Port Charlotte, FL
Port Charlotte, in my opinion, is one of the best kept secrets of Southwest Florida. If you're looking for a Florida town that has a great combination of water access, parks, ample shopping, great food, outstanding weather, ease of access to the rest of Florida, and a wide array of real estate both affordable and luxury, you've found the place.
When I moved to Florida the original plan was to move to Sarasota. My better half had lovely memories from trips to Sarasota as a kid, and my visits there had been pretty great too. Unfortunately when the time finally came for rubber to meet the road on house hunting, it became apparent that Sarasota has evolved in to a very beautiful, very busy city. Not quite the dream my wife and I had been imagining. So being the enterprising young Realtor® that I am I started to expand the search mile by mile, until I hit the North Port/Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda area. There I finally started to see the property prices I was looking for mixed with the unique Florida vibe I wanted so badly. Plus I am only a 10 minute drive to Charlotte Harbor, and 20-25 minute drive to the Gulf.
How busy is Port Charlotte, FL?
While the term "busy" is pretty relative I would venture to say that Port Charlotte would be on the lower side of "medium busy". The population according to the 2010 census was around 52k. While I'm sure we've grown since then, I can tell you coming from a town with a steady population of 100k (South Bend, IN) it hasn't grown too much. Now during "the season" (roughly late October to late March) the population increases quite a bit due to the influx of "Snow Birds". While traffic and stores/restaurants certainly get busier, the city is built to accommodate the population swell so it's not anything ridiculous. I will clue you in to an advantage as a year 'round local... we get to keep all the stuff! Port Charlotte has a ton of shops and restaurants that a city double the size would have, but we only have the larger population for approximately 3-5 months! So for most of the year we get to enjoy all the amenities at a comparable crawl. It's really pretty freakin' sweet!
What's Port Charlotte's Weather Like?
Obviously Mark is not a meteorologist, but I'm happy to address this topic with facts you can find on the internet and personal accounts haha! For the entire state of Florida, "the sunshine state", the average days of sun per year currently is around 237. In Port Charlotte, 262! I'd call that a significant number, and would say for the entire "Port Charlotte Area" (North Port, Punta Gorda, Venice, Englewood, Nokomis) this is true as well. We do get less rain than even Ft. Meyer, and they're just about 45 minutes down the road. Pretty incredible.
What about Hurricanes?
I read about a month ago in the Port Charlotte Sun that hurricanes traditionally hit Port Charlotte roughly once every 18 years. Scientific? Not really. Fact? No. Guarantee? LMAO no. But it does bare repeating that if you look at the hurricanes that actually do hit PC, it is roughly every 18 years. Charlie was the last, and the worst since the beginning of the last century. I prefer to embrace the fact that living in paradise means every June-Nov you have to pay attention to the news, take some precautions, and watch the spaghetti graphs on the Weather Channel. Oh, and fear/track Jim Cantore.
So, like my intro song on my podcast says, "I'm just a fat guy in a Hawaiian Shirt", and with good reason. I love food. Not just food, I love good food. Something PC has in spades. First we have all the regular big names you'd expect, which shall not be named here. I've been slowly exploring the local wonderful food options of the area since I moved. As you can imagine, COVID-19 has slowed my progress significantly. My personal favorite restaurants are going to be the topic of a few posts later on, so I won't delve too deeply but below are a few of my favorite haunts in PC (or very close by)!
Attractions, Entertainment, Shopping, Etc.
As I mentioned before PC has a lot of fun amenities that make it pretty danged awesome. Having US-41/Tamiami Trail go through the heart of the city is a helpful start. Every major shopping brand that most people can think of is on that strip, whether it's in one of hour many strip malls or the actual Port Charlotte Town Center mall, if it belongs in "any town USA" it's probably here. We also have many cool and unique shops locally that are really worth the trip. Funky Junkies (both PC & Punta Gorda), Fisherman's Village (Punta Gorda), are the two that immediately come to mind.
Further in entertainment is the amazing amount of beaches, parkes, state parks, etc. Like everything else I won't go into great detail, but it's almost staggering the amount of fun nature/tourist attractions we have both within PC and a short drive away. The furthest you're away from the gulf is about a 20-25 minute drive, not to mention Charlotte Harbor (where my headshot was taken shown below). Manatee Park, Myakka State Park, Stump Pass, & many more parks are within a 30 minute drive.
In short I love where I live. For me and my family it's the perfect mix of convenience & Florida-isms. Whether you're looking to vacation or relocated I invite everyone to come down and check out this great city, and the surrounding area for yourself. There really is something for everyone in SWFL!