Tarpon Springs, Florida evokes images of sightseeing, watersports, and plenty of family-oriented activities. It’s all of that and more, considering the great vacation rentals, spectacular beaches, historical sites, and opportunities for cruises. In between pirate cruises and scuba diving, you can slip in some museum visits to help the kids enjoy the history of the area. Whether exploring uninhabited islands, strolling through a Greek village, or relaxing on the beach, you can choose from a wide variety of vacation adventures. Book your Tarpon Springs vacation rental today. To help you get started, here’s a list of the most exciting Tarpon Springs vacation rental locations.

1. Tarpon Springs

The Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs helped build the restaurants, markets, and bakeries of its Greek community. You can enjoy plenty of shopping, go sightseeing, and learn about sponge diving. Several charter boats depart from the sponge harbor to go island hopping, giving you opportunities to explore undeveloped barrier islands. You get to choose whether to stop on one island or visit several while shelling, swimming, and sunbathing. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all vacation; you choose what fits your inclinations.

2. Anclote

When you slip away to the village of Anclote, you are somewhat off the beaten path in a little fishing hamlet. Anclote National Wildlife Refuge and Anclote Key Preserve State Park system include several islands where you can spend the day on snorkeling in the seagrass beds looking at sea critters, building sandcastles with the kids, or relaxing to the sound of the waves breaking on the beach. A scenic walk on Anclote Key takes you across a raised boardwalk to the 1887 Anclote Key Light that remained in operation until 1984. You need a boat or a ride on one of the ferries to reach the island. Closer to your vacation rental, Anclote River Park features a 300-foot beach for swimming, a boat launch, designated fishing areas, and a picnic pavilion.

3. East Lake

Your East Lake vacation rental puts you in close proximity to horse racing, golf, and water sports. Tampa Bay Downs is situated just outside the city limits on the southeast side of East Lake. Visitors can enjoy horse races November through June, poker, 45 Bermudagrass golf-hitting stations, and a covered driving range. For golfers, Eagles Golf Club features the Forest Course and the Lake Course for a total of 36 holes. Four sets of tees provide a wide array of challenges among well-kept greens and fairways. On other days, you can enjoy boating and fishing on Tarpon Lake, although the presence of alligators discourages swimming. Local lore has it that the lake’s oldest resident is a monster-like creature named Tarpie.

4. Palm Harbor

When you stay in Palm Harbor, you can book a waterfront vacation rental on Saint Joseph Sound to the west, Lake Tarpon to the east, or anywhere between the two. At the city’s widest point, you are never more than 10 miles from the beach or a lake for boating, fishing, and kayaking. If you want to explore the islands offshore in the Sound, Private Island Charters can take your family to a secluded beach for a photo shoot, exploring, or any adventure you choose. Back on the mainland, you can visit a couple of animal sanctuaries. Suncoast Primate Sanctuary Foundation houses over 100 animals including primates, reptiles, and tropical birds. John Chestnut, Sr. Park includes natural habitats in which you may see alligators, turtles, hawks, and raccoons.

5. Dunedin

It’s a normal day in Dunedin to see locals and visitors leisurely meandering around the downtown area, browsing the shops, sitting in one of the parks, or savoring ice cream cones. Hammock State Park is one of those lazy-day parks where you can explore the trails and boardwalks, visit the butterfly garden, play disc golf, enjoy a picnic, and let the kids hit the playground. Your vacation rental gives you easy access to beaches for swimming, surfing, fishing, and sailing. Adding trips to museums, art galleries, and shopping helps amplify your vacation enjoyment. When it’s time to try something different, Rock Bottom Divers can take you scuba diving to explore shipwrecks and coral reefs.

6. Safety Harbor

You could spend your entire vacation in Safety Harbor enjoying the local parks and landmarks. The food tour is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon walking the downtown area, tasting foods and drinks, and learning about the history of the area. The locals enjoy directing visitors to Whimzeyland, which they call the Bowling Ball House, which the artist/owners began decorating in the 1990s with bowling balls, sculptures, and bottle trees. When you want to explore, your vacation rental puts you within 20 minutes of Clearwater, Tampa, and St. Petersburg for additional recreation, dining, and shopping.

7. Clearwater Beach

Staying in Clearwater gives your family a great opportunity for chartered boat adventures. Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise features a two-hour dolphin tour sweetened by the pirate crew with free beverages for the kids and complimentary beer or wine for the adults. The two-hour Odyssey includes face-painting for the kids, singing, dancing, water gun games, and a treasure hunt. You’ll all be talking like pirates for days, so you might as well take go out on a chartered fishing boat excursion with Reel Florida Adventures, Captain Jared, or 2 Shea Fishing and Diving Charters.

8. Clearwater Beach

With your Clearwater Beach vacation, you get more than salt in your hair, sand in your shoes, and a suntan. Daily sunset festivals at Pier 60 feature street performers, music, crafts, and artists in a party atmosphere. There’s another party out in the Gulf of Mexico, and Little Toot Dolphin Adventures can take you there. Dolphins frolic and play in the large wake the boat creates, usually getting quite close to the boat. Water, soft drinks, and beer are available on the boat.

9. Indian Rocks Beach

They didn’t invent the wheel on Indian Rocks Beach, but you can have a blast getting around with the ones you rent. You can get a cute, street-legal Scoot Coupe from Fun Ride Rentals. They also rent bicycles, segways, surreys, scooters, and mobility scooters. This town offers something for every member of the family, including Fido. The leash-free dog park lets him romp and kick up his paws with his K-9 buddies while you relax on one of the benches. Imagine waking up and taking your first cup of coffee out on the beach to savor a few moments of tranquility. There’s just you, the beach, and the sound of the waves. Yeah, that’s why you’re here.

10. Indian Shores

Your beach vacation rental at Indian Shores may face the Gulf of Mexico or the Intracoastal Waterway. Either way, you only step away from the water when you’re ready to play, or merely drink in the beauty of your surroundings. Many visitors love walking in the soft, white sand while others enjoy renting fun transportation from Island Marine Rentals, including bicycles, scooters, and boats. One popular place to visit is Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, dedicated to rescuing and helping sick, injured, and orphaned birds. The observation tower near the beach entrance affords a view of the sanctuary compound and the Gulf of Mexico. For the kids, Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf features 18 holes that wind through caves, pirate ships, waterfalls, and past 20 to 30 live alligators. Feeding the alligators with fishing poles separates the reptile enthusiasts from the rest.

11. Largo

From history buffs to nature lovers to adrenaline junkies, Largo offers plenty to do for every member of your family. You learn about the history of this part of Florida when you visit Heritage Village, a 21-acre living history museum located on the grounds of the Florida Botanical Gardens. A log cabin built by the McMullen family in 1852 is one of more than 31 historic structures that also include a school, church, firehouse, railroad station, and other historic homes. While you’re in the Botanical Gardens, you have access to the landscapes, fountains, sculptures, and animals that live there.