Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands: Florida Gulf Coast Paradise

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January 12, 2014

Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is nestled along Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast, between Sarasota and Naples, about 100 miles south of Tampa.

The area covers a diverse landscape of cities and towns.

Choose from four island escapes: the barrier island community of Boca Grande; Palm Island, with its serene beaches accessible by ferry; secluded Don Pedro Island; and Little Gasparilla Island.

Set on Gasparilla Island, the historic village of Boca Grande offers old world charm, quaint shops and restaurants, and gorgeous beach views.

Seven miles of white sandy beach and crystal clear water await you on this retreat away from the world. A car ferry to get there adds to the remote feel of this island getaway.
For a small city experience, visit historic Punta Gorda, Englewood, or Port Charlotte.

The city of Punta Gorda is a historic town that lies along beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Streets lined with huge royal palms, beautifully restored period homes with wide verandas, brick lanes, street lamps and benches leave an almost tangible old-Florida atmosphere. Nearly everything is waterfront here from hotels and shopping to parks and fine dining.

Located on Lemon Bay, off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Englewood remains one of Florida’s best-kept secrets… But not for long, the area was recently named as a “Top Ten U.S. Destination for 2009” byTripAdvisor™ TravelCast. Englewood is a beach community which thrives on its nature parks, cultural events, beaches, fishing, and arts offerings.

Port Charlotte, the county’s geographical center, is home to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Charlotte County Historical Center, a waterfront museum featuring changing glimpses into the area’s past.

Picturesque and waterfront describe the towns of El Jobean; Manasota Key; Cape Haze; and Placida, a quaint fishing and arts village.
Charming El Jobean has its own old-Florida flair. A former winter home for circus and carnival performers, it features a historic post office museum and cafe that hosts weekly Bluegrass jam sessions.

Two jewels you will find on Manasota Key are Chadwick Park at Englewood Beach and the Stump Pass Beach State Park. Sparkling water, sandy shores, hidden seashells, and a lot of sunshine.

If you’re looking for adventure, this secluded Gulf Coast community hosts any number of fun-in-the-sun pursuits. Placida is also offers excellent catch-of-the-day dining and charming home-away-from-home accommodations.

At 5 to 25 feet above sea level, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands enjoys a climate characterized as sub-tropic where extremes of temperature in both summer and winter are checked by the tempering influence of the Gulf of Mexico. Prevailing winds are an easterly average of 12 to 18 mph. The mild winter season lasts from January to March.

Numerous upland and aquatic preserve areas are yours to explore. Charlotte Harbor includes one of the world’s largest protected marine estuaries encompassing 270 square miles with 219 miles of natural shoreline.

Its confluence of the Peace and Myakka rivers comprises some of the most vibrant coastal areas in the state and a unique network of barrier islands and mangrove forests.

In addition to the preserves, natural amenities include miles of beaches; more than 70 parks and preserves; and fishing, paddling, and sailing.

For athletes and sports fans, the area is home to 16 golf courses and numerous annual sporting events and recreational facilities.

Cultural pursuits take the forms of visual arts, theater, dance and music, perfect complements to the area’s spas, dining and nightlife.

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands

Part 2: Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands: Making RVing Memories

Part 3: Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands: Where RV Memories Abound

For information about RV parks and campgrounds, check out Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory.

Worth Pondering…

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that’s the law.

—Jerry Steinfeld

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If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.

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