Punta Gorda, Florida shines in the summer time. Located on the beautiful Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda was made for the long sunny days and beautiful warm nights. This 4th of July, residents and visitors will find fun holiday events which celebrate both the nation’s birthday and the season itself.

The annual 4th of July Freedom Swim is a great way to beat the heat and start the celebrations. The Punta Gorda Freedom swim started 25 years ago when a local attorney and some friends decided to swim the distance across the Peace River. They had a great time swimming the 1.5 miles and little by little more friends joined them. The 2016 Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim expects 500-600 swimmers.

There is no charge for the swim and it’s not a race. There are plenty of people kayaking, paddle boarding, floating on rafts and simply splashing around. There are no rules except that everyone use common courtesy and behave themselves…most importantly, they must have fun. The Freedom swim starts at 2pm at the north side of the southbound US 41 bridge and ends at Harpoon Harry’s in Fishermen’s Village.

No 4th of July would be complete without a fireworks display. Laishley Park has one of the best displays in the area. The 4th Fest runs from 11am to 10:30 pm and has events all day long. In addition to local food and drink vendors, there is live music on the Main Stage all day.

One of the most popular attractions is Water-Mania. There are 12 giant inflatable waterslides in addition to other water-themed games and activities. Later enjoy the fireworks over the Peace River. This year will be the largest display Punta Gorda has ever seen and is presented by the famous Santore Brothers of Garden State Fireworks.