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Tarpon Springs, Florida
Along a Series of Bayous and the Gulf of Mexico, Tarpon Springs Boasts a Rich Greek Culture and a Charming Tourist Area Along the Docks
Tarpon Springs started out as a winter resort in the late 1870s and was named after the fish that swims in its waters. It sits along a series of bayous and the Gulf of Mexico, about 25 miles northwest of Tampa, and it grew up around Greek culture. In fact, this waterfront city has the largest concentration of Greek Americans in the United States.
During much of its early history, Tarpon Springs was known for sponge harvesting, and Greek divers came across the Atlantic to do much of the work. When a red tide algae wiped out the sponges in the mid-20th century, shrimping became the economic underpinning, and it remains so today. The city's Sponge Docks are a testament to the old traditions and are now a charming tourist area with an eclectic collection of sponge shops, galleries, Greek eateries and the general feel of Greece. The Greek Orthodox Epiphany, a large religious celebration each January, nearly triples the town's population for one day. There are also smaller festivals such as a beach concert series and a food truck rally. The Tarpon Sunday Market bursts with fresh vegetables, fruit and more.
Four golf courses, an aquarium, a public marina, a performing arts center, a cultural center and a recreation department keep residents busy. Locals also enjoy two oceanfront beaches, romantic Sunset Beach, which has nightly concerts, and busy Fred Howard Park, which is on a barrier island at the end of a mile-long causeway. Ospreys, eagles, and dolphins often come to visit.
Neighborhoods include town homes, concrete block ranch ramblers and one and two story Mediterraneans.
Population: 27,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 50%
Cost of Living: Meets the national average
Median Home Price: $400,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s with high humidity levels and frequent rainstorms. Winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare
At Least One Hospital Accredited By Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
College Educated: 28%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricane Michael brought some flooding in 2018. More hurricanes are always a possibility.
Notes: The city has grown 8% during the last decade. Home prices have increased 12% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,250 more golf courses than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
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