The city of Punta Gorda is located where the waters of the Peace River merge with beautiful Charlotte Harbor, approximately mid-way between Fort Myers and Sarasota. If you love boating, golfing, bicycling, or walking and you like a small town atmosphere, you are going to love it in Punta Gorda! There is something here for all ages and it is a place like no other in Southwest Florida!
Punta Gorda consistently has risen to the ‘top 10’ ranking nationally in so many categories. Money Magazine, Men’s Journal, Sail Magazine, Retire Magazine, Forbes and even MSN have featured and ranked Punta Gorda as the ‘Best Places to Live’,’ Best Place to Sail’,’ Best Place to Retire’. Rand McNally ran a contest in 2013 of the Best Small Towns in America…Punta Gorda came in third as the Most Beautiful and in the top ten as the Friendliest…not bad for a community of less than 20,000 people! The secret is out and Punta Gorda has been discovered as one of the gems in Southwest Florida.
Punta Gorda is special. Incorporated in 1877, it is the only city in Charlotte County, Florida. The Indians originally called it Fat Point because of how the land juts out into the harbor. When translated to Spanish, it became Punta Gorda. Originally a small fishing village, Punta Gorda was also home to many of the cattlemen and early frontiersmen seeking government sponsored homesteads for their families. Punta Gorda became the "end of the line" in the late 1800’s for the railroad heading west from Miami. In a very real sense, the railroad put Punta Gorda "on the map". Fish, cattle and tobacco were barged to and from here to Key West and Cuba.
Punta Gorda has a quaint, historical downtown area with several notable properties being included on the National Register and as part of the State Historic District. Everywhere you look, there is a mural of historic significance painted on the exterior walls of buildings in town, becoming somewhat of a history lesson in itself. The city also has a picturesque waterfront area with a large harbor, marinas and many waterfront parks, all of which are open to the public. The parks were all donated to the city with the codicil that they always be used for public enjoyment.
Downtown Punta Gorda underwent a major revitalization in 2004-5 after Hurricane Charley breezed through town and left its mark. Citizens rallied, typical of this small town, and formed TEAM Punta Gorda, a grass roots volunteer organization that works with the City Council to ensure that certain standards would be met in rebuilding our community. The aim was to preserve our history, protect our environment, and maintain the quality of life we had so been accustomed to. Between the re-building, the restoration of the historic murals, and addition of brick lanes, street lamps, and landscaping the city was soon restored and had come back even better than before the storms. The residential areas near the heart of downtown, the Historic District, feature many brick streets lined with huge royal palms and many old, Key West-era, tin-roofed homes with verandas. The existing and new restaurants along with unique shops and galleries enhance the fine reputation of Punta Gorda charm. Music in the park happens every Thursday evening – bring your musical instrument, or just come to listen, and join in the fun! Every third Thursday there is a Gallery Walk…all of the Punta Gorda shops are open, some serving refreshments and providing music. You have your choice of Farmer’s Markets on the weekends, both with an abundance of fresh vegetables and goods for sale, often with live musical entertainment.
Outside of downtown, there are many different communities offering a wide range of lifestyles. Head east and you can choose from hobby farms to rural agricultural farms along with a riverfront living for the boaters and fishermen. Head south and southwest and there are several communities, some offering acreage and/or waterfront, with or without deed restrictions, including the Burnt Store communities and Tropical Gulf Acres. Head west and you will be in the waterfront community of Punta Gorda Isles.