As we entered the Gulf of Mexico, we picked up speed to make our way to the highlight of the tour, a 30-minute stop on the south end of Anclote Key. The long, skinny island, accessible only by boat, is studded with a variety of beautiful, colorful shells, as well as interesting sponges and seaweeds to take in. Our time on the quiet beach came to much too quick of an end when our guide blew into a conch shell to herd us all back aboard for the return trip. Odyssey Cruises also offers less expensive trips that don’t stop on the island — $9.99 for an hour and $15.99 for two hours. In addition, a two-hour sunset cruise is $18.99.
A boat ride fits nicely into a full day in Tarpon Springs, a charming village with its unique sponge docks, Greek restaurants, several pretty parks and beaches, and a handful of nearby attractions such as Konger Tarpon Springs Aquarium and the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.