In addition to the sponge diving industry, Greek culture and delicious Greek cuisine, Tarpon Springs is emerging as a diverse cultural destination, rich in art, museums, performing arts, eclectic shopping and dining experiences, and many outdoor recreational activities. Being situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Tarpon, the City boasts multiple beaches and waterfront parks, perfect for fishing, boating, kayaking, shell hunting and more. With public art installations sprinkled throughout and multiple places listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including a historic district and the recognized Greektown district, the city has become a destination for history and art lovers as well.
Tarpon Springs has the largest population of Greek and Greek-Americans in the U.S. The city is home to the World Famous Sponge Docks, which are still an active working waterfront as they have been since the 1800s. As the sponging industry grew, so did the City. Tarpon Springs was once known as the “Venice of the South” and has long touted the moniker “The Sponge Capital of the World.” Tarpon Springs was the very first incorporated city in what is now Pinellas County and in 1888, when the Orange Belt Railway – the first railroad line in Pinellas County – arrived in Tarpon Springs, it became a fast-growing wintering spot for wealthy northerners.
Tarpon Springs also has a rich, unexpected Victorian-era history. Large Victorian homes owned by the wealthy “snowbirds” traveling down via train popped up all around the City’s Spring Bayou waterfront, becoming known as the “Golden Crescent.” Many of these beautiful homes still stand today, such as the City-owned 1883 Safford House Museum, originally owned by Anson P.K. Safford, the founding father of Tarpon Springs.