Lee County, Florida Overview
Along Florida's southwestern coast, family adventures reach the beach and expand inland to wild animal parks and historical sites galore! Lee County, from Boca Grande to Bonita Springs, offers more than 50 miles of beaches famous for rare shells and calm Gulf of Mexico waters. Families particularly enjoy the gently sloping sands of Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island, long recognized as one of the world's safest beaches. Brilliant sugar-white sand for sculpting sand castles, and numerous public parks with plenty of amenities, make Fort Myers Beach an ideal family playground.
Heading to the mainland, families can hop on the downtown tram for a narrated tour of Fort Myers' colorful history. Along the way, stop at the side-by-side winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, two famous friends who spent years as neighbors along the Caloosahatchee River. Also on the grounds is a museum showcasing the world's largest collection of Edison's inventions and memorabilia, including 200 Edison phonographs and his collection of rare antique automobiles.
Let the living history lesson continue at the Burroughs Home, where charming tour guides in 1920s-era costumes share insight about the Georgian revival-style home, considered Fort Myers' first luxury residence. And the Fort Myers Historical Museum, housed in a restored Spanish-style train depot, showcases exhibits from ancient Indian civilizations to early European settlers. At the Children's Science Center, in Cape Coral, kids will marvel at the dazzling optical illusions, ferocious dinosaurs and stunning solar systems on display.
Lee County also offers plenty of "wild" family adventures. Visitors are immersed in native flora and fauna at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, in Fort Myers, which features three nature trails, live-reptile exhibits, a freshwater aquarium and a natural history museum just for kids. Enjoy the planetarium's star and laser-light shows.
Located in Bonita Springs, Everglades Wonder Gardens is one of Florida's oldest wildlife attractions. The zoo and botanical gardens, established in 1936, feature exotic Everglades wildlife, from bears and birds of prey to panthers and crocodiles. For wild water fun, head over to Sun Splash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral, where 12 acres of slides and rides
Fort Myers City: Established in 1886, the City of Fort Myers is the historical and governmental hub of Lee County. Nestled along the scenic shoreline of the Caloosahatchee River, the City has become an interesting blend of young and old. Sporting the youngest population in Lee County with a median age of 32, the City of Fort Myers is also home to the historic winter residents of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. Extensive renovation of Fort Myers historic, waterfront downtown is underway, with new restaurants, nightclubs, apartments and artistic venues providing energy and growth. Throughout the year, Southwest Florida residents and visitors enjoy cultural events overlooking the River at Centennial Park and the Yacht Basin.
Bonita Springs City: One of Southwest Florida's newest and fastest growing cities. Located between Naples and Fort Myers, Bonita Springs offers a lifestyle for just about everyone. From award winning planned golf communities to serene waterfront living, Bonita Springs exudes an urban setting with small-town charm. As Gulf breezes merge with the winds of change, a dynamic business environment is emerging. Commercial parks, office space and retail services are keeping pace with residential growth, always with an eye towards preserving the community's outstanding quality of life.
Town of Fort Myers Beach: A vacation Mecca, Fort Myers Beach is an island, seven miles wide, with plenty of sand, surf and fun. No more than one mile across at its widest, Fort Myers Beach residents number around 6,500. A mere drop in the sand bucket compared to a million-plus visitors each year. The lifestyle is casual, but business is serious, even when conducted in shorts and sandals. Tourism fuels the restaurant, hotel and amenities industries on the island. With Gulf of Mexico water temperatures ranging from 66 degrees in January to 87 degrees in August, and weather ranging from a balmy 74 degrees in January to 91 degrees in July and August, Fort Myers Beach will continue to be a choice vacation destination.
South Fort Myers: A unique community composed of older homes nestled along the Caloosahatchee River; planned communities designed with families, golfers or retirees in mind; and extensive environmental preserves including the wetlands of the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. It's also home to Lee County's largest cultural facility, the Barbara B. Mann Theatre, where residents and visitors can catch Broadway Shows and Emmy winning entertainers. For sports buffs, the Lee County Sports Complex is home to the Minnesota Twins during spring training and a variety of other sporting events through the year. South Fort Myers' diverse population of 65,000+ enjoys a variety of upscale restaurants and shopping experiences to chose from in this growing community.
Cape Coral City: One of Southwest Florida's best kept secrets, Cape Coral is the largest city in Lee County with a population of 102,000 residents, and Florida's second largest city in land mass at 114 square miles. Cape Coral's history is built around the development of some 400 miles of canals (more than in Venice) offering abundant and waterfront living for residents. An active community, Cape Coral has something for everyone including: golf, tennis, fishing, community parks and even Sun Splash Family Water Park. The growth in the business community with the development of a number of commercial & manufacturing sites. Reasonable labor costs, available land, a qualified workforce and unsurpassed quality of life, will continue to fuel Cape Coral's residential & commercial growth in the coming years.
Sanibel City: Recognized worldwide as a vacation destination. Outstanding shelling and a deep concern to preserve the island environment, have positioned Sanibel as a jewel on the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida. Sanibel is home to pristine white beaches, balmy gulf waters and an unsurpassed lifestyle for both visitors and the islands some 6,000 residents. Art galleries, theatres and upscale resorts and restaurants dot this island getaway. For nature lovers, the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a protected estuarial ecosystem of mangroves and mud flats, where exotic birds, alligators and a variety offish can be enjoyed by all.
Lehigh Acres: With more than 33,000 residents now calling the community home. Affordable housing and a casual rural lifestyle are attracting a younger population, dominated by families, with a median age of 38. With a plentiful supply of land, convenient access to the Interstate and Southwest Florida Regional Airport, and a growing workforce.
North Fort Myers: Recognized worldwide as a vacation destination. Outstanding shelling and a deep concern to preserve the island environment, have positioned Sanibel as a jewel on the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida. Sanibel is home to pristine white beaches, balmy gulf waters and an unsurpassed lifestyle for both visitors and the islands some 6,000 residents. Art galleries, theatres and upscale resorts and restaurants dot this island getaway. For nature lovers, the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a protected estuarial ecosystem of mangroves and mud flats, where exotic birds, alligators and a variety offish can be enjoyed by all.
Boca Grande : Lee County’s hidden jewel. Here is where you will find ”Old Florida”, a village community with a casual, relaxed pace of life. There are no traffic lights or high-rise buildings here, just interesting and unique shops, great restaurants, miles of uncrowded beaches, and friendly people. Located on historic Gasparilla Island, this quaint fishing and resort community has been a vacation destination since the turn of the century when wealthy businessmen from the northeast discovered Tarpon fishing. A visit to scenic Boca Grande is like stepping back in time. Plan your a trip for a day, or a week, but be careful, you could end up wishing you could spend a lifetime.
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