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Florida State Parks

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USA Parks
Southwest Region
Charlotte Harbor State Park
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Charlotte Harbor State Park © Ebyabe / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
Charlotte Harbor State Park © Isles Yacht Club / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Kayak Paddle 3.7.16
Charlotte Harbor State Park © Ebyabe / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
Charlotte Harbor State Park © LYNBAR / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hidden Menace Alligator Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center
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12301 Burnt Store Rd
Punta Gorda, Florida   33955
(lat:26.8505 lon:-82.0239) map location

Phone: (941) 575-5816
Ringing Charlotte Harbor like a necklace of mangroves, the park provides vast areas of unspoiled scenery and vital habitat for many varieties of wildlife. The upland areas of the park are accessible at pedestrian walk-through's available in each section of the park. The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) is located within the park at 10941 Burnt Store Road in Punta Gorda. CHEC is a non-profit group that has a visitor's center, offers environmental education programs, interpretive guided hikes, and several miles of marked trails. The Old Datsun Trail is located at 12001 Burnt Store Road in Punta Gorda. This trail is approximately 1.75 miles long and traverses oak/palm hammocks, pine flatwoods and wetland sloughs. The Little Pine Island High Marsh Trail is located on the north side of Pine Island Road between Matlacha and Pine Island. This trail is approximately 2 miles long and traverses salt marsh, freshwater marsh and mangrove forests. The Catfish Creek Trailhead is located on the east side of County Road 771 approximately 1 ? miles north of Placida. A picnic pavilion is available for visitors to use at this site. Pine flatwoods, freshwater marshes, and salt marshes are accessible from this trailhead. Visitors are welcome to explore other areas of the park, unless posted as closed, but should be aware that these areas are remote and primitive wilderness. Visitors should take a compass, a map, and sufficient water for their trip. Almost all areas of the park are wetlands and are subject to periodic flooding. Heat, muddy trails, and mosquitoes are common elements of natural Florida. Visitors should be prepared to encounter all of them.

The park also manages more than 80 miles of Charlotte Harbor shoreline. Most of it is shallow water fringed by mangroves. These areas provide amazing opportunities to view wading birds, manatees, dolphins and other wildlife. It is best accessed by kayak or canoe and there are many opportunities to access the Preserve from Placida, El Jobean, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, Matlacha, Pineland, Bokeelia and St. James City. Portions of two paddle trail systems wind through the park. Their websites have maps available for download. The Great Calusa Blueway, website -, is in Lee County. The Charlotte County Blueway,, is in Charlotte County. On land or on the water, there is something for everyone in the "Real Florida".
History of the Area
The park encompasses approximately 42,518 acres. Approximately 7,000 acres are uplands and 35,518 acres are wetlands and open waters. The park lands were initially acquired through the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (EEL) in the 1970's and continued with the Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) program. Additional lands were acquired under the Save Our Rivers program and more recently under the Florida Forever program. The park was originally named the Charlotte Harbor State Reserve was later renamed Charlotte Harbor State Buffer Preserve and then in 2004, the DEP reorganized several programs and the management of the preserve was transferred to the Division of Recreation and Parks (DRP) and it is now called the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. In the late 1970's the state began acquiring lands around the Harbor to "buffer" the aquatic resources. By preserving upland habitats surrounding the aquatic preserves in Charlotte Harbor, Gasparilla Sound, Cape Haze, Lemon Bay, Matlacha Pass and Pine Island Sound, the park helps protect water quality, sea grasses and other habitats that are important to fish and wildlife and provides residents and visitors to the area with opportunities for boating, fishing, and other recreational pursuits. The preservation and protection of Charlotte Harbor is the goal of a continuing partnership with the aquatic preserves program. This program is part of the DEP Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas which shares facilities with the park in Punta Gorda.
Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased at all park ranger stations and museums. If you require immediate use of your pass, this is the best option. Passes can be purchased during regular business hours 365 days a year. Please call the park in advance to ensure availability. Those who are eligible for discounted or free passes may use this method to receive their pass. Annual Entrance Passes may be purchased online by visiting the FLORIDA STATE PARKS ANNUALENTRANCE PASSES web page.
There are many opportunities for boating and paddling in the waters of the Aquatic Preserves (Lemon Bay, Gasparilla Sound / Charlotte Harbor, Cape Haze, Pine Island Sound, and Matlacha Pass) which are adjacent to and protected by the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park.
Canoeing or kayaking in the quiet backwaters of the Aquatic Preserves provides increased opportunities for bird-watching

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
March 6 Get some state funding by Susan Lynn
park review stars; one to five We love FLA parks but they need more resources.Given the money coming into the state the parks need more financial support to help with trail building, information , etc
May 16 Not enough trails by Emilio
park review stars; one to five Better access to the interior of the park is needed. There is not enough trails in the park. With 40,000 Acres the park should have Hiking trails, Mountain biking trails and possibly equestrian trails as well. Hiking and biking trails leave little foot print and would allow for far more access to the interior for bird and animal watching. Not everyone is able to kayak into such areas. Trails would also make evacuation and rescue easier for anyone who got lost or got stranded by low tide.
January 2 Open up to Equestrians by Trish
park review stars; one to five You need to open this up for equestrians..we would love to be able to ride back there
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Area Campgrounds
Sun-N-Shade, LLC
14880 Tamiami Trail
Punta Gorda, FL
Sunseekers RV Park
19701 North Tamiami Trail
North Fort Myers, FL
Tamiami Village & RV Park
16555 North Cleveland Avenue
North Fort Myers, FL
Shell Creek RV Resort & Marina
35711 Washington Loop Road
Punta Gorda, FL
Pelican Perch
11255 Tamiami Trail
Punta Gorda, FL
Encore Harbor Lakes
3737 El Jobean Road
Port Charlotte, FL
Water's Edge RV Resort
6800 Golf Course Boulevard
Punta Gorda, FL
Encore Gulf View
10205 Burnt Store Road
Punta Gorda, FL
Labonte's Garden RV Park Inc
2830 Garden Street
North Fort Myers, FL
Swan Lake Village & RV Resort
2400 North Tamiami Trail
North Fort Myers, FL
Live Oak RV Resort & Golf Course
Hwy 17
Arcadia, FL
Harbor Belle RV Resort
3701 Baynard Drive
Punta Gorda, FL
Sun-N-Shade Campground
14880 Tamiami Trail
Punta Gorda, FL
Raintree RV Resort
19250 North Tamiami Trail
North Fort Myers, FL
Bocilla Island Seaport Office
8395 Main Street
Bokeelia, FL
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Florida State Parks