Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history, and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.
Southwest Coast of Florida
The City of Punta Gorda recovered fully enough after Hurricane Charley in the 2000s that it became a member of the Top 10 Best Places to Retire in Florida at the end of that decade and stayed on the list!
This city with a harbor is one of the healthiest places in Florida to retire. With a population of about 18,000 people, it provides small town life and outdoor living near the bigger cities of Sarasota and Tampa. Water activities are very popular.
Further Hurricane Readiness procedures were put into place for the future after Hurricane Charley, and although Florida is likely to be visited by additional hurricanes, this fact does not cause many people to move away to another state.
Good news is that US News and World Report recently chose Punta Gorda as one of the Healthiest Cities to Retire In around the USA.
Health and Wellness Community
In addition to its rating as a great place to retire in Florida, Punta Gorda is prominent in its focus on health and wellness at all ages.
- The Punta Gorda Club and YMCA: Includes tennis and a spinal health program besides several others offered by most YMCA branches.
- Dragon Boaters and Charlotte Harbor Paddlers - this is largely a 55+ group, men and women, that trains in rowing large dragon boats at least three times a week. They compete in the yearly Dragon Boat Festival.
- People of all ages gather in several of the city parks for hiking programs.
Medical Centers and Hospitals
- Charlotte Regional Medical Center
- Deep Creek Rehab and Nursing Center
- Harborside Surgery Center
- Life Care Center of Punta Gorda
- Punta Gorda Hospital
Healthy Retirement Communities
The following retirement communities have consistently received favorable comments around the Internet, especially associated with health features:
- Charlotte Harbor Senior Health Care: 4000 Kings Hwy, Port Charlotte FL 33980
- Sandhill Gardens: 24949 Sandhill Blvd, Punta Gorda FL 33983
- South Port Square: 23023 Westchester Blvd, Port Charlotte FL 33980
- Sterling House of Punta Gorda
- Windmill Village Mobile Homes
Top Hiring Companies are in Health Related Businesses
Consistently, over 10,000 jobs are listed year around in the metro area. Many of the largest companies consistently hiring workers are involved in healthcare:
- Bayfront Health in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda
- Lee Memorial Health System
- Fawcett Memorial Hospital
- Florida Cancer Specialists
- Millennium Physicians Group
- Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery
- Charlotte Regional Medical Center: County regional hospital
- CVS Health/Pharmacy
- 21st Century Oncology
- Family Health Centers
Recreation and Entertainment
Temperatures generally hit the mid-90s in the summer and remain in the 60s during the winter in this more tropical part of Florida, so outdoor activities in the water and on the beaches are almost always available all year.
Six city parks and a state park on Don Pedro Island are very popular. Along with an EPA rating that makes Punta Gorda's Charlotte County air the highest quality in the state, all of these activities lead to a higher level of health among residents, including retires.
In addition to golf, tennis, walking and eco-tours in the area, fishing is a tremendously big activity. In the Gulf of Mexico, you can fish for grouper, mackerel, snapper, or tarpon. Within the inland waterways, trout and sheepshead have been easy to catch. If you take a charter boat for fishing, a fishing license may not be required by law. Local fishing tournaments are held throughout the year by the Lemon Bay Rotary Club.
The refurbished Downtown District features nightlife, entertainment and dining as well as cultural pursuits like art galleries and theater.
Fitness Zone at Linear Park
Punta Gorda Pathway system includes 18 miles of bike/hike trails running among the neighborhoods, city parks, and business district. One of these trails is the Fitness Zone.
Fat Point Attractions
The city's name means "Fat Point" and it lies on a wide point of land that extends into a natural harbor, Charlotte Harbor in Charlotte County.
Each December, the city and Chamber of Commerce hold an evening Lighted Boat Parade. Monthly trolley car tours of the city are provided in this area with an hour-long cruise after the land-side tour.
A Wine and Jazz Festival is well attended in February of the year near Valentine's Day.
Historic Downtown District and Waterfront
The city has set into motion an ongoing plan of development that includes preservation of period architecture and the recovered wall murals located around downtown on the walls of some of the buildings. The waterfront district is well developed and features museums and city parks as well as restaurants, shops, entertainment, and a variety of services..
Gallery Walk is sponsored on 3rd Thursdays by the Downtown Merchants Association and features entertainment and refreshments as visitors and residents leisurely browse the shops and street vendors. Walking maps are provided. Additional activities are sponsored for the other Thursdays of each month,
This is a combination waterfront mall and boating marina. Shops, upscale dining, sight-seeing cruises, boat rentals, and even jet skiiing are available.
Mural Society and Waterfront Mall
In the downtown district of the city, the Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society oversees the maintenance of dozens of street murals. Nearby, the Waterfront Mall and Marina entertains newcomers and residents alike with shopping, deluxe apartments and many amenities in a mixed-use venue.
Historic Highway Across Southern Florida
In 1928, the cross-Florida highway between Naples and Miami became the Tamiami Trail along US Route 41. It was a huge achievement among engineers and construction companies. Today, it tales travelers to a number of towns and interesting museums like the Muscle Car City Museum in Punta Gorda (Please see video below).
This highway cuts through The Everglades after passing through fascinating places like Ten Thousand Islands.
Through the Punta Gorda Area, the highway is accompanies by a bike-hike trail that runs parallel to it.
Muscle Car City
Over 200 of the historic muscle cars of the 1950s to the 1970s are found at this place, along with an authentic 1950s diner.
Muscle Car City museum: 3811 Tamiami Trail (US Rt. 41), Punta Gorda, Florida 33950. Phone 941.575.5959. Closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but open every other day from 9am - 5pm.
Native American Carvings
National artist Peter Wolf Toth carved the head of Calostimucu for the City of Punta Gorda from the trunk of a dead monkey pod tree in three months.
Mr. Toth planned to carve Native Americans for all 50 states. Calostimucu, the 10th work in the US States series, features a man on one side and a woman on the other. Overhead of the couple is a dream of American Buffalo and the Bald Eagle.
The trail of statues and its mission, in part, is to counter the horrors of the Trail of Tears of the 1830s. Toth immigrated into the USA from Hungary and lived in Ohio, where he learned about Native Americans. As he traveled to California, he was further inspired to create a trail of tall statues across the United States in honor of peoples that underwent numerous atrocities.
Peter Wolf Toth: Trail of Whispering Giants
The art along the trail of statues is entitled Trail of Whispering Giants and its mission, in part, is to counter the horrors of the Trail of Tears of the 1830s.
Toth immigrated into the USA from Hungary and lived in Ohio, where he learned about Native Americans. As he traveled to California, he was further inspired to create a trail of tall statues across the United States in honor of peoples that underwent numerous atrocities.
The park is located at 3400 Ponce de Leon Pkwy, Punta Gorda FL 33950; and is open daily from 11am - 4pm.
- Charlotte Tech Center: Located in nearby Port Charlotte
- Edison State College: 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers FL 33919
- Florida Gulf Coast University: Fort Myers, with a campus in Punta Gorda
- Impac University: 900 West Marion Avenue; Punta Gorda FL 33950
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Patty Inglish MS
Cindy on November 20, 2010:
That's why we moved here! Love it!
lindaadams37 on September 12, 2010:
I have heard about this place but never relate it in terms of good health. Hopefully, the environment lives up to its reputation.
gdyer on January 26, 2010:
Here's a Webpage that contains listings of the local restaurants, hotels, food, fun, places to shop,
things to do, and all the information you will need to find including the best places to stay, dine, and entertain yourself while your visiting Fl. It's a great reference if you're a local.
Have fun...Hope you get to experience Punta Gorda's laid back lifestyle! Come on down Y'all!
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 21, 2010:
An excellent article on Punta Gorda. You listed most of the considerations for moving to a new location in a well written article Great hub.
susanlang on January 19, 2010:
Patty, I enjoyed the info you provided re: Florida. Thanks. I gave this page a thumbs up!
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 19, 2010:
I have talked myself into moving to Florida, I think :)
Hello, hello, from London, UK on January 19, 2010:
A great hub and very informtive. Shame I can't come there. Thank you for a good read.
Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on January 18, 2010:
Fantastic hub and Mr Toth is one heck of an artist isn't he? Thank you again Patty. You never fail.
dusanotes from Windermere, FL on January 18, 2010:
Excellent, comprehensive, well written. Great Subject. What more can you want in a beautiful Hub? Don White