We care very much about the quality of your vacation and, during this red tide bloom we want to provide you with resources to find an alternative beach and additional activities you and your family can enjoy, ranging from rides through a cypress swamp to horseback riding, to visiting a native wildlife rehabilitation center or taking a dance class.
Unfortunately, we do not know when the red tide will subside. We live here and understand the disappointment, frustration, economic loss, and heartbreak this has caused our community and those, like you, who love the area as much as we do. If you choose to visit another time when conditions have improved, we completely understand and we look forward to the opportunity to welcome you. It is important to note that the red tide has been predominantly on the beaches and harbor is largely unaffected. Stays that are based in Punta Gorda, for example, will be mostly (or completely) unaffected.
If you do plan to visit and are looking for things to do other than the beach, please check out this list of things to do for an enjoyable visit.
Note: For tourism industry assistance/surveys go here: pureflorida.com/red-tide/
Charlotte County beaches have been experiencing low to high concentrations of red tide over the past several months, which have brought along reports of fish kills and respiratory irritation. The latest Red Tide Status Report by The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission can be found at myfwc.com/redtidestatus.
New reports are published Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m.For more information on current beach conditions, visit:
Florida Department of Health's Florida Healthy Beaches
Resources About Harmful Algal Blooms
Gulf of Mexico Harmful Algal Blooms Bulletin NOAA Tides and Currents for Southwest Florida (bulletins are issued twice weekly.)
Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Florida Algal Bloom Sampling Results
Florida Sea Grant - Harmful Algal Blooms Affecting Florida's Coasts
Centers for Disease Control - Cyanobacteria FAQ Including Ways to Include You, Your Family, and Your Pets
Red Tide Facts vs. Myth
This video by Collier County (just to the south) contains factual information about red tide.
In the Gulf of Mexico, red tide is typically caused by large concentrations of Karenia brevis, a microscopic algae. Medium- to high-intensity blooms can cause eye and respiratory issues in humans, and high concentrations can also cause fish kills. Humans can become ill from consuming oysters and shellfish that are harvested from an area under a red tide advisory. Keep in mind that red tide occurs naturally throughout the world. It is not known what, exactly, causes it. Because it can occur in this part of Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission carefully monitor levels throughout the state on a frequent basis. It is important to note-- that a location that has no red tide one day, can have completely different conditions the next, as tides and winds can drastically shift a bloom in a matter of hours. For the most up-to-date, accurate information, visit NOAA Tides and Currents, Florida Healthy Beaches, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's Red Tide Page, and/or the Mote Marine/SoCool Beach Conditions site.
Cyanobacterial are a naturally-occurring part of the food chain. Non-toxic and normally not an issue, the algae changes from dilute, widely-dispersed blooms to thick scum layers along shorelines when there are excessive nutrients in the water (nitrogen and phosphorus) and when other environmental conditions (wind, excessive rain, concentration of nutrients, etc.) exist. This issue has not affected Charlotte County for the most part, and is predominantly on the east coast and on the southwest coast where rivers and waterways connected to Lake Okeechobee (by the St Lucie Canal and Caloosahatchee River) have experienced excessive, nutrient-high water releases.
Brown Tint in Water:
Florida's Beach Warning Flag Program
Florida enacted a beach flag warning system in 2005 to inform the public daily about the presence of rip currents at public beaches. Rip currents may be present but not visible so it is very important to monitor the beach flag system when heading to the beach.
Know the Flags
Yellow Flags: Be Aware and Cautious
Yellow flags mean rip current activity is expected. You should be cautious if entering the water, don't swim alone, and know what to do if caught in a rip current.
Red Flags: Strong and Frequent Rips
Red flags mean dangerous rip current activyt is expected.
The rip currents would be likely to be stronger and more frequent. It's recommended to stay out of the water.
Double Red Flags: Water Closed
You could be arrested or fined for entering the water.
About the Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast
Florida's premier year-round eco-tourism destination, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, The Charlotte Harbor Gulf Island Coast, is known for its pristine, unspoiled beauty. The area has hosted seven major feature films, been featured on SAIL magazine's list of the "10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States," ranked by Golf Digest as the "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." For information about area events, activities and attractions, contact the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor and Convention Bureau, 1700 Tamiami Trail, Suite G-2, Port Charlotte, FL; 941-743-1900, or call toll free at 1-800-652-6090 for a free Visitor's Guide; or visit the Web site at CharlotteHarborTravel.com.