From the pristine sandy beaches of Gasparilla Island State Park to the sprawling wilderness of the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, adventure awaits at every turn in this gorgeous corner of the Sushine State. Whether exploring the wildlife through the Babcock Ranch Preserve or hiking through the vibrant ecosystems of Don Pedro Island State Park, these top landscapes of Charlotte County offer an extraordinary escape into nature’s embrace. Embark on an unforgettable journey and immerse yourself in the stunning scenery and outdoor adventures that await in this captivating corner of Florida, where our best side is outside.
Ringing Charlotte Harbor like a necklace of mangroves, Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park provides vast areas of unspoiled scenery and vital habitat for birds and wildlife, making it a great place for hiking, kayaking, and birdwatching. The Charlotte Harbor Estuary is one of the most productive in Florida and five aquatic preserves have been established adjacent to the park. The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) is located within the park.
Gasparilla Island State Park offers beautiful beaches with ample room to relax, hunt for fossilized shark teeth, shell, swim, snorkel, or fish, and is accessible from any of five parking lots. This park is located beachfront along Gulf Boulevard (the historical Range lighthouse is located onsite) with parking, restroom facility, and picnic pavilions to take in the beautiful views.
Babcock Ranch is an incredibly forward-thinking, eco-centric city. It’s taking shape in southern Charlotte County and is the “first of its kind” in many ways, including being completely solar/natural gas-powered and featuring the largest solar farm that FPL (Florida Power and Light) has ever constructed. It features a mix of wetlands, pine flatwoods, and prairies. With hiking trails, kayaking, and canoeing, fishing, biking, a playground, and even a dog park, Babcock Ranch offers a fun day for the entire family.
Peace River Wildlife Center is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation and education center that is a great place to learn about local wildlife and conservation efforts for animals native to the region. Peace River Wildlife is tucked neatly into the mangroves overlooking Charlotte Harbor at Ponce de Leon Park. Visitors can observe and sometimes even interact with rescued animals. One of their famed rehab animals is Luna, the albino screech owl, who is popular among visitors and locals alike.
Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park is a former railway corridor that runs along the scenic Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad easement. This park offers a scenic trail for walking, jogging, and biking and simply enjoying the outdoors. It is surrounded by nature and provides glimpses of the area’s history.
Cedar Point Environmental Park is a 115-acre Charlotte County park across from Lemon Bay High School that borders Ainger Creek, Oyster Creek and Lemon Bay. Three hiking trails lead directly to Lemon Bay. This park boasts a diverse range of habitats, including mangrove forests, salt marshes, and upland areas. Cedar Point Environmental Park is also home to many plants and animals including the American bald eagle, gopher tortoise, bobcat, and great horned owl.
With over 100 acres to explore the trails, go birdwatching, or enjoy a picnic with a view, we think it is a must-see for anyone traveling to the area.
Port Charlotte Beach Park is a picturesque waterfront park featuring w white, sandy beach, a fishing pier, and a playground. It’s a great spot to relax, swim, or enjoy a picnic while taking in beautiful views of the bay or catch a stunning sunset. Amenities at this park include a boardwalk, boat ramp, ADA-accessible canoe/kayak launch, four blended pickleball/tennis courts, horseshoe pits, bocce courts, basketball and volleyball courts, small shelters with picnic tables, two large rentable pavilions, restrooms, heated swimming pool, and a recreation center.
Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens enchanting sanctuary of art and nature. Integrating Florida’s natural landscape with more than 4500 plants, trees, and bamboos to become one of the largest botanical and sculpture gardens in Florida. Enjoy a shady walk down our mangrove paths to the Peace River or cross the bridge to our island for a picturesque view of the wetlands around Hunter’s Creek. The gardens showcase stunning sculptures amidst carefully designed landscapes and water features from renowned artists such as Dominic Benhura, Carol Feuerman, and Laurie Tenant where will be intrigued at every turn.
Discover the harmonious blend of captivating vistas and outdoor adventures that make Charlotte County a must-visit destination for those seeking unforgettable natural encounters. Find your ‘Best Side Outside’ in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach and immerse yourself in the stunning scenery amidst the enchanting landscapes of this picturesque corner of the Sunshine State.
Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach is Florida’s best-kept secret of a charming natural paradise located on the idyllic Southwest Gulf Coast. This coastal community surrounding the state’s second-largest harbor sits conveniently between Tampa and Naples. Outdoor enthusiasts will find a haven of vibrant experiences in the sun-soaked oasis of the Southwest Florida islands, characterized by almost year-round sunshine and sub-tropical weather. Relaxation and discovery await in miles of waterways and inland exploration trails filled with unspoiled natural beauty.
From beaches to boating, hiking to harbor tours, fishing to nature paths; to sun, shelling, and fossilized sharks’ teeth, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach immerses lively locals and active adventurers in a pure island experience. Most notably known for its 830 miles of pristine unparalleled shoreline, including captivating river passages, a mangrove-edged aquatic preserve, and more than a dozen miles of natural Gulf beaches, the Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast includes the areas of Boca Grande, Don Pedro Island, Englewood-Cape Haze, Little Gasparilla Island, Manasota Key, Knight Island, Placida, Babcock Ranch, Port Charlotte, Charlotte Harbor and Punta Gorda.