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Sunset at Gilchrist Park

Fast Facts

  • Established in 1921; population approximately 184,998.*
  • 701 square miles; 448,640 acres
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute relays shoreline mileage for Charlotte County at 830 miles including river passages, mangrove-edged aquatic preserve and more than a dozen miles of Gulf beaches.
  • Approximately 84% of the Charlotte Harbor shoreline is preserved land.
  • Canoe/Kayak Blueway Trails - 53 trails for a total of 192.9 miles throughout Charlotte Harbor
  • Often referred to as the Tarpon Capital of the World, Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands offer world-class fishing with an incredible variety of species, including snook, redfish, snapper and grouper. 
  • Charlotte Harbor is part of the National Estuary Program. 
  • 365 miles of canals; 190 miles of saltwater and 175 miles of freshwater
  • Charlotte Harbor, fed by the Peace, Myakka and Caloosahatchee rivers, is the 17th largest estuary in the nation and the 2nd largest estuary in the state encompassing 270 square miles.
  • The 106-mile long Peace River is one of the longest rivers in Florida; it finds its terminus in Charlotte Harbor. The Spanish are credited for naming the waterway in 1544 as Rio de la Paz, "river of peace."
  • The Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park is the fourth largest state park, of which 30,000 acres are in Charlotte County. Enjoy the vast hiking opportunities including the Old Datsun Trail.
  • Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area encompasses 79,013 acres or 124 square miles of the largest undisturbed pine flatwoods in SW Florida and the 7th largest management area in the state.
  • Designated as one of the "10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States" by SAIL magazine.
  • Ranked "Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America" by Golf Digest; "... golf has surpassed baseball as the national pastime for a generation of Americans now more than intent on playing than watching sports."
  • Named one of MONEY magazine's "Best Places to Live in the South".
  • Designated as one of "America's Best Healthy Places to Retire" by U.S. News & World Report.
  • TripAdvisor™ TravelCast named Englewood, Florida a "Top Ten U.S. Destination for 2009".
  • Englewood, Fla. named "Best Affordable Place in America to Retire" by
  • Port Charlotte, Florida named "Best Place to Retire" by Money Magazine.

*According to the U.S. Census Bureau as of July 1, 2018.


  • Ponce de Leon arrived in Charlotte Harbor in 1513, after landing in St. Augustine and returned again in 1521.
  • Punta Gorda was the southern-most stop on Florida’s west coast railroad system in 1886.
  • Esso produced an upside down map (south at the top, north at the bottom) from New York to Florida in 1961 to make it easier for tourists to get to Florida.
  • Teddy Roosevelt fished Charlotte Harbor in March 1917 and caught a 16-foot manta ray.
  • Charlotte Harbor was named after the British Queen Charlotte by surveyor, Bernard Romans during a 1774 visit.
  • Gasparilla Inn on Boca Grande has been host to famous visitors John F. Kennedy, J.P. Morgan, and Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush.
  • Noteworthy hotels have had notable visitors Thomas Edison and Al Capone.
  • How did Tamiami Trail get its name? It runs between Tampa and Miami. It was completed in 1928 for a cost of $13 million.
  • In the 1700s, there were Cuban fishing villages known as "ranchos” throughout the islands in the Harbor to facilitate the commercial fishing trade with Cuba.
  • Punta Gorda was described as a "small tourist town” in March 1921, on a postcard John Licht sent to his daughter in Michigan, describing bathing and splendid fishing.
  • Films shot in the Charlotte Harbor area include: Out of Time starring Denzel Washington; Just Cause starring Sean Connery and Lawrence Fishburne; Hoot starring Luke Wilson, Robert Wagner, and Jimmy Buffett; Palmetto starring Woody Harrelson; Pink Cadillac starring Clint Eastwood; and Gone Fishin’ starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover.