Settled in 1852, Tarpon Springs is the most Greek of Florida communities. Settlers from the Dodecanese brought their knowledge of diving with pressurized suits to collect sponges as they did in the Mediterranean, creating Florida’s natural sponge industry.
Tarpon Springs has two downtowns, one a very touristy but very Greek waterfront village, the other the terminus of the 38.2-mile Pinellas Trail, a paved bicycle trail stretching south to St. Petersburg.
Trails and Parks in Tarpon Springs
- A.L. Anderson Park- Along busy US 19 in Tarpon Springs, hugs the western shore of Lake Tarpon, offering plenty of picnic pavilions along a boardwalk following the cypress-lined shore.
- Anclote Key Preserve State Park- A place to play Robinson Crusoe for a day or overnight, Anclote Key Preserve State Park is an offshore gem in the Gulf of Mexico made up of four islands within sight of Tarpon Springs.
- Caladesi Island State Park- A windswept sentinel off the coast of Dunedin at the edge of Clearwater Harbor, Caladesi Island enthralls visitors with its remoteness, its quiet beaches, its extensive forests and mangrove swamps.
- Caladesi Island Trail- Protecting a windswept shoreline and a variety of habitats on a barrier island, Caladesi Island State Park is one of the gems of the Florida State Parks system
- Honeymoon Island State Park- An offshore getaway accessible by car, bike, or paddle, Honeymoon Island State Park offers white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, which keeps it busy on weekends. The northern portion of the island, upland pine forests fringed with mangroves, hosts colonies of ospreys and pelicans nesting.
- John Chesnut Sr. Park- With its extensive waterfront on Lake Tarpon and Brooker Creek in Oldsmar, John Chesnut Sr. Park has always been a popular natural getaway near Tampa Bay.
- Osprey Trail- On this barrier island just north of Clearwater Beach, the Osprey Trail at Honeymoon Island State Park offers a close-up look at a rookery of “sea eagles,” the noble osprey
- Pinellas Trail- A paved ribbon stretching the length of Pinellas County from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail provides cyclists with more than 32 miles of low-stress cruising
- SpongeORama!- At SpongeORama, the displays and film give a detailed overview of all aspects of the industry and Greek culture and life in Tarpon Springs.
- The Friends Trail- Looping through pine flatwoods in the middle of suburbia, the Friends Trail at Brooker Creek Preserve offers a 1.8-mile hike in a lush forest.
- Wall Springs towers over the Gulf (7/27/2009)- A description of the Wall Springs Tower at Wall Springs Park. The tower was burned down by an arsonist in 2013.