Perched on the west coast of Florida, Port Charlotte is around a 90-minute drive south of St Petersburg. It’s the kind of city that’s great for a day trip or weekend stay whilst exploring the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. So, to help you get the most of a trip, I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Port Charlotte when you visit.
Now, some say that Port Charlotte is just for retirees, but don’t let that put you off! Its got a lovely charm and gorgeous spots around Gasparilla Sound that is totally lovely.
Take a look, below, at some of the best things to do in Port Charlotte, Florida.
1.) Stroll Bayshore Live Oak Park
For some totally gorgeous views of the bay, Bayshore Live Oak Park is the place to be.
Not only that, strolling on the lovely coastline trails is easily one of the best things to do in Port Charlotte around sunset. You see, from here, you get some stunning orange hues that are too beautiful to miss.
Plus, if you’ve rented (or have) a canoe, you’ll find the jetty to head off into the bay. Just stunning.
2.) Visit Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park has over 70+ miles of shoreline to explore and with a heap of trails and route to follow, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors near Port Charlotte.
For the best trails, head on the Eagle Point Trail, the Hidden Hammock Trail or the Three Lakes Trail – all nice and easy! One thing to note, be careful of alligators that roam this park. Keep a clear distance and never approach or go near them.
3.) Find North Charlotte Regional Park
This is one for the active amongst us! You see, North Charlotte Regional Park has everything from baseball fields, football fields and a disc golf course to practise your swing.
Not only that, they’ve recently just opened a shiny new Olympic length pool to test your water skills! Nearby, stroll over to the Charlotte County Fair that typically takes place at the end of January.
4.) Explore Gasparilla Island State Park
Perched off Charlotte Harbor, Gasparilla Island State Park is around a 30-minute drive from the centre of Port Charlotte.
Well worth a visit, the island is linked to the mainland via the Boca Grande Causeway (from Placida) and really easy to visit for a half-day trip.
Once here, be sure to explore the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum on the southerly tip of the island.
It’s steeped in history and has been around since the 1800s!
Not only that, it’s got a pristine beach that’s totally gorgeous too. It’s one of the best things to do in Port Charlotte if you’re fancying a break from the town itself.
Getting hungry, head over to South Beach Bar & Grille who dish out some of the tastiest fish tacos around.
5.) Visit Punta Gorda
Just across Peace River, Punta Gorda is another little spot that’s a stone’s throw from Port Charlotte itself.
Accessed via Live Oak Point (across the bridge) you’ll get to explore the area around Laishley Park that’s got a heap of little restaurants and spots to chill.
One firm stop you have to make is at Laishley Crab House who serves up the freshest seafood in town. Their stuffed lobster is so good.
6.) Head around Ollie’s Pond Park
One of the best things about Port Charlotte is the number of parks it has to explore. With a nice and peaceful lake with a short but lovely trail to follow, Ollie’s Pond Park is the perfect place for birdwatching.
Totally peaceful, it’s a gorgeous spot to chill! Though, if you’re not into birdwatching, you probably should give it a miss.
7.) Stroll Audubon-Pennington Nature Park
Don’t be fooled with the little size of Audubon-Pennington Nature Park, it’s a stunner of a place if you want some natural trails to follow right within Port Charlotte itself.
Along the way, you’ll spot a heap of birds at this park, too (which again, skip if that’s not your thing).
With three types of Vegetation spots; Cyprus swamp, Oak Hammock, and Pine Flatwoods the park feels so much bigger than you’d expect.
Just be sure to wear some good shoes when following the trails, it can get muddy in the lower parts of the park.
8.) Try Scuba diving with Fantasea Scuba
if you are looking for some adventure and water activities then Fantasea Scuba is a one-stop diving spot that has the best instructors in Port Charlotte. As expected, all diver trainers are certified and experienced driving instructors – and most importantly, very patient (for newbies like me).
Not only that, they rent a heap of dive equipment, snorkel equipment, and spearfishing gear which is perfect if you don’t want to lug your equipment here.
It really is one of the best things to do in Port Charlotte if you want to try your hand a scuba diving.
9.) Explore Port Charlotte Beach Park
The Port Charlotte Beach Park has lots to offer including fishing, canoeing, and kayaking (It’s Time Kayak is a great rental service).
There are also pavilions and a fishing pier where you can chill out with a picnic and catch dinner, too!