The city of Punta Gorda is located in southwest Florida USA, between Fort Myers and Sarasota on beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Here are 65 reasons why Punta Gorda is one of the top destinations to live, work and play.
1. Tourism - with 76.8 million visitors in 2004 and 82.5 million in 2008, Florida is the top travel destination in the world. The tourism industry has an economic impact of $57 billion on Florida’s economy (2008)
2. Almost everyone who lives in Orlando, all 18,680,367 citizens according to an April 2007 Florida Demographic survey sponsored by the Florida Legislature is or was a tourist at one time.
3. Florida Length North to South - 447 Miles, Width East to West - 361 Miles
4. Number of people who move to Florida each day - 1,000 according to www.city-data.com
5. Number of major commercial airports – 19
6. Number of international airports – 12
7. Number of deepwater ports – 14
8. Miles of sand beaches - 1,200
9. Miles of coastline - 1,800
10. Florida has more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams & waterways
11. Number of golf courses - more than 1,250
-Florida has more golf courses than any other state
-Palm Beach County has more golf courses than any other county in the USA
12. Number of hotel rooms in Florida - more than 370,000
13. Number of campgrounds - 700 (100,000 campsites) with more than 6 million people who camp in Florida each year
80.5 (F) degrees (26.9 C) (North Florida); 82.7 (F) degrees (28.2 C) (South Florida)
53.0 (F) degrees (11.7 C) (North Florida); 68.5 (F) degrees (20.3 C) (South Florida)
16. Punta Gorda Overview: Located on Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, Punta Gorda is situated in Charlotte County. The city of Punta Gorda has won several accolades that range from “hottest small city” to one of the top 50 “best places to live.” Residents enjoy an ideal high quality of life flanked by white sand beaches, a number of shopping and recreation options, and high job growth.
17. Population: Punta Gorda has a population of 16762 (2007). Although a very popular place to live for retirees and snow birds, young families are beginning to discover that this is the place to live the ideal family life.
18. Labor Force: The labor force of Punta Gorda metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) has experienced very strong growth over the past ten years, increasing by nearly 50%. Additionally, the MSA is expected to have the highest increase in prime working age individuals (age 20-54) in southwest Florida through 2015.
19. Education: Edison College is the largest provider of higher education in the MSA, offering associates degrees to approximately 2,500 students at its branch campus in Punta Gorda. Florida Gulf Coast University offers bachelor’s and masters degree programs at its branch campus located in nearby Lee County. Business education and training is available locally at IMPAC University, which offers masters and certificate programs in business.
20. Infrastructure: Punta Gorda MSA is bisected by I-75, which provides easy access to Miami 167 miles to the south, or Tampa, 96 miles north. Air transportation is available at Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers.
21. Business Environment: Punta Gorda MSA has experienced recent high growth in trade, transport, and utility industries. Education and health services are also in expansion mode. Drawn by the small-town atmosphere of the region and exceptional quality of life, the MSA will continue to rank among southwest Florida’s fastest growing regions.
22. Punta Gorda, a small village, has 10 golf courses, and a quaint historic downtown with shops, boutiques, restaurants and more
23. The devastation that Hurricane Charley brought in 2004 resulted in positive outcomes, bringing the citizenry together in many ways to the point that new commercial buildings, a new civic gathering place, a new marina and public park, plus new hotels, night spots and street plantings are changing and brightening the landscape for the better. There is lots more coming, and soon.
24. Races in Punta Gorda: White Non-Hispanic (93.2%); Black (3.2%); Hispanic (2.0%); two or more races (0.7%); other race (0.6%)
25. 2008 cost of living index in Punta Gorda: 83.1 (low, U.S. average is 100)
26. Travel time to Orlando Disney, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale or Miami is about 2.5 hours, and 50 minutes to either Fort Myers or Sarasota
27. Car rental is almost the only form of transport for tourists and relatively inexpensive. GPS’s can be rented together with your vehicle which makes traveling to any destination a pleasure
28. Three of the top ten USA beaches listed for 2008 are in Florida, easy driving distance from Punta Gorda. http://petrix.com/beaches/best.html
29. Punta Gorda Best healthy place to retire- www.usnews.com 18 September 2008
30. Punta Gorda Top 100 places to live 2007 www.CNNMoney.com
31. MSNBC ranks Punta Gorda #2 in Americans 10 hottest retirement areas
32. Punta Gorda MSA garnered a spot in the Forbes listing for Small Best Places for Business and Careers. Ranked 23rd in terms of job growth, Punta Gorda MSA ranked #89th overall
33. Punta Gorda MSA which encompasses all of Charlotte County was named the second hottest retirement spot in the nation by BizJournals, the online media division of American City Business Journals.
34. In its September/October 2006 issue, Business Development Outlook Magazine commissioned Sperling's Best Places to rank the top 50 cities in the US, and names Punta Gorda the 49th best overall city
35. In its May 2006 issue, Inc.com magazine named Punta Gorda MSA the 22nd best overall city for business; Punta Gorda MSA also ranked 17th in the Best Small City list. Coming in at #22 among 179 Small Cities for 2005
36. In its July 2004 edition, Kiplinger's Letter reported that new college grads are abandoning the big cities for small cities and towns, and Port Charlotte is specifically mentioned as one of the premier areas for relocation
37. Once again Punta Gorda MSA was voted as one of the Best Small Place for Business and Career by The Milken Institute (Forbes). Coming in at #22 among 179 Small Cities for 2005
38. MSN rated Punta Gorda Number 4 on their list of "America's Best Places to Live 2003
39. Three years in a row, Punta Gorda, Florida MSA was voted Best Small Place for Business and Career by the Forbes/The Milken Institute
40. In 2002, Men’s Journal ranked Punta Gorda, Florida in the Top 50 Places to Live
41. For four years, Money magazine recognized Punta Gorda MSA as one of the top five places to live
42. In 2001, Florida Trend magazine recognized Punta Gorda as one of the state’s “Small Town Gems” noting its “...Old Florida charm, civic pride and Forward momentum.
43. Charlotte County, which includes Punta Gorda, is still pure and simple. Charlotte County is the place to be if you are seeking a truly natural escape. This area is known as "Pure Florida" for its varied conservation and recreational activities.
44. Charlotte County has exceptional beaches, fishing, bird watching, biking, hiking, canoeing or just pure relaxation. The abundance of waterways in Charlotte County is what attracts many people.
45. You can still find attractive property deals if you know where to find them. www.nancyjweber.com is an excellent place to find real estate. Residential lots, homes, waterfront property and single family homes are excellent investments here in southwest Florida.
46. The lifestyle is what keeps people here. Charlotte County is situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where the Peace River flows into Charlotte Harbor, which then joins the Gulf of Mexico.
47. Deep Creek is a newer deed-restricted community with many of the homes less than 10 years old. The community has a beautiful golf course and many of the homes have magnificent fairway views. Deep Creek was laid out so that most lots border open space. Many homes are on freshwater lakes.
48. The Deep Creek Preserve in Punta Gorda is a 2000-acre park holding miles of walking trails through one of the southernmost strands of longleaf pine forest. The preserve is a relatively new park with future plans still being developed. With the exception of a small area of improved pasture this is natural Florida. A very comfortable lifestyle awaits you at Deep Creek.
49. There are ample shops, medical services, hospitals, hotels, resorts and more, including a super Wal*mart that stays open 24 hours.
50. Fishermen’s Village, a waterfront mall, located in Punta Gorda provides you the opportunity to shop for souvenirs at unique stores. You won’t find chain stores here, just individually owned shops with boutique items that are fun to explore like the Ruby Slipper and the Laff Out Loud store. There is a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico from the Captain’s Table Restaurant at Fishermen’s Village and delicious seafood. The King Fisher Fleet also offers sailings from Fishermen’s Village. Hop on for an afternoon cruise and you might be followed by dolphins and schools of fish during your cruise.
51. Punta Gorda also offers Gallery Walks on the third Thursday evening of the month. The evening includes art, music, shopping and food. There is a free trolley that takes participants around the area to shop, dine, enjoy the music and works of art.
52. But the main attraction of Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands is its un-crowded roads, beautiful beaches and the opportunity to explore nature in a relaxed setting. Peace River Wildlife Center at 3400 West Marion Avenue, Punta Gorda is an active wildlife rehabilitation center for indigenous animals and birds for viewing.
53. Visitors to Punta Gorda can easily tour the southwest Florida cities in the area. You'll have a 30-50 minute drive south to Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach, Pine Island (including Matlacha, Bokeelia and St. James City), Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Head west to Englewood, Rotonda, Venice, Boca Grande or the Gulf Coast beaches, 30-60 minutes away. Sarasota is about an hour's drive, also.
54. Visitors flying to the area generally use the Southwest Florida International Airport, about 45 minutes away.
55. Trips to take from Punta Gorda: All who find Cabbage Key believe it's their own secret discovery. Cabbage Key's 100 acre island is located by Intracoastal channel marker 60. It's about 20 water miles from Punta Gorda, between Useppa Island and Caya Costa. At different times of the year tour boats take visitors for lunch. It is accessible by private boats at any time. Many boaters stay for dinner and spend the night on their boats or in one of the rooms for rent. Some evenings are very lively depending on who was traveling down the intracoastal waterway that day.
56. The winter estate of both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford is 30 minutes south of Punta Gorda. The furnishings and architecture of these gracious buildings are reminiscent of a bygone era, yet there are many innovations which we do not have in our homes today.
57. A few years ago a sidewalk system was started that allows one to walk from one end of town to the other. Starting at Ponce de Leon Park, it is a 2.5 mile walk to the new park on Aqui Esta. Ponce Park is a treat by itself. Besides the fishermen and the boat traffic, there is a nature walk that goes over the mangroves. Also, in the park, is the Peace River Wildlife Center where the local Vets and volunteers take care of injured birds and animals. From Aqui Esta park, it is a little over 2 miles to Gilchrist Park which runs along the Peace River. Tennis courts and playgrounds are scattered through the Park which is almost a half mile long. The next stop after Gilchrist is Laishly Park, unless you are really into a good workout and decide to walk the bridges over the Peace River. It is a real treat to walk the more than 1 mile span, and watch the dolphins play below you.
58. Beaches: Port Charlotte Beach Park: Port Charlotte Beach Complex is a public beach facility at the southeast end of Harbor Boulevard in Port Charlotte. The beach complex offers a concession, boardwalk, tennis courts, horseshoe area, fishing pier, picnic shelters, grills, a swimming pool, boccie ball courts, playground equipment and an outdoor basketball court. Parking is 25 cents per hour or $25.00 for a yearly pass (food from 10/1 through 9/30) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. No lifeguards are on duty at the beach. The heated pool is guarded.
59. Englewood Beach is along State Road 775 near the Charlotte-Sarasota County line. It is across the street from restaurants and tourists shops. This is a beach with light-colored sand and turfs of sea oats growing along the dune line. Facilities include a boardwalk, covered picnic shelters, grills and volleyball. Parking is 25 cents per hour or $25.00 for a yearly pass (food from 10/1 through 9/30) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. No lifeguards are on duty at the beach.
60. Stump Pass Beach is located at the south end of Manasota Key, beginning where Gulf Boulevard ends and stretching about two miles. A new 40 space parking lot is open, as is a building with rest rooms and a weather shelter. Enjoy the great beach, shelling and fishing.
61. Boca Grande Beach: Take the Boca Grande Causeway (off State Road 771 in Charlotte County) through the village of Boca Grande to explore the four miles of beach front. There is a $3.25 causeway toll for cars and a $2 charge for parking. The public beach is noted for its light-green surf and white sand. There are three lighthouses along the beach and large shade trees near shore. The beach offers full facilities, including freshwater showers, picnic tables and grills. There are no concessions available or lifeguards on duty. The beach closes at dusk. The best fishing and shelling is at the southeast public beach; however, there are no facilities available.
62. Babcock Wilderness Adventures: Enjoy the fun and excitement as you travel in a comfortable swamp buggy high above the dark waters of the 8,000 acre Telegraph Cypress Swamp. Experience the thrill of watching panther, bison, deer, turkey, alligators and more in their natural habitat, and often approach within a few yards.
63. The 90,000 acre Crescent B Ranch in eastern Charlotte County offers you the chance to see the real Florida, unspoiled and untouched. Highly skilled naturalists guide you through this 90 minute eco-tour adventure as the woods come to life before your eyes. Three hour off-road and eco-bike tours through the scenic roads and trails are also available. Bikes and helmets are provided. For those interested in conservation, wildlife and agriculture, Babcock is a "must see."
64. Christmas in Punta Gorda: There are cruise boats, if you're visiting, even flights from the airport viewing the spectacle from the air. Decorated boats cruise through the canals enjoying all the lights on the boats, homes and seawalls. A drive through the Isles gives a great view of the homes and canals so if you are here in December, be sure to come see at night. The “grand event” is the lighted boat parade which usually takes place early in December. Approximately 50 decorated boats come across the Harbor, cruise through the Iles and downtown Punta Gorda. Thousands of people come out to see the event.
65. My last and 65th reason to visit Punta Gorda is that there are much more to do in and around Punta Gorda than mentioned in this list which by far is not complete or comprehensive. It will take you hours to search for all the hidden attractions and things to do. Enjoy your trip!
Disclaimer: Information was compiled from various websites and cannot be guaranteed to be correct or factual. Roy Harris-2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.