Thinking of moving to Fort Myers? This Florida Gulf Coast city is a great place to live, thanks to its budget-friendly housing, excellent weather, beach access, incredible restaurants, and more. Check out these 17 things to know about living in Fort Myers!
A Growing, Affordable Florida City
Fort Myers has a similar look and feel to Florida cities like Naples and Sarasota, but it’s more affordable! The cost of living in Fort Myers is 6% lower than the state average, and the median home price is $160,800, which is $6,000 less than the Florida average—and a whopping $24,000 less than the national average. In addition, Fort Myers has been named one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. That growth has been stimulating revitalization efforts in downtown and other areas of Fort Myers, making it an even more attractive place in Florida for young professionals, families, and retirees alike to settle down!
Get Hired in Fort Myers
Looking for job opportunities in sectors like healthcare, retail, education, and tourism? The Fort Myers area has the employment you’re searching for! Lee Health is one of the largest employers in Fort Myers and the largest healthcare system in Southwest Florida, but the healthcare jobs don’t stop there! Hope Hospice and Radiology Regional are other big employers in the city. You can also find jobs with companies like Chico’s FAS, which is headquartered in Fort Myers, as well as Lee County School District or Publix. Plus, residents can easily commute to nearby Estero for work at Hertz Global Holdings or nearby Naples for hospitality and tourism jobs at one of the many resorts there!
Further Your Education
If you’re looking to further your education in Fort Myers, you’ll have plenty of institutions to choose from! Earn a two-year or four-year undergraduate degree in one of the 45 academic programs available at the Lee Campus of Florida SouthWestern State College. Study pre-med, engineering, music, entrepreneurship, or business at Florida Gulf Coast University, or learn about Florida’s fresh and saltwater systems at The Water School. Whether you’re looking to earn your certificate or an advanced degree, Hodges University is another great school to consider, especially with its availability of online programs! Or you can enroll at Fort Myers Technical College, where you can complete programs in fields from carpentry to early childhood education!
Soak Up Sunny Weather
One of the best things about living in Fort Myers is the great Florida weather! With 271 sunny days per year and annual temperatures averaging between 65 and 85 degrees, you can enjoy warm weather and sunny days all year long. Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t see some precipitation. Because of its tropical savanna climate, Fort Myers get about 54 inches of rain per year. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a warm Florida city along the Gulf Coast with good weather year-round, Fort Myers may be the place for you!
Get Around the City
Public transportation in Fort Myers makes it easy to get around the city! LeeTran serves much of Lee County, allowing residents to commute between Fort Myers, North Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Bonita Springs, Estero, Lehigh Acres, and Fort Myers Beach. Looking for an easy way to travel around the city? Hop on the Fort Myers Beach Trolley, which runs from Beach Park all the way to Lovers Key State Park, or use the free beach tram that runs from Bowditch Point to Matanzas Pass Preserve daily. Thinking about traveling farther? Catch a flight at Southwest Florida International Airport, which is conveniently located in Fort Myers!
It’s a Great Place to Retire
Consider relocating to Fort Myers for retirement! Residents aged 65-84 are the largest demographic in Fort Myers, and the city has been recognized as one of the best cities to retire in because of its amazing weather and active lifestyle opportunities! Not to mention, Florida has no state income tax, which means pensions, Social Security benefits, and incomes from IRAs and 401(k)s all go untaxed. Plus, retirees in Fort Myers have access to leading healthcare provider Lee Health!
Head to Sanibel Island & Captiva Island
Locals can enjoy spending the day on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island just an hour from Fort Myers! Located along the Gulf of Mexico, Sanibel Island is home to some of the best beaches in Florida, including Lighthouse Beach & Fishing Pier, Tarpon Bay Beach, and Bowman’s Beach. With numerous beaches between the two islands, you can spend time swimming, dolphin-watching, or parasailing. You can also go fishing, shelling, take a Pirate Cruise, explore 25 miles of trails by bike, moped, or segway, and much more! (And don’t forget to end your trip with a cool treat from Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream!)
Spend the Day Outside
Even though beaches get a lot of attention in Florida, there are tons of other outdoor recreation spots in and around Fort Myers! Go fishing, mountain bike on the trails, or explore the shallow waters at Estero Bay Preserve State Park. Take a boat out on Estero Bay, hike the Black Island Trail, or rent a paddleboat to see wildlife at Lovers Key State Park about an hour away from Fort Myers. Experience the past as you tour the houses and buildings of the Koreshan Settlement, have fun camping, or go bird-watching at Koreshan State Park. See manatees, visit the butterfly garden, or let the kids loose on the playground at Manatee Park. Or check out Florida wildlife while exploring the wetlands at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve.
There’s Plenty of Fun for Families
Looking for things to do with kids in Fort Myers? Parents will find tons of fun-filled activities to keep kids entertained! Take the family to IMAG History & Science Center, where you can feed stingrays, explore science exhibits, or catch a 3D movie. Learn about the native animals and plants in Southwest Florida as you take a nature walk at Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium. Head over to Railroad Museum of South Florida, where your family can take a ride on the miniature railroad and see exhibits featuring different types of locomotives. Hit the high ropes course, play arcade games, and more at HeadPinz Entertainment Center. Catch local productions like The Miracle Worker at Florida Repertory Theatre. Or have a blast while playing a game of mini-golf surrounded by dragons, knights, and a lagoon in the medieval-themed course at Castle Golf.
Explore the River District
Located in the heart of Downtown Fort Myers is the River District, a hot spot for shopping, dining, attractions, and events. Try Ford’s Signature Burger while sipping on an Edison Mule at Ford’s Garage. Stop by Cabos Cantina Taco & Tequila Bar with friends for Street Tacos and margaritas. Treat yourself to a deep tissue massage and a Microdermabrasion facial at White Orchid Spa. Find unique gifts and antiques at the whimsical Another Time shop. Support performing arts in Fort Myers by attending live music performances and art exhibits at Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Or don your detective hat on the second Friday of each month and participate in the Mystery Walk—each clue leads to a different downtown location!
Attend Local Festivals & Events
You won’t have to look far if you’re searching for fun events in Fort Myers! The City of Palms hosts several fun festivals throughout the year. Visit the Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair for carnival rides, delicious fair food, livestock shows, and more! Participate in activities like the Mutt Strut, STEMtastic Day of Discovery, and Edison Ford Antique Car Show at Edison Festival of Light. Check out Taste Of Lee to sample foods from local restaurants in Lee County. Find that one-of-a-kind art piece at ArtFest Fort Myers. Hit the red carpet to celebrate local filmmakers and watch short films at Fort Myers Film Festival. Or head over to Fort Myers Beach and marvel while sculptors compete during the annual American Sand Sculpting Championship.
A Golfer’s Paradise
Looking to perfect your golf game? Home to almost 50 golf courses, Fort Myers is a haven for golfers at any level! Schedule a tee time at Eastwood Golf Course. Hit the course at the historic Fort Myers Country Club, a favorite among locals since 1917. Sign up for Tuesday Night Golf or join a league at Whiskey Creek Country Club. Join either the men’s or women’s leagues at Eagle Ridge Golf Club. Become a member at Cypress Lake Golf Club and play the incredibly walkable course. Sign up your kids for junior golf lessons, perfect your game at the practice facility, or participate in tournaments at The Club at Gateway. Or play an 18-hole course spread over 800 acres at Heritage Palms Golf & Country Club.
Watch MLB Spring Training
Every spring in Fort Myers, there’s an event just for baseball lovers: MLB Spring Training! The city hosts two Major League Baseball teams every March, and fans start buying tickets as early as December to see their favorite teams train and play. Watch the Boston Red Sox play at JetBlue Park at Fenway South. Or gather at Hammond Stadium to observe the Minnesota Twins prepare for the season. Want more baseball? Cheer on the home team Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (MiLB) or rookie teams Gulf Coast League Twins (MiLB) and Gulf Coast League Red Sox (MiLB)!
Visit Edison & Ford Winter Estates
In 1885, Thomas Edison purchased 13 acres of land along the Caloosahatchee River, and for over 60 years, the Edisons enjoyed their retreat during the winter months. In 1914, Henry and Clara Ford visited the Edison family and loved Fort Myers so much that they purchased the home adjacent to the Edisons’ home. The Edison & Ford Winter Estates are the most well-known Fort Myers attractions. Visitors can tour both properties to see the main houses, guest house, caretaker’s house, and swimming pool complex. Go back in time while strolling 20 acres of gardens on the Edison Estate. Or stop by the laboratory and the Edison Ford Museum, where the scientist’s original equipment is, as well as Edison’s 1916 Model T birthday gift from Ford.
Get Fresh Seafood
There’s no shortage of amazing seafood restaurants in Fort Myers! Enjoy Crispy Cod Tenders, Shrimp Tacos, or New Bedford Sea Scallops at Cape Cod Fish Co. Feast on Fried Shrimp Bombs, Shrimp Po’ BOY, or a Shrimp Rice Bowl at Shrimp Shack. Fill up on Freshly Shucked Oysters, Seafood Paella, or Fish Tacos at Blue Pointe Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill. If you’re looking for a laid-back eatery, head to Skip One 41 for a bowl of New England Clam Chowder, King Crab Platter, or a Fried Grouper Sandwich. Enjoy views of the harbor while eating Oysters Rockefeller or Lobster Macaroni & Cheese at Deep Lagoon Seafood. Build your own fish dish or enjoy classics like Hot Lobster Roll or Pan Seared Diver Scallops at Izzy’s Fish & Oyster. Or get some Coconut Fried Shrimp, Snow Crab Legs, or Charleston Shrimp & Grits at Salty Papa’s Shrimp House.
Discover Amazing Local Dining
The Fort Myers food scene is diverse enough to satisfy any craving. Start your morning with breakfast favorites like The Benny, Hash’n Eggs, and French Toast at McGregor Cafe. Considered one of the best restaurants in Fort Myers and featured on Extra Mile, Fancy’s Southern Cafe serves Southern comfort foods like Fried Green Tomatoes, Chicken & Waffles, and Meatloaf. Visit El Gaucho Inca for Peruvian, Argentinian, and Italian dishes like Ceviche, Chupe De Camarones, and Bife de Chorizo. Head to The Veranda for date night and enjoy a bubbly bottle of Prosecco with hearty entrees like Baked Rack of New Zealand Lamb and Veal Piccata. Try Mama Capone’s Meatballs, Al’s Carne Grande Pizza, or Baked Ziti & Sausage at Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza. Or get classic BBQ dishes like Pulled Pork Sliders or Texas Style Beef Brisket at The Lodge.
Have a Drink in Fort Myers
Fort Myers has excellent nightlife spots that are worth checking out on the weekends! Listen to live music in the garden while sipping on a Frose at Downtown Social House. Enjoy an evening full of laughter with standup comedy at Laugh in Comedy Cafe. Swing by Fort Myers Brewing Company for a Lemonade SPYK’D Seltzer on tap or Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. Grab a seat at the martini bar and enjoy a Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini or Chocolate Salted Carmel Martini at Space 39 Art Bar. Drink a Founder’s All Day IPA, share pub favorites like Drunken Nachos, and play a game of darts at City Tavern. Or spend the night line dancing to live music at The Ranch.
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