Thinking of moving to Fort Myers? The City of Palms is one of the best places to live in Florida, and is full of great areas with affordable housing and easy beach access, providing homeowners with their very own tropical oasis right in their own backyard! Here are five safe, affordable suburbs for living in Fort Myers!
Fort Myers Beach
- Home Price: $367,800 median purchase price; $1,076 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 87% of Florida cities
- Perfect For: Retirees
Located on Estero Island, a thin stretch of land reaching 1.5 miles wide, the Fort Myers Beach suburb is a safe and exciting oceanside community. Not only can you fill your days with warm sunshine, but companies like Sea Reaper Sportfishing offer residents deep-sea fishing opportunities, or you could go sailing, scuba diving, or surfing! Plus, with many restaurants and parks besides, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the year-round warm weather. And while there are some beachfront properties, many retirees are drawn to the community atmosphere found throughout Fort Myers Beach’s island resorts, like Outrigger Beach Resort, Pink Shell Beach Resort, and DiamondHead.
Things to Do in Fort Myers Beach
Learn about the marine ecology of southwest Florida or tour the largest fishing operation in the Gulf of Mexico, the San Carlos Shrimping Fleet, at the Ostego Bay Marine Science Center. Go on a Guided Manatee Kayak Tour to view manatees in their natural habitat, the Orange River, with the Manatee Kayaking Company, or visit the butterfly garden at Manatee Park. Set off from the paddle craft landing or go bird-watching in the 60-acre wildlife sanctuary, Matanzas Pass Preserve. Support local art by walking through the gallery or attending a show and making your own art at a Plein Air painting group at Fort Myers Beach Art Association & Gallery. Start your day with an Americano and The Snook Bagel Sandwich or the “Wafel” from Tuckaway Cafe. Order the Caloosa Chicken, Crunchy Grouper, or Shrimp Burger at Matanzas on the Bay. Savor the Bistec Mr. Tequila, Burritos a la Roqueta, or Cochinita Pibil at Mr. Tequila. Or eat the Junkanoo Steak Bomb, Fish Hook Fried Seafood Platter, or Beachy B.L.T on the oceanside patio at Junkanoo on the Beach.
- Home Price: $200,000 median purchase price; $1,129 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 65% of Florida cities
- Perfect For: Families, retirees
Nestled on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and San Carlos Bay, Iona is a coastal community perfect for those looking to settle down in a peaceful area. Filled with smaller and medium-sized Mediterranean bungalows and condos, Iona’s picturesque vibe can be found in the rolling greens at places like Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club and Kelly Greens Golf & Country Club. And while Iona doesn’t boast many beaches, there are plenty of marinas and companies offering yacht and boat rentals for a relaxing day of cruising on the water. If you’re looking for more relaxing beach time, check out the 715 acres of white sands, mangrove forests, and salt flats of Bunche Beach, which is a short drive south of Iona.
Things to Do in Iona
Venture out on a full or half-day Everglades Tour complete with a nature walk, boat tour, and plenty of flora and fauna at Everglades Day Safari. Take the family out for bowling, go-karts, and arcade games at Fastrax. Putt-putt through waterfalls and caves and feed live alligators from the mini-golf course at Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf. Grab a Triple Berry Flax Crepe, Cinnamon Raisin Toast, or Grape Vine Oats and shop locally crafted coffee at Chocolatte’s Coffee & Roasting. Grab a seafood favorite like the Nawlins, or selections like the Bayou Burger and Key West Chicken Bowl at Salty Papa’s Shrimp House. Sample the Citrola Deluxe Pizza, Chicken Ricardo, or McGregor Baked Penne at Citrola’s. Or listen to live jazz while enjoying the Seafood Fra Diablo, Chicken Homard, or Baked Dijon Encrusted Baby Rack of Lamb at The Roadhouse Cafe.
- Home Price: $276,400 median purchase price; $1,097 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 81% of Florida cities
- Perfect For: Families, retirees
The McGregor suburb of Fort Myers sits on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River along part of the historic McGregor Blvd. While McGregor Blvd is known for its stately riverside estates, the McGregor suburb is dotted with affordable condos, townhouses, and single-family homes in a variety of architectural styles. Retirees can find a home in an independent or assisted living facility like Brookdale College Parkway, or settle in a waterfront condo in the gated Caloosa Yacht & Racquet Club. McGregor also offers quality education in institutions like nearby Cypress Lake High School and Cypress Lake Middle School.
Things to Do in McGregor
Attend or audition for a locally-produced play or musical at New Phoenix Theatre. Sample the handcrafted gourmet treats and 25 signature chocolate flavors at Norman Love Confections. Have a fun night out with live rock music or a Comedy Night at Buddha Live. Take a Weeknight Scuba Diver Course and then go on an Open Water Checkout Dive with Scubavice Diving Center. Support local cafe The Speckled Egg, which serves up breakfast options like the Farmer Frittata Melt, or the Banana Foster Crepes throughout four generations of family. Get Greek with the Souvlaki or Pastisio at Nomiki’s Plakka Greek Restaurant. Head to Whiskey Creek Station for Camarones A La Toceneta, Clancey’s Sheppard Pie, or Mozzarella Chicken Dinner. Or try Italian dishes like Pasta Vegana Per Capelli D’Angelo or the Fegato Pancetta Con Cipolle at CIBO.
- Home Price: $693,000 median purchase price; $1,455 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 97% of Florida cities
- Perfect For: Families, retirees
One of the best places to live in Lee County, Sanibel is a safe and quiet oasis with incredible beaches and a variety of beachfront Craftsman bungalows to choose from. And while the safety and closeness of the community have made Sanibel one of the best places for families in Lee County, a majority of residents are retirees. And no wonder—with places like Sundial Beach Resort and Sanibel Island Beach Resort and amenities like gorgeous beaches and bike trails, any resident of Sanibel is sure to find a relaxing and picturesque home.
Things to Do in Sanibel
Visit the free Visitor & Education Center or take a guided Wildlife Drive in J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. Learn about shells and mollusks and the interesting animals that occupy them at the National Shell Museum. Check out the historical Sanibel Lighthouse and enjoy searching for shells and sighting animals on the nearby beaches. Catch some saltwater fish or rent a kayak or canoe at Bowman’s Beach Park. Attend a lecture series, art gallery showing, or theatre performance at Big Arts Sanibel Island. Start the day with Malted Hot Cakes, an Ocean Frittata, or a Turkey Benedict surrounded by pictures of lighthouses from across the nation at the Lighthouse Cafe. Order Shrimp Cipriani, or Salmon Oscar at Cip’s Place. Eat Cajun dishes like Crawfish Mac & Cheese, Fresh Catch Creole, and Chicken Royal at Mudbugs. Or try the Rustica, Jerk Salmon, and Kurobuta Pork Chop at The Sandbar.
- Home Price: $121,100 median purchase price; $1,023 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 39% of Florida cities
- Perfect for: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees
The Villas area is great for those who can’t decide between living in Downtown Fort Myers, Cape Coral, or the quieter beach towns of southwestern Florida. Since FL-41 runs through the middle of Villas, residents get easy access to the Fort Myers metro in the north and the beaches and preserves along the coast in the south. This is something that draws commuters in particular, but Villas still provides plenty of employment opportunities for healthcare workers or through the Chico’s FAS headquarters and Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. Families in this area send their children to local schools like Villas Elementary School and the Montessori School of Fort Myers, and older students are able to continue their education at nearby Florida Southwestern State College.
Things to Do in Villas
Check out the live steam scale locomotives and tracks in the museum or ride through woods, lakes, small villages, and scenes on the train ride tour at the Railroad Museum of South Florida. Try to escape in adventures like Treasure of the Seven Keys or Brandon’s Totally Tubular Bedroom at Escape Room Adventures. Walk your dog on the paved six-mile trail at John Yarbrough Linear Park. Fish, boat, or contribute to the children’s garden and community garden in Lakes Park. Grab a superb breakfast of a Panegger, Cranberry Pecan Pancakes, or My Big Fat Greek Omelet at Skillets. Bring your family for delicious homemade soup, fresh made potato chips, and amazing entrees like Macadamian Encrusted Mahi Mahi at The Kenwood Lane Grille. Sample the Buffalo Chicken Salad while munching on a couple slices of Grandma’s Pizza at Blue Moon Pizza. And have a date night or enjoy a happy hour with Tteok Bokki, Bibim Naengmyun, or Japchae at Ember.
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