For those gearing up for end-of-the-year guests and desiring a delightful getaway (or a day trip) to enjoy some truly unique holiday family happenings, one hidden gem on Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast is the ideal tropical winter wonderland for a holiday getaway.
Topping the 2016 TripAdvisor list of “10 Affordable Down-South Destinations to Escape Winter’s Chill,” Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach ranked as the number one sunny, warm-weather vacation destination that won’t break the bank. Conveniently located between Sarasota and Fort Myers, easily accessible via I-75 and only a short drive from seven major Florida cities, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach invites families on a journey to discover the spirit of the Holidays, with notable holiday happenings such as:
Christmas Light Canal Cruises: A tradition in Punta Gorda for over 30 years, these popular one-hour group-oriented trips are offered nightly from December 3-31 and cruise through Punta Gorda canals decked with spectacular holiday illuminations. Enjoy a warm display of Christmas spirit on an evening boat cruise admiring Christmas lights, displays, and decorations on homes, boats, seawalls and docks along the ride.
Dearborn Street Christmas Walk: The Dearborn Street Christmas Walk will once again be presented by The Olde Englewood Village Association on December 10 from 5 to 9:30 p.m. on Historical Dearborn Street in Olde Englewood Village. Taking place in the heart of downtown Englewood, Florida, a popular destination for local residents and vacationers to the area, the event is free and includes a family friendly movie and popcorn at 7:30 p.m.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Run:Come dressed in your ugliest Christmas sweater and join in the fun on December 16 as you walk, run, or stroll through pathways lit by luminaries. Afterward, enjoy live music at Punta Gorda’s gazebo in Gilchrist Park overlooking the beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Registration is free and begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Foot Landing in Punta Gorda with the event starting at 6:15 p.m. for walkers and 6:30 p.m. for runners. There will be prizes and an awards ceremony, and afterward you will take a Christmas trolley ride through the quaint little town of Punta Gorda and back to Foot Landing.
Punta Gorda Boat Parade: December 17 is Punta Gorda’s favorite boat parade (said to be the most interactive parade anywhere) with more total participation than any Christmas boat parade on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Enthusiastic crowds eagerly await the parade along a 7.5-mile route and enjoy carolers, watch performers, and cheer on their favorites with noisemakers, tambourines and sleigh bells.
New Year’s Eve Celebration:Come ring in the New Year at Fishermen’s Village on December 31 with family-friendly festivities throughout the evening celebration, beginning at 5 p.m. and continuing through midnight. Located on Charlotte Harbor, Fishermen’s Village has become a top-rated stay and play destination with over 30 shops, restaurants and services, a resort and marina, a military museum, plus frequent special events like this annual New Year Celebration. Admission is free and includes live music and dancing, a fun photo booth, face painting, magic shows, balloon creations, and more for all to enjoy.
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