~ Port Charlotte, Florida ~
Situated between popular Sarasota and Ft. Myers, Charlotte County is perhaps the most overlooked coastal county in Southwest Florida. It boasts a few cities and beaches, but none are marquee names in the Florida tourism industry. Perhaps the area is best known for getting hit by the very destructive forces of Hurricane Charley back in 2004. My wife and I traveled through here three years earlier while heading from Siesta Key to Ft. Lauderdale on our honeymoon. We followed the Tamiami Trail (US Route 41) which passes a smattering of development in North Port before becoming the primary commercial route through bustling Port Charlotte. Through Port Charlotte, the highway is lined with shopping centers, office buildings, stores, and restaurants. We stopped briefly at a Publix Supermarket along this stretch. A little further south, the commercialism fades and the highway crosses a bridge into the county seat town of Punta Gorda. Punta Gorda is older and quieter than Port Charlotte. After breezing through here, we continued our journey southward to Lee County and Ft. Myers.
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