Ok, first and foremost, there is no way what-so-ever to choose just 5 places that I love in Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands. It’s that simple. I took my first visit here at the end of October – having wanted to see it for years – and came away both surprised and not. Surprised at just how beautiful and peaceful it is, not at all surprised at how beautiful and peaceful it is!
During my driving home, as I drew nearer and nearer to the Orlando area and the hub-bub of this over-the-top tourist mecca, I felt a stress return to me. Each road and the increasing cars moved proportionately to the amount of tension building in my shoulders – and I’m from the Chicago area and have lived in LA!
But here it is, a Give Me 5 list to get you going on your next Florida visit. Trust me; if you’re looking for a beautiful part of Florida and are wanting something different you may never have seen, give Port Charlotte and the Gulf Islands a try…(and you too will find there are way more than 5 places to enjoy here!) (all images are copyright Rori Paul with shared copyrights with the location owners.
Babcock Wilderness Adventures gets you into the real Florida, wilderness, ranching, and the outback of this amazingly beautiful state. A real working ranch, this historic landmark includes birds, cows, cowboys (today’s real “crackers”) and even a three-horned cow. Talking about horny! (had to go there).
Babcock Wilderness Adventures is open to the public for tours on a retro and retro-fitted bus that takes you through the pastures, trees, wilds and swamps. See where they’ve made movies, check out the cows, and do not miss the Gators – real ones, not football.
The Fishery Restaurant. This place is local like you wouldn’t believe. A favorite of the locals and the seasonal locals (including a famous one in Kate Hepburn) we were taken here as part of our Press Tour of the area. Can I tell you; I cannot wait to go back! This food is amazing! I do not like fish. I LOVED the fish at The Fishery!
Part of a small little artist area in Placida, Florida along Gasparilla Sound, you’re in for a culinary treat.
Located next door and brought to you by the same wonderful people, the Margaret Albritton Gallery offers up plenty of Florida art from sweet to whimsical to mesmerizing and every adjective in between.
Remember how I mention above that I don’t like seafood? Well Charlotte Harbor changed that in a big way! I’m not saying I’m gonna hang out on an island and eat it day & night, but the freshness and freshest seafoods made the amazing ways here have made me an eater!
Peace River Seafood Market & Restaurant was another delightful location that knocked my fishy-socks off!
Our food was at most 3 hours old! Cooked and served fresh, our hosts made this a meal to remember! Ask Assistant Laura… I’ve not stopped talking about the seafood I had on this trip and I hope you’ll seek these restaurants out and see how right I am!
*** And for we land-lubbers who can’t handle the fishy stuff, BOTH locations do have Non-sea-based fare.
King Fisher Fleet in Punta Gorda gets you into the heart of Florida’s water – after all, that’s what Florida is pretty much about. Port Charlotte and Charlotte Harbor are on the water – of course – so are the surrounding areas. The Gulf is just out there and while you can easily get to it, the Harbor is an ideal way to enjoy the waters without getting into the bouncing.
King Fisher will help. Dolphin tours or fishing, you’re gonna get out where the gett’ns good.
Our boat tour was all about the dolphin – we saw two – and seeing the Harbor and the surrounding area. A cool day with a slight drizzle didn’t deter from the beauty and I’m sure you’re going to find it just as pleasant on whatever day you partake… and keep your eyes open – those dolphin pop up any time, anywhere…
Grande Tours in Placida (and pretty much right across the road from The Fishery Restaurant) is amazing. Ok, so it’s a Kayak outfitter. Their location, their staff, and the time you’re going to spend in this amazingly beautiful an peaceful spot will stay with you…
There are fish and birds, even a dolphin or two. There are mangroves, trees, and a calm that will warm your soul. I’ll admit it (shh….) this was my favorite of everything we did, but I’m all about the kayaking and we saw dolphins!
Grande Tours will help you buy a kayak or SUP, rent you what you’re looking for, let you launch (for a totally reasonable fee) or even store your own equipment (again for a totally reasonable fee).
If you’re looking for the real Florida – a place you’ll carry with you forever, consider this amazing, heart warming place…
For more on Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands come back as we share more from our wonderful visit and click here for the Charlotte Harbor and Gulf Islands Convention and Visitors Bureau.