Updated: Apr 11, 2019
Better than your average date night, Tarpon Springs is rich with culture and will make you feel like you are walking the streets of Greece - I promise! Tarpon is the "sponge capital of the world" and its home to the biggest Greek community in the US! You honestly cannot get any closer to the real thing and it’s a one of a kind community! Back in the early 1900s, Greek immigrants came here to harvest the sponges and brought along much of the culture that has been here to stay. Come for the culture - stay for the food!
Fun Things To Do:
Located along the Gulf of Mexico, Tarpon Springs is only about a 45 minute drive North of St. Petersburg and about a 30 minute drive West of Tampa. Tarpon got its name from the abundant Tarpon fish that inhabit its waters and the city offers an array of different aquatic experiences for you and your family - such as stingray petting at the FREE aquarium and participating in feeding live Tarpon from the docks! If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, I would opt for a more private experience such as a dolphin tour on one of the many charters and visiting one of the best kept secret museums in the city - the 1883 Safford House Museum. The Safford family were one of the original developers of the city and the house is a fine example of late 19th century Florida. Experience the vernacular architecture of its time with furnishings and original family possessions that bring the Safford family to life.
Tarpon Springs is also known for holding annual events such as the Greek Festival (March 22nd) and the Greek Epiphany (January 6th). The Greek festival is a lively event where you can experience Greek music while watching the parade and share authentic homemade Greek delicacies! Have you ever tried Greek food before?! SO GOOD!
The Greek Epiphany:
The Epiphany is a religious ceremony held by the Greek Orthodox Church in the remembrance of Jesus Christ's baptism and it happens every year on January 6th. I keep kicking myself in the butt because every year I say I am going to go and I never do - I know right? I'm Greek as well so this is very disappointing for me! But anyway, people from all over gather to watch selected members of the church dive for the sacred cross first thing in the morning. An event that has been held since 1903 and Tarpon Springs is the only place in America where this event is identical to the one performed in Greece! It is no wonder that this quaint and charming town is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places!
Ending the Night in Tarpon:
The perfect date night (for you lovebirds out there!) would consist of walking hand in hand through the brick paved streets while appreciating the ocean view. Enjoy watching the boats dock and leave the marina - all of them which are displaying their sponge catches for the day. Greek music can be heard throughout the streets and the aroma of Greek food is so enticing just pick a restaurant and be prepared to have the best Greek meal you ever experienced - I personally like Hella's Restaurant and their bakery next door is to die for - I recommend the Greek Wedding cookies and baklava. So good. Visit the aquarium and see the aquatic animals that make up Florida's Gulf coast and pet a sting ray! End the night with some homemade fudge at the fudge factory and check out the antique stores that line up Dodocanese St. Handmade gifts are always the best, am I right? Don’t forget to purchase a few sponges while your there - they truly make awesome gifts and your skin will never be smoother.
The romantic night shouldn't end here - just a five minute drive from the streets of Tarpon lies the beautiful Fred Howard beach. Sit down and watch the sunset. Nothing really better than that. There is something here for everyone - Tarpon Springs is little Greece!