Oct 072018

Note: In the last week I have had three different people ask me about Tarpon Springs, the historic Greek fishing town on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Yes, we have been there several times, it’s one of our favorite places in Florida. Rather than answer the same questions again, here is a repost of a blog from a few years ago about a day trip we took to this charming seaside town.

Yesterday we took a day trip to Tarpon Springs, the Greek sponge fishing town made famous in the 1953 Robert Wagner movie Beneath The 12-Mile Reef. We first visited this interesting town on a trip to Florida several years ago and loved the waterfront area, with its little shops, great restaurants, and friendly people. We have wanted to get back ever since.

It was only 60 miles from the Escapees Sumter Oaks campground to Tarpon Springs, but it took us 90 minutes to get there because traffic was heavy most of the way. It had been overcast all day long, and started to rain a few miles from our destination, but it stopped by the time we arrived.

On our last visit, we were able to park on a side street near the waterfront, but this time around there were No Parking signs everywhere, and the parking lots cost $2 or $3, which isn’t bad for all day. But I still prefer free. I guess we could have parked further away from the waterfront and ridden the trolley, but we didn’t see it until we had made it half way down the street on foot.

The few short blocks of Dodecanese Boulevard are lined with shops where you can buy everything from souvenirs to trinkets, essential oils, custom made soaps, seashells, and clothing. Many of the shops have inventory on display on the sidewalk, giving the place a kind of bazaar atmosphere.

And sponges. There are sponges for sale everywhere you look, which I guess makes sense, since Tarpon Springs is the Sponge Capitol of the World.

We had a good time, stopping to check out many of the shops, and chatting with the clerks, who were all friendly.

And who can go to Tarpon Springs without a stop at one of the Greek bakeries and restaurants? We remembered Hellas Restaurant from our first visit, and especially their delicious pastries.

They have everything from mouth-watering baklava, to cheesecake, to cookies and pies. We each had a piece of chocolate dipped baklava that was so rich that it almost made your teeth ache.

Terry found a couple of shops with some spices she has been looking for, which made her happy. One place, The Spicemans Kitchen, even had a sea salt blend made with ghost chilies, which we were tempted to get for our buddy Greg White, who loves hot stuff; the hotter the better.

There were quite a few sponge boats lined up on the docks, many of them with sponges hung up to dry, or docked at the waterfront warehouses and repair shops, getting ready for their next day of work.

This statue honors the sponge fishermen who have been lost at sea over the years.

We returned to the campground worn out from a long day of sightseeing in one of our favorite places. We will definitely go back again!

If you want to know about other fun and interesting Florida destinations, get a copy of my book Overlooked Florida, available in both print and e-book format on Amazon.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – Silence is golden. Unless you have kids. Then silence is suspicious.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  One Response to “Day Trip To Tarpon Springs”

  1. Two tips for current parking in Tarpon Springs. On the little hill behind the Hellas restaurant is a fenced in, paid lot which is free if you eat at Hellas — which I definitely recommend! The area around that lot features free parking, if you can find any empty spot. Both means you can access that little shopping arcade (and its free rest rooms) via a back entrance. To reach the area, go past the Hellas restaurant/bakery and turn left at the next street.

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