While not as well known as numerous other places in the state of Florida among visitors, the city of Tarpon Springs is home to many cultural events throughout the year, as it boasts the largest Greek heritage population than any other city in America, as well as a number of other things to do. Tarpon Springs, Florida is also known for being the world’s “natural sponge capital” and offers dozens of miles of the state’s scenic waterfront. There’s a quaint downtown area that’s listed on the country’s National Register of Historic Places and provides plenty of opportunities for shopping and much more.
1.Fred Howard Park
Fred Howard Park encompasses more than 150 acres along the Gulf of Mexico and is a very popular park, drawing over two million visitors every year. Its location offers gulf access by way of a causeway measuring one mile in length. The park also consists of a white sand beach, opportunities for fishing, a launch area for kayaking and canoeing, a wind surfing area, a swimming area, a ball field, two playgrounds, restroom facilities, and nine picnic shelters. A variety of wildlife can be seen in Fred Howard Park, such as butterflies and the occasional manatee or dolphin.
1700 Sunset Dr, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-582-2100
2.St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral
The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral is modeled after Constantinople’s St. Sofia Cathedral and represents a fine example of the New Byzantine architectural style, featuring an interior made up of stained glass, elaborate icons, and sculptured Grecian marble. The St. Nicholas Cathedral was constructed 1943 and replaced a small church that had been built by the early Greek settlers of Tarpon Springs back in 1907. In addition to its excellent architecture, the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral is also a center for the community’s Greek-American life, hosting the annual Epiphany celebration, the largest event of its kind within the Western Hemisphere.
36 N Pinellas Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-937-3540
3.A. L. Anderson Park
A. L. Anderson Park is a Pinellas County park characterized by beautiful views of Lake Tarpon and Salmon Bay, wooded areas, and hilly terrain. Along the shoreline of the Salmon Bay, visitors will find a distinct arrangement of a 478 linear-foot-long nature trail, elevated boardwalk, and picnic pads among cypress trees. Highlights of the A. L. Anderson Park include lake access, scenic vistas, and opportunities for boating. Other features of the park consists of a dog park, a playground, multiple picnic shelters, restroom facilities, nature trails, and boardwalks. A boat ramp can be used for a fee.
39699 US Hwy 19 N, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-582-2100
4.Brooker Creek Preserve
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 preserve’s ecosystems.
3940 Keystone Rd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688, Phone: 727-453-6800
5.Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium
The Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium, situated at the Sponge Docks west end in the city, provides an opportunity for visitors to see an array of local reptilian and aquatic life. Guests can watch eel, snake, alligator, and shark showings at multiple times in the day, during which people can view the staff feeding the animals, and possibly touch the animals as well. The Tarpon Springs Aquarium is also home to Puffy’s Playground, an indoor playground with a ball pit, a bounce house, and more. Aquarium exhibits include the Gulf of Mexico tank, the stingray pool, and the touch pool.
850 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-938-5378
6.Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
© Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is situated on the campus of the St. Petersburg College in Tarpon Springs, Florida, only a couple miles away from the historic district’s shops and sponge docks. This contemporary and modern art museum primarily features works of art created during the twentieth century and the twenty-first century. Along with eight permanent galleries showcasing the museum’s collection, the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art also hosts an array of special exhibits throughout the year, as well as educational art programs. The award-winning building also houses a museum store selling local works and art-themed products, and an interactive gallery.
600 E Klosterman Rd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-712-5762
7.Silverking Brewing Co.
The Silverking Brewing Company was founded on June 19 of 2012, the date of the New Moon, which is the greatest time for fishermen to hunt Silverking. The brewery is located on the site of the original Tarpon Springs Jail and Firehouse, which dates back to the year 1909. The jail is a historical part of the building, however, the fire house part wasn’t added until 1950. The historical aspect of the building meant great care had to be taken with renovations. Silverking Brewing today is open seven days a week for the public to come and enjoy a tasting.
325 E Lemon St, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-647-2524
8.Safford House Museum
© Tarpon Arts
The 1883 Safford House Museum is the former home of one of the original developers of the city of Tarpon Springs, Florida, offering an opportunity for both locals and tourists alike to step back into the city’s past. The house has been meticulously restored to reflect its original Victorian grandeur and is now open to visitors from 11:00am until 3:00pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. A visit to the Safford House Museum offers a glimpse into life in Florida over one hundred years ago, as well as the life of the Safford family in particular.
23 Parkin Ct, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-942-5605
9.Tarpon Springs Castle Winery
© Tarpon Springs Castle Winery
Owned and managed by Diana and Joseph Marks, the Tarpon Springs Castle Winery makes handcrafted wines in the Old World tradition. The winery was built to look like a federal-style building from 1829, consulting with historical societies in Tarpon Springs, Charleston, and Savannah. The tasting room at the Tarpon Springs Castle Winery boasts a European style that gives the sense that visitors are among people who have a dedication to the fine winemaking art. Due to its location in the center of the historic district, the winery also includes a walled-in, Italian-style courtyard featuring a wrought-iron gazebo.
320 E Tarpon Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-943-7029
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10.Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society
© Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society
The Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the culturally rich history of Tarpon Springs, Florida and operates a museum in the historic Tarpon Springs Train Depot. While the train depot has been around for more than a century, it’s no longer a working train station and the public can now visit the Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society’s museum from 12:00pm until 3:00pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Visitors can either explore the local history museum on their own or take a guided tour. There’s also a History Hunt offered for children or “kids at heart.”
160 E Tarpon Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-943-4624
11.Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum
© Tarpon Arts
The Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum is situated in the heart of the city in the pleasant Craig Park. Boasting a location overlooking the Spring Bayou. The bayou is a town landmark, a winter residence for manatees, and the site of the town’s Greek Orthodox Epiphany Celebration, so it’s fitting that the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum would be located here, too. Open Monday to Friday from 10:00am until 4:00pm, the museum is made up of the two different wings: the History Wing and the Ecology Wing. The History Wing’s main highlight is The Greek Community of Tarpon Springs interactive exhibit.
100 Beekman Ln, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-942-5605
12.Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill
© Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill
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 fishermen’s beloved boats as a way of giving them credit.
937 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-934-4047
13.Olive the World Bistro
© Olive the World Bistro
The Olive the World Bistro is a family-owned and operated bistro-style restaurant that primarily serves Mediterranean dishes with a focus on tapas designed to pair perfectly with the selection of fine wines. Olive the World is a place where guests can eat classic Italian cuisine and decadent desserts, sip a glass of wine, and sample an array of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The restaurant offers made-from-scratch soups, fresh salads, hearty paninis, Gorgonzola gnocchi, many ravioli and linguini dishes, tapas-style plates, and delicious gelato, as well as more than thirty varieties of balsamic vinegars and olive oils.
24 Hibiscus St, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-937-5483
14.Tuscan Sun Italian Bistro
© Tuscan Sun Italian Bistro
The Tuscan Sun Italian Bistro in the historic downtown of Tarpon Springs, Florida is situated along a charming and beautiful cobblestone street. The restaurant can seat as many as 160 people, offering a choice for guests to dine indoors in the main dining room, the bistro side, or the bar, as well as outdoors next to the Pinellas Bike Trail. The Tuscan Sun Italian Bistro is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch from 11:30am until 2:30pm, and for dinner from 4:00pm until 9:00pm on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and until 10:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
17 N Safford Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-935-5770
15.Hellas Bakery & Restaurant
© Hellas Bakery & Restaurant
The Hellas Bakery and Restaurant has been an important cornerstone of Tarpon Springs’ Greek community since 1970. Owned and managed by the friendly Karterouliotis family, this local eatery highlights the rich Greek heritage of the area by serving cultural and authentic cuisine, aiming to provide customers with the best Greek dining experience. Found in the heart of the city, the Hellas Bakery and Restaurant offers authentic Greek pastries and award-winning Greek food near the world-famous Florida Sponge Docks. In addition to delicious food, the restaurant also features an extensive selection of wine and a full-service bar.
785 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-943-2400
15 Best Things to Do in Tarpon Springs, FL
- Fred Howard Park, Photo: Sid10/stock.adobe.com
- St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Photo: efaah0/stock.adobe.com
- A. L. Anderson Park, Photo: Kaitlin/stock.adobe.com
- Brooker Creek Preserve, Photo: golubka57/stock.adobe.com
- Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium, Photo: BlackBookPhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Photo: Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
- Silverking Brewing Co., Photo: Alexandre/stock.adobe.com
- Safford House Museum, Photo: Tarpon Arts
- Tarpon Springs Castle Winery, Photo: Tarpon Springs Castle Winery
- Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society, Photo: Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society
- Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum, Photo: Tarpon Arts
- Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill, Photo: Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill
- Olive the World Bistro, Photo: Olive the World Bistro
- Tuscan Sun Italian Bistro, Photo: Tuscan Sun Italian Bistro
- Hellas Bakery & Restaurant, Photo: Hellas Bakery & Restaurant
- Cover Photo: SR Productions/stock.adobe.com