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Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

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Cambridge, MA
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Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

A close friend and I are taking a long weekend getaway from the cold north and decided to go to Tarpon Springs. We are both married and our husbands are behind the trip 100%. Any suggestions on where to eat or beaches to go to. We wanted to rent bikes and use them to get around but I can't seem to get any info on bike rentals when I asked the few people I talked to when planning the trip. I also heard that there were some great parks around.

Any suggestions are gladly appreciated.... it is mostly R & R we are looking for with good food! Thanks

Clearwater, Florida
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1. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

What are you hoping for out of Tarpon Springs? I only ask because Tarpon Springs is not really a big tourist destination, as the beaches are a bit further South, from Clearwater Beach, South to St. Pete Beach. While Tarpon does have alot of Greek heritage/history, the main tourist area there is the Sponge Docks which can be seen in a day trip from the beaches. Other than that Tarpon is mainly just retail and residences.

middle england
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for Leicestershire, Norfolk
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2. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

I hesitate to take issue with a Florida resident, but there IS a beach at Tarpon Springs, and quite a popular one too! It's called Fred Howard Park and details can be found here:-

www.pinellascounty.org/park/06_Howard.htm

Other beaches before Clearwtaer and further south can be found at Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands.

Otherwise I would not myself go to Tarpon Springs as it is quite artificial, although I know many would disagree.

Clearwater, Florida
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3. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

True, Howard Park is in Tarpon and very nice. What I really meant was there are no areas in Tarpon with hotels and restaurants etc on the beach, as in a beach resort area. Same with Honeymoon and Caladesi Island. Very nice to visit, but no hotels to stay at, so they are more of a day trip, than a destination.

Cambridge, MA
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4. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

Hi thanks for the tips. First of all we don't want touristy or resort even though I know that Sponge Docks is sort of touristy. We just wanted to get away from the north and put our feet in the sand and ocean. Looking for good food (especially shrimp) and we both love Greek food which is part of the attraction to Tarpon Springs. We are renting a car so we can take daytrips to Clearwater if we wanted to for a real Florida Beach. We mostly want to hang out with locals, relax, hopefully rent bikes to go biking. I heard that there was some national reserve not far from there and I have just recently become an avid beginner birder. I can't think of the name right now. I thought it began with a B.

middle england
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for Leicestershire, Norfolk
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5. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

Tarpon Springs is actually well suited to cycling as it is the northern end of the popular Pinellas trail, which goes all the way to St Petes. Bike hire is available at Tarpon Springs and other places along the trail

pinellascounty.org/volserv/…rental_shops.htm

Cambridge, MA
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6. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

I am glad to hear that Bike rental is available because when I spoke to the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerse she said she didn't know of any bike rental places. I will research it when I get there.

Thanks for your help.

Any suggestions on places to eat. I have heard that the shrimp boat comes in there with fresh shrimp. It would be nice to get fresh rather than frozen for a change.

Tampa
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for Anna Maria
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7. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

rockwood, Have you found a place to stay yet? The motel/hotels around the area can be pretty seedy but we stayed at a lovely, inexpensive B&B last May called Ashley's Victorian B&B. They also have a little cottage for rent. It was nice, we took our bikes and went all over the neighborhoods and on to the Sponge Docks. Do a google search and you will find it.

Cambridge, MA
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8. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

We found a place called Tarpon Shores Inn that is on the interstate but they gave us a room in the back where it is quiet. I am not sure we are into the B & B aspect of traveling. We would rather be able to come and go as we please. I have heard about that B & B and it does have great reviews. I think that Tarpon Springs Inn is not far from the bike path that leads to St. Pete. It's not fancy but clean and family run.

But we are certainly up for suggestions if someone has a better motel/hotel to recommend.

OO
San Antonio, Texas
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9. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

I worry about your expectations of Tarpon Springs if you've never been before, and just heard about it. I used to hear about it a lot too, growing up in MA. My aunt and uncle went every winter (this was ages ago) and raved about it. Then we moved to Tampa and I was so excited to get my first trip to finally see Tarpon Springs.

Wow! Was I ever disappointed!! I can only imagine that it has changed vastly in the intervening years. It is very touristy (to my thinking, more tourist trap than not) and there isn't a heck of a lot to do. It doesn't have many or nice places to stay because it's not really a tourist destination...not as a place to stay anyway, though perhaps as a day trip.

I've been out to the beach and didn't find it terribly nice either--though I looked at the link provided for it...that is not at all how I remember it.

Honestly Tarpon Springs was not someplace we went back to voluntarily, although we would go when we had guests and they wanted to see it. It'd be OK for a day, but not for an extended stay.

If I were you and wanted to avoid touristy areas but still enjoy a nice beach, I'd head to Anna Maria Island and vicinity. There is a teeny bit of old FL left there still. It's laid back and easy to get to from the Tampa airport. Tarpon Springs is even a rotten drive, LOL....as you can tell...I'm not a fan!!

Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but I do remember my disappointment on finally getting to see the place. It just did not live up to any expectations and I'd hate for you to be disappointed in your trip. I do understand the need to escape the long New England winter, believe me (I grew up in the Berkshires where winter lasted from November until the end of April), but worry about what you'll find, if it really is what you want!

Tampa
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for Anna Maria
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10. Re: Planning a visit to Tarpon Springs beginning of February

rockwood, The Tarpon Shore Inn should be fine for you. I would say that however, the B&B did not have that kind of atmosphere, we were left alone and felt like it was our house. We did see the other cottage that was closer to the sponge docks and it was really cute and in a great neighborhood. I think the rate was like $500.00 a week, very reasonable!

I too have some concerns on what you are expecting from this area, it is very conjested with traffic and tourist and not a lot to do, I hope you will not be disappointed. I am a native Floridian and I usually get my Tarpon Springs "fix" about every 3 or 4 years, that is about enough. You may like it though, it's worth a try and if you dont, like OO said, go on down to Anna Maria Island...I know you would love that!

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