CHARLOTTE HARBOR & THE GULF ISLANDS, Fla. (May 18, 2016) – This Father’s Day, forget the ties, power tools and coffee mugs, and opt instead to treat your dad to an unforgettable vacation at a budget your wallet will approve. Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands in Florida offers an affordable men’s escape to fulfill every last Father’s Day wish-list. From internationally renowned fishing to enjoying America’s pastime at Charlotte Sports Park, there are so many activities your old man will be talking about for years to come.

Nestled between Sarasota and Fort Myers lies the tranquil, picturesque community of Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands. Recently voted the “Top Affordable Down-South Destination in the Country to Escape Winter’s Chill” by TripAdvisor®, the destination is known for its award-winning beaches, nationally renowned golf courses and world-class fishing.

Make unforgettable memories this Father’s Day with the gift of travel and visit Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands. Below are just a few activities in the area you can treat your dad to, including several Father’s Day specials. 

World-Class Fishing: Known as the “Tarpon Capital of the World,” anglers from across the globe visit Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande Pass with hopes of reeling in the silver king. Put your skills to the test and experience the internationally renowned top sport fishing destination for yourself. Peak season for tarpon fishing is May - June; however, the destination is a year-round ecological breeding ground for numerous fish, such as snook, redfish, cobia and grouper.

Muscle Car City: Muscle Car City is a 99,000-square-foot museum with well over 200 vintage ‘50s to early ‘70s GM muscle cars owned by one man, Rick Treworgy. From Antique Chevys to a huge assortment of Hot Rods, this museum will bring your father's childhood Hot Wheels collection to life – and he may even spot that first car he got when he turned 16. 

This Father’s Day, the museum will be offering half-off admission to dads at the low price of $6.25. 

Florida Tracks and Trails: For the active father, enjoy a day of paintball and four wheeling at Florida Tracks & Trails, Florida’s newest attraction with over 1,000 acres of world-class outdoor recreation for all ages. For those that choose to forego the adventure activities, the attraction offers a man-made 12-acre paradise beach. Unwind by the water and enjoy the island tunes. The only things missing are the stingrays and jellyfish.

Championship Golfing: Ranked the “Third Best Place in America to Live and Play Golf” by Golf Digest, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands offers more than 20 courses ranging in level from executive to championship. Whether your dad is a professional or amateur player, you’re sure to find a course that fits his exact requirements.

Charlotte Sports Park: Experience America’s pastime at Charlotte Sports Park – Spring Training facility for the Tampa Bay Rays and ranked “No. 1 Spring Training Facility in the U.S.” by USA Today readers. The Charlotte Stone Crabs, the High-A Affiliate to the Tampa Bay Rays, are the 2015 Florida State League Champions, and play at the Sports Park during the summer. 

Fishermen’s Village: Fishermen’s Village is a unique combination of waterfront restaurants, boutiques, resort and marina all located on Charlotte Harbor in Punta Gorda. Take your dad for a day out with local vendors boating, fishing, kayaking or paddle boarding. 

This Father’s Day, dads cruise free all weekend with King Fisher Fleet. Enjoy a sunset, island, or harbor cruise with your dad as dolphins often coast along the shore. Diamond Charter Cruises is also offering a Father’s Day special for your dad and five guests aboard a luxurious 56-foot yacht. Diamond Cruises include free soft drinks and snacks for all and run all day. For reservations and pricing, please call (941) 639-0960. 

Watersports: Take in the beauty, fun and excitement of paddling the crystal clear waters with Hooked on SUP SUP and Snorkel Tours. The adventure starts with a stand up paddle board lesson followed by a snorkeling tour to discover sea horse, starfish, octopus, or even a dolphin or manatee. Don’t worry about missing a thing, your guide will take photos of your adventure free of charge!

Ranked as one of SAIL Magazine’s top 10 places to sail in the U.S., Charlotte Harbor is home to Florida’s second largest open-water estuary – a sailor’s dream. 

Restaurant Week: The dining scene in Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is an eclectic mix of seafood shacks, sidewalk cafes, waterfront eateries, fine dining and sweet spots – most of which are privately owned and exclusive to the destination. For all the foodies, Father’s Day weekend will also be home to the Punta Gorda Restaurant Week, a week of two-course lunch or three-course dinner specials on a “pre fixe” menu. More than 20 local restaurants are participating with lunch courses under $12 per person and dinner under $23 per person. 

Theater: During the month of June, share the experience of community theater with Dad at the Lemon Bay Playhouse in Englewood. The theater is extending a special BOGO offer for the production of “Making God Laugh.” Purchase a reserved ticket and receive the second ticket free. In order to receive this special offer, visit the box office in person or call (941) 475-6756 and mention the promo code “Father’s Day Special.” Advanced purchase required. BOGO tickets are not available online.

Local History: Recount the triumphs and struggles faced by the community’s fathers during a living history presentation called Founding Fathers of Charlotte County at the Charlotte County Historical Center between 10 – 11 a.m. on Friday, June 17. The program is free. 

Peace River Wildlife Center: This home for abandoned, orphaned and injured native wildlife invites kids to bring their dads to meet feathered foster fathers of the Peace River Wildlife Center such as great horned owls, pelicans, screech owls along with displaced and injured hatchlings and fledglings that cannot be reunited with their own parents. Admission is free but donations are gratefully accepted. 

With so much to do and see in Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands, your dad is sure to enjoy the tropical escape.

About Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands 
Located halfway between Tampa and Naples on the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is a charming collection of nine coastal communities surrounding the state’s second largest harbor. Florida’s premier year-round eco-tourism destination, the area offers a pristine unspoiled beauty.  In 2014 Port Charlotte has been named the top U.S. Best Value Destination by trivago, the world’s largest online hotel search site, and the Charlotte Sports Park, spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, was voted “Best Spring Training Facility” by readers of USA TODAY. A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands has been named one of SAIL magazine’s “10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States,” ranked by Golf Digest as “Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America,” and rated by MONEY magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live in the South.” Englewood was named second of the Top Ten emerging travel destinations in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.com. The area is served by five airports: The Punta Gorda Airport (PDG) with private and charter air service, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), Southwest Florida International Airport, Ft. Myers, (RSW), St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Tampa International Airport (TPA).

For more information on visiting Charlotte Harbor visit www.CharlotteHarborTravel.com or call1-800-652-6090.

CONTACTS:

Kelsey Marineau, Senior Account Executive            
Aqua on behalf of Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau            
(561) 267-5796       
KMarineau@WelcomeToAqua.com 

Jennifer Huber, Tourism Public Relations Manager                                  
Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau            
(941) 743-1900
Jennifer.Huber@CharlotteCountyFL.gov