One reason Punta Gorda is so beautiful is the City's park system, which boasts 19 parks covering more than 100 acres of prime real estate. All of the parks have picnic tables or benches where you can sit and enjoy the view. But there's more to Punta Gorda's parks than just the beautiful scenery.

Pickleball is all the rage these days, and Gilchrist Park is home to four dedicated pickleball courts, available from 8 am to 8 pm—or dusk, whichever is earlier. Stop by the park Thursday evenings to enjoy the legendary “Guitar Army.” The style of music depends on who shows up that night, but folk, blues, and rock are typically on the play list.

Ponce de Leon Park offers visitors a true sensory experience. Feel the warmth of the sun as you sit on the small-but-inviting dry beach. Watch boats parade by during the day and the sun set in the evening. Visit Peace River Wildlife Center, right next door, to see birds and other wildlife up close and personal. Listen to a naturalist talk at the pelican feeding daily at 2:30 pm. (The birds have a lot to say as well!) Make sure not to miss Luna, a leucistic Eastern screech owl that serves as the Center's mascot. Luna is white, but not albino, as his eyes, feet, and beak are pigmented normally.

You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck at the History Park on Sundays. Starting at 9 am, you’ll find unique arts, crafts, food, and produce. Enjoy live music while you take in the historic buildings, one of which houses a gift shop with local artists’ creations. 

Kids and four-legged friends will especially love Laishley Park. This beautiful park is right along the Peace River and features lots of green space, amazing views no matter which way you walk on the nice, wide paths, and an amazing splash pad and fountain for the littles. 

Like Punta Gorda itself, its parks offer something for everyone. The question is not whether a visit to a park should be on your "to do" list, but which one to enjoy first.