Boater’s Guide: Port Charlotte, FL

Port Charlotte is the kind of place you dream about when you first buy a boat.

portCharlotteMapLocated on Florida’s southwest coast, the area is a renowned boating destination thanks to its world-class fishing, beautiful coastline featuring mangroves and pristine beaches, and subtropical weather with almost constant sunshine.

Home to Florida’s second-largest open-water estuary and 830 miles of shoreline, Port Charlotte has something to offer every type of boater. The region has a wide selection of boating facilities, hundreds of miles of blueway trails for those who enjoy scenic paddles, and onshore attractions including impressive art galleries, theater productions and much more.

When traveling to Port Charlotte, visiting boaters should talk with the folks at The Boat House (941-979-5219). This full-service Crownline dealer is located near the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor, and they can provide boaters with intimate knowledge of the area.The Boat House

Port Charlotte and the surrounding area have plenty of facilities for boaters. Among them is Burnt Store Marina (941-637-0083) in Charlotte Harbor, which is the largest marina on Florida’s west coast. Safe Cove, Inc. (941-697-9900), also in Port Charlotte, can handle boats up to 65 feet on their wet slips, while Uncle Henry’s Marina (941-964-0154) in nearby Boca Grande is a 58-slip marina with first-class docking facilities. Laishley Marina (941-575-0142) in Punta Gorda has 85 slips and a public boat launch. And Gasparilla Marina (941-697-2280) in Placida has a state-of-the-art facility that offers covered slips (as well as uncovered slips) for added protection from the elements.

The waters of Port Charlotte are popular among anglers. Charlotte Harbor and the nearby Gulf Islands have a reputation as some of the top sportfishing destinations in the world. Salt water from the Gulf of Mexico blends with fresh water from three nearby rivers, making it an important breeding ground for such fish species as tarpon, redfish, cobia, snook, barracuda and grouper.

266scPort Charlotte is also Florida’s premier eco-tourism destination. It’s a favorite among kayakers who love the area’s hundreds of miles of pristine, gorgeous paddling. The region has several exceptional paddling trails, offering paddlers the chance to explore scenic beaches, mangroves and secluded islands and coves. Wildlife such as dolphins, sea turtles and colorful birds can often be seen. Visitors can rent a boat from one of the many kayak rental shops in the area, including It’s Time Kayak and Canoe (941-255-3686) and Lighthouse Water Sports (239-482-3321).

On land, visitors can enjoy the area’s several exquisitely designed golf courses, beautiful hiking trails or popular bike paths. Port Charlotte is also home to art galleries, theaters, symphonic performances and day spas. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with just spending a day lounging on one of the local beaches.

When it’s time to eat, there are a number of wonderful restaurants to choose from. JD’s Bistro and Grille (941.255.0994) blends gourmet dining with a casual atmosphere. Visani (941-629-9191) is a restaurant and comedy theater hosting some of the country’s top acts. And Beef ‘O’ Brady’s (941-766-9886) features a casual sports bar atmosphere.

For more information on visiting Port Charlotte, visit https://www.charlotteharbortravel.com/.