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You can sightsee most places in Florida, but Punta Gorda offers the unique opportunity to sightsee by boat. Charlotte Harbor is the second largest estuary in Florida. At Fishermen's Village, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade (see other TripAdvisor pages for reference to the shopping, marina, and villas at Fishermen's Village) Holidaze Boat Rental offers the opportunity to rent a boat or a jet ski to explore Charlotte Harbor while King Fisher Fleet offers both sightseeing cruises of the harbor, and fishing charters. Cruise boats feature air conditioned main decks with panoramic windows, and open air upper decks. All cruises include live guide narrations over loudspeakers. Cruise possibilities are:
- all day trip to Cabbage Key. This truly remote but charming resort is accessible only by water, or helicopter. The original home on the island was built in the 1930's by Mary Roberts Rinehart. There is a restaurant on the key, but no store. Views from the water tower. Also, know this tour and the one below take you through open water areas of Charlotte Harbor which can be rough on windy days. If you have concerns about seasickness, a shorter harbor cruise or river cruise is recommended.
- all day trip to Cayo Costa State Park. This beach, accessible only by boat, is a pristine secluded getaway for sunbathers or shell seekers. You must take your own water and food, as none are available there. Like being castaway on a private island! As mentioned above, not recommended on windy days if you are inclined to motion sickness.
- all day excursion to Boca Grande with 3 hours at this town on Gasparilla Island to explore restaurants, shops and beach before your return.
- half day harbor cruise. This is your opportunity to view Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte from the water. On almost all trips, wild dolphins will swim next to the boat. They love human interaction, and clapping and foot stomps will be rewarded by leaps, "flipper walks" and dolphin calls. Fun for both species!
- half day "up river" tours. These nature cruises give you a chance to see untouched "Old Florida" from a water perspective. The wildlife you see will be determined by luck, and the eyesight of your guide, yourself, and that of your fellow passengers. Multiple alligator sightings are almost assured.
- half day Burnt Store Marina trip, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and lasting 5 hours
- hour long sunset cruises. These short excursions are very popular because of the breathtaking sunset vistas, and the fact that dolphins frequently put in an appearance.
If you prefer to fish while on the water, charter tours are available. Deep see fishing excursions are all day, 8 am to 5 pm, and your guide will pilot you all the way out of Charlotte Harbor, past the barrier islands, to the Gulf of Mexico. Catches include barracuda, snook, shark, and grouper. Shorter back bay freshwater fishing is also available, with catches including snapper and mackerel.