Babcock Wilderness Adventures Buggy Eco TourWe do love our beaches, but sometimes you want to shake things up a bit. Here are some fun ways to take a break from the beach. You may miss it, but just think how lovely your reunion will be!

Experience Real Florida with Babcock Ranch Eco Tours

This 90-minute buggy tour through a working cattle ranch and Telegraph Swamp is both entertaining and informative. Wildlife sightings vary and can include white-tailed deer, Osceola turkeys, wild boar, birds of all feathers (as it were), alligators, and the resident cracker cattle. Photographers from professionals to hobbyists will find inspiration on the Photography Tours, and the Sounds of the Night tours offer another level of fascination.

Lunch at Table & Tap, Babcock Ranch

 

Explore the First Solar-Powered City in the U.S.

Down the road is America’s first solar-powered town, Babcock Ranch. The buggy tour at Babcock Ranch Eco Tours takes you past the town’s solar panel field containing 343,000 panels! There’s plenty to do, with five miles of hiking and biking trails, kayak rentals, a dog park, fresh water fishing and electric boat rides on Lake Babcock, and self-guided tours of the model homes (a destination in themselves!). Dine at Table & Tap for fresh farm-to-table fare and enjoy a scoop (or two) of ice cream from Square Scoops. Begin your visit at the Discovery Center at Woodlea Hall in Founder’s Square.

Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda
Learn About the Past

Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach is home to the extraordinary Military Heritage Museum, which provides a comprehensive tour from the Revolutionary War through modern conflicts, across all five military branches. Their purpose is to honor all who serve. The Museum features thirty-thousand-plus artifacts, veterans serving as museum guides, flight and ship simulators, virtual reality experiences, thousands of infographics, live performances, and audiovisual displays. This is a education, entertaining, and unique family-friendly experience!

Family at "Keel" installation at Peace River Botanical and Sculpture Gardens

 

Experience Artful Nature 

Whether you discover on your own or book a guided tour, the whole family will be fascinated by the world-class art and incredible nature on display at Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens. Create some wonderful memories, take some amazing photos, explore the butterfly pavilion, and be sure to feed the Koi!

 

Snack, Shop, and Enjoy

The Punta Gorda Farmer's Market features many amazing vendors offering everything from fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts, fresh bakery items and homemade pastas to kitchenware, cupcakes, beef and fresh seafood, jewelry and arts/crafts, candles and soaps, dip mixes, orchids and air plants, kettlecorn, coffee beans and drinks, and so very much more! Enjoy this tradition Saturday mornings: October through April: 8 am–1 pm; May through September: 8 am–noon. Add in the weekly live music, and you can see why it's so popular!

 

Break Out!Sherlock Holms tools: cap, pipe, magnifying class, key, handcuffs, scroll

To step away from regular “tourist-y” stuff, give one of our escape rooms a try! Our area boasts two escape rooms: Escape Port Charlotte, and Escape Rooms Unlocked in Punta Gorda. They each have many different options when it comes to different adventures, rooms, group sizes, and times to solve, so there's no way to get bored!

 

Create Your Own Souvenir

There’s not a thing wrong with a mass-produced souvenir but if you’re looking for something more personal—as in, you create it yourself!—there are several great options in the area.

  • Bisque IT Studio offers countless bisque items to Blowfish and Flamingo at Bisque IT Studiopaint, as well as canvas and wood painting classes, glass fusing (training class recommended) and clay hand building. With just a three-day turnaround time, you may be able to start your vacation at Bisque IT and pick up your treasure before you leave. If not, no worries: they ship!
  • Sheryl’s Shell Shop in Englewood is the place to find all things shell and create a piece of resin art. Even better if you picked up a special seashell or shark tooth from the beach to incorporate.
  • With classes like Mixed Media Holiday tree and chalk paint basics, Eclectic Whimsy could be your perfect keepsake creation place!
  • If you’re here over the holidays and looking to create some of your own festive décor, check out Hammer & Stain in Punta Gorda. They offer ceramic and wood painting workshops that are very holly jolly this time of the year.

There’s more to do in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach than can be covered here, but we hope this short list of things to do away from the beach in Charlotte County inspires you to get out and explore this amazing area! Find more-more-more in the things to do and events sections of our website.

Also, before heading out to any of these businesses, check with them regarding hours of operation.

For resources to determine beach conditions, visit oursafetravel.com.

Updated 3/1/2021