Walking barefoot on the beach in the middle of winter never gets old, and doing fun Christmas activities in shorts and sandals is an easy way to make your friends and family back home jealous! Not to brag, but that’s our normal in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach.

We’d like to share a few of our charming holiday happenings to inspire a visit when you need a break from the cold and snow. While you may need a sweater at night, the days will likely have you running around free as a bird in tank tops and flip flops!

Light Time is the Right TimeWaterfront house lit up with Christmas lights, viewed from a boat at night

During the holidays, homeowners along the canals of Punta Gorda go all-out decorating the backs of their homes, even some docks and boats, and their de-“light”-ful creations are only visible from the deck of a boat...which is where our various Christmas Lights tours come in. There are several options to witness the wonder:

Christmas Lights Canal Cruises with King Fisher Fleet depart from the elaborately-decorated Fishermen’s Village three times a night for the entire month of December.

If you're looking for a private tour for groups of up to six people, try a Christmas Lights Waterway Cruise with Smoke and Roses Sailing Charters. They also offer a Christmas lights/sunset tour combo, for an amazing three hours on the water. These cruises all run the month of December.

Christmas Lights Canal Cruise with Punta Gorda AdventuresChristmas Canal Tours with Punta Gorda Adventures depart from their private dock in Port Charlotte. Their tours also typically run the whole month of December, and they offer both private and public tours and each cruise includes holiday drinks and snacks, and you can also leave a bit early to catch the sunset! 

For unique and nostalgic fun, check out the Wonderland of Lights at Charlotte County Fairgrounds. This drive-through light show is great fun for the whole family. Even the pets can come as long as they stay in the car. Fill up the car, limo, or mini-bus, or even arrange for your motorcoach group to enjoy the wonder. There are plenty of dates in December to fit any schedule.

Fishermen’s Village is festooned with over a million Christmas and holiday lights and decorations every year, and the display is a destination in its own right. They typically turn on the display the Saturday before Thanksgiving with their Lighting of the Village event, then the Festival of Lights will illuminate the entire Village for the rest of the year. Alongside the holiday fun, Fishermen's Village is always a great place to window shop, buy gifts, have a great meal, watch an amazing sunset, dance to live music, and people watch.

Seasonal Festivities

Lighted tree and buildings for Christmas in Downtown Punta Gorda, FloridaWe never know exactly what kind of creative events will happen over the holidays, but our local businesses always come up with a lot of festive fun. Some past events have included:

Light Up The Night: Downtown Punta Gorda Christmas Tree Lighting. This celebration usually features a plethora of family-friendly Christmas activities, multiple food trucks, live music, and more. The event is typically scheduled for the first Friday in December. The weather forecast usually calls for a light, whimsical snowfall!

The Charlotte Players can always be counted on to put on a funny and touching holiday show. In 2023, the antics of the Hersmans created chaos in their production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.Start planning to catch their next show so you don't miss any hijinks!

Downtown Kava really loves to celebrate the holidays! Keep an eye open for details about their fun events, like the Holiday Extravaganza which usually features holiday music, crafts for the kids, and treats from a Food Truck. They've also been known to throw an Ugly Sweater/Xmas PJs party!

We look forward to Gardens Aglow at Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens every year. The gardens come alive after dark with thousands of lights and decorations, usually from mid- to late-December. Santa has been known to attend, and evens usually include carol singing and S’mores roasting by the fire. 

Once you’ve experienced “winter” in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, you’ll realize it’s definitely worth a “do over” – every year!

There's also plenty of incentive to stay through the New Year: Things to Do for New Year's Eve.