Message from the Mayor

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Mayor Keesling

Welcome and thank you for visiting  As Mayor, I invite you to explore all the amenities that our City has to offer. Although considered a “small” city by some (population of 18,735), Punta Gorda is a vibrant waterfront community with a connected and relaxed lifestyle.
Officially incorporated in 1887, Punta Gorda was the southernmost stop along the Florida Southern Railroad and hosted Southwest Florida’s first tourists. Early in its history, phosphate mining was Punta Gorda's chief industry and by 1896, Punta Gorda was the greatest phosphate shipping point in the world. Today, surrounded by the majestic Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda has become an outdoorsman’s paradise. Come and explore an active lifestyle, including a multitude of diverse activities such as cycling, golf, tennis, pickleball, or bird watching. We offer unprecedented access to the harbor for sailing, cruising, deep sea fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. You will find full service marinas, boat launches, and piers, as well as beautiful waterfront parks and trails that run throughout the City. We treasure our estuaries and have established many programs to sustain birds, fish, and other marine wildlife.  Punta Gorda is a true boater’s haven with a unique layout of neighborhoods consisting of waterfront, canal lots.
Our parks are second to none, hosting more than 75 events annually featuring music, arts and crafts, food and drink, car shows, sporting activities, fishing tournaments, parades, and holiday celebrations. The Punta Gorda Pathways to include the harborwalk, consists of approximately 18 miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails that connect the City's neighborhoods, parks, and commercial areas. Come check out our free bicycle loaner program with locations throughout the City. These bright yellow cruisers are a great way to go sightseeing around town or grab a bite at one of our local restaurants. As one of the oldest cities in Florida, we are proud to feature a National Register Historic District. Be sure to visit History Park where historic buildings are preserved for future generations to enjoy. Additionally, the Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society, an organization whose mission it is to preserve the rich history of the City through the beauty of mural art, has to date, completed 30 murals as its contribution to the Florida Mural Trail.
Whether exploring on foot, by bicycle or in a car, a variety of local shopping experiences can be found, including Fishermen’s Village, as well as many shops along Sullivan Street and Marion Avenue. Our City Center is made up of local eateries, bars, galleries and other unique retail experiences. You will find quintessential Florida hospitality here in our boutiques and specialty shops. Punta Gorda is home to a wide range of culinary delights. From open-air, tiki bars to small romantic and upscale dining establishments, we have something to satisfy all of your food and beverage cravings.
I am truly humbled to have represented our great City since 2010. And together with City Council and other leadership, I am committed to serving our citizens with integrity, honesty, and enthusiasm. As I continue my term as Mayor, my focus will remain on maintaining a livable city, economic development, and working as one to promote the business-friendly culture that we have created here, as well as continuing to support what makes Punta Gorda truly unique: our residents and visitors.

Whether you are here for a day or you choose to call Punta Gorda home, we welcome you to enjoy Punta Gorda, Florida’s Harborside Hometown!

Rachel Keesling