Escape Tourist Hot Spots At This Underrated City In Florida Perfect For Outdoor Adventures

Florida is often ripe with tourists. Cities like Miami, Tampa, and Orlando are often brimming with them, leading to crowded beaches and long lines. While this obviously doesn't deter people from these destinations, it doesn't have to be the only way to experience Florida. Sure, you can try to travel during the off season; however, there's a reason why such seasons draw fewer tourists. Temperatures are hotter and muggier in the summer months, and the state is prone to sudden storms — even hurricanes. Each of these factors can lead to annoyance at best and cancellation at worst during your trip. Instead, opt for a city that's not on most people's radar but which still offers exciting beach adventures. Punta Gorda is just the place.

Punta Gorda, located along the Gulf Coast, is home to a population of just over 20,000 people. It offers outdoor adventures to experience, picturesque streets to wander, and historic sites to visit. While it's not Miami, Tampa, or Orlando, it's certainly worth visiting if you're looking for uncrowded beaches. This underrated Florida destination might just become your new favorite vacation spot.

An array of outdoor activities

Hopping on a bike is a popular method of transportation — be it for a leisurely, aimless ride or a means of getting from one place to another. The town of Punta Gorda has about 18 miles of bike and pedestrian trails ready for you to venture upon. They weave through town, to the beach, and into the tourist areas. If you're visiting, you can borrow a bike for free through the Free Bicycle Loaner Program that the organization TEAM Punta Gorda started.

If biking isn't your favorite activity, there's plenty more to do, such as take a boat tour. One particularly unique and fun tour is on a tiki cruise through Cruisin' Tiki. As the name implies, there's a tiki bar on the boat, allowing you to grab a drink and say cheers to the sunset and good times.

Alternatively, you can go kayaking or paddle boarding. Paddle Me Happy offers kayak and paddle board rentals for $35 an hour as well as guided tours for $75 per person. Glass Bottom Rentals offers kayaks with, as the name implies, glass bottoms so you can witness the sea life as you paddle.

Exploring nature in Punta Gorda

In addition to biking, paddling, and swimming at places such as Englewood Beach, a great spot for a warm weather winter escape, Punta Gorda offers opportunities for education and exploration. For example, there's the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, a nonprofit that focuses on environmental education, recreation, research, and conservation. It's the perfect place for animal lovers to learn about and get up close with wildlife. Additionally, the area has two parks with hiking trails, so if you love to hike, you're in luck. There are also options for nighttime seagrass wading, birding tours, full-moon guided hikes, and oyster gardening workshops.

If you want to learn more about and witness the beauty of plant life, you'll want to check out the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens. There, you'll find an abundance of plants, an array of sculptures, and five different ecosystems in its 30 acres. Admission is $18 for adults, $9 for youth ages 6 to 17, and $15 for seniors ages 65 and older, while children ages 5 and under are free.