CHARLOTTE HARBOR & THE GULF ISLANDS, Fla. – No passport is necessary to enjoy a tropical romantic destination island wedding; simply chart your course to Florida’s Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands for nuptials that will inspire a lifetime of love.
If a wedding on the water fits your personal style, Phoenix Rising Kayak will orchestrate a kayak wedding where you paddle with a guide to a remote barrier island who then engages you in an intimate wedding or vow ceremony. Visit www.prkayak.com (941-586-2836) for package details that include the ceremony, a fruit and cheese plate, champagne toast and even a post nuptial fly-fishing lesson.
Narrow down your choice of wedding and reception locations by choosing among several islands for ambiance right for your special day:
- Boca Grande, a historic fishing village and beach town set on Gasparilla Island at Boca Grande Pass, is highlighted by a circa-1890 lighthouse, a host of charming shops and boutiques, and a walking- and biking-friendly downtown where captains of industry and Presidents play.
- Don Pedro Island, just about the most perfect beach anywhere with plenty of shells and warm water, is a secluded barrier island accessible by boat or car ferry. Picnicking, birding and wildlife viewing are popular here, but the star attraction is the mile-long beach at the State Park fronting the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Little Gasparilla Island is also accessible by boat. Seven miles of secluded beaches are perfect for swimming, fishing, shelling, and bird watching. Accommodations for the wedding party and guests are available in rental condominiums and homes, just know guests need to bring their own supplies as there are no stores or restaurants on-Island.
- Manasota Key is home to Chadwick Park at Englewood Beach and Stump Pass Beach State Park where beachgoers regularly comb for shells, take in an afternoon of sunning and swimming, or surf-fish for the main course for that night’s dinner.
- Accessible only by car ferry, Palm Island has two miles of beaches where it’s easy to get Florida sand in your shoes. A prototype for white sand, blue sky and clear water beaches, Palm Island is home to Palm Island Resort, a popular wedding and honeymoon venue.
If your destination wedding doesn’t require being on “island time” there are other lovely coastal communities to choose from as well:
- Englewood/Placida/Cape Haze fronted by the Gulf of Mexico and Lemon Bay, have all the frills of a storybook Florida beach town: nature parks, cultural events, arts, unusual boutiques and galleries along Englewood’s Dearborn Street, and of course, the beach.
- Port Charlotte, a vibrant small town, with a distinctive entertainment options including theater at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County and educational and historic programs at the Charlotte County Historical Center. The 400-member Arts & Humanities Council of Charlotte County is also headquartered here. For harbor-front relaxation, the Port Charlotte Beach Park offers 15 acres of amenities including pool, picnicking, basketball, fishing and more.
- Punta Gorda is perhaps the most well-known of Charlotte County’s communities and the cultural heartbeat of Charlotte County with diverse performances at The Center for Performing Arts & Education and juried exhibits and workshops at the Visual Arts Center. As Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands typify Florida and its great diversity, so does Punta Gorda illustrate distinctive images as a waterfront neighborhood. The streets, lined with towering royal palms, restored period homes complete with wide verandahs, and boutique shopping at Fishermen’s Village, are highlighted by flowering shrubs, streetlamps, and town benches. Featuring palate-pleasing restaurants, privately owned boutiques, and a 140-slip marina where fishing, cruising and boating are but moments away, Punta Gorda easily enchants even the most jaded of travelers.
Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands boasts a wide variety of waterfront dining establishments, resorts and catering companies who can serve up a champagne wedding breakfast, themed beach party or elegant soiree featuring the freshest “fruits de mer” (seafood) and locally grown organic produce – even locally harvested wines.
And when the wedding feast is over, the bride and groom wishing to make a dramatic exit can sail away into a beautiful Gulf of Mexico sunset, their only company, the dolphins and seabirds.
But that’s not the end of a memorable destination wedding in Charlotte County, as recreation abounds for lingering guests and the honeymooners.
From kayaking and paddleboarding the blueways, and embarking upon an eco adventure, to savoring soulful blues, and green fairways on over 20 courses, fine dining, fine fishing and fine arts, Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands is a paradise where there are many active pursuits, as well as secluded beached for those who just want to unwind under the sun.
For more destination wedding and honeymoon ideas, visit www.CharlotteHarborTravel.com
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Tourism Public Relations Manager
Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau
Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau
18500 Murdock Circle, Suite B104, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
941-743-1900, FAX: 941-764-4932