Port Charlotte, Florida gives you access to Charlotte Harbor, the Gulf of Mexico, and Peace River, which totals to over 165 miles of waterway. Look forward to partaking in almost every kind of water activity, as well as fishing and tour charters. Whether you want to learn how to handle a sailboat or paddle a kayak, professional instructors await to provide family lessons. With mangrove forests to explore, horses to ride, and game venues to visit, your family can expect a vacation full of adventure, relaxation, and togetherness. Book a stay at a Port Charlotte vacation rental today. To help you complete your itinerary, here’s a handy list of 11 things to do in Port Charlotte with kids.
1. Grab Grub in Old Florida Ambience
For a kid, sometimes there’s no substitute for a gooey grilled cheese sandwich served in the outdoor cafe at the Bean Depot. The well-preserved 1920s building served in the past as a train depot, a store, and a post office. The diner features fish dinners, indoor and outdoor dining, and live evening entertainment. The museum in the back tells the story of the area and includes information about Suicide Simon, a local circus daredevil.
2. Solve Escape Room Puzzles
If your family loves solving puzzles and breaking codes, Escape Port Charlotte is for you. Once your team is locked into your themed room, the clock starts, and you have 60 minutes to escape. Working together, you use the clues to find hidden objects and figure out how to escape. It’s a fun way to work together and laugh with abandon.
3. Picnic and Play in Port Charlotte Beach Park
For a casual day of relaxing and enjoying the outdoors, Port Charlotte Beach Park offers your family the amenities for a full day of fun. The park features a pool, fishing pier, and a small beach. Shaded picnic tables with charcoal grills easily accommodate your picnic. For your convenience, the park also includes outdoor showers, restrooms, kayak rentals, and a playground for the kids.
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4. Go Fishing on a Charter Boat
Even the youngest angler in your family gets a chance to catch a fish when you choose inland fishing with Silver Lining Charters. The vessel gets you to the inshore flats fishing spot within about 15 minutes of your launch. The backwaters of Charlotte Harbor and surrounding areas teem with trout, redfish, and other species of fish. The water where you fish is about two-and-a-half feet deep and calm. A bonus for the kids when fishing inshore is the chance to see wildlife, including alligators and sandhill cranes.
5. Explore Ponce De Leon Park
Beauty and learning go together when you take your kids exploring in Ponce De Leon Park in Punta Gorda, about a 15-minute drive across the Peace River from Charlotte Harbor. The park features several small statues of Ponce De Leon, the explorer who landed in this area in 1513. Besides the tranquil mangrove boardwalk, the park features fishing piers, a boat ramp, a playground, and a sandy beach.
6. Learn How to Sail
Several sailing opportunities await your family at the Charlotte Harbor Community Sailing Center. For new sailors, the center rents small sailboats to use in the sailing classes they teach. Some of the ways to learn how to sail at the Community Center include adult classes, family classes, youth classes, and youth camps. If you already know how to sail, Sunfish and Optis are available for use or bring your own small sailboat. You might even get an invitation to join an impromptu race.
7. Join a Horseback Trail Ride
When your family wants to see the Florida wilderness from a different perspective, Riding Star Ranch guided trail rides make a great option. For beginners, the guide offers a walking trail ride that begins with some instruction. Each rider helps groom and saddle a horse before taking a short introductory or refresher riding lesson. Small children who know how to stop and steer ride behind the leader, who holds a lead rope for safety. Riding Star Ranch offers other trail rides for experienced riders.
8. Visit Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary
Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda, about 30 miles from Charlotte Harbor. When you visit the sanctuary, notice that each habitat sign shares an animal’s name and personal story. Some of the animals respond when you call their names by “talking” to you in their own voices. In the tiger exhibit, two white tiger sisters share a habitat. They love to play and relax in their swimming pool. The friendly volunteers and staff cheerfully answer any questions that you and your children ask.
9. Take Kayak Lessons
Great vacations happen when you do things together as a family, including taking kayaking lessons at Port Charlotte Beach Park. It’s Time Kayak rents equipment and offers two-hour classes to help you understand the equipment, learn basic safety procedures, and experience supervised practice time. Besides choosing the best kayak, instructors show you some easy ways to enter and exit your kayak. It’s Time Kayak rents tandem kayaks if you want your younger kids to paddle with someone older.
10. Play the Day Away at Kidstar Park
There’s some fun for all ages in your family at Kidstar Park, including indoor go-karts for the younger kids who want to learn to drive, too. Older kids and adults drive the full-size go-karts on the outdoor tracks, and pretty good races sometimes occur. If spending the entire day indoors suits your fancy, that’s covered as well with the arcade that includes retro games and contemporary games. Some feature award tickets that winners exchange for gifts. Younger kids get a real blast out of Star Mountain, the huge indoor playland for climbing fun and action-packed adventures. Blacklight mini golf and laser tag offer state-of-the-art activities to enhance your play date with the kids. When the crew works up an appetite, just step into the cafe for pizza, burgers, hot dogs, and snack foods.
11. Visit Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Beach
The 1890 Port Boca Grande Lighthouse stands at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island, about 30 minutes from Port Charlotte. The lighthouse museum occupies the second floor of the lighthouse keeper’s quarters, and the octagonal light sits on the roof. Visitors either climb two flights of stairs to reach the museum or ride the small elevator. The building next door housed the assistant lighthouse keeper. After visiting the lighthouse, some visitors enjoy strolling along the no-swimming beach looking for seashells and watching for dolphins.
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