Your Tarpon Springs vacation rental positions you for quick and easy access to watersports, pristine beaches, barrier islands, and historical sites. From scurrying about in a four-wheeled surry to soaring overhead under a parasail, your sightseeing opportunities range from close-up to a birds-eye-view. Whether strolling along the Sponge Docks, sailing on a pirate ship, or seeking seashells, you choose from a variety of vacation activities that suit your family. While you work on your itinerary, here’s a list of the top 11 things to do with kids in Tarpon Springs.

1. Enjoy a Dolphin Cruise

tourists riding the cruise boat
Source: spongeoramacruiselines.com

When you board a Spongeorama cruise line vessel, a narrated tour shows you the beautiful Anclote River as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Anclote State Preserve as you look for dolphins, manatees, and birds. Along the way, your captain also points out the 1887 Anclote lighthouse and other Tarpon Springs historical sites. For your convenience, the vessel includes restroom and there’s a snack bar that serves treats and cold drinks, including beer, wine, and margaritas.

2. Go Down to the Sponge Docks

souvenir shops
Source: Facebook/Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

The Greek sponge divers helped build Tarpon Springs, and restaurants, markets, and bakeries cluster near the Sponge Docks. When you take the kids to the docks, they have a chance to learn about sponge diving and watch the sponge boats coming and going. There’s plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, listen to authentic, live Greek music, and browse for souvenirs.

3. See Sea Creatures at the Aquarium

man taking pictures of a fish

Tarpon Springs Aquarium invites visitors to pet pythons and touches alligators. There is also an interactive tide-pool that allows you to touch starfish, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, conchs, and spider crabs. In the shark and stingray tanks, it’s actually possible to safely touch, and even feed, these possibly intimidating animals. During the shark feeding show, a Scuba diver hand-feeds the goliath grouper, reef bar sharks, nurse sharks, and other species in the 120,000-gallon tank. Free to young kids who visit the aquarium, Puffy’s Playground includes a bounce house, ball pit, slides, and tubes.

4. Play in the Replay Amusement Museum

pinball machines
Source: Flickr / Sam Howzit

Replay Amusement Museum features 100 playable amusement games. Pinball, jukeboxes, and video games lead you through a nostalgic look at the past and an amusing glimpse into the future of gaming. It’s okay to tell the kids to touch, play, and learn as they immerse themselves in this exciting environment. While you’re here, be sure to look for the world’s largest pinball machine.

5. Rent Some Fun Wheels

children in a wheel fun ride
Source: wheelfunrentals.com

Wheel Fun Rentals offers four-wheeled cycles that hold up to six adults as well as two kids up front. Other options include the wildly adventurous water tricycles, pedal boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and a variety of bicycles. You can even rent sand toys for the kids to use in the park.

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6. Explore Anclote Keys

lighthouse from afar
Source: Flickr / Sam Howzit

Accessible only by ferry or private boat, the Anclote Keys include four islands that lie about three miles off the Tarpon Springs Coast. The crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico lap the sandy shores of Anclote Key Preserve State Park, North Anclote Bar, South Anclote Bar, and Three Rooker Island. You can spend a day snorkeling in the seagrass beds with the kids, swimming, sun bathing, building sandcastles, or exploring the islands. The 403-acre state park is home to over 40 species of birds, including the bald eagle and the piping plover. A raised boardwalk provides a scenic walk to the 1887 lighthouse that stands on the southern end of the island.

7. Spend a Day at St. Pete Beach

fishes inside the aquarium
Source: rumfishgrill.com

About 33 miles due south, St. Pete Beach is all about kid-friendly adventures. It’s a beautiful beach for picnics, sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. At the southern end of the island, Pass-a-Grille Beach features a museum, a beach, and a variety of quaint shops. To give your family a unique experience, have them dress in swimwear and shorts to go out to dinner at RumFish Grill. Their 33,500-gallon aquarium fills a wall of the restaurant’s dining room, and they invite guests to swim with the fishes, providing snorkels, masks, vests, footwear, and lifeguards.

8. Go Windsurfing

windsurfers on the ocean

You don’t need big waves to windsurf, and Howard Park Beach is an ideal spot for the kids to learn. The water is shallow and calm, which are the best conditions for learning to handle the surfboard. Two types of windsurfing include using a parachute or using a sail rigging that is attached to the surfboard.

9. Fly High Under a Parasail

couple in the sky
Source: Flickr / rumfishgrill.com

When you’re ready for some high-flying adventure, parasailing at Clearwater Beach makes an amazing contribution to your vacation memories. Kids fly tandem or triples with parents or siblings as Chute Em Up Parasail accommodates all ages and experience levels. You take off and land gently on the flight deck of the boat without ever having to touch the water unless you choose to take a quick dip coming in. From a few hundred feet up, you experience a smooth, serene flight as you enjoy the picturesque views of the ocean, islands, and mainland.

10. Take a Pirate Cruise

pirate ship at the dock
Source: Flickr / Michel Rathwell

Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise features a two-hour odyssey that includes face-painting for the kids, singing, dancing, water-gun games, and a treasure hunt. It’s sweetened a bit by the pirate crew with free grog for the kiddies and complimentary wine or beer for the adults. You’ll catch the kids talking like pirates for days, maybe even in their sleep. Imagine the stories they can tell back home when they show off their eye patches and other pirate memorabilia.

11. Look for Seashells

baby playing beach sand

About 11 miles south of Tarpon Springs, Honeymoon Island is the best of the northern beaches for shelling. If you want to add a little adventure, hop on the passenger ferry for the 20-minute ride from the island to Caladesi Island State Park. You can spend a couple of hours swimming, fishing, picnicking, or looking for seashells before returning to Honeymoon Island.

 
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