throughout the country and is one of the busiest days in Tarpon Springs.

There are many other festivals in Tarpon Springs.

The town celebrates Greek Independence Day (March 25) with patriotic parades and bands.  

Opa! Palooza Greek festival is held at the Sponge Docks in summer to celebrate Greek culture and heritage.

Tarpon Springs also has many other events and festivals.

The Seafood Fest which is held in the winter (around Thanksgiving) has delicious and fresh seafood.

Christmas at the Sponge Docks is also magical. The entire area and boats are covered in decorations, holiday lights, and trees.

Kid-friendly things to do in Tarpon Springs

While the kids will love Sponge Docks and boat rides, there are many other fun things to do with kids in Tarpon Springs that are geared specifically towards children.

These include visiting the Tarpon Springs Aquarium and playing pinball and other arcade games at the Replay Amusement Museum among other Tarpon Springs things to do.

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.

Sponge diver sculpture (Photo – Flickr / Mark)

Play on the world’s biggest pinball machine

The Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs is home to the world’s biggest pinball machine.

This museum is dedicated to arcade games and other amusement devices of the 80s and 90s.

The museum has dozens of pinball machines and other arcade games like donkey kong, dead pool, bad cats, etc.

Remember when Mario made his first appearance in Donkey Kong?? So do we!

The best part is that while it is a museum it has free gameplay for adults as well as children when you buy the entry ticket – that means you can spend hours here playing all the games!

For this reason alone, the Replay Museum is the most underrated things to do in Tarpon Springs Florida.

Have fun playing at the Discovery Playground

To keep children busy and burn their energy, visit the Discovery Playground in Tarpon Springs.

This mostly wooden play area is located close to downtown and is great for climbing, swings, and other high-energy activities.

We liked all the different swings including one tire swing.

The area is shaded with lots of trees and so you can visit anytime during the day.

There is also a big trail around the play area where kids can run.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Tarpon Springs is often mispronounced as Tarpin Springs florida or Tarpon Spring Florida or Tarpen Springs or even Tarpoon Springs??

Cool down at the Tarpon Springs splash park

Thinking of what to do in Tarpon Springs Florida to beat the heat?

The Tarpon Springs splash park is free and great fun on a hot summer day.

The water play area is quite big and there are slides, lighthouse, and other Tarpon Springs themed statues like sponge diver as well as tarpon, manatee, and pelican replicas.

The kids will love getting wet, playing in the water, and being sprayed upon!

The splash park also has shower and changing stalls as well as shaded tables to rest.

Loving those bikes!

Participate 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.

Things to do near Tarpon Springs

If you have had your fill of Tarpon Springs tourist attractions, then consider a day trip to nearby destinations.

Tarpon Springs has the perfect location on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

With Tampa an hour away and Orlando 2.5 hrs away, you can actually make the town your base for exploring the bigger cities.

Here are some of the best things to do around Tarpon Springs:

Visit Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa Bay

Tampa is one of my favorite cities in Florida.

Just like Orlando, Tampa is a vibrant and energetic city.

It is perfect for families, couples, and friends.

Things to do include the Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa, and the Children’s Museum.

Adults will enjoy the microbreweries and great nightlife.

The city also has a great dining scene, museums, and shopping – it provides the ultimate urban vacation.

Tarpon sponge docks signs

Visit the beautiful white sand beach in Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach has a to-die-for, magical white sand beach and exceptionally clear water. (Again, one of those uninspired names! Look, it’s a Clearwater Beach.. Sigh!)

The beach here has consistently ranked among the nation’s best.

Top things to do include sunning on the beach, visiting the Clearwater Aquarium, and enjoying the shopping and dining at Cleveland Street District.

Visit the Dali museum in St. Petersburg

One of the more offbeat things to do near Tarpon Springs!

While St. Petersburg has many things to do, its most popular attraction by far is the Dali Museum.

The museum has over 2000 pieces of surreal and striking artwork by Salvador Dali. The museum is a must for art and architecture lovers.

Other things to do in St. Pete include enjoying the copious amounts of sunshine and enjoying life!

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.

The Sponge Docks

Visit Florida’s first microbrewery in Dunedin

Dunedin is surprisingly like Tarpon Springs, except for the Historic Sponge Docks and Greek character.

I’m talking about quaint downtowns, weekend open-air market, and lots of microbreweries.

Dunedin has about 6 or 7 microbreweries and all of them have one thing in common – unique craft beer and good brews!

The iconic Dunedin brewery was the first microbrewery in Florida. If you want to go on a beer trail, then Dunedin is the perfect addition.

Also Read: 50+ Gifts for someone going to Disney World

That’s it. Your mega list of what is there to do in Tarpon Springs Florida. Whatever you do, don’t forget to order a flaming saganaki and shout Opa…

‘Opa’ is a popular Greek cheer word: in Greece, you will hear it often at dances, celebrations, and weddings.

You will also hear it or when Saganakis are set aflame or when someone breaks a plate – on purpose or a by mistake – because that’s how ancient Greeks celebrated everything, whether big or small!

Opa signifies the Greek zest for life.

Most people need to visit Greece to discover Opa; we found it in our very own American backyard in Tarpon Springs, Florida.


We hope you liked our post on what to see in Tarpon Springs Fl. We are sure that you will love Florida’s Greek town.

Did we miss any Tarpon Springs Fl attractions? Let us know and we can add it right back in.

And hey, if you know about Warren the decorated bike guy, then we would love to hear more – please drop us a comment!

36 thoughts on “22 Delightful Things to do in Tarpon Springs, Florida”

  1. I can’t believe you missed the Orange Cycle Creamery – absolutely the best ice cream in the Tampa Bay area and it is downtown Tarpon Springs. The locals all love it and are addicted to the many amazing flavors – next time come back and don’t forget to stop for ice cream. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED

  2. Our friends own Saint Somewhere. They’re still making Belgian style ales but no longer have the tasting room/home.

  3. Have lived in Tarpon Spring for 20 years and love it. One thing I didn’t see you mention is the Greek olive oil soap. I always make sure I have some in the house. It will remove stains of any kind! Try using it to wash your hands, they will feel cleaner than they ever have before!

  4. Got to Tarpon in 1959 at 5 years old moved north in 1974. It’s one of the few places in Florida that have gotten better with age. If you ride bikes the Pinellas trail and other numerous trail will offer you traffic free adventures, exercise and many destinations. I am in Pinellas a week a month now and only use my bike. Check out Pedago electric assist bikes in Dunedin and rent one. Being tired from a long ride will never exist anymore and besides you will feel like a kid again. Motorists that encounter you at intersections are courteous and thoughtful, Pinellas is one of a few places that cycling is the best way to get around.

  5. How can you not have mentioned Pauls Shrimp House on Athens st? They’re a landmark that has been serving fresh seafood for over 79 years and is located right off the main drag.

    • I have been to Tarpon Springs 10 times if not more…I love Dodecanese Street, love Hellas Bakery and Restaurant…but, across the street there is Limani if you want a quick bite for lunch. He makes the BEST souvlaki, I don’t even remember them better when I am in Greece!! There is outside sitting and you can enjoy the boats going by. I just got back from St. Petersburg and HAD to visit Limani. I believe he is closed Tuesdays and not open late at night…
      I LOVE TARPON SPRINGS!! Good grocery shopping for olive oils and anything Greek and good wine selections to bring back home with you.

  6. I’ve NEVER heard of this area despite visiting florida so many times. I need to visit here. Sounds like heaven!

  7. I, too, live in Tarpon Springs…have since 2010! The Sponge Docks is a “must experience” and the Greek food is excellent, but so is the boating, biking along the Pinellas Trail, kayaking, fishing, birding, Howard Park and Sunset Beaches along with events along Tarpon Avenue including the antique shops, eclectic stores and new craft beer establishments! Tarpon has come a LONG way in the 7 years we’ve lived here. And it just keeps getting better! 🙂

    • Hi!! We are thinking of visiting Tsrpon Springs during Christmas, actually staying Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Are the restaurants open on those days?

      Thank you,
      Sheila Brown

  8. Love to have our amazing little town featured. I myself stumbled across it almost 15 years ago and now proudly call myself a resident. Fun fact.. there are 2 main streets in Tarpon Springs, Dodecanese and Tarpon Ave which also hosts a variety of restaurants, antique shops and amazing finds. From Tarpon Ave, north on Alt 19 there are a number of fun shops, amazing coffee and mouth watering cuisine.

  9. I lived there briefly when I was 10 years old and have gone back to visit a couple of times. It’s been twenty years since my last visit. I love Tarpon Springs. Howard State Park, the Sponge Docks, the cobblestone street downtown, St. Michael’s and St. Nicholas’ the area around the library. I am overdue to come back!

  10. I lived in Miami for 13 years and never knew about this place! I really need to get out in Florida more often. This place looks really great and I’m definitely going to try to visit!

  11. I never heard of this place but looks very interesting. Cycle pics are awesome. I loved the flower decoration and sponge one also, difficult to decide which one nice. Never seen anything like this. Good share.

  12. Woah! The floral cycles is something new to me. I have never seen anyone decorate them that way before. Nice pics btw…

  13. Love all of the decorated cycles! My favourite was the sponge one, reminds me of Spongebob Squarepants. Tarpon Springs looks like a fun visit!

  14. Omg the flower-decorated bikes are just too cute to handle. What a perfect day to wander around and enjoy fresh air! I didn’t know there was a large Greek community in Florida. thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. Tarpon Springs looks like such a sweet place to visit. I hadn’t realized there was an area of Florida with a large Greek community. 🙂 The food looks amazing and the decorated bikes are too cute! I’d love to take my parents some day.

  16. Those sponges are so crazy! I always thought they were made in a factory or something, not pulled from the ocean. And that restaurant looks absolutely amazing!

    • Oh then you should totally go and take the sponge cruise. The crew dives down and harvests sponges as part of the tour. Hellas was fantastic.

    • If you love off the beaten track places then you should totally make a beeline for Tarpon Springs. Yes, the area has many hotels and B&Bs, would be a perfect weekend.

  17. OMG! Really can’t believe my eyes, place looks stunning and the decorated bicycles are just adorable, I too wanna have a sip of that yummy looking Tiramisu martini! Nicely captured girl 👍🏻

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