OUR HISTORY

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.

The small city is one of the most bicycle friendly towns in the U.S. With bike paths connecting nearly all of the city, and a climate that screams to be outdoors, many residents make bicycles their go-to mode of transportation.

Punta Gorda was founded in 1884 when on the instructions of entrepreneur Isaac Trabue, surveyor Kelly Harvey began working on the subdivision of Trabue which was filed in Manatee County on February 24, 1885. With streets and blocks arranged along the southern shores of the Peace River at its mouth on Charlotte Harbor. Every waterfront block was designated as a park, a legacy that serves the City to this day with a string of public parks connected by Trabue Harborwalk, a 2.5-mile-long public promenade. Incorporated on December 7, 1887 after the arrival of the railroad and the construction of the Hotel Punta Gorda, the little city thrived on winter seasonal visitors, agricultural trade, and commercial fishing.

With the completion of the first bridge across Charlotte Harbor in June of 1921, the great Florida land boom of the 1920’s reached the fishing village of Punta Gorda. During this period, many of the City’s key structures were built, including City Hall, the Old County Courthouse, and National Register Landmarks including the Punta Gorda Women’s Club, Smith Arcade, Charlotte High School, and the Punta Gorda Atlantic Coast Line Depot.

The Outdoors and Water

Today, surrounded by the majestic Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda has become an outdoorsman’s paradise.

Come and explore an active lifestyle, including a multitude of diverse activities such as cycling, golf, tennis, pickleball, or bird watching. We offer unprecedented access to the harbor for sailing, cruising, deep sea, and back water fishing. There is also kayaking and paddle boarding. You will find full service marinas, boat launches, and piers, as well as beautiful waterfront parks and trails that run throughout the City. We treasure our estuaries and have established many programs to sustain birds, fish, and other marine wildlife. Punta Gorda is a true boater’s haven with a unique layout of neighborhoods consisting of waterfront, canal lots, offering access to the Gulf of Mexico from your backyard.

Our parks are second to none, hosting more than 75 events annually featuring music, arts and crafts, food and drink, car shows, sporting activities, fishing tournaments, parades, and holiday celebrations. The Punta Gorda Pathways, including the Trabue Harborwalk, consists of approximately 18 miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails that connect the City’s neighborhoods, parks, and commercial areas. As one of the oldest cities in Florida, we are proud to feature a Punta Gorda Historic District.

Whether exploring on foot, by bicycle, by boat, or in a car, a variety of local shopping experiences can be found, including Fishermen’s Village, as well as many shops along Sullivan Street and Marion Avenue. Our City Center is made up of local eateries, bars, galleries and other unique retail experiences. You will find quintessential Florida hospitality here in our boutiques and specialty shops. Punta Gorda is home to a wide range of culinary delights. From open-air, tiki bars to small romantic and upscale dining establishments, we have something to satisfy all of your food and beverage cravings.

Whether you are here for a day or you choose to call Punta Gorda home, we welcome you to enjoy Punta Gorda, Florida’s Harborside Hometown!

Some content provided by Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor and Convention Bureau.