beaches in tarpon springs

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Best Beaches in Tarpon Springs to Visit

As a long-time Florida resident, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting pretty much every beach in the Sunshine State, but the beaches in Tarpon Springs are by far the most overlooked in my opinion. This charming town, steeped in Greek culture, not only offers the most delicious seafood but also boasts some really great beaches that usually only the locals know about.

Living in Florida definitely has its perks, and being able to hit the beach whenever the mood strikes is a big one. Over the years, I’ve explored every inch of our beautiful coastline, including Tarpon Springs.

So, are you ready to dive in? I can’t wait to share my personal experiences and local tips for the best beaches in Tarpon Springs.

Best Beaches in Tarpon Springs

For quick reference, here is a list of the beaches we are going to cover in more detail:

  • Robert K Rees Memorial Park (Green Key Beach)
  • Fred Howard Park Beach
  • Sunset Beach
  • Anclote Key Preserve State Park
  • Anclote River Park Beach
  • Honeymoon Island State Park Beaches
  • Caladesi Island State Park Beaches
  • Dunedin Causeway

Fred Howard Park Beach

📌17000 Fred Howard Park Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688

Just north of Tarpon Springs in Pasco County, Fred Howard Park Beach spans one mile of pristine coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. The park has over 100 campsites, making it a favorite for RV travelers and campers.

There is plenty of space to spread out along the sandy shores. Two fishing piers provide ample spots for anglers to drop a line. Sheltered picnic areas with grills make Fred Howard a popular spot for family reunions and group gatherings.

The beach is also dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your leashed four-legged friend. Fred Howard Park offers kayak and paddleboard rentals to explore the calm gulf waters. Nature lovers will enjoy spotting herons, egrets, and other shorebirds. The park is open year-round, providing a tranquil escape in the cooler winter months.

Amenities:

  • Campsites with water and electric hookups
  • Restrooms and showers
  • Picnic areas with grills
  • Playground
  • Volleyball courts
  • Fishing pier
  • Kayak and paddleboard rentals

Local Tip: Bring your pet for some dog-friendly fun at Fred Howard Park Beach.

Robert K Rees Memorial Park

📌101 S Pinellas Ave, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Robert K Rees Memorial Park, also known as Green Key Beach, is located right in the heart of Tarpon Springs along the Gulf Coast. This public beach has restrooms, picnic tables, grills, and a playground, making it a popular spot for families.

The white sand beach stretches over a half mile with shallow waters perfect for swimming. There is also a beachfront promenade great for sunset walks.

Parking can fill up on weekends and holidays, but the location right in town makes it easy for pedestrians to access as well.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Picnic tables and grills
  • Playground
  • Showers
  • Limited parking

Local Tip: Get there early on weekends to claim a picnic table. Look for shells and sharks’ teeth along the shoreline. Watch boats coming and going from the nearby marina. Bring quarters for the parking meters.

Sunset Beach – Anclote Key

Located on Anclote Key, Sunset Beach is only accessible by private boat or ferry. This pristine white sand beach feels remote yet is just offshore from Tarpon Springs. Sunset Beach is part of the Anclote Key Preserve State Park.

Strong currents prevent swimming, but visitors can soak in the unspoiled natural beauty. Seashells dot the sand, making it a beachcomber’s paradise. The beach gets its name from the incredible sunset views.

Overnight camping provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience sunset and sunrise from this secluded island beach. Birdwatchers will enjoy spotting shorebirds like plovers, terns, and skimmers that nest on the beach. With no crowds, amenities, or development in sight, Sunset Beach offers a peaceful escape.

Amenities:

  • Secluded beach
  • Primitive campsites
  • Nature trails
  • Birdwatching opportunities

Local Tip: Pack a picnic lunch, camping gear, and your camera for an overnight escape or day trip to Sunset Beach via private boat or ferry. Wade in the shallows but avoid swimming in the rough surf.

Anclote Key Preserve State Park

📌16000 Anclote Rd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Composed of three islands (Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar, and South Anclote Bar), Anclote Key Preserve State Park offers over 3 miles of secluded beaches and primitive camping.

Reachable only by boat, the islands are home to rare wildlife like gopher tortoises and nesting shorebirds. Kayaking through the mangroves reveals a mosaic of tidal flats, marshland, and winding channels.

The main island, Anclote Key, has breezy palm-lined beaches and nature trails winding through maritime hammocks and coastal scrub. This is one of my FAVORITE islands/beaches to anchor up on while boating. The water is gorgeous and there’s something to be said about only being reachable by boat.

Beach amenities are limited to a few picnic tables and scattered composting toilets. But the natural scenery and solitude make Anclote Key a true undiscovered gem.

Visitors can swim, snorkel, or search for shells on the island’s west-side beaches. Overnight camping immerses you in the rhythms of nature from sunset to sunrise. When it comes time to leave, boats glide across the gulf back to the mainland as pelicans dive for fish in your wake.

Amenities:

  • Primitive camping
  • Picnic tables
  • Hiking trails
  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing

Local Tip: Bring kayaks or paddleboards to explore the gorgeous waters. Watch for dolphins swimming in the shallow flats.

Anclote River Park Beach

📌1420 Pine St, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

On the mouth of the Anclote River, this county park offers swimming, fishing, nature trails, and camping just north of Tarpon Springs. While not on the gulf, the park’s beach provides views of the river and Intracoastal waterway. Swimming is allowed in the roped-off area protected from boats.

The beach has picnic tables and grills for an afternoon barbecue. Nature trails wind through oak hammocks and mangrove forests ripe for birdwatching.

Campers can spend the night on a riverside site and fall asleep to croaking frogs and chirping crickets.

Launch your own boat or rent kayaks to explore the waterways leading to the Gulf of Mexico. The park is also a popular spot for holding weddings and events.

Amenities:

  • Swimming area
  • Nature trails
  • Campsites with electric and water hookups
  • Boat launch
  • Fishing pier
  • Picnic pavilions

Local Tip: Launch your boat at the park to explore the Anclote River and Gulf of Mexico. Watch for manatees grazing on seagrass in the shaded tidal creeks.

Honeymoon Island State Park

📌1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698

Ok, so it’s not exactly in Tarpon Springs but Honeymoon Island State Park is located just north of Tarpon Springs, connected to the mainland by a causeway (and it’s my favorite beach in North Pinellas, especially if you don’t want to deal with the crowds at Clearwater Beach).

The park has over 4 miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico that are popular with swimmers and beach visitors. Conch shells and other treasures litter the sand, making this a great place for shelling.

The park offers picnic areas, nature trails, and a cafe. It’s so nice having a cafe so you can grab a drink or a burger if you want – not having to worry about packing a cooler.

Beachfront parking provides easy access but you do have to pay a small entry fee since it is a state park.

Calm, shallow waters are perfect for younger kids to splash in. Rental kayaks, paddleboards, umbrellas, and chairs are available for those looking for some adventure.

Pets are allowed in certain areas of the park, so bring your furry companions along.

The west side of the island is more secluded, with beaches extending as far as the eye can see in both directions.

With ample amenities and natural beauty, Honeymoon Island has something for every beachgoer.

Amenities:

  • Beach access with parking areas
  • Concession stand
  • Picnic areas with grills
  • Nature trails
  • Fishing pier
  • Pet beach
  • Kayak and paddleboard rentals

Local Tip: Visit the park’s nature center to learn about the island’s ecosystems and wildlife, like ospreys and pelicans. Be careful when eating french fries at the cafe, as the birds LOVE to try and steal them 🙂

Caladesi Island State Park

📌1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698

Caladesi Island State Park, accessible only by boat, offers pristine beaches with rolling dunes and crystal clear waters. But don’t worry because there is a ferry you can take to get to it, that’s really inexpensive!

It’s technically in Dunedin but SO close to Tarpon Springs – and DEFINITELY worth the visit.

Beach amenities are primitive, but the island’s natural beauty makes it worth the effort to visit.

Boardwalks protect the dunes as you access the expansive shoreline. Keep an eye out for wildlife like gopher tortoises lumbering along the trails.

Picnic tables offer scenic spots for a waterside lunch. Swimming and snorkeling are excellent thanks to calm, clear waters and shallow flats.

Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented if you don’t bring your own.

With fewer crowds than other beaches, Caladesi Island provides tranquility and connection with nature.

Amenities:

  • Secluded beach access points
  • Picnic tables
  • Primitive camping
  • Hiking trails
  • Kayak and paddleboard rentals

Local Tip: Pack a lunch, sunscreen, and snorkeling gear for a day of swimming, shelling, and wildlife viewing at Caladesi Island.

Dunedin Causeway

📌Virginia St & Main St, Dunedin, FL 34698

The Dunedin Causeway isn’t a beach per se, but this scenic drive connecting mainland Dunedin to Honeymoon Island State Park has become a popular shoreline spot for locals. The causeway runs alongside the Intracoastal waterway, offering convenient roadside parking areas right on the sand.

While there are no lifeguards or designated swimming areas, the causeway offers calm shallow waters perfect for launching a kayak, paddleboard, or kiteboard. It’s a hot spot for jet skiers and boaters thanks to easy access and protection from ocean swells. Pack a picnic or grill up lunch at one of the picnic tables on the sandy shores.

The causeway offers front-row seats to watch the sunset over the mangrove islands dotting the bay (which is a favorite spot for the local teenagers).

Leashed dogs also enjoy exploring the shoreline here.

While amenities are limited, the causeway’s accessibility and prime waterfront location make it a local favorite for an impromptu evening or weekend outing.

You can still access the beaches of Honeymoon Island State Park just across the bridge when you’re ready for swimming and more amenities.

So if you see cars parked roadside along the Dunedin Causeway, join the locals and unfold your beach chairs to enjoy stunning scenery without the crowds.

Features:

  • Can park your car on the sand
  • Launch jet skis and kayaks
  • Free parking

Local Tip: Grab a bit to eat at Frenchy’s just down the street once you are done for the day!

Final Thoughts

With its prime Gulf Coast location, Tarpon Springs offers the perfect mix of beach amenities and natural scenery. Families will enjoy the playgrounds and picnic areas at Robert K Rees Memorial Park and Fred Howard Park. For a more secluded beach escape, head to Anclote Key or Caladesi Island State Parks, accessible only by boat. The historic sponge docks and Greek influences give Tarpon Springs its unique flair. But the nearby white sand beaches, emerald waters, and abundant wildlife provide many reasons to visit as well. Each beach has its own personality and offerings. So choose your coastal adventure in Tarpon Springs.

FAQ

Does Tarpon Springs have nice beaches?

Yes, Tarpon Springs has some beautiful white sand beaches along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Close-to-town options like Robert K Rees Memorial Park provide amenities while state parks like Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island offer more secluded natural beach settings but aren’t technically in Tarpon Springs.

What is Tarpon Springs FL known for?

Tarpon Springs is most known for its rich Greek heritage and sponge diving industry. The town has the highest percentage of Greek Americans in the US. Visitors come to experience the historic sponge docks, Greek culture, restaurants, shops, and museums that celebrate Tarpon’s unique history.

Can you see manatees at Tarpon Springs?

Yes, manatees are spotted year-round in the waters near Tarpon Springs. The Anclote River provides a warm water refuge for manatees in cooler months. Prime viewing spots include Fred Howard Park, Anclote River Park, and power plant discharge canals. Kayaking the river increases your chances of spotting these gentle giants.

Is Sunset beach FL a public beach?

Sunset Beach is located in Anclote Key Preserve State Park, so it is a public beach but only accessible by private boat or ferry. Overnight camping is allowed with a permit. There are no amenities like restrooms, lifeguards, or concessions. But the remote nature offers rare solitude.

Is it worth going to Tarpon Springs?

Absolutely! Beyond just beaches, Tarpon Springs is a worthwhile Florida destination. You can experience Greek cuisine, culture, sponge docks, shops, and history that can’t be found elsewhere in the US. The town’s proximity to pristine Gulf Coast beaches, nature preserves, and state parks provides relaxation whether you want to kayak, picnic, or curl up with a book on the sand. The mix of culture, cuisine, and natural beauty make Tarpon Springs a memorable vacation.

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