Charlotte Harbor State Preserve? Not sure where that is, if you hang a right and go north on the ICW
when you get out to Gasparilla, just after going under the first bridge, you'll find the Cape Haze anchorage -- to the left, don't remember the marker number offhand, but there's Don Pedro State park a short dinghy ride away. Great spot with a dinghy dock
Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa is wonderful -- take the dinghy to the state park dock and walk or ride the tram across to the beach. Also, do not miss taking the dinghy south to either the Love Canal or a bit further where you can tie to a post and walk across maybe a quarter mile, see the American Bald Eagles on the left and wander the beach with many more shells than up at the north end of the state park.
Also, if you go just south of Cayo Costa -- it's a long island
, check the chart, you can anchor at the far south end in good weather
and walk the beach. Anchored there, take the dinghy to Barnacle Phils across on North Captiva and enjoy the ambiance if not great food
- it's a fun trip.
down the ICW
if you want to go further -- through the Miserable Mile past Marker 101, head
up the Okeechobee waterway/river to marker 92 (?) and hang a left to anchor in Glover's Bight - within dinghy range of the "other" marina owned by the same people as Burnt Store -- and Rumrunners Restaurant is on premise along with alot of boutique shops and sometimes live music
in the open area. Or you can take the boat through the lock (hand operated) and take a slip at the "other" marina -- if you have a contract
at Burnt Store Marina, you get one night free a month. We've not done it, but it's supposedly available.
Or ... better yet, sail 10 miles west, out Boca Grande Channel, hang a left and 26 hours later you'll be in Marathon or Key West
... or the Dry Tortugas
. Or day hop down the coast -- from Pelican Bay to Glover's Bight, to Marco Island, to Indian Key (Everglades City) to Little Shark River to Marathon under the 7 Mile Bridge.... how much time do you have???
Our boat is on "D" dock in Burnt Store while we're back in the Midwest for hurricane
season ... we love it there. ENJOY!
Jan & David