By Gary McKechnie
While it’s a relative certainty that Florida has more fish camps, fishing charters, and fishing resorts than any other state, it’s an obvious certainty that Florida is the only state where you’ll find the Fishermen’s Village of Punta Gorda.
It says a lot that this Gulf Coast landmark thinks so highly of fishing that you can find it online at fishville.com. Its heritage says even more. The former site of a historic dock was transformed into a full-service resort, shopping, and entertainment complex where you’ll find lodging, restaurants, attractions, stores, boutiques, and special events.
Luring even more travelers is a full-service marina where vessels ranging from skiffs to sailboats to super-luxury yachts set sail on Charlotte Harbor or head further out to the Gulf of Mexico for a day of angling.
If you have a passion for fishing or fashion or even fusion cuisine, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
One of the undeniable pleasures of traveling is the excitement of discovering something new. At Fishermen’s Village, discoveries are made every day.
With its prime location between the banks of the Peace River and the heart of Punta Gorda, the resort is conveniently close to everything that creates the essence of Florida.
Locals and visitors are drawn to the shops, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants of the historic shopping village just a short walk or bicycle ride away. To the west on the Gulf of Mexico are some of the finest beaches in the state, while in the heart of Fishermen’s Village itself are fully equipped vacation villas, their million-dollar views balanced by affordable rates and a laid-back Key West style that puts you in the mood to explore your surroundings. Take a look around the resort and you’ll find specialty shops, boutiques, swimming pools, barbeque grills, picnic areas, spa services, and even a military museum filled with 30,000 artifacts.
Foodies satisfy their appetite for travel at the Village’s range of waterfront restaurants. Quick snacks can provide the fuel for a bicycle ride (complimentary bicycles, by the way, are provided by the resort), you can linger over a casual lunch at a sidewalk café, sip the suds off a brewhouse beer, and conclude the evening with an elegant steak dinner or, more likely, a fresh catch seafood meal at an award-winning restaurant. And nearly every dining option offers a free appetizer: A glorious view of the sparkling waters of Charlotte Harbor.
Stores sell artwork including posters, prints and original oils. There are ladies’ fashions, men’s clothing, handmade jewelry, soaps, swimwear, and toys. You’ll find fashion accessories along with items for the kitchen, garden, and beach. There are salons and spa services and even a ship’s chandlery.
Which brings up…
If you unraveled Florida’s curving coastline, the distance would be enough to stretch from Jacksonville to somewhere about 100 miles west of Dallas. That’s a mighty long stretch of coastline, to be sure, and along it you’d find hundreds of harbors, marinas, and fish camps. Many that arrived in the earliest days of Florida’s tourism trade have remained rooted in tradition and have changed very little since.
Once again, this is where Fishermen’s Village is different. As Florida developed (and Punta Gorda with it) the once rustic docks were given a modern makeover while remaining true to its original purpose. It became a destination where sportsmen could take on some of the most challenging gamefish in America and where families could relax and enjoy a complete resort experience along the waterfront.
Anchoring Fishermen’s Village is the highly-rated port which Dock Age magazine named “Marina of the Year.” This is where boats can be rented, charters arranged, and owners arriving aboard private speedboats, sailboats, pontoon boats, and cruisers can slip into more than 100 slips equipped with power, potable water, and even cable and Wi-Fi. Blessed with real estate’s guiding principle of “location, location, location,” Fishermen’s Village is positioned at the gateway to some of the nation’s finest fishing spots including Charlotte Harbor, the Peace River, Myakka River, and Alligator Bay.
But here’s another angle: Fisherman’s Village isn’t just for anglers. Nature lovers and recreational boaters set sail from the marina simply to enjoy the beauty of the harbor’s unique natural composition. Within minutes they can pass boats anchored “on the hook” and find themselves searching for colorful shells on barrier islands, dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, or idling into a back-bay where the Peace and Myakka rivers come together. Paddleboard and kayak rentals and lessons as well as harbor tours and sunset cruises are offered, each convenient ways to allow every guest the opportunity to experience the greatness of the great outdoors.
There are hundreds of destinations to discover in the Sunshine State, so here’s one last note: When you visit southwest Florida, consider making Fishermen’s Village your first resort.