tarpon springs florida

Tarpon Springs, Florida- The Sponge Capital!

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One of my favorite places to visit in the area is the little town of Tarpon Springs.  Drawn there originally by an arts and crafts show, we have now driven the 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg several times.

tarpon springs florida

After living in Maine for six months, this little coastal town almost seems like home!

tarpon springs florida

Tarpon Springs is the self proclaimed Sponge Capital of the World.  You see, in the early 1900’s, it was discovered that the Gulf of Mexico was rich in varieties of sponges.  This attracted Greek sponge divers who wanted to make a living in the United States.

Over the next 30 years, the Tarpon Springs sponge industry became the largest industry in the state of Florida.  Even larger than the citrus crops or tourism!

In the 1940s, blight reduced the growth of sponges, and this profitable industry was nearly wiped out. However in the 1980s, new sponge beds were found. Now, Tarpon Springs is back to being a leader in the world’s natural sponge market.

tarpon springs florida

Our first visit in Tarpon Springs included our friends and coworkers, Rick and Judy and their granddaughter.

I’m totally getting that selfie thing down!

tarpon springs florida

This bustling little town is the home of many small and interesting shops.  Of course, there are plenty of natural sponges available for purchase all over town.

tarpon springs florida

And lots of great homemade soap shops.  I’m a big fan of homemade soaps and having tried my hand at them before, appreciate the quality and amazing selection!

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Soap shops, tourist items, t-shirts, you name it.  This town has something for everyone.

tarpon springs florida

Couldn’t find enough seashells?  They have your back.

I won’t tell.

tarpon springs florida

Dave’s favorite place in this town is the Hella’s Restaurant and Bakery.  Their huge selection of Baklava, Spanakopita, cookies, pastries, and cakes is enough to get you in the door.  Dave has gone their twice now and stocked up on Cannolis.

Awesomeness.

tarpon springs florida

Yes, this town even has a Husband Day Care Center!

tarpon springs florida

Hungry?  Head over to Yianni’s Greek Cuisine Restaurant, right on the Sponge Docks!  They offer traditional Greek cuisine and live music.  My favorite is the Pork Gyro Platter with tzatziki sauce!

And amazing Sangria!

tarpon springs florida

And I even found a boat named after me!

tarpon springs florida

Tarpon Springs is a great little town for family fun.   It is one of the many highlights of our stay here in the St. Petersburg area!

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