When I was a kid, it was a holiday tradition in our family to drive around in the evening and see the Christmas lights. We wondered at the glittering fairyland the neighborhood had become, trees flashing with tiny bulbs, reindeer perched on the roofs of houses, and sidewalks fringed with color.
Punta Gorda has a similar custom —but with a Florida twist. Instead of taking the car, in this Gulf Coast city, people take a boat, cruising the canals to see what the houses, boats, seawalls and docks are wearing for the holidays.
Even if you don’t own a vessel, you can partake in the sparkly fun, thanks to a lighted canal cruise with the King Fisher Fleet, offered nightly Dec. 4 - 31, 2013.
Trips depart three times every evening, at 6, 7, and 9 p.m. and last about an hour. Advance reservations are required. The price for adults is $15; children ages three-11 are $7.50, and kids under three are free. Group rates and private charters are available.