Exploring... PUNTA GORDA FLORIDA
A Travel Guide to Punta Gorda Florida
The name Punta Gorda means "Broad Point" and dates back to the landing of Ponce de Leon in 1513. It is the only incorporated city in Charlotte County, and is more than 14 miles square with slightly more than 12,000 residents. In 1997, Money magazine ranked Punta Gorda "Second" of the top 20 "best places to live". Check the Real Estate listings for area relocation and Retirement communities.
Situated approximately 100 miles south of Tampa on the Gulf Coast with easy access from I-75, this community continues to offer leisurely, uncongested and unhurried living. Charlotte Harbor flanks the northwest side of the city offering 129 square miles of sparkling water, clear sunshine, fishing at its greatest, wildlife in abundance and a casual, friendly atmosphere that appeals to those who are seeking the natural pleasures of life. The recently revitalized downtown has cobblestone streets and gas lamp streetlights. The residential area features many brick streets lined with huge old royal palms and many old Florida-era tin-roofed homes with wide verandas.
An ever-increasing population has spawned an expansion of unique shops and Restaurants that continue to expand the fine reputation of Punta Gorda's charm. Churches outnumber nightclubs (11 to 1), and you're far more likely to see sandals and shorts than designer garb. Little League, the Texas Rangers spring training, bingo, fishing, golf and gardening are top priorities for residents, when they're not sailing in Charlotte Harbor or enjoying the white-sand beach in nearby Englewood. Guided walks along almost 4 miles of nature trails through southwest Florida's ecosystems are free of charge during November through April at the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center in Punta Gorda. A Swamp Buggy Eco-tour is also fun for the adventuresome visitor who would like to explore the dark waters of Telegraph Cypress Swamp. The Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center is relatively new and is home to nature displays, a butterfly garden, nature trails and picnic sites overlooking the bay.
Temperatures range from the mid 90s in the summer to the mid to upper 60s in the winter, rarely has the temperature gone below 50 degrees. In the winter, a light jacket is all that is needed to protect anyone from getting a chill; while in the summer, the breeze off the Gulf keeps you comfortable, even on the hottest days. The rainy season is during the summer and early fall. Accompanied by a Gulf breeze the showers roll in about 4 or 5 p.m., just in time to cool things down. Rain rarely stops activities, as the water quickly evaporates and the pleasures of living resume.
The temperature of the Gulf water ranges from mid 60s to mid 80s, with soft, mild winds brushing the shore. The waves rarely reach a height of over two feet, rolling onto the beach with a whisper. Often strolling the beaches are pelicans, herons, egrets, cormorants, ibis and sea gulls. There are several Resort Accommodations available in the immediate and nearby areas.
Fishing is a major attraction. For the novice and/or the master angler, area waters are a treat. Charter Boats or head boats will take the fisherman or woman out into the Gulf of Mexico where grouper, mackerel, snapper or tarpon will just about jump onto the hook. In the passes, off bridges, in coves or in Lemon Bay, one can catch trout, sheepshead or snook. A license may not be necessary while on charter boats or head boats, however on shore or in a personal fishing craft, a license is required. They may be obtained at Sarasota or Charlotte County tax collector's offices or at some of the local bait shops, where rules, limits, seasons, tides and weather information are also available.
Throughout the year, the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Club sponsors a series of fishing tournaments. In October and again in April, the Annual Fall Flats Tournament is an All Release Fishing Tournament for snook, trout and redfish. In March, the Annual Spring Kingfish Classic offers over $30,000.00 in cash and prizes. June is the Annual Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Grouper Tournament, with all cash prizes. The Annual Pro-Line All Release Flats Tournament is in August. For details, call (941) 475-5444 or (941) 475-7762.
Punta Gorda is located in Charlotte County, an area of over 700 square miles where you can truly find your dream.
Pleasant family communities and parks are scattered throughout the county. The area takes pride in its youth programs and educational system. Young families are beginning to discover that this is the place to live the ideal family life. The old Florida lifestyle of horse farms, cattle ranches, farms and citrus groves remain in the rural areas of the County, only minutes from the heart of civilization. Acreage is nestled around Shell Creek, Prairie Creek and, of course, the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor.
Many of the Golfing Communities located in the county are the envy of the state. Manicured fairways and lawns blend with the natural environment of sub-tropical Florida.
Waterfront homes are available for every lifestyle, from family lakefront homes, homes directly on the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor, to your own private canal hide-a-way. Take your pick…find your dream!
Whether you are a fisherman, baseball fan, golfer, hunter boater or seeker of peace and tranquility, this gem of the southwest Florida coast can serve your needs with abundance.
Punta Gorda Florida Map
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Editor: Andrea J. Honroth
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