By  Mike Miller   Updated July 29, 2023

Aripeka, Florida is a place you may not find unless you are really looking for it.  It is on the Gulf Coast near Spring Hill about 48 miles north of Tampa and a mile south of Hernando Beach.

Aripeka Post Office 1952-1962Aripeka Post Office 1952-1962

Part of its unique charm is its location on quiet rural County Road 595.  

The county road is known as Osowaw Boulevard north of Aripeka and Aripeka Road south of town.

Google Earth View of Aripeka, FloridaGoogle Earth View of Aripeka, Florida

The road that passes through Aripeka is subject to frequent flooding due to rainfall events and fluctuations in the level of the water and marshes surrounding the town.

The population of this unincorporated community is about 300, and there is not much room to grow larger.  The village is surrounded by marshes and water.

Aripeka Post Office 1960Aripeka Post Office 1960
Florida Memory

Aripeka was first known as Gulf Key and began to get its first settlers in 1873.  The first post office called the place Argo.

In 1895 the name of the place was changed to honor a Miccosukee chief for whom a local sawmill had been named.

According to Allen Morris's book "Florida Place Names", the famous chief, also known as Sam Jones, was called "Aripeka" or "Arpeika."  

There is a historic marker in Aripeka that states Babe Ruth, the famous baseball player, liked to visit Aripeka to go fishing.

Former "Babe Ruth" Cabin, Aripeka - Florida MemoryFormer "Babe Ruth" Cabin, Aripeka - Florida Memory

It must be true because for years people referred to an old shack in Aripeka as the "Babe Ruth" cabin.

Norfleet's Fish Camp, aka Carl's Store, Aripeka, FloridaNorfleet's Fish Camp, aka Carl's Store, Aripeka, Florida

The main business in town is Norfleet's Fish Camp, locally known as Carl's store,  which is at the foot of the bridge as you come into town from the north.

Hammock Creek Fish Camp, 1960 - Florida MemoryHammock Creek Fish Camp, 1960
Florida Memory

There have been other fish camps over the years, and a healthy commercial fishing economy as well.

Aripeka Marshland 1986Aripeka Marshland 1986
Florida Memory

Our brief article cannot do justice to this little place.

Fortunately, somebody has taken the time to write a well detailed and interesting article about Aripeka that you will want to read.



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