Englewood's scenic highway is all of SR 776 from South Venice to Port Charlotte. There are "loop" roads that run off SR 776 and brings the traveler back onto SR 776 in another location. Loop roads are included because there parts of history (historical) to the area, something scenic to view, or a cultural vision that is part of the community. One of the loops traveling from the South Venice is Englewood Road. The traveler would tunr right onto this road and travel to Dearbor Street, where this road ends. Dearborn Street-left, will take you through Olde Englewood Village,and back onto SR776. The second loop of the journey would be SR775, also know as Placida Road. This larger loop takes you south along the coast, and after one passes the Boca Grande Causeway, Placida Road changes to CR771, or also known as Gasparilla Road. This road then takes you back to SR776, viewing areas along the way that will be marked in the new furture for the traveler. A small slide show below provides only a few areas of interest.
Both Charlotte and Sarasota Counties are known for their “snowbirds,” retirees from cooler northern climates making Florida their home during winter months. Populations in these counties can increase up to 30 percent during the snowbird season. Based on best available information supplied by each county, using their own varied statistical methodology, in 2007, Charlotte County hosted nearly 300,000 tourists and Sarasota County hosted about 5 million tourists.
In 2006, visitors spent an estimated $193 million in Charlotte County and an estimated $1.3 billion in Sarasota County on accommodations and other tourist services and amenities. Tourism-related businesses employed about 6,500 residents in Charlotte County and over 13,000 area residents in Sarasota County.
Lodging options range from hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rental homes (like www.visitenglewood.com) and condominiums. Many of these accommodations are located on, or accessed by, the Lemon Bay/Myakka Trail. As a whole, Charlotte County has hotel/motel, resort, bed and breakfast, and vacation rental accommodations totaling about 3,100 rooms and/or units, with an additional 500 coming this year. As a whole, Sarasota County has hotel/motel, resort, bed and breakfast, and vacation rentals totaling approximately 15,000 rooms and/or units.
The Lemon Bay/Myakka Trail is filled with lots of traveler amenities and attractions. The Englewood / Cape Haze Area Chamber of Commerce operates a Visitors Center on SR 776. Gas stations and convenience stores situated along the Trail offer automotive services, restrooms and snacks for users. Several dozen restaurants serve a range of cuisines in a variety of settings, from fast-food to formal, and entice eaters with excellent local foods, produce, beef and seafood. The Trail has plenty of retail and specialty shops that are sure to have something for everyone, from necessities to unique gifts and souvenirs. To keep the traveler fit, the area offers fitness centers and gyms, along with at least six golf courses, while the Trail’s libraries, art galleries, art centers and theater playhouses maintain the mind.
Among the Trail’s ample intrinsic resources are two state parks – Don Pedro Island and Stump Pass Beach State Parks – and the Myakka State Forest. The Trail also has numerous spectacular regional and county parks and water bodies. Several dozen places of worship with your choice of denomination are located along, or adjacent to the Trail.
The Trail also possesses several health facilities – hospitals, clinics, doctor offices, etc – for any ill feeling traveler. And as mentioned, the area has hotel rooms and rentals (condos, villas) for those travelers seeking a restful night’s sleep.
The Florida Historical Marker Program recognizes historic resources, persons and events that are significant in the areas of architecture, archaeology, Florida history, and traditional culture by placing historic markers and plaques at sites of historical and visual interest to visitors. The purpose of the program is to increase public awareness of the cultural heritage of the state and to enhance the enjoyment of historic sites in Florida by its citizens and tourists. The CME plans to partner with the Florida Historical Marker Program and the counties in installing markers for resources.
Florida Blueways is a marine resource management project involving the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. The program, funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (FDEP) Florida Coastal Management Program, assesses current management practices and programs within Florida to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, fill in gaps, and ultimately join existing management programs together under a single, unified management network. The intent of the program is to balance human use and ecological issues to provide ecological protection to the marine ecosystem. The Florida Blueways project is being tested in Charlotte Harbor.
The Charlotte County Blueway Trails system was announced in February 2003, and encompasses 53 trails totaling 212 miles of coastline and waterways for paddlers to explore. The Charlotte County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department provides information about locations and classification in its Blueway Trails guide.
The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program is a partnership that protects the estuaries and watersheds from Venice to Estero Bay to Winter Haven. This partnership gives citizens, elected officials, resource managers, and commercial and recreational resource users in the 4,400-square-mile program area a voice to address diverse resource management concerns including fish and wildlife habitat loss, water quality and water flow. The watershed in the program area includes all or parts of Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Polk, Hardee, and DeSoto Counties. More than 175,000 acres of submerged resources are designated as six Florida Aquatic Preserves to be “preserved in essentially natural conditions for future generations to enjoy.” They are Lemon Bay, Gasparilla Sound/Charlotte Harbor, Cape Haze, Pine Island Sound, Matlacha Pass, and Estero Bay. The goals of the Program are: assess trends in the estuary; identify causes of environmental problems; assess pollutant loadings in the estuary; and develop a comprehensive of environmental problems; assess pollutant loadings in the estuary; and develop a comprehensive conservation and management plan.
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