By Heather Turk
Parents hoping to make some memories with their kids will discover all of the ingredients they need for a perfect family vacation in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach. From wild eco adventures to the country’s top-rated ice cream shop, the area boasts plenty of attractions guests of all ages will love.
BABCOCK RANCH ECO-TOURS
Learn about the historic Crescent B Ranch while riding a tour buggy past alligators, migratory birds and a herd of Florida Cracker cattle (descended from the first cattle brought to the state in the 1500s) during this 90-minute tour through Babcock Ranch Preserve. Guests can also follow a boardwalk through a swamp to the ranch’s resident Florida panther enclosure and see a rescued red-tailed hawk, too. Other attractions on-site include a museum, a seasonal restaurant and a memorial to Lulu the three-horned cow. babcockranchecotours.com
CHARLOTTE STONE CRABS BASEBALL
This Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays plays all of their home games at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte. Families can enjoy an exciting game of baseball as well as various promotions throughout the year, including $2 Tuesday games. Come meet the Stone Crabs’ mascot—Clawford the stone crab! stonecrabsbaseball.com
HARBORWALK SCOOPS & BITES
Located in Laishley Park, this ice cream shop was rated the No. 1 ice cream shop in America by TripAdvisor. Guests can choose from more than 40 flavors of ice cream made fresh on-site, like the popular Chocolate with Benefits (chocolate ice cream with peanut butter and caramel cups), with prices starting at just $2.95 for a single scoop. A variety of vintage soda pops and shaved ice flavors are available as well. scoopsandbites.com
WADING TRIPS AT THE CHARLOTTE HARBOR ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER
Experience the wonder of finding sea creatures in their natural habitat during these free educational wading trips out into the estuaries of Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay. Following an informational presentation, participants will be given dip nets so that they can wade out into the seagrass beds and safely collect critters. Guests will then learn about the marine life caught from a knowledgeable naturalist before releasing the animals back into the water. Each trip takes about 2.5 hours. checflorida.org
Start planning your family vacation to Punta Gorda at allegiant.com.