Have you ever been to Charlotte County? With all the grand attractions in Florida, you may wonder why it’s worth it to venture into one of its lesser-known corners.
But, Charlotte County has things to offer to a first-time visitor or a lifetime Florida resident. Whether you’re looking for small-town charm, the beauties of nature, or tasty comfort food, Charlotte County has plenty to offer.
Here are some of the top things you should see when you visit Charlotte County:
1. Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
Charlotte County is home to some of the best unspoiled mangrove forests anywhere in the country. Mangrove swamps are fascinating ecosystems that straddle the border between salty seawater and freshwater streams. The mangrove trees grow directly in salt water, filtering out the saline solution to survive.
Mangroves provide a vital habitat to many native birds, wildlife, and plant species. Visit Charlotte Harbor Estuary to see the unique ecosystem flourishing in Florida.
2. Peace River Seafood Market & Restaurant
If you’re a purveyor of casual cuisine, look no further than Peace River Seafood Market & Restaurant in Punta Gorda. Being close to the sea certainly has its benefits; the restaurant was founded by a local crabber, and it works with local fishermen. Show up on Tuesday or Friday evening to hear live music.
Enjoy locally-sourced crabs and fish by the bucketful. At Peace River Seafood, all the shellfish is steamed and smoked to create a unique, dusky flavor.
3. Port Charlotte Beach Park
Want to enjoy the great outdoors? Come to this year-round park to enjoy fun on land, in the water, and on the court. Bring along your own boat or rent a canoe or kayak to spend a day on the water.
Want to relax and work on your tan? You can hang out at the beach or recline in an outdoor swimming pool.
You can also play in any of the courts available in the park: sports include tennis, volleyball, basketball, bocce ball, and horseshoes.
Eat your lunch in a covered picnic area and let your kids play on a nearby playground. Even if no one in the family can agree which activity they’d like to do, you can find something for everyone at Port Charlotte Beach Park.
4. Smoke and Roses Day Tours
If you love spending time on the open water, but aren’t much of a sailor yourself, try an expedition on a catamaran. Smoke and Roses is the largest private sailing catamaran in Southwest Florida-it’s over 47 feet long! Set sail for a few hours or take an extended trip out to sea to visit the Keys or Tortugas. Some travelers spend as long as a week on this small private cruise.
Get to know the famous cooking of Admiral Agnes and the expertise of Captain Dan as you head out on an overseas adventure.
5. Farlow’s on the Water
Owners Keith and Laurie Farlow wanted to bring their love of local food to their home in Southwest Florida. Keith grew up in the Virgin Islands, where he avidly devoured Caribbean food daily. His wife makes Southern comfort food. You can see both influences in their delicious menu.
Farlow’s prides itself on using fresh, local ingredients. They take advantage of the vibrant local fishing community, and they harvest their own herbs from a garden. If you have a few extra minutes in your day, take time to stroll through the herb garden. Or, stay a while to enjoy live entertainment Wednesday through Saturday.
6. Minor League Baseball: Charlotte Stone Crabs
Can’t get enough baseball? In Charlotte County, the locals couldn’t agree with you more. Enjoy America’s pastime with the whole family. Because it’s a minor league game, you don’t have to shell out for major league prices. If your little sluggers get restless in their seats, let them roam free in the Kidzone while you enjoy the game.
Nothing says baseball like a warm frank, a cold beer (or lemonade), and a night in the fresh air rooting for the home team.
7. Port Charlotte Town Center
Your trip wouldn’t be complete without a few souvenirs. But, wouldn’t it be great to come home with something you’ll use later? Come to Port Charlotte Town Center, the home of big department stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s and over 100 specialty stores and eateries. The mall is entirely indoors, so you can beat the heat while you shop ’til you drop.
Port Charlotte Town Center has one of the largest food courts in a mall in Florida, so you’re sure to find a tasty meal while you takea break from shopping.
Plan Your Trip Today
Getting around in Southwest Florida doesn’t have to be a drag. Various taxi services are available in Charlotte County and surrounding areas. If you want, leave your car behind and pick up a cab when you need it. Even if you don’t know your way around, you can reach your destination quickly and not waste a minute of your vacation!
Take these tips and enjoy Charlotte County and the rest of Southwest Florida.