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Tarpon Springs, Florida

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Tarpon Springs is a unique gem in the state of Florida. Located where a series of bayous meet the Gulf of Mexico, it boasts the largest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the United States and is world famous for its Sponge Docks, a popular tourist attraction not unlike the seaside villages found in Greece.

Bakeries, boutiques, and sidewalk cafes line Dodecanese Boulevard, the Main Street through the Sponge Docks District in Tarpon Springs.
Bakeries, boutiques, and sidewalk cafes line Dodecanese Boulevard, the Main Street through the Sponge Docks District in Tarpon Springs.

Tarpon Springs was originally named for the Tarpon fish seen jumping out of the bayous throughout the area by the original settlers. But it's what was found on the bottom of the water that put the town on the map. Greek immigrants came to the area to dive for sponges on the bottom of the sea and soon a sponge harvesting industry was born. The divers were imported from Greece where sponge diving was more common around the Greek islands.

As the industry grew, sponge factories and warehouses grew up along the waterfront at Dodecanese Boulevard. However, in 1947 a red tide algae bloom destroyed most of the sponge fields in the area. Many of the structures along Dodecanese Boulevard (the area's Main Street) were converted into boutiques, restaurants, and museums honoring the historic industry.

Today tourists can visit the Sponge Docks and learn more about the town's sponge diving past through its museums and other attractions. A lot of the shops sell sponges but many of those sponges are now imported and not locally harvested. Despite that, the town is still authentic and offers a unique feel to visitors who can still hear Greek spoken in the streets and enjoy the large amount of Greek restaurants, diners, bakeries, and markets. And efforts are being made to revitalize the sponge harvesting industry locally with more and more sponges being harvested there every year.

A short drive from the Sponge Docks District is Downtown Tarpon Springs. This area is a bit quieter than the Sponge Docks but also well worth a visit. Tarpon Avenue is the Downtown's Main Street and features many shops and restaurants, including a large variety of antique shops, many of which specialize in certain kinds of antiques. The Downtown also has several night clubs, so the fun can extend well into the night. Between these two districts, the shops and restaurants and the unique feel of the area, Tarpon Springs is well worth the visit.

The Greek heritage is evident in the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs.
The Greek heritage is evident in the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs.

Retail Hours

Most shops are open seven days a week in both the Sponge Docks and in Downtown. Depending on the season some antique shops could be closed or have limited hours on Mondays, so call ahead.

Parking

Although there is no parking on Dodecanese Boulevard, there are plenty of pay parking lots throughout the Sponge Docks District. Parking in Downtown Tarpon Springs is free, including on street parking on Tarpon Avenue.

Visitor Center

At the Sponge Docks, the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce has a Visitor's Center (100 Dodecanese Blvd, 727-937-6109) in the Tarpon Springs City Marina. In Downtown, a Welcome Center (160 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-4624) is located in the historic Tarpon Springs Depot.

If you like this page, please check out the Main Streets we have listed in the states below!

Restrooms

There are several public restrooms around the Sponge Docks District. They can be found at The Sponge Exchange, an outdoor shopping mall on Dodecanese Boulevard. The city provides public restrooms at the intersection of Dodecanese Boulevard and Hope Street. Public restrooms are also provided at the Visitors Center located at the Tarpon Springs City Marina.

Attractions

There are plenty of attractions around the Sponge Docks District, many of which educate the visitor on Tarpon Springs' most famous industries. There are numerous museums and movies that explain the history of sponge diving. There are also several boating excursions that set sail from the water front and take visitors on a tour of the various bayous around Tarpon Springs. Near the far end of Dodecanese Street is the Tarpon Springs Aquarium (850 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-5378).

In Downtown Tarpon Springs, you have the Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society (160 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-4624) located in the old Tarpon Springs Depot. The Historical Society features a museum along with a museum shop. Since the building itself used to be a railroad depot, it's not surprising to find a rail to trail project running alongside it. The railroad has been removed but replaced with the Pinellas Trail, which runs along Safford Avenue. Visitors can hike or bike on the trail. And if you're adventurous enough, you can take it all the way down to Dunedin, another nearby Main Street.

Also, in Downtown Tarpon Springs is the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral (36 North Pinellas Avenue, 727-937-3540). This replica of the Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople, Turkey is open to worshippers and visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

For a tour of Tarpon Springs, check out Native Tours of Tarpon Springs (727-485-3539).

There are also plenty of shops along Tarpon Avenue in Downtown Tarpon Springs, including many antique stores.
There are also plenty of shops along Tarpon Avenue in Downtown Tarpon Springs, including many antique stores.

Events

An annual Tarpon Springs Fall Arts and Crafts Show is held every year in downtown Tarpon Springs. Also, a Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival is held every year at nearby Craig Park on the Bayou, just a short drive from both the Sponge Docks and Downtown.

On the first Saturday of select months is the Night in the Islands event. From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on these nights there is live music and entertainment. Restaurants set up their tables outside and there is dancing in the streets.

Tips

Tarpon Springs should be on everyone's list of destinations when vacationing in the Suncoast and Tampa Bay areas. If you're staying at one of the beachside resorts on the Gulf of Mexico, a daytrip to Tarpon Springs is a must. If you're interested in visiting other Destination Main Streets, Dunedin is just a few miles south of Tarpon Springs. And if you're really adventurous, you could even bike the distance between Downtown Tarpon Springs and Dunedin by way of the Pinellas Trail.

Location

Tarpon Springs is located at the northern end of Pinellas County on the Gulf of Mexico. Tarpon Springs is approximately 30 miles north of St. Petersburg, Florida and approximately 32 miles northeast of Tampa, Florida. Dodecanese Boulevard is the Main Street for the Sponge Docks District and Tarpon Avenue is the Main Street for Downtown Tarpon Springs. You can easily follow the signs to reach either destination from U.S. Highway 19, the main highway through the area.

External Links

tarponspringsfla.blogspot.com

Photo Gallery

A boat shows off the history of Tarpon Springs at the Sponge Exchange shopping center.
A boat shows off the history of Tarpon Springs at the Sponge Exchange shopping center.
The Tarpon Springs aquarium is a major attraction at the Sponge Docks.
The Tarpon Springs aquarium is a major attraction at the Sponge Docks.
Take a boat tour of the many bayous surrounding Tarpon Springs.
Take a boat tour of the many bayous surrounding Tarpon Springs.
The shops and restaurants lining Dodecanese Boulevard reflect the area's Greek flavor.
The shops and restaurants lining Dodecanese Boulevard reflect the area's Greek flavor.
Tourists flock to the many gift shops along Dodecanese Boulevard.
Tourists flock to the many gift shops along Dodecanese Boulevard.
Sponges are the most popular item sold at the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs.
Sponges are the most popular item sold at the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs.
Sponges aren't just for showers.  They have a wide variety of uses, including home decor.
Sponges aren't just for showers. They have a wide variety of uses, including home decor.
Tarpon Avenue is the Main Street for downtown Tarpon Springs.
Tarpon Avenue is the Main Street for downtown Tarpon Springs.
The Pinellas Trail follows the path of an old railway through the heart of downtown Tarpon Springs.
The Pinellas Trail follows the path of an old railway through the heart of downtown Tarpon Springs.
Downtown Tarpon Springs features a wide array of antique stores.
Downtown Tarpon Springs features a wide array of antique stores.
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Check out these other nearby Main Streets!

Directory - Sponge Docks

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Accessories

Casual Lady (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 38, 727-938-2260)
Catherine's Linen Shop (628 Athens Street, 727-934-0432)
Cotton Patch Casuals (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 34, 727-938-8439)
Eurasian Lady (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 44, 727-938-6171)
Five Fish (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-485-8660)
Rea Sunshine (822 Dodecanese Boulevard, 800-226-1173)
Seaside Paradise (713 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-934-3431)
Tropical Breeze Boutique (505 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-5000)

Apparel

Amvrosia (624 Athens Street, 727-943-9713)
Caribongo (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 25, 727-944-5200)
Casual Lady (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 38, 727-938-2260)
Catherine's Linen Shop (628 Athens Street, 727-934-0432)
Cotton Patch Casuals (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 34, 727-938-8439)
Cottonseed Casual Wear (600 Athens Street, 727-943-9378)
Eurasian Lady (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 44, 727-938-6171)
Five Fish (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-485-8660)
Gift World - Greek Town Imports (557 Dodecanese Boulevard, 888-938-9935)
Joey's Boutique (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 5, 727-934-4482)
The Men's Room (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-942-3789)
Rea Sunshine (822 Dodecanese Boulevard, 800-226-1173) Seaside Paradise (713 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-934-3431)
Simone's Gifts (501 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-942-7547)
Tropical Breeze Boutique (505 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-5000)
Yia Yia's (759 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-1905)

Bakeries

Hella's Greek Restaurant & Bakery (785 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-943-2400)
National Bakery (451 Athens Street, 727-934-5934)
Parthenon Restaurant & Bakery (751 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-7709)

Books

Gift World - Greek Town Imports (557 Dodecanese Boulevard, 888-938-9935)

Coffee and Dessert

Candy Barrel (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-2260)
The Fudge Factory (808 Dodecanese Boulevard, 800-257-4571)
Sweeties Ice Cream Parlor (842 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-8825)
Sweets & Treats (813 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-9743)
Trolley Stop Ice Cream Shop (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 43, 727-485-8322)

Coins

House of Coins (759 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-967-1482)

Dining

Cafe Greko (35 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-942-1444)
Captain Pappa's Fish Market (210 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-2278)
Costas Restaurant (521 Athens Street, 727-938-6890)
Dimitri's on the Water (690 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-945-9400)
Dreams of Cuba (777 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-5593)
Hella's Greek Restaurant & Bakery (785 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727 -943-2400)
Mama's Greek Cuisine (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 40, 727-944-2888)
Mykonos Authentic Greek Cookery (628 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-934-4306)
Parthenon Restaurant & Bakery (751 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-7709)
Paul's Famous Shrimp House (80 Live Oak Street, 727-938-5093)
Plaka Restaurant (769 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-934-4752)
Riverside Grille House (10 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-2000)
Yianni's Greek Cuisine (514 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-939-1382)

Footwear

Boot Hide Out (838 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-943-0006)
Five Fish (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-485-8660)
Rea Sunshine (822 Dodecanese Boulevard, 800-226-1173)
Seaside Paradise (713 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-934-3431)

Galleries

Londono Art Studio (1052 North Pinellas Avenue, 727-937-0981)
The Waterways Art Gallery (813 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite G, 727-466-8213)

Gift Shops

Amvrosia (624 Athens Street, 727-943-9713)
Arts By Hand (832 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-3187)
Captain Pete's (503 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-934-9966)
Carol's Boutiki Hut (950 Roosevelt Boulevard, 727-943-5296)
Dolphin Gift Shop (810 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-934-5262)
Gift World - Greek Town Imports (557 Dodecanese Boulevard, 888-938-9935)
Given With Love (526 Athens Street, 727-940-5207)
Gloria's Gifts (793 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-942-7707)
Londono Art Studio (1052 North Pinellas Avenue, 727-937-0981)
Pelican Gifts & Jewelry (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-6158)
Rea Sunshine (822 Dodecanese Boulevard, 800-226-1173)
Rita's Creations (813 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite A, 727-934-9500)
Simone's Gifts (501 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-942-7547)
Sponge Diver Supply (622 Athens Street, 727-939-1680)
The Sponge Factory (15 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-5366)
Spongeorama's Sponge Factory (510 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-943-2164)
Susan's Flags and More (826 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-942-7800)
Tarpon Shell Shack (761 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-485-8197)
Tropical Breeze Boutique (505 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-5000)
Yia Yia's (759 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-1905)

Gourmet

The Spice and Tea Exchange (824 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-491-3030)
The Spiceman's Kitchen (815 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-945-7101)

Health and Beauty

Amvrosia (624 Athens Street, 727-943-9713)
Getaguru Handmade Soap Company (777 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-8193)
Gift World - Greek Town Imports (557 Dodecanese Boulevard, 888-938-9935)
Lori's Soap and Sponge Market (715 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-4171)
Rita's Creations (813 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite A, 727-934-9500)
Spongeorama's Sponge Factory (510 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-943-2164)

Home Furnishings

Arts By Hand (832 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-3187)
Five Fish (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-485-8660)
Pelican Gifts & Jewelry (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-6158)
PerryWicks (927 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 3, 727-510-5721)
Rea Sunshine (822 Dodecanese Boulevard, 800-226-1173)
Rita's Creations (813 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite A, 727-934-9500)
Tarpon Sponge Company (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite 57, 727-938-4404)

Jewelry

Goldfingers Jewelers (801 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-938-6110)
Lucy's Jewels (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-1222)
Pelican Gifts & Jewelry (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-937-6158)
Rita's Creations (813 Dodecanese Boulevard, Suite A, 727-934-9500)
Spongeorama's Sponge Factory (510 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-943-2164)
Tarpon Shell Shack (761 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-485-8197)

Markets

Halki Market (520 Athens Street, 727-937-6533)
Katina's Greek Market (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-944-3820)

Music

Gift World - Greek Town Imports (557 Dodecanese Boulevard, 888-938-9935)

Sporting Goods

Rea Sunshine (822 Dodecanese Boulevard, 800-226-1173)

Taverns and Clubs

The Dive Sports Bar (530 Athens Street, 727-940-5370)
Sawgrass Tiki Bar (610 Athens Street, 727-942-4290)
Wine at the Docks (828 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-942-9463)
Yiama's Martini Bar (33 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-940-5224)
Zorba's (508 Athens Street, 727-934-8803)

Tobacco

Serafin de Cuba Cigars (25 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-491-3066)

Wine

Katina's Greek Market (735 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-944-3820)
Wine at the Docks (828 Dodecanese Boulevard, 727-942-9463)

Directory - Downtown

Accessories

CCC Timeless Treasures (22 Hibiscus Street, 727-937-4222)
Mad Hatter General Store (161 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0800)
Zante Boutique (101 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-491-8211)

Antiques

Antiques Forever (132 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-938-0078)
Bayou Vintage (134 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-938-3156)
Court of Two Sisters (153 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-934-9255)
E. M. Wallace Auctions & Appraisals (24 Hibiscus Street, 727-940-3437)
Finders Keepers (167 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-942-4675)
Lola's Antiques & Collectibles (118 East Tarpon Avenue, Suite 2, 727-485-4083)
Mad Hatter General Store (161 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0800)
Off The Beaten Path (221 North Safford Avenue, 727-483-9926)
Pistachio's Antiques (311 North Safford Avenue, 727-487-0002)
Red Rose Antiques (124 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-942-7673)
Stiltskin Studios (26 Hibiscus Street, 727-320-2145)
Tarapani's Department Store (128 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-937-5203)
Unique Designs (218 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0440)
Unique Finds (536 North Pinellas Avenue, 727-942-4000)

Apparel

CCC Timeless Treasures (22 Hibiscus Street, 727-937-4222)
Custom Couture of Tarpon Springs (208 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-238-7194)
Finders Keepers (167 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-942-4675)
Mad Hatter General Store (161 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0800)
Zante Boutique (101 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-491-8211)

Arts and Crafts

Stephen R. Hand Studios (204 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-457-2064)
Stiltskin Studios (26 Hibiscus Street, 727-320-2145)

Bed & Breakfasts

The 1910 Inn (32 West Tarpon Avenue, 727-424-4091)

Books

Mad Hatter General Store (161 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0800)

Coffee and Dessert

Mamma Lane's Coffee House (212 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-934-5120)

Dining

The Bayou Cafe (118 East Court Street, 727-943-3700)
Currents Restaurant (200 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-940-5377)
Enjoy Colombia (13 North Pinellas Avenue, 727-935-4854)
Tarpon Diner (217 South Pinellas Avenue, 727-934-9021)
Tarpon Tavern (21 North Safford Avenue, 727-945-1000)
Toula's Trailside Cafe (11 South Safford Avenue, 727-939-2403)
Zante Cafe (13 North Safford Avenue, 727-934-5558)

Financial Services

Wall Street Alliance (9 South Safford Avenue, 727-940-5284)

Footwear

CCC Timeless Treasures (22 Hibiscus Street, 727-937-4222)
Faklis' Department Store and Shoe Repair (139 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-937-3602)

Galleries

Artists' Faire Art Gallery & Gifts (111 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-934-2952)
Bayou Vintage (134 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-938-3156)
Christopher Still Studio (324 East Lemon Street, 727-942-1846)
E. M. Wallace Auctions & Appraisals (24 Hibiscus Street, 727-940-3437)

Gift Shops

Artists' Faire Art Gallery & Gifts (111 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-934-2952)
Bayou Vintage (134 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-938-3156)
CCC Timeless Treasures (22 Hibiscus Street, 727-937-4222)
Global Folk Arts (208 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-942-6977)
Mad Hatter General Store (161 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0800)
Scents From The Harts (118 East Tarpon Avenue, Suite 8, 727-237-3097)

Home Furnishings

CCC Timeless Treasures (22 Hibiscus Street, 727-937-4222)
Court of Two Sisters (153 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-934-9255)
Mad Hatter General Store (161 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0800)
Off The Beaten Path (221 North Safford Avenue, 727-483-9926)
Pistachio's Antiques (311 North Safford Avenue, 727-487-0002)
Scents From The Harts (118 East Tarpon Avenue, Suite 8, 727-237-3097)
Stiltskin Studios (26 Hibiscus Street, 727-320-2145)
Unique Designs (218 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0440)
Unique Finds (536 North Pinellas Avenue, 727-942-4000)

Jewelry

Artists' Faire Art Gallery & Gifts (111 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-934-2952)
Bayou Vintage (134 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-938-3156)
Mad Hatter General Store (161 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0800)
Reiter Jewelers (207 South Pinellas Avenue, 727-937-6241)

Markets

Acropolis Meats (148 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-934-3376)

New Age

Temple Goddess Dance & Yoga (17 North Safford Avenue, 727-493-2184)

Salons

Ambiance Hair Salon (118 East Tarpon Avenue, Suite 1, 727-945-0595)
Christiaans (216 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-940-5240)
John the Barber (104 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-942-3445)
Unique Designs (218 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-0440)

Taverns and Clubs

DC's Downtown (110 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-942-1900)
The Neptune Lounge and Cyclery (13 South Safford Avenue, 727-943-5805)
Tarpon Tavern (21 North Safford Avenue, 727-945-1000)
The Zone Lounge (121 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-934-5599)

Wine

Tarpon Springs Castle Winery (320 East Tarpon Avenue, 727-943-7029)

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