Punta Gorda is a medium-sized city located on the coast of southwest Florida. It is the county seat of Charlotte County, and has the distinction of being the only incorporated city in that county. Punta Gorda has a rich history and is one of the original incorporated cities in the state. A whopping 70% of homes here are waterfront, thanks to the winding shores of Charlotte Harbor and the 60 miles of canals which wind through the city.
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Known as a boater's paradise, Punta Gorda is home to many serious fishermen. This historical town was restored and revitalized following the infamous Hurricane Charley of 2004. The graciousness of downtown has been preserved while sporting modern facilities and the charm of a small town. Laishley Park and Marina, on the waterfront, features a walking path that meanders throughout the city. Many other trails have been constructed for bicyclists. Homes here are average-sized, with 2 or 3 bedrooms and moderate prices. Most are sided with wood or stucco, and have grassy lawns studded with palm trees. Condominium homes are also widely available. Much of the housing in Punta Gorda was built between 1970 and 1999, as this was the period that experienced the most rapid growth. Schools in Punta Gorda are good, with 5 public schools, a private elementary school and a Florida South Western State College campus. Fort Meyers and Venice are the nearest large cities, 23 miles and 30 miles away respectively.
A large percentage of the residents in Punta Gorda are retired or live here only in the winter. Of the full-time, working residents, a majority are employed in manufacturing and other labor occupations. Executives, managers and other professionals make up the next-largest group, followed by clerical workers and service jobs. The largest single employer is WalMart, followed by St. Joseph Preferred Healthcare. Punta Gorda is considered less of a tourist destination than other Florida cities, and has a smaller hospitality industry. With ample highways and freeways, plus a public transportation system, workers who choose to commute to Fort Meyers or Venice may find more job opportunities.