Similar in geophysical structure to Hernando Beach, Bayport, and Pine Island, Florida, Aripeka is surrounded by marshland, mostly within Hernando County. The Pasco-Hernando County line is located at the South Hammock Creek Bridge.
The community of Gulf Key was settled in this area in 1873, and a post office by that name was established in 1883. The post office was briefly known as Argo. It was replaced by the Aripeka post office in 1895. Aripeka is named for an early-19th century Seminole chief who is thought to have lived nearby. The town was divided when Pasco County separated from Hernando County in 1887. The post office which was originally in Hernando County, moved across the Pasco County Line in 1921. According to the historical marker in the town, Babe Ruth visited Aripeka to fish. On June 3, 1993 the Pasco County Historic Preservation Committee dedicated the town a State Historic Site.
The main road through Aripeka is County Road 595, named Aripeka Road in Pasco County and Osowaw Boulevard in Hernando County. This road was part of the original Dixie Highway, and suffers frequent flooding in the heart of town due to its close proximity to the water.