June 1, 2021
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.
Part of its unique charm is its location on quiet rural County Road 595.
Here's an interactive Google map you can use to find your way there.
The county road is known as Osowaw Boulevard north of Aripeka and Aripeka Road south of town.
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 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, like to visit Aripeka to go fishing.
It must be true because for years people referred to an old shack in Aripeka as the "Babe Ruth" cabin.
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.
There have been other fish camps over the years, and a healthy commercial fishing economy as well.
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.