Punta Gorda – Scenic Views & Family Fun
When you think Florida you think of Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico fun. Well you can have fun on many other bodies of water in Florida including Charlotte Harbor. Sitting in between Sarasota and Ft. Myers is the small-town of Punta Gorda which sits on this harbor, the second largest bay in Florida. Punta Gorda offers many fun activities along and on the water. One such activity is a trip to Fishermen’s Village.
Fishermen’s Village is a place for the whole family to check out lots of souvenir shops and clothing stores. One store to checkout in particular is Caribongo. Buy what is on the surface a black and white t-shirt. When out in the sun however it transforms into a beautiful colored t-shirt.
You’ll also see a coffee house and several restaurants. You’ll get the kids excited with ice cream and chocolate options. Look above all the shops and restaurants and you’ll find on the second level rentable villas.
Adults will get excited towards the end of Fishermen’s Village when they see Harpoon Harry’s and their tropical drink selection. I recommend the Pirate’s Fruit Cocktail. The whole family can snack on some onion strings and good clam chowder while enjoying the open views of the Charlotte Harbor waters.
Catch some good live entertainment in the evenings. You can get to Harpoon Harry’s and Fishermen’s Village not just by land, but by water and boat. Watch people come and go on the dock below. Vessels will also dock in the marina next store to visit the village.
Always have your camera ready. You never know when a great shot of the harbor, palm trees and Punta Gorda will present itself.
Walk along the perimeter of the village and the shoreline and checkout the award winning Fishermen’s Village Yacht Basin (marina). Stop just looking at the water, get on the water. Check out the kayak and boat rental options or take a sightseeing cruise.
Further down the harbor shoreline closer to downtown is Laishley Park and Marina. Another place to grab a boat rental. Checkout Freedom Club. There is also a public boat launch.
Head up stairs from Freedom Club and enjoy the crabs, other seafood and the views from Laishley Crab House. Take the time to also just hangout at the park and marina and catch a great sunset with the Charlotte Harbor Bridge as a backdrop.
They have festivals at the park all the time including 4th Fest on the Fourth of July. It offers water rides galore for the kids, great music and eats with fireworks at dark. Watch the fireworks from the park, marina or out on the bay. Beautiful!
In between Fishermen’s Village and Laishley Park and Marina is the twin span Charlotte Harbor Bridge. It crosses over the harbor one span north and south, with Port Charlotte opposite. The whole family can walk on either span and see lots of other people walking and running.
When you’re walking make sure to look down below to see manatees pop their heads in-and-out of the water. Take a stroll on the northbound span in the early morning and watch crab boats set up their traps.
In the summer, it’s a good idea to hit the bridge in the early morning hours before the heat and humidity of the day and the late day afternoon storm that tends to pop up. Even those are beautiful. Photo below is captured from where else, Harpoon Harry’s, as a storm was coming in over the harbor.
Alongside the bridge is the outdoor TT’s Tiki Bar at Four Points with a fire pit, lots of relaxing chairs, live entertainment and of course palm trees everywhere. The bridge again is a backdrop. Don’t worry, it’s early morning, that’s why no one is there.
If you like to be around and on the water and see great scenic views and have great family fun in Florida, Punta Gorda along Charlotte Harbor is a place worth checking out.
This is a guest post by travel blogger @elatlboy who shares his past, present and future travels and adventures on his blog, “The Adventures of the elatlboy”.