Just Northwest of Tampa is the serene little seaside town of Tarpon Springs. Known as the “Sponge Capitol of the World”, Tarpon Springs is home to the largest population of Greek Americans in the U.S., making its riverfront restaurants, local seafood markets, and stores one of a kind! While walking the Anclote Riverfront, you’ll find boats coming into port and eager divers heading out to sea. Dip into the Fudge Factory, order the Rocky Road fudge, and find yourself a bench near the docks. Watch in awe as divers sort through their day’s sponge harvest- examining and searching for the perfect selling size. There is nothing quite like visiting a seaport town; where rich maritime history is so preserved- it’s like a step back in time!
Dotted all along the riverfront are unique shops where you’ll find all local sponges from Florida’s coast. Lori’s Soap and Sponges is a must stop- you can’t miss the iconic yellow building!
On the historic docks, you can also peek in Pelican Point Seafood Market and find an amazing selection of fresh seafood and even watch them unload their catch! I recommend grabbing a bite to eat at Rusty Bellies and ordering some Floridian lobster tails for dinner. If you’re a Maine lobster lover be advised- you may be converted.
Aside from unique shops and delicious restaurants, Tarpon Springs also offers a variety of boat tours- you can even bring your pup! But if a boating tour is not your pup’s thing, make the 45-minute drive to the gorgeous dog beach at Honeymoon Island State Park; where they can enjoy a seaside game of fetch.
Does anyone else get sad (read: devastated) when it’s time for the Christmas tree to come down? I don’t know about you, but it’s one of the worst feelings for me! November and December is a time filled with such joy and festivity, and when that all comes to an end, it can feel a little abrupt.