Punta Gorda, Florida

Best Places to Retire in Florida


Punta Gorda (population 14,000) is located on beautiful Charlotte Harbor and the Peace River, on Florida’s southwest coast, 23 miles northeast of Fort Myers. It is also within easy driving distance to Venice, and a little more than an hour south of Sarasota. Charlotte County has a population approaching 150,000 and continues to grow. It enjoys a cost-of-living well below the national average, as well as a very low crime rate. http://www.ci.punta-gorda.fl.us/

Punta Gorda offers a laid-back lifestyle well suited to people seeking an unhurried and friendly lifestyle and small town atmosphere. It also offers outstanding options for fishermen and boaters, and like much of Florida, there are good options for golfers. Others can enjoy Fisherman’s Village, a large waterfront center featuring more than 30 gift, clothing, specialty shops, and seven restaurants. More serious shopping is found in Port Charlotte Town Center, which is the largest enclosed mall in the county, with fine department stores and more than 100 specialty shops.

Charlotte County has four beaches with amenities, including picnic pavilions, grills, showers, restrooms; some offer sports facilities and rentals. The nearest large city is Fort Myers (population about 50,000) which is only 30 minutes away. It has many amenities and is rich in culture.

Arts & Culture

The Visual Arts Center is a non-profit organization supported by the Charlotte County Art Guild, with more than 600 members. It is located across from the Fisherman’s Village. http://www.visualartcenter.org/

Charlotte County Memorial Auditorium & Civic Center is the place for concerts, Broadway shows, dances, sporting events, as well as social activities. It has a seating capacity of 2,230. http://www.livenation.com/venue/charlotte-county-memorial-auditorium-and-civic-center-tickets

Alliance of the Arts (Fort Myers) presents programs at the 150-seat William Frizzell Cultural Centre. It includes three galleries, theater, and an outdoor amphitheater. http://www.artinlee.org/

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall (Fort Myers) is the area’s only full-sized and fully equipped stage for Broadway musicals, prominent entertainers, popular and classical music concerts. Located on the campus of Edison Community College, it is home to the Southwest Florida Symphony and also hosts shows like “Miss Saigon” and “Phantom of the Opera.” http://www.bbmannpah.com/

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre (Fort Myers). http://www.broadwaypalm.com/

Florida Repertory Theater (Fort Myers). http://floridarep.org/

Southwest Florida Symphony (Fort Myers). http://www.swflso.org/

Fort Myers Historical Museum (http://www.ohwy.com/fl/f/ftmyhimu.htm) built from a converted railroad depot, covers the history of Southwest Florida. Visitors here can see Calusa and Seminole Indian artifacts, a Spanish cannon from the early 1700’s, and models of the original fort used during the second Seminole War. Military history is also the focus of the museum’s World War I and World War II displays — http://www.cityftmyers.com/attractions/historical.aspx. The Imaginarium Hands-On Museum and Aquarium offers interactive exhibits, such as a 3-D slide show. Subjects covered include the environment, physics, anatomy, the economy, biology, and weatheR. http://www.cityftmyers.com/attractions/imaginarium.aspx.

The Venice Symphony (70 to 75 musicians) began performing in the early 1970s. Its regular season consists of six sets of triple performances, and one additional performance of its January pops concert. It performs as a full orchestra, a chamber orchestra and smaller ensembles. The orchestra also has an extensive education program. http://www.thevenicesymphony.org/index.htm

The Lemon Bay Playhouse, located in nearby Englewood, is a volunteer community theater offering live theater in a 90-seat auditorium. http://www.lemonbayplayhouse.com/


Laishley Park, is a 16-acre site on the waterfront adjacent to downtown Punta Gorda. It has a 400 foot fishing pier and public boat ramp. Gilchrist Park is a 20-acre riverfront park with picnic facilities, a fishing pier, gazebos, tennis, basketball, and a childrens playground. Nature Park is a 19-acre park with a bird-watching observatory. Ponce DeLeon Park offers a beach, boat ramp and picnic amenities.

Charlotte County operates 65 parks and recreation facilities. http:charlottecountyfl.com/parks/ These include a wide range of choices from walking trails, to fishing piers, swimming pools, picnic areas and many sports facilities. County beaches include Englewood Beach, Port Charlotte Beach Park, Stump Pass State Recreation Area, and the Don Pedro Island State Recreation Area boasting a one mile sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico. The latter is accessible only by boat and there is a nominal fee per boat.

Fisherman’s Village is a popular gathering spot, with harborside boutique shopping, dining choices, and entertainment. It rests alongside a 98-slip marina where you can also rent water toys and bicycles. http://www.fishville.com/

Other recreation opportunities in the region include Fort Myers Beach, Lee County Nature Center and Planetarium, Cayo Costa State Park (reachable only by boat), Denoir Wiggins Pass State Park, Gasparillo Island State Park, and Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.

Charlotte County Stadium in Port Charlotte, formerly home to the Texas Rangers, is a 6,000-seat stadium that hosts county baseball and softball leagues, concerts, and special events. http://www.charlottecountyfl.com/Parks/stadium.html

Babcock Wilderness Adventures features a swamp buggy ride through the 8,000-acre Telegraph Cypress Swamp and a guided tour of the unspoiled lands of old Florida. http://www.babcockwilderness.com/

Myakka River State Park is one of Florida’s oldest and largest state parks with 45 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands. The river and its two shallow lakes offer excellent birding, canoeing, fishing and wildlife observation. A seven-mile scenic drive winds through shady oak-palm hammocks and along the shore of Upper Myakka Lake. More than 39 miles of hiking and biking trails and miles of dirt roads provide access to the remote interior. http://www.dep.state.fl.us/parks/district4/myakkariver/index.asp


Edison Community College (Fort Myers) offers associate degrees in Arts and Science as well as various certificate programs. It has a 140-acre main campus in south Lee County with 23 structures, including the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. The Collier County campus opened in 1992 in east Naples, and the Charlotte County campus opened in 1997 in Punta Gorda. The college has a staff of 350 professionals and enrolls more than 13,000 for-credit students, and 10,000 non-credit students annually. http://www.edison.edu/index.htm

Senior Programs

Punta Gorda Meals-on-Wheels and Senior Meals Programs. http://www.mealcall.org/meals-on-wheels/fl/punta-gorda.htm

Charlotte County Home Health Services (Membership Directory). http://charlottecountyfl.com/HumanServices/211.asp


Charlotte Regional Medical Center is a full-service hospital offering a wide range of patient services. http://www.charlotteregional.com/

Bon Secours – St. Joseph Hospital, Port Charlotte. www.bssjconnections.com/

Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte is a 238-bed acute care hospital with 238 physicians. http://www.fawcetthospital.com/


Southwest Florida International Airport is located just south of Fort Myers. http://www.flylcpa.com/


Average temperatures for January are a high of 77 degrees and a low of 56 degrees. The average temperatures for July are a high of 92 and low of 73 degrees. http://www.wunderground.com/US/FL/Punta_Gorda.html


Charlotte Sun Herald – http://www.sun-herald.com/

Property Taxes


State Taxes


Chamber of Commerce


State Aging Agency



Port Charlotte – 4 miles
North Fort Myers – 21 miles
Fort Myers – 23 miles
Venice – 31 miles
Sanibel – 44 miles
Bonita Springs – 50 miles
Sarasota – 54 miles
Naples – 66 miles

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