Port Charlotte Florida Travel Tips: Beaches, Where to Stay & Play (2023)

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.

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 Homesrent 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.


How far is it from Port Charlotte to the beach? ›

Located 26 miles southwest of Port Charlotte, Gasparilla Island is the home of Gasparilla Island State Park, which plays host to avid boaters and anglers who are in pursuit of the legendary "silver king." The beach offers year-round saltwater fishing for those who possess a Florida saltwater license.

Is the water in Port Charlotte fresh or saltwater? ›

Charlotte Harbor receives its fresh water from three major rivers and several smaller streams that mix with the marine waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The salinity can range from freshwater to seawater depending on the season, location and depth in the harbor.

Does Punta Gorda have a beach? ›

Does Punta Gorda Florida have a beach? While Punta Gorda is located right on Charlotte Harbor, there is no natural beach on the shoreline. Punta Gorda, Florida does have several “dry” beaches along the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor.

What is the closest beach to Charlotte? ›

Myrtle Beach is the closest Atlantic Ocean beach near Charlotte, NC based on distance or mileage but not necessarily time (a few beaches in North Carolina's Brunswick Islands may be a faster depending on traffic flow and congestion).

Is the Port Charlotte beach safe to swim in? ›

Enjoy time swimming, shelling and picnicking around this area. There are dangerous currents in the pass; however, so swimming is not permitted in this area.

Does Port Charlotte have a boardwalk? ›

Amenities at this park include a boardwalk with fishing pier, boat ramp, canoe/kayak launch, horseshoe pits, bocce courts, basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball court, playground area, small shelters with a picnic table, two large pavilions, restrooms, heated swimming pool, and a recreation center.

Does Punta Gorda have a boardwalk? ›

Running for two & a half miles along the beautiful Charlotte Harbor shoreline Harborwalk connects Bayfront Health to Fishermen's Village. With Mangrove forests, sweeping vistas, shops, waterfront dining, historical sites, and Laishley & Gilchrist Parks there is always something to see and do along this vibrant pathway.

Is Englewood Beach free? ›

Englewood Beach at Chadwick Park is a pay-to-park facility (75 cents/hour). Seasonal or annual parking passes may be purchased at any recreation center, the Charlotte County Tax Collectors office or by calling 941.625. 7529. Dogs are not permitted on beaches or fishing piers per County Ordinance (Ord.

What is the ocean temp in Port Charlotte? ›

73°F. Today water temperature in Port Charlotte is 73.6°F.

Is the tap water in Port Charlotte safe to drink? ›

Our Department along with others are working with the FDOH and the CDC to ensure that the water systems are safe for our customers. "Generally, tap water is just fine," said Dr. Barry Rosen, who has studied water organisms for the past 40 years.

What is the closest body of water to Charlotte? ›

Located 20 miles north of Charlotte, Lake Norman is the perfect place for a quick trip or small getaway anytime of the year.

What is the nicest beach close to Punta Gorda? ›

1. Englewood Beach. Only a short drive away from Punta Gorda, Englewood Beach is generally regarded as the best beach in the local area.

Why is Punta Gorda so popular? ›

In addition to its beautifully restored historic district, Punta Gorda offers many natural attractions, waterside shopping and leisurely strolls along the Harborwalk and at Fishermen's Village on Charlotte Harbor.

Does Punta Gorda have crocodiles? ›

American crocodiles are most commonly found in their native habitat on the southern tip of Florida and the Florida Keys. To see a croc in Punta Gorda is a rare occurrence.

Is it worth going to Outer Banks? ›

A visit to the Outer Banks is not complete without a visit here. This 426-acre state park is home to the tallest and largest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. Hike across the dunes to reach the water (it's a workout for sure) or for those adventure seekers, book a hang gliding lesson.

Is Port Charlotte beach a lake? ›

Yes, its a river and a harbour . The peace river runs into Charlotte harbour( salt water) ......

How long does it take to drive from Charlotte to the ocean? ›

Driving from Charlotte to Atlantic Beach takes just under 5 hours with no stops. However, if you take the time to experience some of the incredible destinations on the journey, you can spend an entire day discovering this beautiful state without feeling like you're stuck in the car all day!

Can you swim in Ferry beach? ›

Ferry Beach State Park offers sweeping view of miles of white sand beaches between the Saco River and Pine Point. The beach has been a destination for generations for sunbathing and swimming.

Is it safe to swim at Crown Beach? ›

Crown Beach Regional Shoreline Water Quality Conditions

Swimming is permitted during park hours year round. No lifeguards are on duty. Beach wheelchairs are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is it safe to swim at Ocean Isle Beach? ›

The island does not have life-guards; we swim at our own risk in the ocean. So make sure you swim with a partner, and keep a close eye on children in your group.

What is Port Charlotte known for? ›

Port Charlotte features more than 165 miles of waterways, providing access to Charlotte Harbor, the Gulf of Mexico, and miles of natural shoreline bordering Charlotte Harbor and the Peace and Myakka rivers. But that's not all. Seven of the 21 golf courses located in Charlotte County are found in Port Charlotte.

Do you have to pay to park at Port Charlotte Beach Park? ›

Charlotte County beaches & boat ramps are pay to park. The cost is $0.75 per hour. If you have a State issued handicap permit (plate or placard), you may park for free at any Charlotte County operated beach, park, boat ramp or fishing pier, provided the person issued the permit is present.

How expensive is Port Charlotte? ›

Cost of Living in Port Charlotte
Port CharlotteFlorida
Median Home Cost$180,900$237,100
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What is the most famous boardwalk in Florida? ›

The Daytona Beach Boardwalk, which heads north from Main Street, was built in 1938. Though it's been modernized, it oozes of the nostalgic touches the Drifters rhapsodized about in their song and it's one of the most famous boardwalks in Florida.

Can you walk Ocean City Boardwalk at night? ›

The Ocean City Boardwalk is Always Open

The Boardwalk itself is open 24/7.

What beach in Florida has the best boardwalk? ›

Arguably the most famous beach in Florida, Daytona Beach is also home to an old-fashion boardwalk that combines arcades and amusement attractions with modern shopping and dining options. The Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier have everything from slingshot attractions and go-karts to an old-school Ferris wheel.

Is Bar beach free? ›

Residents of New York state may enjoy North Hempstead Beach Park free of charge, but there is a cost for non-residents. If paying by credit card, the fee is $10. Cash payments are $15.

Is Venice Beach free? ›

There is no fee to walk on the pier and beach access is also free!

Do you have to pay to go on Ocean City beach? ›

Beach Tags are required for all beachgoers ages 12 and older and are in effect from the first weekend in June through Labor Day each year. Seasonal tags cost $35 ($30 if purchased by May 31) .

What is the coldest temperature in Port Charlotte Florida? ›

The lowest daily average low temperature is 52°F on January 18. For reference, on August 8, the hottest day of the year, temperatures in Port Charlotte typically range from 75°F to 90°F, while on January 18, the coldest day of the year, they range from 52°F to 73°F.

How cold does it get in Port Charlotte Florida? ›

average temperature Port Charlotte

With an average of 27.5 °C | 81.5 °F, August is the warmest month. In January, the average temperature is 17.0 °C | 62.6 °F. It is the lowest average temperature of the whole year.

How cold does it get in Port Charlotte Florida in the winter? ›

Winter temperatures can range from 49 to 85 degrees, with an average of 65 degrees in January, February, and March. This makes for nice cool mornings and evenings and pleasantly temperate days.

How safe is Port Charlotte? ›

Port Charlotte has an overall crime rate of 12 per 1,000 residents, making the crime rate here near the average for all cities and towns of all sizes in America. According to our analysis of FBI crime data, your chance of becoming a victim of crime in Port Charlotte is 1 in 86.

Do we need to boil water in Port Charlotte? ›

Let cool before use to prevent burns. Bottled water may be used as an alternative. or call the Charlotte Harbor Water Association at 941-625-2288 for additional information.
How to Disinfect Water.
Frequently asked questions152.09 KB
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Does Port Charlotte still have to boil water? ›

(Oct. 8, 2022) – Charlotte County Utilities Department has rescinded the boil water notice for all customers. The water is now safe for consumption.

How far is beach from Charlotte? ›

How far is Carolina Beach: Charlotte is around 200 miles and a 3.5-hour drive from Carolina Beach. Another beach near Charlotte that is also located in the Wilmington area is Carolina Beach.

What river is Port Charlotte FL on? ›

Myakka River at North Port Charlotte FL.

Where is the big body of water? ›

The largest body of water in the world is the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean covers over 30% of the earth's surface and is also the deepest ocean.

Has Punta Gorda ever been hit by a hurricane? ›

For Punta Gorda, the critical rebuild came after Hurricane Charley decimated the city in 2004.

Is Sanibel Island near Punta Gorda? ›

How long is the drive from Punta Gorda to Sanibel? The direct drive from Punta Gorda to Sanibel is 54.7 mi (88 km), and should have a drive time of 1 hr 8 mins in normal traffic.

Is Siesta Key worth visiting? ›

Everyone from morning walkers to daytime sunbathers, to evening sunset photographers can enjoy the spectacular vista of aquamarine Gulf Coast waters. By its sheer beauty alone, there is no wonder why Siesta Public Beach has been named no. 1 in America on multiple occasions by multiple travel outlets.

Do any celebrities live in Punta Gorda? ›

Mindi Abair, jazz saxaphonist, said at a recent concert that she has a home in Punta Gorda. Drummer Steve Luongo, now head of the John Entwistle Foundation, lives in the area.

Is Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte the same? ›

Port Charlotte is located at the north end of the Charlotte Harbor Estuary, northwest of the city of Punta Gorda. It is 100 miles (160 km) south of Tampa and 65 miles (105 km) north of Naples.

Is Punta Gorda walkable? ›

Located where the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor meet, Punta Gorda boasts a walkable (and bike-able) downtown area that hums with activity.

Do Gators go on the beach? ›

There are many things you may encounter when swimming in the ocean. Alligators probably aren't one of them. While alligators can tolerate salt water for a few hours or even days, they are primarily freshwater animals, living in swampy areas, rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.

Is it safe to swim with gators? ›

Do not allow your dogs or children to swim in waters inhabited by alligators, or to drink or play at the water's edge. To an alligator, a splash potentially means a food source is in the water. It is best to avoid swimming in areas that are known habitats for large alligators but at the least, never swim alone.

Is the water clear in Punta Gorda? ›

Let's not forget about the water! In Punta Gorda you can fish in crystal clear waters, sail the beautiful Charlotte Harbor, or kayak through lush mangrove tunnels.

Is Port Charlotte near the water? ›

Port Charlotte features more than 165 miles of waterways, providing access to Charlotte Harbor, the Gulf of Mexico, and miles of natural shoreline bordering Charlotte Harbor and the Peace and Myakka rivers. But that's not all. Seven of the 21 golf courses located in Charlotte County are found in Port Charlotte.

Is Port Charlotte expensive? ›

Cost of Living in Port Charlotte

Overall, Port Charlotte is quite a low-cost place to live in Florida. While the state of Florida is slightly above the US average cost of living, Port Charlotte is quite a bit lower than both the US and Florida average.

Is Port Charlotte near Venice beach? ›

Yes, the driving distance between Venice Beach to Port Charlotte is 27 miles. It takes approximately 38 min to drive from Venice Beach to Port Charlotte. Where can I stay near Port Charlotte?

How much does it cost to go to the Carolina beach Boardwalk? ›

The boardwalk and amusement park is open Memorial Day through Labor Day every year. This local spot has become a favorite landmark for both vacationer and residents alike, embodying the spirit of summer at the beach. Tickets are $1.50 each, and rides cost two to three tickets each. An all-day pass is $20.

Does Port Charlotte FL have a downtown? ›

Like many of the small towns on both sides of Florida, Port Charlotte has a downtown area that is filled with unique shopping destinations.

Is Port Charlotte walkable? ›

Port Charlotte has an average Walk Score of 16 with 54,392 residents.

Are there dolphins in Port Charlotte Florida? ›

Charlotte Harbor is estimated to be home to 300 to 400 dolphins. They are beautiful and graceful animals that are a wonder to observe. It's estimated there are about 45,000 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico.

What is the coldest month in Port Charlotte Florida? ›

The coldest month of the year in Port Charlotte is January, with an average low of 53°F and high of 73°F.

What is the racial makeup of Port Charlotte Florida? ›

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent 76.4%
Population Characteristics
Veterans, 2017-20216,523
Foreign born persons, percent, 2017-202112.5%
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Is Port Charlotte a big city? ›

Port Charlotte is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Charlotte County, Florida, United States. The population was 60,625 at the 2020 census. It is part of the Sarasota-Bradenton-Punta Gorda Combined Statistical Area.

Is Port Charlotte near Fort Lauderdale? ›

The distance between Fort Lauderdale and Port Charlotte is 173 miles, which takes as little as 3 hours 25 minutes with our fastest rides.

How far is Port Charlotte from airport? ›

The nearest airport to Port Charlotte is Punta Gorda (PGD) Airport which is 7.1 miles away. Other nearby airports include Ft. Myers (RSW) (37.5 miles), Sarasota/Bradenton (SRQ) (40.4 miles), Tampa (TPA) (74.7 miles) and Orlando (MCO) (112 miles).

What is the distance between Port Charlotte in Miami? ›

The distance between Port Charlotte and Miami is 199 miles, which takes a minimum of 4 hours 15 minutes.


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