The sponge docks are not the only place to shop or eat. Try browse for a better deal downtown. Tarpon Springs has a nice tree lined vintage downtown with plenty of parallel parking and few other tourists.
There is an eye catching mural memorial to Mother Meres, a early immigrant settler made famous for her gardening and hotel hospitality. See the link below for a very pleasant story about this "garden fairy". The mural is located at Meres Municipal Plaza on Tarpon Avenue, near downtown.
Fred Howard Park hides far from the mainstream in Tarpon Springs, but is the best beach in this parts that is accessible from the mainland. Howard Park offers both beach and wooded areas. The beautifully canopied grounds are favorite for picnickers. A mile long causeway delivers you to a sandy beach on the island (free parking, restrooms, picnic tables, showers).
Howard Park is a unique location in southern Tarpon Springs. There's a regular picnic and play park on the coast, then a short causeway to a very nice small beach island. It's not well known and is an alternative to the more crowded beaches further down in the St. Pete/Clearwater area.