I love to travel. And when I say love, I mean usually I can’t go three months without transporting myself somewhere different. It was probably instilled in me as a child – my parents did a very good job of finding culture and submersing the family in it. I haven’t been able to visit everywhere I want – I think it’s because my list just keeps getting bigger! Thankfully, my husband embraces travel as much as I do.
Our latest trip was quite spontaneous. Although we had been saving vacation days at work, we just hadn’t figured out where we wanted to visit that wouldn’t break the bank. It was going to be our 3rd Anniversary trip, so I had been searching for weeks. I was pretty discouraged since I couldn’t find anything AND I had the travel itch. Feeling defeated, I handed the task over to my husband (this also happens with our taxes EVERY year). Within 12 hours he had plane tickets, a hotel, and our bags packed! He didn’t even tell me where we were going so I didn’t know until we arrived at the gate (which was tons of fun for me because I love surprises!)
“Now boarding for…. Tampa, Florida”
(Although we sometimes feel that this is an over-vacationed area, we were so ready to get somewhere it didn’t matter anymore!)
Close to the beautiful Clearwater Beach, we arrived at our destination – Tarpon Springs. It kind of seemed a little homely, with few touristy boardwalks and such. All that changed when we hit the coast. For a gulf town, it was awesome!
Some of our favorites:
Howard Park Beach – This fun little area was the perfect place to chill out. The park is actually on a small island connected by a man-made causeway. There was great scenery and lots of swimming spots to behold. It had plenty of parking and even an area for food trucks. There was only one food truck out the day we visited, so we tried their sno-cones. The treat was a bit tart – but very friendly staff.
Sunset Beach – A bit smaller and less touristic, this small island was supposedly the best place to see the sunset… hence it’s name. It did not disappoint! We also were entertained by a few kitesurfers that were trying to enjoy the last bits of daylight. I might try that one day.
Rick’s Pizza – This place was without a doubt our favorite eatery we visited while in Tarpon Springs. Not only was the food delicious, the staff was amazing! The moment we entered we felt like we were home. The waitress was so friendly and inviting. Little did we know we were dining in the presence of a celebrity! Our waitress, Ashly Galante, is a pro-bowler! Her family is obviously proud (and should be – she is very accomplished), because we noticed her bowling pictures as soon as we came in the door. Ashly talked to us like we were neighbors, and we even got to meet her brother who makes the pizza in the family restaurant. I also got to sample a bit of her mother’s Seven-Layer Cookies. YUM! I wish I could have taken some home with me. IF YOU GO TO TARPON SPRINGS YOU MUST TRY THESE. So glad we stopped in.
Check out Ashly and her bowling skills here: Ashly Galante Fan Page
The Sponge Docks – Known for its famous sponge-diver community, The Sponge Docks have a lot to offer. There are a bazillion Greek Restaurants next to a bazillion sponge shops. Ok, maybe I’m overestimating. It’s a LOT of sponges though! Apparently, this place is responsible for a large percentage of commercial sponge production. It’s one of the only places sponges can grow naturally (besides Greece… where most of the community shares it’s heritage). It was pretty cool. We took a boat ride and saw a 4th generation sponge diver actually dive and bring up a live sponge (EW those things are slimy! … the sponges that is, the diver was very human). They also do a ton of festivals there, and we just so happened upon a hippie/vintage Voltswagon Bug event the day we went.
Albeit a short trip, Tarpon Springs provided just enough relaxation and fun for us. Hopefully this post gives you a little bit of “get out there and see the world!” I’m already searching for our next trip location. There’s no time like the present!