Located on the western coast of Florida, Tarpon Springs is known for its unique eateries, beaches, and artistic flair. With approximately 23,500 residents, Tarpon Springs holds the largest percentage of Greek immigrants than any other city in the United States. The city's Greek influence is what draws many tourists to the one-of-a-kind area.
Residents of Tarpon Springs will enjoy the gorgeous palm trees and wildflowers scattered throughout the city, which is why Tarpon Springs apartments for rent are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and individuals interested in living a laid-back lifestyle.
The city became popular when Greek settlers moved to the region during the 1880s to work as divers in the sponge harvesting industry. It wasn't until tourists started relocating to Tarpon Springs for the winter from the North, when the city got its name. Some of the tourists, also known as "snowbirds," spotted tarpons, a large fish native to the Gulf of Mexico, and began calling the area Tarpon Springs.
Several years later in 1905, a Greek businessman named John Cocoris began recruiting more Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, a practice that generated millions of dollars each year for the small town. Four decades later, a red tide algae bloom wiped out nearly all of the sponge fields in the region, so residents and workers in the area turned to shrimp fishing to make a living and most of the sponge warehouses were turned into tourist attractions.
The historic Sponge Docks now have a number of dining spots, museums, and small mom-and-pop shops dedicated to the city's remarkable past. In 2007 and 2008 the mayor of Tarpon Springs, Beverley Billiris, established sister city relationships with the Greek islands Halki, Symi, Cyprus and Kalymnos to honor the city's past.
Residents and tourists can enjoy several activities within the Sponge Docks District, including a number of quaint boutiques, museums, authentic Greek dining spots, and the Tarpon Springs Aquarium. Tarpon Springs is also close to a number of the coast's most pristine beaches, including Fort De Soto, Treasure Island, and the Sand Key. Also a short drive away from downtown Tampa Bay, residents can enjoy a more urban lifestyle when they want.
Each year, Tarpon Springs has its Epiphany Celebration, which attracts thousands of Greek immigrants from across the country to honor their heritage and religion.
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