Located along Florida’s central Gulf Coast just north of Tampa and Tampa Bay, New Port Richey is a city of about 26,000 residents that’s a key component in the Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater metropolitan area.
New Port Richey is conveniently close to some of the state’s most amazing beaches. Its proximity to large urban centers means plenty of cultural, historical, and artistic attractions too.
The area is known for its relaxed vibe, pleasant weather, and abundant dining and lodging options as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around New Port Richey that you may want to check out.
1. Chasco Fiesta
Chasco Fiesta is one of the region’s most popular events, and has been a continual favorite for nearly 75 years.
The fiesta was first launched in 1947; it’s a Native American-centered event that takes place along the scenic shores of the Pithlachascotee River.
From parades and pow-wows to live entertainment and amazing arts and crafts, the fiesta features a little something for everyone. In many ways, it is similar to state and county fairs found all over the country.
For those interested in the Sunshine State’s Native American culture, it’s a must-visit event, and it takes place in April.
2. Anclote Key
Anclote Key lies a few miles off the coast amid the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Only accessible by boat, it’s a popular escape destination for those who’ve had their fill of the area’s more crowded and commercialized attractions.
Anclote Key is a particular hotspot for beachcombers and shell collectors; it’s possible to find a variety of exotic and pristine shells that aren’t often found elsewhere.
The island is comprised of more than 400 acres, and visitors can take the shuttle boats from Tarpon Springs, which is just down the road from New Port Richey.
3. Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park
Located on US Highway 19 in Port Richey, Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park is home to a variety of relatively untouched natural environments, like marshes, mangrove forests, beaches, and lagoons.
Bird-watching is a popular park pastime; it’s common to see a variety of bird species as well as foxes, turtles, and snakes along the park’s many trails.
Paddleboards and kayaks are available to rent, but other than a small ranger station, restrooms, and covered picnic areas, there aren’t many amenities – therein lies much of the park’s charm.
Many guests choose to bring their own food and drinks and make a day of it.
4. Richey Suncoast Theatre
Since the mid-‘20s, the Richey Suncoast Theatre has been a regional historical and entertainment icon. It offers a variety of live entertainment productions, including dramatic theater, comedy, and both on and off-Broadway style shows.
The historic theatre has undergone significant renovations over the years, but guests still appreciate its old-time charm, which complements its state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems nicely.
Whether you’re a fan of traditional productions or more contemporary and lighthearted ones, there’s probably something on their calendar of events that’ll interest you.
Popular shows can sell out quickly, so buy tickets in advance if possible.
5. Green Key Beach
Though the coast around New Port Richey is full of beaches, Green Key Beach is the city’s only public beach and is located on the Robert K. Rees Memorial Park.
The park and beach are open every day of the week from sunrise to sunset and include about 40 acres nestled along the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s a scenic destination for swimmers, sunbathers, and those just out for an idyllic stroll along the boardwalk while taking in the magnificent scenery.
Picnicking and surf-fishing are popular activities as well. For visitors traveling on a budget who’d rather not sit at a hotel pool all day, Green Key Beach is just the place.
6. Big Storm Brewing Co.
Beer and coffee don’t exactly go together like peanut butter and jelly, but since one perks you up and one chills you out, if imbibed in the proper proportions at key points throughout the day, they can keep you going until long after most travelers have packed it in.
Featuring three taprooms in the area, Big Storm Brewing Company is a unique Florida business that’s a big hit with lovers of craft brew and those who like their coffee strong.
Big Storm hasn’t been around long, but it’s attracted quite a loyal following and is known to have a variety of beers on tap at all times.
7. Miss Daisy Boat Tours
Sailing out of Port Richey, Miss Daisy Boat Tours has been described by previous guests as relaxing, entertaining, and well worth the cost.
Miss Daisy’s boat tours generally last two hours and pass many of the neighboring coastal towns as well.
Both river and gulf portions are included and feature views of fantastic beaches, pristine natural habitats, and lots of swanky neighborhoods along the coast that feature homes of the well-heeled.
It’s common to see animals along the way, which may include sea turtles and dolphins. For those who long for a romantic Florida sunset, sunset cruises are available too.
8. Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park
Comprised of more than 8,000 acres, Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park is one of Pasco County’s largest natural areas. It offers nature and outdoor-minded visitors a wide variety of recreation options.
Located inside a protected area that’s largely coastal watershed, there are more than a dozen miles of multi-use trails that lead to nearly every corner of the park.
Though not all the trails are paved, about six miles are, and they’re open to walkers, bikers, and roller-bladers.
The park also features a number of rustic campsites for those who’d like to spend a night or two under the stars.
9. Lyon’s Head Antique Mall
For visitors to a new area who’d rather not pick up boring and character deficient keepsakes at a large national retail chain, antique malls offer a perfect alternative option.
Lyon’s Head Antique Mall was founded in 1993 and has been a favorite destination for antique aficionados, collectors, and treasure seekers ever since.
The business spans tens of thousands of square feet and includes arts and crafts, collectibles, porcelain, and china, as well as books and records.
Most antique lovers will tell you that searching for the proverbial diamond in the rough is half the fun, and since the mall is open daily, finding time to swing by shouldn’t be difficult.
10. Brasher Park
Port Richey’s Brasher Park is smaller than many of its neighbors, and therefore gets less foot traffic, which makes it a destination that many outdoorsy locals would prefer to keep to themselves.
Brasher Park is a popular launch point for kayakers and paddle-boarders looking to explore the area’s scenic waterways. For those without their own equipment, it’s possible to rent everything you’ll need nearby.
They’re both great ways to burn calories and see things from a unique perspective, but remember that there are gators in the area, so always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re with little ones.
11. Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
Nearby Tarpon Springs is known as ‘The Sponge Capital of the World.’ Its interesting history dates back more than a century to when it was home to a large population of Greek immigrants who harvested the natural sponges in the warm gulf waters.
Though the sponge industry isn’t what it used to be, the sponge docks are still a vibrant fish market where many travelers enjoy watching the fishermen bring in their catches.
The sponge docks are free to visit and near to other area attractions. Due to its Greek influence, there are several traditional restaurants nearby that are known for their relaxed atmosphere and tasty old-world fare.
12. Tarpon Springs Boat Tours
The warm Gulf of Mexico waters off New Port Richey are home to an amazing variety of wildlife, and few species are more loved and sought after than dolphins.
The marinas around New Port Richey and Tarpon Springs are home to many tour boat operators that offer everything from the aforementioned wildlife viewing tours to sunset and narrated historical tours.
Many include not only fantastic sea views, but also unique insights from knowledgeable captains and guides that have lived in the area for most of their lives.
Consider asking around for a recommendation or two before buying tickets.
13. Tarpon Springs Aquarium
The Tarpon Springs Aquarium is a family-owned and operated business located on Dodecanese Boulevard.
The aquarium is currently in the middle of a relocation to a larger facility that’s nearly complete; the new building is even more state-of-the-art and will house the aquarium’s ever-expanding collection of fascinating marine wildlife.
The cost of admission has always been inexpensive, and most visitors consider it one of the area’s best values.
Sharks, eels, gators, and giant grouper are a few of the aquarium’s star residents, and there are lots of opportunities for visitors to touch many of the animals as well.
14. Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa is one of those places that really needs no introduction, and for many visitors to the Sunshine State, it’s a place they spend much of their time.
A zoo, amusement park, and live entertainment venue all rolled into one, it offers activities for those of nearly all ages and interests.
The Serengeti Safari Park adventure tours are among the perennial favorites, and there is an assortment of lodging and dining options onsite too.
The park can get crowded during peak times during the summer when schools are out, so if you’d rather avoid the crowds, consider an off-season visit.
15. The Tampa Bay History Center
The Tampa Bay History Center is the central Gulf Coast’s premier destination for those looking for an in-depth look into the region’s past.
The center’s exhibits stretch back thousands of years into the past, to before it was discovered by those of European descent.
While many visitors particularly appreciate the Native American exhibits, the center’s staff offer a variety of activities and presentations on a wide range of historical topics – many of them specifically designed with kids in mind.
There’s an onsite café, event hall, and a gift shop, and most guests spend two or more hours before heading off on another adventure.