Tai'an, a famous cultural tourist district, is a new endemic foci of scrub typhus in northern China. Frequent reports of travel-acquired cases and absence of effective vaccine indicated a significant health problem of scrub typhus in Tai'an. Thus, descriptive epidemiological methods and spatial-temporal scan statistics were used to describe the epidemic characteristics and detect the significant clusters of the high incidence of scrub typhus at the town level in Tai'an. Results of descriptive epidemiological analysis showed a total of 490 cases were reported in Tai'an with the annual average incidence ranging from 0·48 to 2·27/100 000 during 2006–2013. Females, the elderly and farmers are the high-risk groups. Monthly changes of scrub typhus cases indicated an obvious epidemic period in autumn. Spatial-temporal distribution analysis, showed significant clusters of high incidence mainly located in eastern and northern Tai'an. Our study suggests that more effective, targeted measures for local residents should be implemented in the eastern and northern areas of Tai'an in autumn. Meanwhile, it may prove beneficial for health policy makers to advise travellers to take preventive measures in order to minimize the risk of infection of scrub typhus in Tai'an.