Port Charlotte offers easy access to a variety of water sports such as fishing, boating, and kayaking through some of the nearly 200 miles of Blueway Waterway trails. Our staff is resident experts of the Port Charlotte area and can give you the best tips to make your stay an incredible one.
What sets Port Charlotte apart from Florida vacation spots?
Port Charlotte is a vibrant small town in the center of Charlotte County and has earned national recognition as one of the best places to retire and an affordable Florida vacation spot. Nearby communities include Boca Grande, Don Pedro and Knight Islands, El Jobean, Englewood-Cape Haze, Little Gasparilla Island, Manasota Key, Placida and Punta Gorda. Visitors looking to worship the sun on Florida beaches can enjoy the harbor-side Port Charlotte Beach Park and the 28 miles of Gulf of Mexico beaches located near Port Charlotte. Charlotte County offers 70 parks and preserves and is an ideal Florida vacation spot for those who enjoy the outdoors. The area also offers a variety of entertainment options including community theatre, venues with live entertainment, and an appreciation for visual arts.
What are the best beaches near Port Charlotte, Florida?
Beaches in and around Port Charlotte have their own personalities. Port Charlotte Bach Park is a favorite of athletes and families for its heated swimming pool , beach volleyball, horseshoe courts and playground. Port Charlotte Beach also has picnic shelters, a fishing pier and ramps for boating, canoeing and kayaking. Of course, beachgoers enjoy the white-sand beach. Twenty eight miles of Gulf of Mexico beaches are located on four barrier islands including two Florida State Park beaches. Some beaches are only accessible by boat making them remote and a true paradise. Florida State Parks and Charlotte County beaches both require an entrance fee to enjoy.
What is the history of Port Charlotte, Florida?
Port Charlotte’s history dates back to around 10,000 BC when the nomadic Paleo-Indians called the area home. The Calusa, the “shell people,” then inhabited Southwest Florida with a population of more than 50,000 until the Spanish landed in the 1500s. They and other Europeans brought diseases such as measles and smallpox which were fatal to the Calusa population. The Seminole Indians eventually inhabited the area. In 1845, Florida became a state, Charlotte County was established in 1921 and it wasn’t until the 1950s when Port Charlotte was developed by General Development Corporation. Prior to that, Port Charlotte was home to cattle ranches and small farms.
What are things to do in Port Charlotte, Florida?
Boating – Charlotte Harbor has been named one of the top sailing destinations by SAIL magazine.
With 830 miles of shoreline, two dozen area marinas and ample boat ramps, you can easily get on the water every day and have a different experience. Access is available to the Gulf of Mexico, Charlotte Harbor and the Peace and Myakka Rivers.
Canoeing, Kayaking and Standup Paddle Boarding – Charlotte County is home to nearly 200 miles of Blueway Waterway trails designed for paddle sports and Port Charlotte provides easy access to these trails. Some of the trails, such as the Woolverton Trail in Placida, are through narrow, mangrove tunnels allowing you to see the thriving life living among the mangroves. If you don’t have your own watercraft, there are several vendors throughout Charlotte County who rent them and offer guided tours.
Charlotte Players Community Theatre Center – An institution for over 50 years, the Charlotte Players produces special events and community theatre throughout the year.
Cultural Center of Charlotte County – Established in 1960 and originally called Port Charlotte University, the Cultural Center of Charlotte County offers more than 12,000 happenings in education, recreation and social activities. These include classes, hobby clubs, card games, theater performances, and expos. A gift shop and restaurant are onsite. The Cultural Center is a hub of activity for the young and young at heart.
Golf – With more than 20 golf courses in the area ranging from executive to championship level, it’s no wonder Golf Digest named Port Charlotte one of the “best places in America to live and play golf.” Two courses have been ranked 4 ½ stars by Golf Digest and three are Audubon certified. Don’t worry if you’re not able to pack your clubs, many courses have golf clubs available for rent.
Fish Cove Golf – If you need to work on your golf game, Fish Cove Golf is the perfect place to practice your putt. This miniature golf course offers 36 holes in a tranquil and scenic setting near the Peace River.
Fishing – Many people visit Port Charlotte to check something off their bucket list and many times its to tarpon fish in Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande Pass or land a goliath grouper which can weigh up to 700 pounds. Charlotte Harbor is recognized for world-class fishing and serves as an important breeding ground for several fish including cobia, grouper, redfish, snook and tarpon. The harbor is brackish water formed by the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico and freshwater from the Caloosahatchee, Myakka and Peace Rivers. Shore and pier fishing are popular as well as inshore and deep sea fishing, and fishing from either a motorized boat or kayak. Numerous experienced fishing guides are available for hire to help you catch your fish of a lifetime. In addition to saltwater, freshwater fishing is bountiful from Webb Lake and local ponds and canals.
Smoke and Roses Sailing Charter –Smoke and Roses Sailing Charter is a perfect thing to do to take advantage of the water. Enjoy smooth sailing over Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico during a private excursion aboard this sailing catamaran. The 47-foot luxurious vessel can accommodate up to six people and is available for cruises ranging in length from a few hours to watch the sunset over Charlotte Harbor to several days during a sailing trip to the Florida Keys.
Shelling – Charlotte County’s Gulf of Mexico beaches are sprinkled with colorful seashells and make the perfect souvenir. Hunt for fighting conchs, shark’s eye moon shell and Florida’s official state shell, the horse conch. The collection of live seashells is prohibited so when collection shells, look inside to ensure nothing is living in there. If there is, return it to where you found it.
Fossilized shark teeth – While walking along Charlotte County beaches, keep your eyes open for small, shiny black triangles. These are fossilized shark teeth dating back between 4 and 5 million years ago. Or, bring your own (or rent one) “Florida snow shovel” which is a basket at the end of a handle used to scoop and sift the sand for the prehistoric treasures.
Visani Restaurant and Comedy Club – Get your giggles on and bring your appetite to Visani’s. This popular Southwest Florida nightspot offers music and entertainment and frequently features top comedians from New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Plan to arrive early to enjoy a delicious house-made Italian entrée, or one of their popular seafood dishes or original hand-tossed pizzas.
What tips for vacation rentals should we consider in Port Charlotte, Florida?
Port Charlotte and Charlotte County have numerous vacation rentals in the forms of condos, townhomes and houses available throughout the year. These are available for rent either from property management companies or individual owners. The type of vacation rental you choose comes down to personal preference based on various factors such as location, your budget, length of stay and type of Florida vacation experience you are looking to have.
Protect your vacation investment and we strongly recommend you doing so by thoroughly researching properties, reading peer reviews, and contacting the owners directly. Vacation rental scams are common online and you should never wire transfer money for your rental, especially to someone overseas. Do not be afraid to walk away from a deal that “seems too good to be true.”
Is Port Charlotte, Florida a good spring break destination?
Port Charlotte and Charlotte County welcomes everyone interested in selecting the area as their Florida Spring Break destination. Some college students visit during that time and they are typically visiting relatives. Charlotte County sees more families and couples rather than college students enjoying Spring Break, all visitors are welcome. Traffic is typically heavier during this time of year and beach parking is at a premium so plan accordingly.
Is Port Charlotte, Florida safe?
One of the most important factors when deciding on a vacation destination or a new place to live is your personal safety and the safety of your possessions. Rather than take the word of a real estate agent or vacation rental agent, research crime statistics, such as the Crime Filter of Trulia which pulls from two reliable databases and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
What are the best points of interest in Port Charlotte?
According to the local Chamber of Commerce and tourism office, here are the best places to visit while you vacation in Port Charlotte:
Beaches – Manasota Key is home to Englewood Beach and Stump Pass Beach State Park which are perfect for sun worshipping, walking, and hunting for seashells and fossilized shark teeth. Englewood Beach has a wide open coastline making it easy to find your own piece of paradise. Don’t have a beach chair? They’re available for rent. Every Sunday night about an hour before sunset, a drum circle forms and everyone is invited to participate with either their own drum, by dancing or just observing. There is a $.75/hour fee to park at Englewood Beach.
Stump Pass Beach State Park also offers a nature trail for wildlife viewing and it’s possible to see osprey, gopher tortoises and dolphins. Native plants along the trail include bay cedar and indigo berry. During winter and spring, parking is at a premium so plan to arrive early, especially to Stump Pass Beach State Park where parking is limited. Admission into the park is $3 per car.
Don Pedro Island State Park is only accessible by boat and Captiva Cruises offers trips to the park for those who don’t have their own vessel or who don’t want to paddle a kayak, canoe or standup paddle board to the island. Because of its limited access, the beach is pristine and remote. A nature trail meanders through the park and a pavilion provides shade, bathrooms, outdoor shower, picnic tables and grills. Admission to the island is $2 per person.
Baseball Spring Training – Each February, 15 professional teams report for baseball spring training in Florida in what’s called the Grapefruit League. The Tampa Bay Rays call the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte their spring training home and play against teams as the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Socks and New York Yankees. Games are typically held during March and the Charlotte Sports Park, which was voted Best Spring Training facility by USA Today readers, offers baseball fans the opportunity to get up close to their favorite players.
Fishermen’s Village – Located in nearby Punta Gorda, visiting Fishermen’s Village is one of the most popular things to do in Charlotte County. This unique waterfront mall, marina and resort is located in historic Punta Gorda on the Peace River at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor. The complex recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and features vacation villa rentals, restaurants, boutique shopping, fishing charters and boat rentals, kayak and standup paddle board rentals and lessons, eco-boat tours, harbor tours, sunset cruises, surrey bike rentals, free Yellow Bicycle Loaner Program by TEAM Punta Gorda and marina. Free concerts and entertainment are offered throughout the year.
What are the best hotels in Port Charlotte?
One of the unique things about Port Charlotte is they offer more than hotels. In fact, there are many types of lodging accommodations. They are:
Bed & Breakfasts – locally owned and operated in a comfortable home.
Condos – live like a local in the heart of Port Charlotte.
Hotels – familiar chain names and locally-owned options available
Motels – budget-friendly alternatives available all over the area.
RV Park – bring your RV, park it and enjoy all the areas.
Vacation Homes – rent directly from an owner or a rental management company to get a more “home” feeling for your stay.
How is the weather in Port Charlotte?
There are many weather apps and websites available to give you the current Southwest Florida weather and short-term and long-range forecast. For averages, visit the U.S. Climate Data website.
Charlotte County has a sub-tropical climate making mild winters from January to March. The rainy season in Port Charlotte is June – September and on average, these months receive 6 – 9” of rain. The “off months” will range between 2 – 4” per month. This makes a difference when planning a vacation. The rainy season also has the highest temperatures with highs averaging 90+ and the lows in the mid-70s.