Tarpon Springs, situated in Pinellas County, Central Florida, is one of the classic vacation destinations in the continental US.
Travelers are encouraged to visit this place for several reasons.
For starters, Tarpon Springs boasts unique Greek culture and history, not to mention mouth-watering Greek cuisine.
Second, a visit to this city—also known as the Sponge Capital of the World—helps support the sponge industry that relies on tourism.
This fun and inexpensive place along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico is as Greek as it gets.
Most people travel to this place to taste its delicious baklava or to walk down the famous Dodecanese Boulevard, filled with shops and eateries.
You will enjoy the smell of gyro strips in the air.
If you venture toward the docks, you'll find that the calming nature of the place truly makes it the "Venice of the South."
Are you interested in finding out what else this city has to offer?
These are the best things to do in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Walk along the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
You can walk along the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks and feel like you're in Greece.
This historic dock is situated on Dodecanese Boulevard.
The Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks are the heart of Tarpon Springs, once Florida's highest revenue earner.
The sponge industry was at its heyday in the late 19th century, valued at three million dollars a year.
At the time, Tarpon Springs saw the largest number of Greek immigrants who came to work in the booming sponge industry.
The Greeks initiated natural sponge harvesting in this place and developed the dive-and-harvest technique.
Unfortunately, the natural sponge industry is rapidly being replaced by artificial ones.
Enjoy the Beach at Fred Howard Park
For many travelers, Tarpon Springs is all about the beaches.
Fred Howard Park is a 155-acre attraction along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
Enjoy a rejuvenating day at Fred Howard Park, with acres of clean, white beach and blue waters.
The park has separate picnic spots, restrooms, kayaks, and paddleboard rentals to relax and enjoy.
If you want to check out more parks in Tarpon Springs, you can also check out A.L. Anderson Park to try out their hiking routes or have a picnic by Lake Tarpon.
You can also take a quick look at the Whitcomb Bayou, the urban park in Tarpon Springs.
Enjoy a Splendid Sunset at Sunset Beach
For a good reason, Tarpon Springs was once called the "Venice of the South."
The place has over 50 miles of water surrounding it.
Sunset Beach is one of the best-loved artificial beaches in Tarpon Springs.
If you are traveling with your family, this beach is a must-visit.
This clean, calm beach has shallow waters, making it comparatively safer for your children.
The miles of white sand will also have a calming effect on your soul.
You can return to the beach to enjoy a beautiful, romantic sunset while traveling with your partner.
When you're hungry, prepare some lunch at the built-in grills at the beach.
Relive Your Childhood at Replay Amusement Museum
The Replay Amusement Museum is the best place to catch a game at the pinball machine or try your luck with some of the popular '80s or '90s video games.
Stop by Replay Amusement Museum and bask in nostalgia if you miss your childhood filled with these games.
The best part is that all the machines are set to "Free Play" mode.
Once you pay at the main desk, you can try out any or all the games.
The official website asks tourists to call beforehand to check the availability of seats, especially on weekends.
Check Out Greek Heritage at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral
If you wish to get the essence of Greek culture and heritage, stop by St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Pinellas Avenue.
In addition, you are also bound to find solace in this tranquil church.
It is a calm and soothing place to sit back and reflect.
If you are traveling to escape life's chaotic hustle and bustle, spend an hour in solitude at this place.
Apart from that, the church's architecture is breathtaking.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral is the tallest structure in Tarpon Springs, and the interior is decorated in the traditional Greek orthodox style.
Since the church was built in 1904, most exhibits inside have existed since before the two World Wars.
Check Out a Picasso at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is a small museum with lots to offer.
If you plan to visit this place, check out their events calendar beforehand, as the museum hosts many art exhibitions throughout the year.
This is an excellent place for students to learn or gather educational resources.
Also, consider stopping by this museum if you wish to check out a life-size replica of Picasso's Guernica, one of his most famous paintings.
You can also participate in art workshops or adult programs at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.
Visit the Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary
This is a great place to visit if you are traveling with your family.
The Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary is on North Pinellas Avenue.
Run by the Konger family, the aquarium has been operational since the 1990s.
At the Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary, you can have hands-on experience.
You can pet some animals or feed sharks, Tarpon rays, turtles, or alligators.
Do you want to hold a snake?
They let you do that here as well.
Grab a Meal at Hellas Restaurant
What's a trip without treating yourself to mouth-watering cuisine?
Stuff yourself with Greek delicacies from Tarpon Springs' most popular restaurants.
The city's large Greek population has led to the establishment of many Greek eateries.
Most of these are lined along Dodecanese Boulevard, but you will also find a few along the Tarpon Springs' downtown avenue.
For example, go to Hellas Restaurant when you get hungry.
This place has a lot to offer and also has an adjacent bakery.
Hellas attracts a vast number of tourists every year.
If you leave without trying their shrimp ala Hellas or Greek scallops, you will surely miss out on a lot.
Check Out the Spongeorama Sponge Factory
Spongeorama Sponge Factory is another classic tourist destination in Tarpon Springs.
Once you have visited the Sponge Docks, stop by this sponge factory.
It is the reservoir of the world's largest selection of natural sponges.
Built in 1968, Spongeorama Sponge Factory also has a little museum and a movie theater inside.
This is the best place to pick up souvenirs for friends and families.
The Spongeorama Sponge Factory souvenir shop has a range of items on offer.
You can also sit through a short and free documentary on the sponge industry at Spongeorama.
If natural sponges are too expensive, head straight to Tarpon Sponge Exchange for a unique souvenir.
Take a Diving Tour with St. Nicholas Boat Lines
No trip to Tarpon Springs can ever be complete without getting to experience sponge diving.
The city offers multiple boat rides and cruise rides where tourists can witness how divers harvest natural sponges in reality.
St. Nicholas Boat Lines host the best boat tours.
Established in 1924, this remains one of Florida's oldest attractions.
St. Nicholas Boat Lines' diving tours attract thousands of year-round tourists.
The session lasts about 40 minutes, and the tour includes a detailed narration of the history of sponge harvesting dating back to the early days.
You can book your tour beforehand or even get a ticket from their old-fashioned ticket booth.
Join a Cruise with Odyssey Cruises
There are many fun things to do around Tarpon Springs, and getting on a cruise is one of them.
Travelers can go on shelling tours or unique boat rides to go fishing.
You can also go sunset cruising and dolphin watching in Tarpon Springs.
Check out Odyssey Cruises for their special cruise offers.
Bring your family on the water with Odyssey Cruises!
Soar above Tarpon Springs with Tarpon Springs Helicopter Tour
Enjoy an aerial view of the "Venice of the South" by taking a helicopter ride with Tarpon Springs Helicopter Tour.
This fancy ride launches from Clearwater Airpark, close to the beach.
After departing, the helicopter ride will take you above the historic Sponge Docks and fly above the Anclote River.
The scenic beauty from up top makes this ride worth it.
You can go across Palm Harbor, Clearwater Beach, Crystal Beach, Caladesi Island, and Honeymoon Island and experience those places differently.
If you are a photographer, you will get some fantastic pictures to save forever.
The Tarpon Springs Helicopter Tour is a 30-minute tour that costs around $45.
Sample the Beers at Silverking Brewing Company
If you are exhausted after exploring Tarpon Springs, head to Silverking Brewing Company to relax with an ice-cold beer.
Tarpon Springs' craft beer scene evolves with each passing day.
If you want to try out some of their artisanal beer, this fish-themed brewery will offer you something new.
Did you know this brewing company is inside an abandoned fire station?
Wine lovers can also check out Springs Castle Winery, the only winery offering European-style wine east of Mississippi.
Shop 'til You Drop around Tarpon Springs
You can never visit Tarpon Springs and come back home empty-handed.
What's a trip without shopping, even just for souvenirs?
If you love handmade incense or soaps, visit GetAGuru, which has Middle-Eastern decor.
You can also visit Lori's Sponges and Soaps to get a selection of fantastic souvenirs or gifts.
Stop by Miss Merrie's Sweets & Treats to try out their saltwater taffy or pack some candies for the home trip.
You can even check out the Spice and Tea Exchange for various spices, teas, and pepper.
Dance the Night Away at the OPA! Palooza Greek Festival
If you plan to travel around June, join the OPA! Palooza Greek Festival.
This event is Tarpon Springs' annual Greek cultural festival, celebrated at Sponge Docks.
This festival attracts a lot of crowds from neighboring towns as well as local tourists who celebrate the weekend festival, Greek style.
Other than that, Tarpon Springs also turns lively during all Greek festivals, such as the Day of Epiphany, Greek Independence Day, or even their famous seafood festival.
Bring your family to the OPA! Palooza Greek Festival!
Stop by the Tarpon Springs Historic Train Depot Museum
The Tarpon Springs Historic Train Depot Museum is home to the Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society.
If you've always wanted to learn about the local history of the places you visit, check out their museums.
Tarpon Springs has an exciting and colorful history; you'll listen to compelling stories about the area.
There's also a gift shop there if you're looking to take home some souvenirs from your historical adventure in Tarpon Springs.
Learn about the community at the Tarpon Springs Historic Train Depot Museum.
Fill Your Belly at Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill
Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill opened in 2005 as a testament to 30 years of effort.
The place is known for its seafood, so try out the crowd favorites when you stop by.
Sample their different takes on fresh gulf shrimps and fish fillets; you won't be disappointed by their savory goodness.
They also serve sushi if you want something more exciting and exotic.
Top your meal with desserts like coconut cake or key lime pie.
Don't forget to stop by the Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill gift shop and grab a souvenir to commemorate the great experience.
Admire the Art at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center
In 1915, the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center building was formerly Tarpon Springs' first city hall.
It was designed according to the Neoclassical style, evident in the towering columns and detailing of the facade.
In 1987, the city hall decided to move elsewhere, and this building was subsequently converted into the modern-day cultural center.
The Tarpon Springs Cultural Center is a great place to visit to see some fabulous artwork.
Stop by their gallery section and see the colorful murals painted there.
Unleash Your Inner Child at Catapult Adventure Park
Catapult Adventure Park is an excellent destination if you're looking for a fun time for yourself and your traveling companions.
You can try their catapult launch zone and bounce to your heart's content.
There's also the tornado twirl and the leaping leopard giant airbag, designed to test your nerves and love for fun.
If you want something more competitive, head towards the catfight zone and have fun sparring matches with your friends.
Whatever activity you choose, you'll surely enjoy yourself and work up a sweat at the Catapult Adventure Park.
See the Manatees and Dolphins at Craig Park
Craig Park is another place to enjoy the waters of Tarpon Springs.
The park provides access to the Whitcomb Bayou, a natural habitat for manatees and dolphins.
Remarkably, Craig Park offers a high chance of seeing these beautiful creatures.
Kayaking is also allowed at the park, a terrific all-around day activity you can spend hours doing.
The park along Library Lane also has playgrounds, walking trails, a museum, and events like the city's fine arts festival.
Bring the Kids to Tarpon Springs Splash and Dog Park
Tarpon Springs Splash and Dog Park is a neat addition to your trip, especially if you have kids.
This isn't your run-of-the-mill splash park; it has many giant contraptions and a sizable play area, almost like a mini resort for kids.
The local government of Tarpon Springs manages the place, so you won't have to worry about paying any fees.
Adults can use the changing rooms, restrooms, and benches while watching over their children.
You can bring your dog to the dog park next to the splash park; it also has an obstacle course for your pets.
The Tarpon Springs Splash and Dog Park is an excellent family-friendly area.
Explore North Anclote River Nature Park
The North Anclote River Nature Park is an underrated spot in Tarpon Springs, along Dixie Highway.
It may not be as prominent as other natural attractions, but this park offers serene vibes for dates and family outings.
Moreover, you can see a river while walking on the boardwalk.
Nature trails abound here, and you can even try to catch fish for an afternoon.
The North Anclote River Nature Park makes you want to stay there after a long day.
Enjoy a Meal with a View at Tarpon Turtle Grill and Marina
You should try eating along Tarpon Springs Lake, and you should do it at Tarpon Turtle Grill and Marina.
This restaurant is famous for its unique ambiance and food; it has tiki huts, an upper deck, and a pier stretching onto the marina.
Besides the scenery, expect excellent service and flavorful food, such as the blackened grouper and shrimp avocado salad.
The Tarpon Turtle Grill and Marina is along Lake Tarpon Avenue.
Practice Your Aim at Reload Gun Range
If you love guns, check out the firearms and ammo selection at Reload Gun Range.
The Reload Gun Range is an indoor shooting range facility with a trendy modern aesthetic that makes you feel like an elite marksman.
Likewise, the facility welcomes younger shooters, offering responsible gun handling and safety classes.
Moreover, the range offers a gun shop featuring several firearms and related products.
You can visit this gun range along US Highway 19 North.
Immerse yourself in Greek-American culture, and watch how the city has evolved and grown in this rich cultural environment.
Visit as many sights as possible, experience as much as possible, and have the time of your life.
Book your trip today and discover the best things to do in Tarpon Springs, Florida!
See also: Best Restaurants in Tarpon Springs, FL