Moving to Fort Myers, FL: A Comprehensive Guide to Your New Home
Are you considering a move to Fort Myers, Florida? Look no further for a complete guide to this hidden gem on Florida's Gulf Coast. Fort Myers offers a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful natural surroundings, a thriving job market, and a cost of living that won't break the bank. In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know before making the move to Fort Myers, from the cost of living to the job market, neighborhoods, transportation, and more.
Where is Fort Myers Located?
Fort Myers is conveniently situated on Florida's Gulf Coast, approximately 126 miles south of Tampa and 158 miles northwest of Miami. This prime location provides easy access to major cities while offering a serene and laid-back lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle. To reach Fort Myers, simply take I-75 and exit onto FL-82 W/Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, driving west towards downtown.
Getting to Fort Myers: Traffic and Transportation
When it comes to getting around Fort Myers, traffic is generally light during the summer and fall months. However, during the winter season, the population swells by as much as 22 percent with seasonal residents, so it's important to allow for extra travel time from November through April.
Here's an overview of transportation options in Fort Myers:
- US-41 S/Tamiami Trail: This is the primary route for local commuter traffic, offering convenient access within the city. If you need to travel to other parts of Florida, I-75 provides major interstate highway access.
- LeeTran: Fort Myers has a reliable public transportation system operated by LeeTran, which offers bus services throughout the city. Additionally, there is a Greyhound station off of Widman Way for bus service outside of the local area.
- Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW): For air travel, the primary airport serving Fort Myers is RSW, located southeast of the city. It offers a wide range of domestic and international flights.
- Page Field Airport: If you have private, corporate, charter, or recreational aviation needs, Page Field Airport is the place to go. Located three miles south of the city, it caters to a variety of aviation requirements.
The Cost of Living in Fort Myers
One of the most appealing aspects of living in Fort Myers is its affordable cost of living. Whether you're looking for an apartment, condominium, or single-family home, you'll find a range of options at reasonable prices.
While the cost of living in Fort Myers is in line with the national average, it is slightly below the average for Florida. Here's a breakdown of the major cost factors:
- Housing: The median home price in Fort Myers is around $419,000, making it more affordable compared to other popular Florida cities. Rent for studio and one-bedroom apartments typically starts around $900 per month, while two-bedroom units range from $1,100 to $1,200. Three and four-bedroom homes can be found for $1,500 or more per month.
- Healthcare: Fort Myers residents can expect to pay more than average for healthcare, reflecting the higher demand due to the area's older population.
- Transportation: On the flip side, transportation costs in Fort Myers are generally lower than the national average. This can help offset other expenses.
- Groceries, Utilities, and Miscellaneous: The cost of groceries, utilities, and other miscellaneous spending in Fort Myers is similar to the national average.
It's worth noting that home prices increase closer to the Gulf, with waterfront homes commanding higher prices. However, if you're looking for more affordable options, consider exploring the eastern inland areas.
Fort Myers Job Market
Fort Myers boasts a strong job market, which has been a key driver of the area's growth in recent years. Lee County, where Fort Myers is located, has consistently maintained lower unemployment rates compared to the national average. Moreover, the county is projected to experience faster job growth than the country as a whole.
Some of the largest employers in Fort Myers include:
- Lee Memorial Health System
- Lee County Schools/Lee County Government
- Fox Electronics
- Florida Gulf Coast University
- Ritz-Carlton Naples
The tourism and hospitality industry also plays a significant role in Fort Myers' job market, offering a wide range of employment opportunities.
Fort Myers Neighborhoods: Finding Your Perfect Home
Before you embark on your move to Fort Myers, it's essential to explore the city's diverse neighborhoods. Whether you're seeking a waterfront property or a tranquil living environment, Fort Myers has a neighborhood that will suit your preferences. Here are two popular neighborhoods worth considering:
Fort Myers River District
If you're a fan of urban living, the Fort Myers River District is the place to be. This vibrant neighborhood is filled with shops, restaurants, and a bustling nightlife. High-rise waterfront condos cater to young professionals seeking easy access to amenities, while the nearby historic district offers beautifully restored homes perfect for retirees.
Fort Myers Beach
For those who can't get enough of the sand and surf, Fort Myers Beach is a dream come true. This area is known for its stunning beaches and offers a variety of beachfront properties. Whether you're looking for a vacation home or a permanent residence, Fort Myers Beach provides a relaxed beach lifestyle with plenty of recreational activities at your doorstep.
Fort Myers Lifestyle: Outdoor Recreation and More
Living in Fort Myers means embracing a lifestyle centered around the outdoors. With its prime location on the Gulf Coast, the city offers an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. From exploring pristine beaches to boating, fishing, and water sports, there's no shortage of activities for nature enthusiasts.
In addition to outdoor pursuits, Fort Myers boasts a vibrant downtown area with quaint shops, restaurants, museums, art galleries, and amusement parks. Whether you're strolling along the riverfront, immersing yourself in cultural experiences, or enjoying local cuisine, there's always something to see and do in Fort Myers.
Fort Myers: A Growing Community
Fort Myers has experienced significant growth in recent years, earning its place as one of the fastest-growing places in the United States. This growth is fueled by the city's attractive lifestyle, job opportunities, and affordable cost of living. Whether you're a retiree seeking a peaceful coastal retreat or a young professional looking for career prospects, Fort Myers has something for everyone.
So, if you're ready to embrace the laid-back charm of Fort Myers, start planning your move to this flourishing city on Florida's Gulf Coast. From its scenic beauty to its thriving job market, Fort Myers offers the perfect balance of relaxation and opportunity. Start your new chapter in Fort Myers and discover all that this hidden gem has to offer.