Fort Myers and Lee County
With a total population of more than 600,000, Lee County is comprised of several areas, including Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero and Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel. In addition to retirees, many young families have relocated to Lee County. The climate, the proximity to the beaches, and the laid-back lifestyle are all factors that attract people to the area.
The housing choices in Lee County are endless and include a wide range of lifestyles at different price points from family-friendly single-family homes and communities to magnificent waterfront homes, high-rise condominiums and upscale gated communities. Cape Coral has been one of the most rapidly growing areas over recent years with its many miles of waterfront and abundance of canal properties with Gulf access. Bonita Springs and Estero are also increasingly popular areas, while San Carlos Park (near Estero) and Lehigh Acres are known to attract younger families because of the desirable land and home prices.
The School District of Lee County is one of the largest, fully-accredited school districts in the nation, and proudly the home of several A+ schools in the area. The District is comprised of 49 elementary schools, 21 middle schools, 13 high schools, and 26 charter schools. Additionally, there is the Fort Myers Institute of Technology, a career/technical center; as well as several esteemed educational institutions for higher learning, including Florida Gulf Coast University and Edison State College.
The City of Fort Myers has the youngest population in Lee County with a median age of 32. Throughout the year, Southwest Florida residents enjoy an array of cultural events in Fort Myers overlooking the Caloosahatchee River at Centennial Park and the Fort Myers Yacht Basin. The historic Downtown River District is home to the downtown business community, as well as newly renovated shops, clothing and jewelry boutiques, art galleries, bistros and sidewalk cafes, and restaurant nightclubs – all along the beautiful waterfront. The Caloosahatchee River is also a popular recreation destination for fishing, waterskiing, eco-tours or simply enjoying a fantastic sunset.
Lee County is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the year-round sunny weather is perfect for boating and fishing enthusiasts, and for exploring the outdoors. Residents especially enjoy Fort Myers Beach – the perfect “Florida Beach Town” – with plenty of public beach access points. Times Square, near the famous Pier, features outdoor casual dining, low-key beach bars, and eclectic shops and nightlife, while residential properties and condominiums further down Estero Boulevard make for a quieter beach experience. In addition, Lover’s Key and Bonita Beach, south of Fort Myers Beach, are very popular, as are the award-winning beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Island.
Lee County also offers an array of diverse attractions, so there is always something for individuals and families to do. Some of the favorite and most well-known attractions include the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers Historical Museum, Imaginarium Hands-On Museum, Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, Shell Factory and Nature Park, and the J.D. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Preserve. In addition, the area is known for having some of the most sought-after golf courses in the world. In fact, more than a quarter of the residential communities in the area have been built around golf courses.
Sporting and recreational activities are abound for families of all ages. For baseball enthusiasts, JetBlue Park at Fenway South, the Red Sox new Spring Training home, opened in 2012 and was constructed to emulate Fenway Park in Boston with all the identifying trademarks.
Lee County has a full array of options for different dining experiences. Since the coastline offers excellent fishing, many of the bars and restaurants feature fresh seafood. In addition, Lee County offers several venues where you can see a Broadway production or concert, including the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Florida Repertory Theatre, and the Southwest Florida Symphony.
Some other great destinations for shopping and dining include:
- Bell Tower Shops – an outdoor plaza elegantly designed with numerous fountains, exotic plants and seating areas that features boutiques and specialty shops, restaurants and major retailers
- Gulf Coast Town Center – a village-like center that features casual and upscale restaurants, specialty shops and a movie theater
- Coconut Point Mall – an open, Main Street-style shopping destination with Mediterranean Revival-style architecture and a variety of stores and restaurants, a movie theater, office condominiums and residential units
- Tanger Outlet Center – an array of brand name manufacturer and designer outlet stores located just before the Sanibel Causeway
- Miromar Outlets – located in Estero and featuring more than 120 top designer and brand name manufacturers and great dining
- Edison Mall – for the traditional mall experience