The city of Punta Gorda is located in Southwest Florida, between Fort Myers and Sarasota on beautiful Charlotte Harbor. The city offers wonderful recreational activities, including boating and golfing, as well as exceptional values in waterfront, golf-course and non-waterfront properties.
Punta Gorda was named as one of the top 10 "Best Small Cities to Live In" by Money Magazine in 1996 and again in 2003. Men’s Journal recently rated Punta Gorda as one its "Best Places to Live" and Sail magazine included Punta Gorda in its list of "Top Ten Greatest Places to Sail". Forbes magazine placed Punta Gorda on its list for "Top 10 Small Metropolitan Areas" while MSN ranked Punta Gorda as one its overall "Best Places to Live". Clearly, the secret’s out and the world has discovered this gem in Southwest Florida.
Sunshine, clean air, 129 square miles of sparkling waters, fishing at its finest, wildlife in abundance and a friendly atmosphere draw those who seek the natural pleasures of life. Low crime and inexpensive living keep them here in the heart of the southwest coast of Florida.
Punta Gorda is unique, incorporated in 1877; it is the only city in Charlotte County, Florida. Part of Punta Gorda is located on a broad peninsula that protrudes out into Charlotte Harbor. The local Indians referred to it as "fat point" and the name was retained by the early Spaniards, calling it "Punta Gorda" or "fat point" in Spanish. Punta Gorda started as a small fishing village located on Charlotte Harbor and was also the home of many cattlemen and early frontiersmen seeking government sponsored homesteads for their families. In the late 1800's, Punta Gorda became the "end of the line" 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 charming, historical downtown area with several sites on the National Register and State Historic District. 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.
Downtown Punta Gorda is in the midst of major community revitalization and beautification efforts. Leading the way are historic preservation projects and the City Streetscape Program restoring an Old Florida atmosphere to central downtown streets by adding brick lanes, street lamps, benches, brick planters, flowers and shade trees. Add to that additional downtown revitalization projects to improve parking, pedestrian access and business development. If that is not enough, there are also plans to add new office space, boutique shopping, hotel and waterfront developments (to include additional marinas and waterfront parks) restaurants and galleries sprinkled throughout the downtown area. The residential areas near the heart of downtown 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.
Step outside of downtown Punta Gorda and find the two wonderful waterfront canal communities of Punta Gorda Isles and Burnt Store Isles. The architecture found there contrasts with "downtown" consisting of the more modern Florida-style homes. These communities provide direct and canal front access to Charlotte Harbor. Boating and golf are the centerpieces of these two communities. The best part is that the city maintains the canals and seawalls providing a uniform and well kept appearance for these prime waterfront homes.
You’ll find that the old and the new both blend nicely to give us a rare small town atmosphere. Many people, upon seeing Punta Gorda for the first time, remark that the area reminds them of what Florida used to be like years ago, before expansive development. Beautiful, quaint and full of Florida history and charm, yet modern and growing in a restrained style like a genteel southern lady who knows how to treat a guest with gracious manners but also surfs the web and offices out of her home!