Exploring Lee County


Lee County


Population: 754,610

Geographical size by land area: 784 square miles

Median household income: $54,691

Median value of owner-occupied dwellings: $207,700

Mean commute time to work: 27.3 minutes

Incorporated cities: 6

(Source: U.S. Census, 2018 estimates)

Created in 1887, Lee County is the place where the Caloosahatchee River, part of the Intercoastal Waterway, meets the Gulf of Mexico and connects with the Okeechobee Waterway. The river is a unique natural resource for the county seat—Fort Myers. Originally a military fort and then a cattle town, Fort Myers was selected by inventor Thomas A. Edison for his seasonal winter home, a popular tourist destination today. International travelers are also drawn to Sanibel and Captiva islands, Gasparilla Island, and the rich fishing grounds of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. Lee County has two Major League Baseball spring training facilities for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins. There are six incorporated cities and many distinct communities throughout the unincorporated parts of the county. Here is a snapshot of the cities and communities:

Bonita Springs: Beachfront Paradise

Bonita Springs is an incorporated city in south Lee County with a population of 47,000-plus. It is home to the 1,616-acre Lover’s Key State Park, stunning beachfront homes, plenty of public access to its gulf shoreline, a large community park on the Imperial River, and historic downtown. Median price: $370,000

Cape Coral: City of Canals

West of Fort Myers, Cape Coral is the largest city between Tampa and Miami with a population approaching 200,000 and is the seventh largest in the state. At 120 square miles, Cape Coral is the third largest city in Florida by land mass. Developed in the late 1950s, Cape Coral is one of the largest master-planned communities in the nation. It is known as the City of Canals for good reason: With 400 miles of navigable waterways, it has more canals than Venice, Italy. Cape Coral has a wide mix of residential options and plenty of vacant, developable lots; it is only 50 percent built out so there are many commercial and industrial opportunities. Median price: $235,000

Village of Estero: Along the River

Estero is a 25-square-mile village nestled between Fort Myers and Bonita Springs that became incorporated in 2014. It has long drawn visitors to the Koreshan State Historic Site and the Estero River. In recent decades, it has become home to Florida Gulf Coast University, Hertz Corporation’s headquarters, Coconut Point Mall, and the Hertz Arena. The arena attracts national concerts and hosts the Florida Everblades hockey team. Median price: $316,000


Fort Meyers: Historic Hub

The county seat of Lee County, Fort Myers is a diverse community of 82,250 residents living in the 40-square-mile city. Fort Myers is home to the Caloosahatchee River, famous palm-tree-lined McGregor Boulevard, Dunbar community, the county’s central government offices, and Southwest Florida’s largest concentration of historic commercial buildings in the downtown River District. The residential neighborhoods feature a unique blend of architecture ranging from the early 1900s to modern gems, while apartment complexes and riverfront condos provide options. Median price: $226,000


At 6 square miles, Fort Myers Beach’s year-round population is nearing 7,000, though it soars with seasonal visitors in the spring and winter months. Beachfront lovers can find a bungalow, condo, or a multi-level mansion for full- or part-time living. Investors can get into the market through condotels, or invest in vacation rental properties on the Gulf or back bay. The island lifestyle is casual and laid back, with plenty of dining and live music, community activities and events that draw visitors from throughout Southwest Florida. Median price: $488,000


Sanibel and Captiva Islands have a unique natural beauty and commitment to environmental stewardship that has restricted both commercial and residential development. Captiva consistently ranks among the most desirable beaches in the world, and Sanibel has a global reputation for unparalleled shelling and coastal recreation. Due to limited inventory, these island gems boast the highest price tags in the county. Median home price: $720,000 (Sanibel) and $630,000 (Captiva)

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