The city of Tarpon Springs (named after a great fish, the Tarpon, found frequently off shore) has much more to offer than just its sponge heritage, although that plays a huge part in how the city has evolved over the years. Originally developed in the 1880s as a winter resort for wealthy Northerners, the arrival of the Greek sponge divers in 1905 changed the city forever. The early sponge divers created a need at the docks for eating places for the boat crews. Then as news of the industry grew, people began coming to the docks to see the sponges. Shops opened so people could buy the sponges and other souvenirs - thus the tourism industry in Tarpon Springs was born. That industry was nearly wiped out in the 1940s when red tide destroyed the sponge beds off Florida's coast, but was re-established in the 1980s when new beds were found. Today, the "Sponge Capital of the World" boasts over 100 shops and a dozen or more restaurants lining the sponge dock area that covers several blocks. Visitors can shop, dine, cruise down the Anclote River to the Gulf of Mexico or go deep-sea fishing.
The shops along Dodecanese Avenue in the Sponge Dock District of Tarpon Springs are still thriving as both a historic and a current tourist destination. The street winds its way from the bayou towards the Tarpon Springs Aquarium at the far end. Along the way it passes the marina and Sponge Boats docked along the right hand side of the street and the Historic Sponge Exchange on the left. There are many restaurants serving traditional Greek cuisine and fresh seafood that dot the street as well as quaint boutiques that sell everything from real sponges to imported goods. The street is narrow and reminiscent of a seaside village in Greece, with delivery trucks parked in the right of way and locals that greet each other in Greek and stop to chat without regard to the traffic. To learn more about Tarpon Springs homes for sale or available homes for rent, contact us today.
There are 20 schools in Tarpon Springs Florida including 7 public schools and 13 private schools. All Tarpon Springs public schools belong to the Pinellas County School District. Find more information about Tarpon Springs Schools.
Tarpon Springs is one of the northernmost towns in Pinellas County and is set along the Anclote River and the Gulf of Mexico. Areas such as Clearwater and Palm Harbor are just a few miles south, while Pasco County's neighboring cities are found just north of this historical town. With larger cities such as Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg still within commuting distance, Tarpon Springs real estate is very appealing. Even though there is so much to enjoy in the Tarpon Springs area, you can still enjoy a weekend getaway to Orlando, only 90 minutes away.