Everything You Need to Know When Moving to or Around Fort Myers & Naples, Florida
If you've been dreaming of life near the beach, Fort Myers or Naples, Florida just might be for you. These two cities are neighbors on Florida's Southwest coast, and they each offer a relaxing, down-to-earth lifestyle. There's plenty to love about life in Southwest Florida. If you're considering moving to Fort Myers or Naples, here's a guide to everything you need to know.
Who Lives in Fort Myers and Naples?
Fort Myers is a small city, with a population of 96,851 and a population density of 2,431 people per square mile. Fort Myers is a relatively older community, with 22% of the population aged 65 years or older and a median age of 40. The racial demographics of Fort Myers are:
- 49.2% White
- 24.2% Latinx/Hispanic
- 22.2% Black
- 2.8% Asian
- 1.8% two or more races
- 0.1% Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian
Naples is smaller, with a population of 22,206 and a population density of 1,806 people per square mile. Naples' population also skews older than Fort Myers, with 52.5% of the population over 65 and a median age of 66. The racial demographics of Naples are:
- 88.8% White
- 4.8% Latinx/Hispanic
- 4.5% Black
- 1% two or more races
- 0.8% Asian
- 0% American Indian, Pacific Islander, or Native Hawaiian
What Is It Like to Live in Southwest Florida?
Income and Cost of Living in Fort Myers and Naples
It is fairly expensive to live in either Fort Myers or Naples, though Naples is significantly more costly. The median income in Fort Myers is $46,409 (below the national average) and the median household income in Naples is $107,013 (far above the national average).
The cost of living in Fort Myers is 4% lower than the national average, and the cost of living in Naples is an eyebrow-raising 74% higher than the national average. However, keep in mind that there is no state income tax in Florida.
Housing costs differ greatly between the two cities, too. In Fort Myers, housing is 12% lower than the national average, with average rent costing $1,672 per month in October 2021, about $100 higher than the national average, and the median home price is $311,000. By contrast, in Naples, housing is 229% above the national average, with average rent costing $2,032 per month and average home price costing $566,100.
Finding a Job (or Retiring) in Fort Myers and Naples
The job market in the Fort Myers/Naples area is on the rise. As of October 2021, Fort Myers has an unemployment rate of 3.9% and Naples has an unemployment rate of 3.4%—both lower than the national average of 4.2%. Many companies are creating jobs in the area, including projects like the expansion of the JetBlue Park at Fenway South, (spring training camp for the Red Sox). Sales, office and administrative support jobs currently make up one-third of Fort Myers's job market, and experts expect industries such as advanced manufacturing, financial and professional services, and information technology to grow over the next ten years. The area's top employers include Lee Health, the Lee County School District, Lee County local government, and Publix Super Market.
The area is very well-educated: 29.7% of Fort Myers residents and 56.7% of Naples residents over 25 have a bachelor's degree or higher.
All that being said, Fort Myers and Naples are both home to a considerable amount of retirees. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks Fort Myers as the Second Best Place to Retire in the U.S., with Naples coming in at number four.
Getting Around Fort Myers and Naples
You will probably need a car while living in Fort Myers or Naples. Both cities have a Walk Score of 36, indicating that a car is necessary for most tasks.
Lee County operates a bus system in the Fort Myers area. You may also be able to make use of Fort Myers' beach trolley. In Naples, you'll find the Collier Area Transit bus system, as well as the Naples Bay Water Shuttle.
The good news is that the average commute time is 23.8 minutes in Fort Myers and 15.8 minutes in Naples, both well below the national average.
Culture and Nightlife in Fort Myers and Naples
You'll discover tons of great nightlife in Fort Myers, Naples, and their surrounding islands. There's a thrilling mix of beachside pubs, wine bars, and clubs that offer up everything from an exciting night out with friends to a relaxing cocktail by the shore. You'll also be treated to a lively culinary scene, with restaurants that range from casual lunch spots to fine dining. Farm-to-table, Italian, French, Mexican, and Cuban food are all popular cuisines within the mix.
For daytime fun, you can explore the historical sites throughout the area, such as the Edison and Ford estates. Plus, there is a plethora of exciting shopping abound, from charming local shops to bustling markets.
Outdoor Activities in Fort Myers and Naples
One of the best parts of living in Fort Myers or Naples is, of course, the beaches. Southwest Florida is home to some of the best beaches in the world, and you'll have quick access to gems like Bowditch Point Park, Bunche Beach, and Lowdermilk Beach. Plus, beloved spots like Naples Pier are perfect for relaxing, enjoying the sunset, and even spotting wildlife. That's right, it's not uncommon to see dolphins, whales, and more.
Residents of Fort Myers and Naples take part in many outdoor activities. It's a fantastic place for those who enjoy deep-sea fishing and boating. Golf and tennis are also extremely popular, and there are countless clubs throughout the area. Meanwhile, with Southwest Florida's picturesque views, there are understandably plenty of great opportunities for hiking and connecting with nature.
You'll have plenty of gorgeous days to enjoy the outdoors in Fort Myers and Naples. Sunny Southwest Florida boasts a lovely sub-tropical climate, with temperatures that typically stay between 65 and 85 degrees.
Where to Live in Fort Myers and Naples
Here's a look at some of the most popular neighborhoods in Fort Myers and Naples:
- Fort Myers River District - A great neighborhood for young professionals, the Fort Myers River District marks the city's downtown and was recently revitalized. You'll be in the heart of the action, with easy access to cafés, restaurants, bars, and more.
- Iona - Placing you right next to the paradise of Sanibel Island, Iona features a mix of retirement communities and single-family homes. With such easy access to the water, it's a hot spot for boaters.
- Whiskey Creek - This neighborhood in Fort Myers has a peaceful, suburban feel. It's great for families featuring a school system that's rated B+.
- Coquina Sands - You'll find access to white-sand beaches, tree-lined streets, and a collection of shops in this charming neighborhood, along with a mix of single and multi-family homes.
- Old Naples - This historic neighborhood is characterized by affluent homes and prime beaches. Here you'll find the tourist hotspot Tin City, a waterfront boardwalk filled with local shops and restaurants.
How to Move to Fort Myers and Naples
Whether you're relocating to Southwest Florida or moving across town, don't forget to factor in these necessary tasks:
- Change your address with USPS.
- If you're new to Florida, you must obtain a valid Florida driver's license within 30 days of establishing residency. Plus, you must obtain insurance from an insurance agent that is licensed to sell insurance in Florida, and you need to title and register your vehicle within 10 days of establishing residency.
- If you already live in Florida, update your address on your driver's license within 30 days of your move.
- Register to vote in Lee County (for Fort Myers) or Collier County (for Naples).
- Sign up for utilities in Fort Myers or utilities in Naples.
- Transfer or sign up for electricity.
Should I Move to Fort Myers or Naples?
When it's time to evaluate whether you should move to Southwest Florida, take these benefits and drawbacks into consideration:
- Incredible beaches
- Buzzing nightlife
- Tons of outdoor activities
- Fast commutes
- Great place to retire
- High cost of living
- Housing is very expensive in Naples
- Car dependent
With fantastic beaches, endless activities, and a reputation as a great place to retire, Southwest Florida could be your paradise. However, the cost of living is high, and Naples has particularly expensive housing. It's also not the place to go if you're looking to give up your car. Yet, there's no doubt that with sunny skies and fresh seaside air, Southwest Florida has a lot in store.
If you're ready to start your move to Fort Myers or Naples, College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving is here to help make your move stress-free. We offer moving, junk removal, donation pickup, and hourly labor services to help make your Southwest Florida move a success. Contact us today to learn more!