By: Brian Garcia
Tucked away between Sarasota county and Lee County is the little quiet gem of a community that is in Charlotte County. If you are looking for a low-key neighborhood that is quiet but still close the activities that bigger cities and towns have to offer, then Charlotte County might be the place for you.
Charlotte County is split into three main areas: Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and the Englewood/Rotunda area. Each area has is own distinct personality that tends to go along with its location within the county.
I’ll start with Punta Gorda and the surrounding areas, being that I was born and raised in Punta Gorda I like to think that I am kind of an expert. Let’s start with the City of Punta Gorda, itself which offers numerous activities for the locals and snowbirds alike. For example, if you were to take a walk down Marion Avenue you would pass numerous restaurants, bars, and small local shops that offer many options for your shopping desires.
Punta Gorda also offers many opportunities to enjoy the Peace River and Charlotte harbor, which has some of the best fishing in the state of Florida. This area gives any angler a chance to secure a grand slam on any given day by catching snook, redfish, trout, and if your lucky one of our resident tarpon.
Once your done with your day on the water you can stop at any of the restaurants that can been accessed by boat and enjoy a meal or a few drinks and the sunset. My personal favorite is Harpoon Harrys, which tends to have a band most days, good food and cold drinks. Other options are Laishley Crab House, which offers a more upscale experience, but still the laid-back atmosphere that people have come to expect from Punta Gorda.
Punta Gorda truly has something for everyone, without the hustle and bustle of the larger communities to our north and south.
Are you looking for a home, and not sure that Punta Gorda has what you are looking for? Well trust me- it does, from waterfront homes with access to Charlotte Harbor, to your rural home that lets you keep your horses just outside your back door in the Ranchettes. I also can not forget to mention that Florida’s Solar City of Babcock Ranch falls within the Punta Gorda area.
Punta Gorda Isles was one of the first planned developments in the area and is built around a series of canals and waterfront living. The area is well established and just outside of the city center, minutes away from restaurants, bars and other activities.
The ranchettes is located east of I-75 and sits between US 17 and Jones Loop Rd on the south end. The homes in this community vary but most sit on 1.25-2.5 acre lots and are zoned agricultural, allowing for horses. This is a tight knit community and allows your kids to enjoy some of the great outdoor activities Florida has to offer. Also, the Ranchetts are a quick 5-10 minute drive from the River City Grill located in downtown Punta Gorda when you just don’t feel like cooking dinner, or Celtic Ray Irish Pup (a local favorite) when you have the need for a cold Pint.
Then there is Babcock Ranch, located on State Road 31 just across the Lee County line. This is a community that has been in the works for the better part of 15 years and truly is going to be something that the area has never seen before compared to other planned communities. Babcock Ranch is passionate about being one with the nature that Floirda has been blessed with. It is centered around a town square that hosts numerous shops, health center, and a restaurant that offers a fancier take on some southern classics. It also has its own charter school, which is elementary age only, but plans to grow with the community. Not leaving the little ones out, Bloom Academy offers preschool and VPK for the residents, and people from the surrounding areas. What makes Babcock Ranch standout from the rest, is its emphasis on preserving the ecosystem and getting people outside to enjoy the numerous trails and waterfront that they have to offer. The developer has made it a point to preserve a large portion of the development as a nature preserve and maintain the land as it always had been when it was a working cattle ranch.
Punta Gorda truly has something for everyone and offers things that just can not be found to the counties to the north or South. From nightlife, to things to do with the kids, to being in the outdoors of SWFL Punta Gorda truly has it all. And lets be honest, if it doesn’t Fort Myers is only 30 min away and will have what you are looking for. But if you are looking for a low-key lifestyle that moves at its own pace and just a step slower that the rest of the world, Punta Gorda might just be for you.