We love the little Greek town by the Gulf; Tarpon Springs. It’s rich in history and culture, food and fun. We venture the hour or so as often as we can (especially when we’re out of Nina’s soap) and delight in walking around, seeing the sponges, meeting the people, eating the food, and just plain enjoying one of Florida’s most beautiful little towns.
Here are 5 of our favorites in the Sponge Dock area of Tarpon Springs.
1. Hellas Restaurant. This is where we eat – ok, we’ll try somewhere else soon, but we really like this place. Its very thematic, full of Greek-looking ambiance. The food is amazing and while the service to date could use some help (even Yelp & other review sites seem to indicate this is an issue) its well worth the lesser service for the great food.
2. The Sponge Docks. Ok, so this is kind of an overall area that makes up the main tourist area of Tarpon Springs. A hand-full of streets bring to life the culture, shopping, dining, and lodging of this charming area. One of the many river-inlets of the Gulf of Mexico protects things – you’re not right on the Gulf, but a little deeper inland – letting you enjoy the watery-world of this sponging town, while protecting it from the direct hit of the Gulf’s mood.
3. Nina’s. This shop is one of many that line the street of Tarpon Springs, and while they don’t have a website or online presence (much to our frustration) they do offer some of the best soap we’ve ever tried. Off Athens Street, Nina’s has handmade soaps with smells that are exciting, subtle or bold, and made with goat’s milk or other smooth concoctions, is just wonderful. We literally plan trips here based on our soap needs.
4. Water-stuff. Ok, we’ve yet to actually take a boat ride onto the Gulf from here, but we want to. Choose from deep-sea fishing charters, dolphin cruises, and historic sites and see what the locals love about Tarpon Springs.
5. Bakeries.There are a few around town and we’ve tried a couple – I’m not at all sure, but I think the ones we’ve tried were owned by the same people with different names based on the offerings. If you are or are not on a diet – you MUST try these
bakeries! These are truly a dessert lovers delight and the tempting, taste-filled, fun and fresh offerings are enough to keep you smiling all day long. The Greeks don’t seem to need “sweet” like we do, so don’t be surprised at the stuff that isn’t overly sweet like we Americans like, but everything we’ve tried has been so darn good. Enjoy!
BONUS: Howard Park Beach and Sunset Beach. Know what the locals know – this is a great area for two terrific beaches. They’re not the award-winning ones of other areas, but they’re nice all the same. Swim, picnic, surf, windsurf, or just stroll, these are two fun places to do it all.