Where the Peace and Myakka Rivers meet, Charlotte Harbor covers more than five square miles, with the Charlotte County Blueway Trails providing paddlers access. Yet you can only walk along its shores in a handful of places. That’s thanks to the extensive mangrove forests that protect its fringes, which in turn are protected by the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve. Punta Gorda is one of the oldest communities along the waterfront, and the barrier islands of Pine Island, La Costa, and Boca Grande sit where its waters mingle with the Gulf of Mexico.
Trails and Parks around Charlotte Harbor
- Alligator Creek - Part of Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, Alligator Creek has two loop trails where freshwater and saltwater habitats meet, enabling you to explore a variety of coastal habitats in less than three miles.
- Cayo Costa State Park - To spend a day or a weekend on your own deserted island? Heaven. This is one of the tougher and costlier state parks to get to, but well worth it.
- Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park - Stretched thin and long to follow the convoluted shoreline of Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park encompasses more than 60 miles of coastline along the Gulf Coast.
- Gasparilla Island State Park - A string of five beaches along the Gulf shore of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island, this far-flung outpost of Lee County is home to one of Florida's most delightful lighthouse museums.
- Old Datsun Trail - The Old Datsun Trail at Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park loops 1.7 miles through circa 1905 farmland established by the Miles School of Practical Agriculture
- Ponce De Leon Park - Ponce De Leon Park is a city park at Punta Gorda with dramatic sunsets over the harbor and an excellent boardwalk through the mangroves for birding.
- Tippecanoe Environmental Park - With 380 acres of uplands and wetlands along the rim of Tippecanoe Bay, Tippecanoe Environmental Park can be explored on an extensive interconnected network of hiking trails.