The town of Tarpon Springs started as a Greek sponge harvesting village. Many Greeks still live here so it is a great place to immerse yourself in Greek culture and cuisine. Wander down to the sponge docks to browse the shops and restaurants. We spent two romantic nights on a houseboat docked at the marina. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Tarpon Springs also has several nearby beaches.
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Go Greek in Tarpon Springs, FL
While our friends went to Greece on a second honeymoon, my husband and I opted for a more local option for Greek culture. While staying in Tarpon Springs, we stopped in a bakery for some baklava and we heard a talk radio station playing in Greek. We had previously studied the Greek language with our friends so we were excited to recognize some of the words. The Sponge Dock area abounds with authentic Greek restaurants and kitschy tourist shops selling sponge related and seaside souvenirs. Head to Mykonos, located at 628 Dodecacanese Blvd. for a tasty gyro platter.
While exploring the sponge docks you will notice colorful bicycles decorated with flowers. These were created by artist, Warren Gregory. Influenced by his time living in Amsterdam, he began creating these works of art in Tarpon Springs in 2015. Rumor has it that he originally decorated his wife’s bike to make it more easily distinguishable. Then he started decorating junk bikes and leaving them around Tarpon Springs. Now people bring him bikes to decorate. His creations have become more elaborate. More of his work can be found on Instagram at Flowerbikeman.
We chose to spend our nights in Tarpon Springs on a houseboat. We rented ours for a reasonable price through Homeaway which has since merged with VRBO, but Airbnb also has boats for rent. The first night we sipped wine on the upper deck while listening to live bands playing at Miss Vicki’s on the River. The second night we walked over to Miss Vicki’s and shared a few drinks with locals and ate some appetizers.
The next day we headed out to the beach. We chose Sunset Beach for its’ seclusion. I went paddle boarding while my husband lounged on the beach. However, if you prefer renting paddle boats or kayaks, nearby Fred Howard Park is for you.
If Tarpon Springs is part of a Florida road trip, make sure to stop by the Manatee Viewing Center at Big Bend Power Plant. It is less than an hour and a half south and a great place to spot manatees during the cooler months.
Here are some links for beach gear if you need to get some before your vacation.
If you enjoy a relaxing getaway with less traditional lodgings, this is for you. This is also a great trip if you enjoy meeting locals and immersing yourself in local culture.
You can find more romantic ideas here.
Also, check out these links for some ideas on what to bring on your romantic weekend…