Fort Myers, Florida

Best Places to Retire in Florida


Fort Myers, known as the “City of Palms” (was built in 1850 after the Third Seminole War and named for Colonel Abraham C. Myers. It is located along the Caloosahatchie River in southwest Florida, just before the river enters the Gulf of Mexico. It has a population of nearly 50,000 (which nearly doubles in the winter season) and offers year around pleasures to residents and visitors with cruising, sailing, and fishing, historic tours and museums, and other outdoor activities suited to this climate . And although the city itself has no beaches, it is just miles from Sanibel and Captiva islands, and Fort Myers Beach.

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are closely identified with Fort Myers. The 14-acre river estate of Edison is a must-see for area visitors. The tour includes Edison’s experimental laboratories and gardens, a collection of vintage automobiles and original Edison phonographs.  Ford’s winter residence is on contiguous property and is included on the tour.  Fort Myers is also the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox at City of Palms Park and the Minnesota Twins who train at the Lee County Sports Complex. Among the attractions here are Fort Myers Historical Museum and Imaginarium Hands On Museum.  For golfers there is Fort Myers Country Club and Eastwood Golf Course, and for music lovers there is the Southwest Florida Symphony and Chorus. The Harborside Convention Center is an ideal setting for conventions and special events.

Besides its rich history, Fort Myers offers its residents great business opportunities and a high quality of family life.  The downtown area, largely abandoned a decade ago as retail businesses exited to the malls, has undergone a revival. New theaters, art galleries, restaurants, and shops have opened as the county has more than doubled in size since the 1980s.  Retirees can find a quality of life in Fort Myers not found in other communities.  The cost of living, in comparison with cities such as Washington, DC and Miami, Fla., is far below average.

Arts & Culture

Alliance of the Arts presents programs at the William Frizzell Cultural Centre. It includes three galleries, a 150-seat theater and outdoor amphitheater.

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall is the area’s only full-sized and fully equipped stage for Broadway musicals, prominent entertainers, popular and classical music concerts — all on the campus of Edison Community College. It is home to Southwest Florida Symphony and Chorus.

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre –
Florida Repertory Theater –
Southwest Florida Symphony –

Fort Myers Historical Museum, built from a converted railroad depot, covers the history of Southwest Florida. Visitors here can see Calusa and Seminole Indian artifacts, a Spanish cannon of the early 1700’s, and models of the original fort used in the Second Seminole War.  Military history is also the focus for the museum’s WW I and WW II display.

The Imaginarium Hands-On Museum and Aquarium offers interactive exhibits, such as the 3-D slide show.  Subjects covered include the environment, physics, anatomy, the economy, biology, and weather. 


The City of Fort Myers Recreation Division offers leisure and recreational activities for individuals and families throughout the area. The department serves thousands of citizens each year from young children to senior citizens through Athletics, Aquatics, Community Centers, and Special Events. Fort Myers residents can enjoy recreational activities such as dance, arts and crafts, family movies, tennis, soccer, baseball, softball, bridge, various horticultural societies, and much more.

Recreation opportunities within a 30 mile radius include Fort Myers Beach, Lee County Nature Center and Planetarium, Caloosahatchie National Wildlife Refuge, Cayo Costa State Park, Denoir Wiggins Pass State Park, Don Pedro Island State Park, Gasparillo Island State Park, Lovers Key State Park, Stump Pass, and Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.


Florida Gulf Coast University is a public, four- year college offering degree programs in education, business, health professions, liberal arts, and protective services.  Enrollment is over 4,000 students.

Edison Community College offers Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees as well as various certificate programs.  It has a 140-acre main campus in south Lee County with 23 structures, including the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.  The Collier County Campus opened in 1992 in east Naples, and the Charlotte County campus opened in 1997 in Punta Gorda.  The college has a staff of 350 professionals and enrolls over 13,000 for-credit students, and 10,000 non-credit students each year.


Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center –


Southwest Florida International Airport –


January temperatures are typically a high of 74 degrees, and low of 53 degrees.  July is 91 degrees and 74 degrees.  The relative humidity averages 54%.


Fort Myers News Press –

Property Taxes

State of Florida Department of Revenues, property tax links, and downloads. The Downtown Fort Myers Tax Office is located in the Constitutional Complex building at 2480 Thompson Street. (Website for contact information only).

State Taxes

Florida has no state income tax, nor does it tax inheritance.

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


Miami – 156 miles
Naples – 43 miles
Sarasota – 76 miles
Tampa – 126 miles
Sanibel – 21 miles

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