Florida is a year-round vacation destination, especially for photographers. The Gulf Coast of Florida offers some hidden gems. In this series, I’ll join fellow Floridian @the_southern_greek as we explore the cultural and natural beauty of the Gulf Coast. Today, we look at Tarpon Springs, FL.
Tarpon Springs has the highest concentration of Greeks per capita in the United States. Located less than an hour from Tampa, it’s worth the trip to get a taste of Greece. For over a century, the art of sponging has been vital to the area. In fact, it’s the largest sponge industry in America. Be sure to catch the locals unloading sponges from their boats, or shop the large sponge selections in the gift shops. It’s unique!
Many sponger families have been at it for generations.
Stroll up and down Dodecanese Blvd. to find numerous coffee shops, restaurants and Greek markets. This main drag sets the scene for many photo opportunities. You’ll find locals meeting to chat, tourists enjoying Saganaki (cheese soaked in alcohol and lit on fire … opa!), foodies lining up at the bakery and people of all ages dancing to festive Greek music. It seems each shop keeper has a story to tell.
Food photographers have no shortage of options to snap. Try everything from traditional gyros and lamb souvlaki, to seafood delights such as octopus, calamari and smelt, to giant loaves of Greek bread.
Further into town is St. Nicholas Cathedral. Stunning Byzantine icons, stained glass windows and appealing architecture make it worth the visit.
For nature photographers, the spring bayou or the Anclote River provide a taste of Florida scenery.
There will be plenty of birds and other wildlife. Boat tours offer a chance to see manatees and dolphins. Some short cruises take you to Anclote Island, where you can grab beautiful photos of the beach, lighthouse and other coastal sites. Drone photography opportunities are abound.
Nearby Fred Howard Park should also be on your list. This 155-acre park has a white sandy beach and spectacular sunset photo opportunities. Before heading over the causeway to the beach, you’ll come across a wetlands habitat. Mangrove estuaries set the scene. Many choose to kayak here, while ospreys and eagles soar overhead.
The Tarpon Springs area is truly a microcosm of Florida. It’s a melting pot of cultures, a dash of food and fun, and a beautiful coastal habitat all wrapped into one. So, grab your camera! There’s something for everyone.
Thank you to @the_southern_greek. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to learn more about the best photo opportunities on Florida’s Gulf Coast.