Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands is often how our area is referred to, with the harbor being formed at the confluence of the Peace and Myakka Rivers. The harbor is home to one of America’s largest protected marine estuaries, which assures it will stay in excellent health for future generations. Charlotte Harbor is a large bay with mostly undeveloped shorelines whose waters feed directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
This is perhaps the most beautiful, unspoiled body of water in the United States! The fishing is absolutely world class for nearly every sub-tropical species that lives. Sailing, boating, kayaking and just about any type of water activity is here. Remarkably, this is an uncrowded body of water with endless miles of exploration. Birdlife is stellar, shrimping, crabbing, clamming and catching oysters is all part of the lifestyle. You can expect to see dophins and manatees on just about any boating excursion. Charlotte Harbor, officially explored by Ponce de Leon in 1513, was settled by the English in 1775 and named after Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of King George III. Charlotte County encompases 859 square miles of land and water with a population of 136,773 and a median age of 51.8.
Charlotte Harbor is Florida’s second-largest open water estuary and boasts open water sailing and countless miles of peaceful coves and bays, providing endless opportunities to tackle a tarpon, captain a kayak or commandeer a canoe. Nestled on the Gulf Coast between Sarasota and Ft. Myers, Charlotte Harbor has neighboring communities that boast more than 830 miles of shoreline including river passages, mangrove-edged aquatic preserve and sandy beaches. Ranked as one of SAIL Magazine’s top-ten places to sail in the U.S., Charlotte Harbor is a challenge to sailors worldwide. Kayakers and canoers don’t have to go to a tropical island to experience a remote adventure with nature. There are hundreds of miles of Blueway trails that start with the Peace and Myakka rivers and extend out to the Gulf of Mexico.
Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands consist of Punta Gorda, Englewood Beach, Port Charlotte, Gasparilla, Little Gasparilla, Placida, Don Pedro Island, Boca Grande, Manasota Key, Palm Island and Cape Haze Peninsula. There are many other less noted islands only accessible by boat such as Cayo Costa, Cayo Pelu, Useppa and many others. Great for a day of exploring that will truly last a lifetime.
The pace is slower here and the waters clean. With clear blue skies nearly year around, southern hospitality as warm as the sand and you have paradise. You have to live here to realize this is the ultimate destination to live if you are a boater and for the angler- you will never have to leave here to satisfy your ultimate fishing fantasies! Charlotte Harbor has a different geographic and psychographic composition from its neighbors in Sarasota or Lee Counties. Our southern and northern counties have congested waterways, lots of people, lots of speed restricted zones (like the “miserable mile” on the Caloosahatchee) and fishing that in no way compares. There are no high-tech amusement complexes or big touristy attractions in our communities or around Charlotte Harbor — yes, this is the perfect place. For the land bound explorer (non-boat owner) there are more than 70 parks and recreational areas. If you prefer to mix cultural activities into your lifestyle you could attend a symphonic or dramatic performance, dine on upscale cuisine, gallery hop through the art-rich communities and shop to your heart’s content. The waterways have a remote pure feeling but the local communities have a down home feel with the cultural and modern activities that we all have become accustomed to.
Here are a few details that you might find interesting
- Designated as one of the “10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States” by SAIL magazine
- Ranked “Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America” by Golf Digest;
- Named one of MONEY magazine’s “Best Places to Live in the South” two years in a row.
- Designated as one of “America’s Best Healthy Places to Retire” by U.S. News & World Report.
- TripAdvisor™ TravelCast named Englewood, Florida a “Top Ten U.S. Destination for 2009”
- Charlotte County has 830 miles of shoreline including rivers, mangrove backcountry & 28 miles of beaches.
- Approximately 84% of the Charlotte Harbor is preserved land.
- 365 miles of canals; 190 miles of saltwater and 175 miles of freshwater
- Canoe/Kayak Blueway Trails – 53 trails for a total of 193 miles throughout Charlotte Harbor
- Charlotte Harbor is the 17th largest estuary in the nation and the 2nd largest estuary in the state encompassing 270 square miles.
- The 106-mile long Peace River is one of the longest rivers in Florida and ends in Charlotte Harbor.
- The Charlotte Harbor Preserve is the 4th largest state park, of which 30,000 acres are in Charlotte County.