While we know there are plenty of things to do in Punta Gorda, it is always fun to look at day trips from Punta Gorda. Places you can go for a change of scenery and fun.
Florida Travel Blog has assembled some of our best ideas for day trips from Punta Gorda Florida. All of them are 2-hours or less with plenty of excitement. We give you the destination, things to see and do, our recommendations and the travel distance.
Here is our List of Day Trips from Punta Gorda
The Florida Aquarium (Tampa)
The Florida Aquarium is the best aquarium in Florida. You can easily spend a half day here.
To Do and See at The Florida Aquarium; The exhibits are stunning and educational.. Every type of fish plus other wildlife greets you. The dozens of individual aquariums encase fish you will most likely never see anywhere else.
Recommendation; Lunch at their café (indoor and outdoor), there is a splash pad for kids outside. The room-size exhibits are mesmerizing as large fish swim through the coral. Pictures do well through the glass.
Distance – 1 hour 45 minutes, straight north on I-75, then I-275 will take you within a mile of the Aquarium. 104 miles.
Bok Tower (Lake Wales)
Bok Tower and the botanical gardens surrounding the tower is a fun day trip from Punta Gorda.
To Do and See at Bok Tower; Bok Tower sits on one of the highest points in Florida. The hill, called Iron Mountain, overlooks a valley some 295 feet below. While the 205-foot tower is the feature, the gardens on several acres around the tower are gorgeous. It is quite a task to create a tropical garden on top of a Florida hill this size.
Recommendation; If you are a nature photographer, bring plenty of lenses to capture the height of the tower and the minutia of the garden flora and fauna. Also, consider visiting the Pinewood Estate left virtually intact from the 1930s.
Distance – about 1 hr and 45 min. minutes from Punta Gorda, northeast on Rt. 17. 88 miles.
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is just minutes north. It is one of the few beach towns that have succumbed to the high rises seen elsewhere.
To Do and See at Anna Maria Island; Anna Maria Island possesses a laid-back atmosphere where visitors can go to relax and unwind. Go shelling, fish from three piers, rent a bike to explore the island on two wheels and grab a meal at one of Anna Maria Island’s many waterfront restaurants.
Distance – about 1 hr and 30 min. minutes from Punta Gorda, north on I-75 to Fruitville Road. 75 miles.
This gateway to the Everglades has become a destination for ecotourists and those looking for a warm climate to live, relax and play in. Plus there are dozens of things to do in Naples Florida today and every day.
To Do and See in Naples; Start the morning with a walk on the beach at The Naples Pier. Head over to the Naples Botanical Gardens for a mid-morning stop. If parks are on your agenda, the Collier-Seminole State Park is a great choice just a few miles east of Naples. You can learn about the walking dredge that helped forge a way through the Everglades. Spend a leisurely afternoon on 5th Avenue while parting with a few hard-earned dollars.
Recommendation; Shop at the Venetian Village Shops. Lunch at one of the several fine restaurants at Venetian Village. If watersports are on your mind, go down to the riverfront by Tin City where you can charter a fishing boat, rent a pontoon, plus kayaks and paddle boards are also available.
Distance – about 1 hr. from Punta Gorda, south on I-75 to Collier Blvd. 66 miles.
Arcadia is the antique capital of Florida.
To Do and See in Arcadia; Many of the shops and restaurants are located in historic buildings from a century ago. You can spend a day or more just antiquing at the dozens of shops! If you like 19th-century architecture there is plenty of that.
Recommendation; Visit the Historic Downtown Arcadia Antique District. This area, located in the heart of downtown, is home to over 20 antique shops and malls, offering a wide variety of antiques, vintage items, and collectibles. The Annual Arcadia All Florida Championship Rodeo is held each year in February and features a variety of cowboy-themed activities and events, including a rodeo and a cowboy parade.
Distance – about 35 minutes from Punta Gorda, Northeast on Rt. 17. 26 miles.
Ybor City (Tampa)
Historical Ybor City is a story of revival. The neighborhood of Tampa once was the thriving headquarters for cigar manufacturing in the United States. It is now a top attraction for visitors to Tampa.
To Do and See at Ybor City; 7th Street in Ybor City is a model for taking old buildings and turning them into a charming community. The unique shops and now famous restaurants make this a great day trip from Punta Gorda Fl.
Recommendation; Take an old-style streetcar for a tour of Ybor and the downtown around the Channelside District in Tampa. This is a fun ride. Explore the buildings in Ybor. Visit Carmines, one of the famous restaurants on the strip. You may want to visit one of the oldest restaurants in Florida called The Columbia a few blocks from Carmine’s. They have been there since 1905. You could combine this with The Florida Aquarium above.
Distance – about 1 hour 45 minutes from Punta Gorda, north on I75. 103 miles.
The Everglades are Florida’s most important ecosystem. The good news is it is not very far from Punta Gorda.
To Do and See in The Everglades; There are a few miles of the Tamiami Trail Rt 41, south of the I-75 superhighway, which is truly a backroad Florida day trip adventure. This section of the Trail from Carnestown to the Miccosukee Indian School is more aptly named “Alligator Alley”.
Recommendation; Within two hours of Punta Gorda you can see the smallest post office in the country, the Skunk Ape Headquarters and one of the best art galleries in Florida – The Clyde Butcher Galleries are second to none. Read about it here.
Distance – about 1 to 2 hours (depending on sights) minutes from Punta Gorda, south on I75 to Collier Blvd. to Tamiami Trail. 75 miles.
The Best Beaches Near Punta Gorda – More Days Trips From Punta Gorda
If you want to spend a day trip from Punta Gorda at a beach, here is Florida Travel Blog’s list of the best beaches near Punta Gorda.
Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach is the highest-rated beach near Punta Gorda. Excellent parking and a cool business district. Maybe the largest of our beaches near Punta Gorda. About 1 hour away near Sarasota via I75 north.
Venice Beach may not have the white powdery sand as some of the others, but it has something special. Venice is known as the shark tooth capital of the world. The trip to Venice Beach is about 50 minutes away via I75 and Rt. 41.
Lido Key Beach
Lido Key Beach may be the least crowded beach of our recommendations. Very wide beach with beautiful sand and a neat island. If you get tired of the beach or if the weather gets bad, you must visit St. Armand Circle a couple blocks away from the beach. One of our favorite beaches near Punta Gorda because there is so much to do.. About 1 hour away through Sarasota via I75.
Boca Grande Beach
Boca Grande actually has two beaches on the island. Both are relatively small, but their beauty makes up for the size. One beach is along the west side of the island and the other is at the very southerly end of the island. Boca Grande could have been included as one of our day trips from Punta Gorda. The island is about 1 hour away via I75 north to state Rt. 776.
Day Trips From Punta Gorda Florida
Punta Gorda is fortunate to be near a major interstate highway. Florida Travel Blog’s list of Day Trips from Punta Gorda takes advantage of this unique travel accessibility.
With I75 and the Tamimi Tril both running through the town, there are many options for day trips from Punta Gorda.