The park is named, of course, for Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer who came to America in 1513 in search of the Fountain of Youth. The park is located at the westernmost tip of Punta Gorda on Charlotte Harbor. It is the site where Ponce de Leon was wounded by the Calusa Indians as he attempted to claim their land for Spain. There are several statues of Ponce de Leon around the park, and what strikes you is how small he was! He looks like a Mini Man. But it turns out that everyone was small back in those days, as at 4'11" tall, Juan was considered a Giant Among Men!
Here's one of the statues of Ponce de Leon:
The park has a man-made white sand beach. It's not a walk-into-the-water beach, because the park is on the harbor. But fisherman do wade in there, and you'll often see paddle boarders and wind surfers go in. Even though it's not a swimming beach, it serves the purpose if you want to stay local to Punta Gorda and feel the need to stick your toes in soft white sand, which I often do!
Since the park is at the mouth of the harbor, it's a great place to watch boats come and go. They enter from the canal that goes inland and connects up with other canals that wind throughout residential sections of town. So a lot of boats enter and exit the harbor here.
There's a boat launch;
A fishing pier:
Here's a couple enjoying one of the swings with a view to the harbor:
There are Rest Room facilities - always an important feature in my book!
Parking is FREE - as it is everywhere in Punta Gorda - a rarity in this day and age! Downtown there are no parking meters, and parking in ALL the parking garages is FREE. I'M NOT KIDDING!
And if all this weren't enough, the Peace River Wildlife Center is located by the park. The wildlife center is home to injured birds, turtles and other local critters. You'll see Great Blue Herons in their treetop nest and hear the little ones crying to be fed. Pelicans fly from the center out into the harbor and back - there is always bird entertainment happening at the park.
The entrance to the center:
Wow look at that!!!
The thing we love about this park is that there is the beach if you want to sit out in the sun with your toes in the sand, but there are also grassy areas with trees if you'd like to stay in the shade. Either way, you sit and watch the boats come and go and the birds fly by. It's just a lovely, relaxing place to spend the day.
Here is RVPainter proving my point: