Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The sights & delights of SWFL

Locals of South Western Florida always rave about the city life, beaches, and the club scenes. What they don't talk about are the small towns in between. The local family fun & eateries that are hidden off the beaten path. It's these little treasures that make life memorable, and vacations unforgettable!

At the heart of Charlotte County, just north of Fort Myers & slightly further south of Sarasota, is Punta Gorda. My small town. With a population of 17,172, this slightly larger version of small town U.S.A. may not have night clubs, but it has a lot of local interest! Heck, we even have our own airport (that houses one airline), and more annual visitors than we can shake a stick at! Punta Gorda is perfect for families, and people searching for their own slice of tropical peace and quiet.

During the day, you can enjoy the local wildlife, with a visit to the Peace River Wildlife Center. The center houses many different species of native birds, turtles, and woodland critters. It's a great opportunity to see tropical wildlife up close! They even have a small gift shop and donation center, so you can give back to the community or take a small reminder of your visit with you!

A few miles down the road, is Fisherman's Village. The village is an open shopping center, where you can enjoy local icecream, shopping, and foods of all sorts. There's even a military museum, and live music events! On holidays, Fisherman's Village hosts public gatherings. These are wonderful for adults & children! If you're planning a visit, check their calendar to see if there's anything planned. I highly recommend the Christmas and New Year celebrations at fisherman's Village!!!

If you're looking for a fun place to sit in the sun and have a drink, TT's Tiki Bar is the place to go. It's right at the heart of downtown Punta Gorda, and sits just behind the beautiful Four Points Sheraton Hotel--- right off the water. There's a sand volley ball court right beside the tiki bar, and live music on weekends. It's a great place to sit back and unwind, while enjoying the Florida weather!

If lounging by the water sipping cocktails isn't your thing, head across the street to Laishley Park & Marina. Laishley Park is a family friendly location. It has a waterside walking trail, playground, splash pad, gazebo, and fishing pier. Its a peaceful place with plenty to see and do. Plus, it's the local hot spot for fireworks on the 4th of July!

After discovering all that Punta Gorda has to offer, be sure to stop by the Laishley Crab House for dinner. It's a popular seafood restaurant, located right in Laishley Park. They do accept walk-ins, but i recommend setting up a reservation. The Crab House is always packed, and its no wonder.... The food is delicious! It's casual dining with an upscale feel. You can come for special occasions, or just a night out. The food is always fresh, and the prices are moderate. The Laishley Crab House is an experience you can't pass up when youre in Punta Gorda!

So, if you're a Punta Gorda resident, or just happen to be in the area... Check out some of these small town gems!

Laishley Park & Marina

Laishley Crab House

Fisherman's Village

TT's Tiki Bar

Peace River Wildlife Center

Photos courtesy of aforementioned establishments.