Explore 9 Best Things to Do in Punta Gorda, Florida

Tourists flock to Florida’s theme parks and beaches. Both are good reasons to visit Florida, but the inner canals are often overlooked by visitors seeking a peaceful vacation. Punta Gorda, on Florida’s western coast in Charlotte Harbor, offers year-round pleasant weather. This charming town may be the perfect getaway with its rich history, natural riches, and vibrant art scene.

Explore History on a Mural Tour

Explore 9 Best Things to Do in Punta Gorda, Florida

As wall art covers many Southern cities, Punta Gorda chose to do something new with its murals. Art and history lovers will enjoy each piece’s depiction of local history. Download the Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society map for a self-guided walk or pay for a two-hour local guided tour. Walk under the bridge to explore sealife or throughout town to see how a cattle drive altered it.

Explore Local Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

Explore 9 Best Things to Do in Punta Gorda, Florida

Admission to Peace River Wildlife Center is free, however donations assist the organization rehabilitate and release animals. The center takes in injured and needy animals, so you never know what you’ll discover. Visitors should also see Luna, the sole eastern screech owl with leucism, which makes him lighter than normal.

Paddle Water

Explore 9 Best Things to Do in Punta Gorda, Florida

Relax in Charlotte Harbor’s tranquil water even if you’re not on the beach. Rent a paddleboard or kayak and cruise the harbor. Rent a glass-bottom kayak or visit Selkie Adaptive Paddle if you need assistance seeing the underwater life. Do not worry if you lack direction—the Blueway Trails chart is for self-propelled vessels traveling interior waterways.

Day of Art and Nature

Everyone will appreciate the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens, whether traveling alone or with family. See a woman floating in the pool and realize you’re looking at a lifelike sculpture. Visit a butterfly habitat and admire a delicate species. As flowers bloom and insects and lizards hide, botanical environments attract wildlife. Check their calendar before visiting to see if you may catch one of their rotating exhibitions or activities.

Tour a distillery

Explore 9 Best Things to Do in Punta Gorda, Florida

At Alligator Bay Distillers in Punta Gorda, the Voss brothers have perfected their white, dark, and other spirits. A tour includes rum-making lessons and tasting their variants made with local mill sugar. Taste the Double Gold Medal-winning Spiced Rum, and take some home in TSA-friendly 2-ounce bottles that fit in a carry-on bag.

Bike Harborside

With lengths from 17 to 31 miles—you don’t have to complete the trail—Punta Gorda’s free bike loaner program makes sense. Take a bike from one of four local stations along the routes and peddle away. You can buy and eat along the way or stroll along the coast and see any wildlife.

Visit TT’s Tiki Bar for Harborside dining

Explore 9 Best Things to Do in Punta Gorda, Florida

When hunger hits, eat at TT’s Tiki Bar by the water after a harbor walk. This is the place to go for nightlife. Musicians from solo guitarists to local bands perform at TT’s many times a week. Besides burgers and tacos, the menu includes mahi and grouper.

Peace River Seafood has fresh crabs

Explore 9 Best Things to Do in Punta Gorda, Florida

Peace River Seafood, which serves local, freshly caught seafood, can satisfy your cravings for steamed blue crabs. One of their most popular dishes is crabs with corn on the cob, potato salad, and coleslaw, although other good options are available. Choose from the catch of the day, shrimp, clams, or gator gumbo. You can cook at your accommodations with their market’s seafood and products.

Gator Shack offers Gator Bites

Explore 9 Best Things to Do in Punta Gorda, Florida

To fuel up before or after an eco-tour at Babcock Ranch, the Gator Shack Restaurant is on-site. The gator bites are the restaurant’s specialty, however their menu changes. Depending on the day, try mac and cheese, chili, or peanut butter pie.


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