Punta Gorda is a small city in southwest Florida. It is best known for its ideal Florida climate, and a laid-back lifestyle that feels relaxed even for Florida.
If you are looking for a retirement destination that combines all of the best aspects of Florida living in a small-town environment, this is the place.
Getting to Punta Gorda
Punta Gorda is easily accessible by highway from almost any direction using either I-75, US-17, or US-41. Interstate 75 runs right past the area coming south from Tampa and then continuing east across the middle of the state toward Fort Lauderdale. US-17 ties Punta Gorda into the more central part of the state, just south of Orlando, and US-41 runs south past Naples before heading east towards Miami.
Punta Gorda has its own small airport, and several discount airlines specialize in connecting to various parts of the country. The area is also about 45 minutes from Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, which connects to almost anywhere in the country you might want to fly.
Punta Gorda History
The area that would eventually become Punta Gorda was originally home to the Calusa Native Americans. Life for those tribes was focused on fishing, so they put incredible effort into building an intricate canal system.
The first resident settler here was James Madison Lanier, who hunted on the land before selling it to Isaac Trabue. Trabue went on to purchase most of the land that would eventually become Punta Gorda. The area became a popular tourist destination following the completion of the Punta Gorda Hotel, which James Vanderbilt partly owned.
Punta Gorda Weather
Like most of southwest Florida, Punta Gorda enjoys a subtropical climate that is warm and humid throughout the year. Temperatures typically range from the mid-80s to low-90s in the summer months, then fall between the mid-60s and low-70s in the winter.
The rainy season in southwest Florida runs from June through September, but Punta Gorda typically sees less total rainfall than many of its neighboring cities. There is also the threat of hurricane season from June through November each year.
Punta Gorda Cost of Living
Punta Gorda has a reputation for being one of the most affordable retirement destinations along the southern Gulf Coast of Florida. Buying or renting homes can be extremely reasonable compared to neighboring areas.
In addition to finding affordable housing, those relocating to Punta Gorda enjoy lower-than-average daily living expenses on everything from groceries to entertainment. This is primarily due to the fact that the area is more residential and less of a tourist destination.
Punta Gorda Healthcare
The local healthcare community revolves around ShorePoint Health Punta Gorda, which was known as Charlotte Hospital when it was first constructed in 1947. Today, this facility boasts 208 beds, all in private rooms, and a massive staff specializing in everything from basic joint and spine care to more serious concerns like stroke and chest pain.
In addition to the care available at ShorePoint Health Punta Gorda, residents also enjoy access to many smaller clinics, specialist facilities, and pharmacies throughout the area.
Things to Do in Punta Gorda
The Punta Gorda lifestyle is big on getting outside and enjoying the beautiful climate and scenery of Southwest Florida.
Popular outdoor activity destinations include Laishley Park, Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, Peace River Wildlife Center, and Babock Ranch Preserve. Most of these destinations come with gorgeous views of the water, plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting, and even some exercise trails.
Getting out on the water is also a popular activity in Punta Gorda, and many residents will take visitors out for activities like swimming with dolphins, Gulf fishing adventures, and sunset cruises.
Punta Gorda Dining
Dining with a view is one of the best things about the Punta Gorda restaurant scene, and you will find fresh seafood right on the water at The Pier at Fisherman's Village and Laishley Crab House. Both of these options also feature a fantastic sushi menu.
Downtown Punta Gorda also has an excellent selection of restaurants. Residents will likely become frequent guests at Leroy's Southern Kitchen & Bar, FM Don's, River City Grill, and Hemingway's Grille. Each of these destinations offers a different twist on upscale casual American cuisine.
For special occasions in Punta Gorda, it's hard to beat the experience you will find at The Perfect Caper. Chef Jeanie Roland is well-known for her love of butter, so you can be sure that everything on the menu here is packed full of flavor!
Punta Gorda Shopping
Fisherman's Village is a waterfront mall, resort, and marina that offers one of the most unique shopping experiences you will find anywhere in Florida. This fantastic gem is packed with more than 30 boutique shops and five excellent restaurants to complete the perfect shopping day in Southwest Florida.
In addition to Fisherman's Village, shopaholics can also find a great selection of shops in downtown Punta Gorda, and there are even more within a short drive of the community. Businesses like Sandman Book Company, Downtown Bizarre, Grace & Shelly's Cupcakes, and The Orange House Gift Shop combine to create a truly unique shopping experience.
Where to Retire in Punta Gorda
Because of its ideal location along the southern Gulf Coast, Punta Gorda is a growing hotbed for retirement communities. There is a wide selection of options within a short drive of downtown (and the water), and prospective buyers can find something for almost any budget or preference.
One example is Kings Gate, right across the bridge from Punta Gorda in Port Charlotte, which offers easy access to beaches, marinas, wildlife sanctuaries, airports, and more, many within a 15-minute drive or less. A friendly, gated neighborhood community for residents age 55 and up, Kings Gate homeowners enjoy access to a recreation center, Olympic-sized swimming pool and spa, tennis courts, on-site activities director, and a variety of resident clubs and social events. Membership to the 18-hole golf course and facilities are additionally available. Prices start in the $300k’s.
Another popular option is Babcock Ranch. In fact, many of the homes in Babcock Ranch have a Punta Gorda address.
Here are some of the latest listings in Punta Gorda for you to explore:
Punta Gorda is a wonderful Southwest Florida destination for anyone looking for a peaceful and affordable place to retire. With its beautiful weather, serene atmosphere, and various amenities, Punta Gorda offers retirees a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle. From outdoor activities to cultural events, this small town has something for everyone. So, if you're considering retiring in Florida, Punta Gorda is definitely worth a closer look. With its friendly community and laid-back lifestyle, it just might be the perfect place to call home in your retirement years.