The town of Fort Myers was founded in 1886, initially as a fort serving as a base of operations against the Seminole Indians. The town is considered the gateway to Southwest Florida, making the region popular with tourists as well as retirees. Some of the town’s historic highlights include the homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, both popular tourist attractions located along McGregor Boulevard near the charming historic downtown.
As the town gained popularity among retirees, building 55+ communities became de rigeur in the area, and today, more than 20 such places have opened and offer all manner of amenities. From highrise towers to smaller communities near the beach, retirees can find a lifestyle to suit their tastes. The town houses all manner of chain and big box stores, making food shopping and running errands incredibly easy for retirees.
Con: High crime rate
Best For: History lovers
Cost of Living: 7.3% below national average
Median Home Cost: $133,000
Top State Income Tax: no state income tax
Crime Rate: 73% higher than national average
Fort Myers was hit hard during the real estate downturn in 2007 and 2008, and today median home prices linger around a very reasonable $133,000, making it an affordable place to retire. The cost of living is also below the national average.
Outdoor lovers will also find what to do in Fort Myers. The town is home to the Red Sox spring training camp, and more than 40 golf courses. Its proximity to the Caloosahatchee River means fishing and boating are other popular pastimes.
The downside of Fort Myers is that it has a high crime rate compared to the national average, though residents say trouble areas are typically found in specific neighborhoods and easy to avoid.