Just an hour car ride from Tampa is Tarpon Springs. This adorable town is known for the Greek culture that has permeated the décor and food throughout the area. Located along the water, it’s the perfect summer destination for any couple.
Plan your next day date holding hands as you stroll through Tarpon Springs.
Located along the Gulf Coast, Tarpon Springs was first settled by Greek sponge divers in the 1900s. Today, Tarpon Springs is known as the sponge capital of the world and docked waterfront are boats filled to the brim with sponges.The main road, Dodecanese Boulevard, is lined with little shops that sell the sponges that remain a part of Tarpon Spring’s past and present. An excellent option for truly enjoying Tarpon Springs is to take a sunset or dolphin boat tour offered throughout the town. Named after the Tarpon, these fish can also be found in abundance in near by waters if you choose to take a boat tour.
For those who are truly interested in learning more about the marine life within Tarpon Springs, this city has it’s very own Aquarium. Tarpon Springs Aquarium is home to local aquatic and reptilian life including live sharks.
While sponge gift shops litter Dodecanese Boulevard, couples will have plenty of other browsing options. Stroll along brick streets where art galleries, clothing stores, antique galleries and specialty shops exist in buildings built in the early 1800s. Live music fills the small square at the center of town where just some of these shops are located.
Culturally minded couples can go a step further and visit either the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center or the Leeper-Rattner Center Museum of Art. Concerts, dance, opera and local theatre is offered throughout the year at the Performing Arts Center. For less than $10, couples can also gain admission to the Leeper-Rattner Center Museum of Art which recently acquired a majority of the collection from the former Gulf Coast Museum of Art. This Museum exhibits all types of art, a majority of which is done by Florida artists.
While the history and charm of this town catches the attention of visitors, one of the biggest draws is the delicious food options. Greek restaurants can be found throughout Tarpon Springs so that you can get a taste of authentic dishes. A favorite within Tarpon Springs is Hellas Restaurant, serving up classic Greek dishes like Moussaka, Pastitsio, and Spanikopita. Make sure to check out Hella’s Bakery located next door! This sweet spot offers up classic Greek desserts as well as well known baked goods. Pair your baklava or cannoli cake with a cup of Greek coffee made at Hella’s.
Because of the location, there is also excellent seafood in the area. Rusty Bellies is located directly on the water and serves shrimp straight from the water. Outdoor seating overlooks the water where you’ll also find Rusty Bellie’s very own shrimping boats.
Couples can walk off all their delicious treats at A.L. Anderson Park or Sunset Beach on the Gulf coast. A.L. Anderson Park is dog friendly and includes walking trails, picnic spots, and fishing access.