Along the sweep of Charlotte Harbor near Punta Gorda, natural lands provide places to trek and paddle through a variety of sometimes soggy habitats. Look for moderate to short hikes, sometimes challenging in nature, as well as walks through the vast prairies of Babcock Ranch near the Telegraph Swamp.
Trails and Parks in Punta Gorda
- 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.
- Amberjack Environmental Park - At Amberjack Environmental Park, a surprising collision of scrub and mangrove habitats occurs in Rotunda amid 225 acres of conservation land on high ground in the Cape Haze peninsula of Charlotte County. Accessed via a boardwalk through a mangrove tunnel, Amberjack Slough provides a prominent feature at the north end of the park, an excellent […]
- Babcock Ecotour Trail - At Babcock Wilderness Adventures - a popular ecotourism attraction east of Punta Gorda - the Ecotour Trail is a no-cost option to getting your feet wet on an exploration of wet flatwoods habitats along a well-maintained trail through the palmetto prairie.
- Babcock Ranch Footprints Trail - Following old forest roads, the purple-blazed loop of the Footprints Trail through the heart of Babcock Ranch, a vast prairie punctuated by cypress strands, provides a simple introduction to this often-squishy ecosystem.
- Cayo Costa Hiking Trails - Offshore from Boca Grande and Pine Island, Cayo Costa State Park is tough to get to but the 6.5 miles of trails and many more miles of beaches will be yours to roam
- 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. Solitude is guaranteed. Miles and miles of lonely Gulf of Mexico beaches are yours to roam.
- Cedar Point Environmental Park - Charlotte County's flagship environmental park, with a broad range of habitat diversity and wildlife, Cedar Point protects 115 acres of a peninsula in Lemon Bay
- 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.
- Don Pedro Island State Park - Imagine your own private island: a sweep of bright white sand along the shallows of the Gulf of Mexico. While a public park, open to all, Don Pedro Island State Park is a rare retreat for bathers, swimmers, and sun worshipers.
- 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.
- Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park - An excellent spot for birding, Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port follows the natural curves of the creek, with a 2.5-mile trail looping the creek basin and bluffs.
- 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.
- St. Jude Trail - A ramble to the mangrove-lined shores of St. Jude Harbor, the St. Jude Trail is a birder's delight, tucked away in a residential neighborhood on the edge of St. James City on Pine Island and protected by the Calusa Land Trust.
- Stump Pass Beach State Park - Stump Pass Beach State Park sits at just the right angle to collect seashells like a scoop, so early risers have their pick of conchs, murex, tulip shells, shark's teeth, and more.
- 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.
- Tegus establish a foothold in Florida (7/31/2014) - It's big. It's colorful. And it's the newest non-native species to establish breeding populations in Florida. Meet the black and white tegu.
- Cypress Lodge (6/7/2009) - Some folks know where to place a porch, and Mr. Fred Babcock was one of them. His Cypress Lodge is deep in Babcock Ranch, set on a creek draining into the Telegraph Swamp. On a visit there, I watched a gator sunning on the shore, wood storks and ibises winging their way above the dark […]