Tarpon Springs, FL, USA

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Tarpon Springs, FL, USA

Tarpon Springs vacation rentals

Tarpon Springs is Florida's sponge city

Tarpon Springs was built on sponges. Back at the end of the 19th century, a mixture of Bahamian and Greek divers came and harvested the precious fruits of the Mexican Gulf. They soon realized there was a whole industry to be had, and the rest, as they say, is history. These days, the coastal town is a hubbub of life. It flaunts some truly handsome Greektown historical streets, old Sponge Docks, and access to some of Florida's iconic bayou habitats. And that's not even mentioning the Tarpon Springs vacation rentals, which range from luxurious waterfront condos to family villas with pools.

Soak up the fun in Tarpon Springs

Hit the Sponge Docks to trawl through the boutiques and emporiums and old depots that sell mounds of sponges freshly harvested from the Gulf of Mexico, and then don't forget to wander the streets of the town's historic district – it oozes with Greek styles and pretty homes built from the fortunes of the sponge farmers way back when. And when you've had one sponge too many, there's always the scuba possibilities of the sea, dolphin spotting tours aplenty, and eco excursions to see rare turtles in the coastal parks.

Sponge heritage galore in Tarpon Springs

There aren't many cities in the US where you have a whole museum dedicated to sponges. Tarpon Springs vacation rentals have just that on the doorstep though, coming with the Spongeorama Sponge Factory of the Historic Sponge Docks that line the downtown area – both are musts. You can back up that with a trip down elegant Tarpon Avenue, where old Greek-style mansions and whitewashed tavernas pepper the sidewalks, or hit the paths of the Fred Howard Park for sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets.

Catch a heatwave in Tarpon Springs

Mild winters and scorching summers make Tarpon Springs a perfect year-round choice. The hottest season, between June and September, has the most visitors, not to mention mercury levels that regularly sit in the 80s – perfect if you're booking Tarpon Springs vacation rentals close to the beaches of the Mexican Gulf. The spring and fall are a mixture of sultry, humid days, while December to March is slightly cooler, offering plenty of chances to wander the historic sponging docks of old in comfort.

Tarpon Springs sits between the bayous and beaches

The old Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs spill down into the Tarpon Bayou as it wiggles inland from the salty waters of the Mexican Gulf. A range of other inlets and bays define the outline of the city to the north, while the coast of Florida defines it to the west. Look there to find the Fred Howard Park, which has powdery white-sand beaches and swaying palm trees, not to mention waterways that are often filled with rare manatees, swooped over by eagles, and peppered with elegant dolphins.