With an estimated population of 86,395, Fort Myers is GROWING. Historically a town for retirees, the median age for Fort Myers residents is 40.6. Fort Myers is located on the Caloosahatchee River offering year-round recreation which also makes it one fastest growing areas in the country.
Known as the "City of Palms", Fort Myers has lured people from all over the world for it's tropical climate, waterways, white-sand beaches, and lush flora.
Fort Myers was originally established as a Seminole War Post in 1841 known as Fort Harvie, Fort Myers began transformation into a farming and cattle community in the late 1860’s and 1870’s.
By the mid 1880’s Fort Myers began developing a commercial core, and gaining national notoriety for local recreational fishing. In 1885, Fort Myers incorporated and in 1887 Lee County was carved from Monroe County. Over time the original wooden buildings of downtown were replaced with masonry and brick buildings, many of which still exist today. 1924 marked the construction of a wooden bridge spanning the Caloosahatchee, aptly named the Edison Bridge, after our most famous winter resident.
Although the boom times came and went throughout the years, Fort Myers grew to become the governmental, commercial, and social center of Southwest Florida. Today the landscape of Southwest Florida has changed dramatically, however our history and dedication to our colorful past continues.
Thomas Edison and Henry Ford
World-renowned inventor, Thomas Edison, and his friend and business partner, Ezra Gilliland, traveled to Florida in the winter of 1885 looking for a place to relax and warm weather. They found both in abundance in the frontier town (population 349) of Fort Myers. Edison purchased a 13-acre piece of land on the Caloosahatchee River for $2,750. Soon after, Edison sketched a plan for his winter retreat, including houses, a laboratory, and extensive gardens.
The estate would eventually become known as Seminole Lodge. Here, the Edison family enjoyed swimming, boating, shelling, and other outdoor activities. Edison once boasted that the best tarpon fishing in the world was available “right in front of my house in Florida.” Seminole Lodge hosted famous friends, including Henry Ford, John Burroughs, president-elect Herbert Hoover, and many more.
Automobile magnate, Henry Ford, developed a deep friendship with Thomas Edison that began with Ford working for the Detroit Edison Illuminating Company in the 1890s. In 1914, the Ford family first visited the Edisons in Fort Myers, and in 1916, Ford purchased the property next door to Seminole Lodge. Ford’s Craftsman bungalow estate, The Mangoes, included lush grounds brimming with citrus on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.
The Ford family also enjoyed exploring the outdoors while wintering in Fort Myers, including bird watching and boating. Ford was sure to spend time in Fort Myers for one particular day each year: February 11, Thomas Edison’s birthday.
The Edision and Ford Winter Estates are a must see in SW Florida! Click here for more information.
Fort Myers offers school choice in three choice zones. Free bus transportation is available for students who live beyond two miles from their assigned school. Click here for an interactive map of the different school zones. For FAQs with school choice, click here. Navigating the schools here can be a challenge but as a parent, it's an important decision. Contact me if you would like to learn more about public school options in Lee County!
Lee County has 48 pricate schools serving students from Pre-K-12. Click here for information on private school options.
Fort Myers has two universities: Florida Gulf Coast University, which offers graduate programs and SouthWestern State College as well as Fort Myers Technical College and Southern Technical College.
Fort Myers offers school choice in three choice zones. Free bus transportation is available for students who live beyond two miles from their assigned school. Click here for an interactive map of the different school zones. For FAQs with school choice, click here.
There are many beaches available for the public to enjoy. A hidden gem and one of my personal favorite beaches is Bunche Beach, a 718-acre wetland area on the San Carlos Bay. It offers two paddlecraft launches, kayak/SUP rental options and gives visitors aOld Florida feeling.
Lover's Key State Park is another favorite, offering five miles of trails, shelling, and two miles of paradise. There is even a separate beach exclusively for dogs!
Lani Kai Beach Area is great for people watching and offers chairs and umbrellas for rent and food and beverage service right to your chair!
Bowditch Point Regional Park at the tip of Estero Island is the opposite of the Lana Kai area with over 17 acres of beach, vegetation and bay. It's a great beach to escape the crowds.
Lee County beach access is free, however parking fees may apply from $1-$2 per hour or $5 a day.
Did you know? Lee County offers a parking sticker that covers parking for many public beaches. Click here for more info.