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Craig’s Day in Punta Gorda

By Craig Holt

My fiancé and I decided to take a trip to Punta Gorda, Florida, and planned to make a whole day out of it. From beginning to end, we would try to take advantage of some of the many things possible that the town has to offer from sunup to sundown.

We started our morning sitting out on our balcony at the Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside Hotel, enjoying our morning coffees & watching the boats in beautiful Charlotte Harbor down below our patio. The view was so peaceful and amazing.  We actually saw a couple of dolphins frolicking! I could have just watched that for hours, but I knew we had a lot on our agenda today. So we had to get going.

First, we decided to try a breakfast location. We had been told about two locally owned spots,  Wood Street Grill and John Ski’s House of Breakfast. John Ski’s was closer. And they did not disappoint! (We plan to try Wood Street on our next visit.)  I had an Eggs Benedict with Ham and it was absolutely delicious!

From there we decided to go to Fishermen’s Village and Marina. We spent a couple hours browsing the very quaint shops there. It’s a nice place to visit, directly on Charlotte Harbor with beautiful panoramic views, and a lot to see and do. There are several choices in the Village for places to dine that are right on the water. Since we had just eaten breakfast, after browsing we decided to stop at Harpoon Harry’s for a drink overlooking the Harbor. While there, we decided to take a sightseeing cruise on the harbor with King Fisher Fleet. We saw multiple dolphins on the cruise, and the bar on the boat was a pleasant surprise!

We still had some time, so we decided to make our way over to Ponce de Leon Park. While there, we visited the Peace River Wildlife Center, which is located right in the park. It is a non-profit wildlife center for rehabilitation and education. We saw up close and learned about lots of different wildlife. There is also a gift shop located at the Center where we purchased a souvenir for our kids. At Ponce de Leon Park, we also enjoyed sitting on the beach area alongside the Harbor and just relaxed awhile before walking the trails at the park, and learning about some of the Florida native birds and the history of Ponce de Leon.

Time for lunch!

We decided to make our way over to Laishley’s Crab House, another nice waterfront Marina/Dining option. We sat on the Veranda outdoors and loved the view of the marina and the Peace River while enjoying some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. My fiancé had a burger and he could not stop raving about it.

After lunch, we walked over to Laishley Park. While there we were deeply humbled to see the replica size Vietnam War Memorial permanently located in the Veterans Memorial Garden. It was a very impressive and memorable  experience.  We also really enjoyed the adjacent interactive fountains to cool down a little. We took a walk through downtown Punta Gorda and stopped in to some of the downtown boutiques, where we noticed many very nice, additional, local restaurants and Taverns.

What a beautiful little City Punta Gorda is!

Dinner time came along and we decided to try Carmelo’s. If you love Italian food, you will truly love Carmelo’s. We had meatballs for an appetizer and pasta entrees. It’s definitely earned its #1 rating for authentic Italian cuisine in Punta Gorda.

We were running out of time and wanted to catch the sunset. We called the hotel and had their shuttle driver pick us up from the restaurant. We made it back to the hotel just in time to make our way down to the Tiki Bar to watch an absolutely awe-inspiring, unobstructed sunset that I will never forget. What an absolutely amazing view. This is definitely the place to be if you want to witness a beautiful waterfront sunset on Charlotte Harbor in Florida! There, we enjoyed some cocktails while listening to live music and just basking in the wonderful day.

It was a perfect ending to our ‘All Things Punta Gorda’ day! We did not get to squeeze in everything on our list so we will definitely be back for more!

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