A joint acquisition effort between the District and the state, the preserve consists of various noncontiguous parcels that partially surround the Charlotte Harbor estuary and its major tributaries. All lands are managed as a state park.
The preserve is regionally important because it provides protection to the Gasparilla Sound/Charlotte Harbor, Cape Haze, Matlacha Pass and Pine Island Sound aquatic preserves. All these surface water features and their tributaries have been designated Outstanding Florida Waters. The preserve protects the water quality and natural resources in these adjacent sensitive areas and creates a continuity of habitats for wildlife.
The preserve contains vital mangrove and salt marsh wetlands with portions of freshwater marsh, coastal scrub, tropical hardwood hammocks and pinelands. The outstanding feature is its estuarine environment, which offers rich natural habitat and a diversity of wildlife. The preserve has an inspiring coastline with miles of open bay waters, tidal creeks and segments on the Myakka, Peace and Caloosahatchee rivers. Guided tours within the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center area are offered to the public from November to April.
- Park trails are open for off-road biking unless otherwise posted.
- Florida law requires bicyclists under 16 to wear helmets.
Boating and Paddling
- Available in open bay waters and along the Myakka, Peace and Caloosahatchee rivers.
- Boat fishing throughout preserve.
- Contact Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for license requirements.
- Port Charlotte trailhead is at Tippecanoe Environmental Park.
- Two designated hiking trails at Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center. One winds through pine flatwoods and one through salt marsh and mangrove forests.
- Contact preserve for trail maps.
Access and Parking
- Access to public use area in Punta Gorda is at the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center on Burnt Store Road (not shown on map).
- Access to public use area in Port Charlotte is through Charlotte County-owned Tippecanoe
Environmental Park on SR 776.
- Access to public use areas in Cape Haze are through several walk-through gates, and
parking areas are along the park boundary in the Rotonda neighborhood.
Restrooms and Water
- Dogs must be on a leash no more than six feet in length.
- Owners are requested to pick up after dog.
Nearby Recreation Lands
- Cayo Costa State Park
- Cecil Webb Wildlife Management Area
- Don Pedro Island State Park
- Gasparilla Island State Park
- Gasparilla Sound/Charlotte Harbor and Cape Haze aquatic preserves
- Island Bay National Wildlife Refuge
- Myakka State Forest
- Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass national wildlife refuges
- Stump Pass Beach State Park
- Yucca Pens Wildlife Management Area
For More Information
- Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, (941) 575-5816
- Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, checflorida.org