Anclote Village Marina

Tarpon Springs

Things to do in Tarpon Springs

Love the beach? Crave history? Welcome to Tarpon Springs, the “sponge capital of the world.” This unique town, 30 minutes from Clearwater, offers stunning beaches, rich Greek heritage, and the internationally renowned attraction of the Tarpon Springs sponge docks.

Sponge Docks

It was here at the historic sponge docks where Tarpon Springs began and now there’s an abundance of restaurants, shopping, and activities for visitors to enjoy.

After spending the day shopping at quaint dockside destinations like My Favorite Store and The Sponge Exchange shopping village, you can stop for dinner at Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill. Feeling extra adventurous? Commemorate your time on the docks with a tattoo by Tarpon Springs Tattoo Co.

Family Fun Nearby

Discover the Clearwater Marina Aquarium, explore Caladesi Island, or visit Honeymoon Island – all ideal for swimming, shelling, and captivating marine life.

A Rich Dining Heritage

Tarpon Springs is well-known for its unique Greek history (see below) and it’s reflected in the delicious food options. Try the family-owned Mr. Souvlaki or try soutzoukakia (charbroiled ground beef on a skewer) from the Mykonos restaurant.

But if you’re thirsty, head down to Brighter Days Brewing Company or Two Frogs Brewing Company for a pilsner.

Tarpon Springs history

About a mile from the Gulf of Mexico, on the Anclote River, is Tarpon Springs, a city inspired by the abundant silver fish that can throw all of its muscular 200-pound body out of the water in a mesmerizing leap.

Tarpon Springs began to grow in 1881 when Hamilton Disston purchased 4,000,000 acres of land from the Florida Internal Improvement Fund. About 20,000 acres of this land were located in what are now Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties. Disston chose business colleague Anson P.K. Safford to head his Florida operations from Tarpon Springs. The city again enjoyed a boost in 1887, when the railroad reached Tarpon Springs. That same year, the Anclote Key lighthouse was built.

​But it was the 1890 birth of the commercial sponge industry that changed Tarpon Springs forever. Sponge harvesting would become a mainstay of Tarpon Springs’ economy and culture. Greek immigrant John Cocoris arrived in 1896 and soon hired 500 Greek divers to operate the mechanized sponge boats he’d brought with him. To this day, Tarpon Springs offers an incredible slice of Greek culture: the city boasts the highest percentage of Greek Americans in the United States.

Now visitors to Tarpon Springs explore shops and restaurants with plenty of Greek flavor. Sponge boat tours are available from the dock, and history buffs will find many local buildings of interest on the National Register of Historic Places. Check out Visit Florida for information on specific restaurants, hotels, and outings in Tarpon Springs.

Tarpon Springs awaits – beaches, history, and adventure, all in one amazing place!