Southwest Florida is steadily becoming one of the most sought-after places for vacation and relocation. Midwest movers mainly prefer this part of Florida, and it’s slowly becoming a haven for seniors all over the US looking to enjoy retirement.
The Southwest Florida coast offers more pristine warm, and calm waters thanks to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, the cities and towns in this area enjoy lower crime rates than the national average.
Southwest Florida has also seen a rise in population density because it’s far cheaper to build a home from scratch than anywhere else in The Sunshine State. However, the city isn’t all daisies and sunshine.
A large portion of Southwest Florida lies on a flat surface and lies slightly above sea level. Many homes in this region are prone to floods with flood insurance packages that can dent your finances.
Southwest Florida also sits in the eye of the storm during the hurricane season, with disruptions that can set you back in the blink of an eye.
However, this shouldn’t deter you from relocating. If you’d like to pay a visit, these are the top 10 Cities in Florida worth stopping by.
10. Bonita Springs
You’ll find Bonita Springs on the outskirts of Naples, which is a 30-minute drive to Fort Myers. This small city of 50,000 people is renowned for its picturesque beaches. It is a massive attraction for fishermen, golfers, and outdoorsy people.
Bonita Springs is also home to various state parks and historical places of interest. It’s easy to find fun-filled ways to pass away the time regardless of your interest and budget. Bonita Springs is an excellent choice for raising kids in Florida.
The shallow crime rate, reasonable property prices, and plethora of dining, entertainment, and shopping options make this city hard to resist.
Places like the Riverside Park, with its pristine beauty and wealth of recreation options, the Bonita Fairways Golf Course for golf-loving aficionados makes Bonita Springs the darling face of the Florida Southwest.
9. Cape Coral Florida
With a population of 175,000, Cape Coral is one city in Florida that’s experiencing rapid expansion. The growth is because of the massive number of lots available to construct brand new homes.
The enormous lot supply for new homes pushes down property prices, making houses in Cape Coral cheaper than many other places in Florida.
The Cape Coral Yacht Club is home to one of the most renowned beaches with shining white sand and many designated areas for families and loved ones to have fun. The city has waterfront homes and canals that stretch beyond the horizon.
Cape Coral has a surprisingly low crime rate when you consider its 100,000+ residents, and it’s undoubtedly one of the safest places to raise a family in the country. Some places worth visiting include the Farmers Market, where you can get the freshest produce in The Sunshine State.
If water parks are your thing, look no further than the Sunsplash Family Waterpark, the largest waterpark you can find in Southwest Florida. It includes various exciting water slides, a toddler area, and a lazy river for those looking to chill.
Estero is renowned for the Estero Bay Preserve, a state Park with different types of water sports that include sailboarding, kayaking, fishing, and surfing. The city has only 31,000+ residents but still offers a. Enter quality of life than you’d find in many parts of the country.
Estero is Spanish for “Estuary,” and tourists can visit the Hertz arena for some hockey games or the 7300-yard Stoneybrook Golf Course.
However, this small city is known for the Koreshan State Historic Site, a religious group that existed over 150 years ago. It has unique historical value and offers a variety of recreation activities like hiking, fishing, and camping on the grounds.
The Coconut Point Mall is ideal for meeting with friends when the weather isn’t great for outdoor activities. You’ll find over 120 stores to occupy your interest. Visitors often feel overwhelmed with the numerous shopping, entertainment, and dining choices.
7. Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers Beach is practically a stone’s throw from Fort Myers. Still, the difference between the former and the latter couldn’t be any clearer. The 7000 strong community is a magnet for people who engage in water-based activities.
You can find various community events to participate in, including the Fort Myers Beach Lions Club Shrimp Festival, Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival, The Taste of the Beach, and the Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
The city has accommodation for every budget, and it’s a few minutes to drive from Fort Myers if you want to explore the employment market.
Places like the Imagination Science Center provide a fantastic learning experience for people of all ages. You can participate in various exciting aquatic activities like diving with dolphins or feeding the stingrays.
6. Marco Island
Marco Island is home to 18,000 residents and is a stone’s throw from Naples. The island city is known for birdwatching, surfing, fishing, and other aquatic activities.
Additionally, the island sits at the top of Florida’s Southwest by the Gulf Coast and is renowned for its natural splendor.
The Marco Island Historical Museum aims to preserve the island’s rich history while offering a unique view of the original settlers’ lives before its settlement. The Museum showcases authentic photographs and historical accounts of the early inhabitants.
Visitors who’d like to experience this part of Florida through the water can do so on the Marco Island Princess. At 100 feet, the Princess is instantly recognizable around the Marco Island waters, offering an unparalleled view of the city. The Marco Island Seafood & Music Festival is an annual event in March, and it’s one of the most attended festivals in Florida.
It’s a seafood paradise with continuous rows of seafood delicacies as far as the eye can see. Besides, you can attend with the family with lots of engaging activities for kids, including exciting cooking contests.
It’s debatable that Naples is the most popular city in Southwest Florida. The town is slightly over two hours from Miami. You’d expect the city to be more populated, but the population is a little over 22000.
Naples is a hub for the wealthy with its sophisticated and rustic charm. The medium-sized city is known for its pier and is an excellent fishing destination. You can spot playful, curious dolphins if you’re lucky. The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary offers 13,000 acres of pristine pine Flatwoods, wetlands, and magnificent marshes. The diverse ecosystem makes it an attraction for tourists who’d like a first-hand experience with nature in its rawest form.
You’d be hard-pressed to call Nokomis a city when it only has 3000 residents. This city is for people who enjoy having a laid-back experience with the option of experiencing what the Florida Gulf Coast has to offer.
In addition to breathtaking beaches, the town has a budding art scene. The Cottage of Art Gallery at Pocono Trail is open in summer from May to September. It lets you mingle with the local artists while enjoying some delicious lobster rolls.
If fishing is your thing, head straight on to the North Jetty Beach Park for some family fishing fun. And if you luck out of fish, there’s a fish market close by that offers the freshest catch.
3. North Port
You’d be surprised the North Port population in 2000 was 22797, but today is north of 60,000. The city is located in Sarasota County and is suitable for those who want to be a part of an exciting burgeoning community.
Most residents rate the quality of life from very good to excellent, and it’s not surprising to find this city on the list. The good thing going for North Port is its proximity to cultural and natural places of interest.
For instance, the Myakka River State Park consists of many indigenous species and has a diverse ecosystem of marshes, wetlands, and cypress swans, including the “Deep Hole,” over 100 feet deep.
The Atwater Community Park also offers some respite from the Florida heat that can be oppressive. It’s a perfect stop for families with children looking to cool off on their way to other destinations.
2. Punta Gorda
This city is at the confluence between the Myakka and Peace Rivers. It is less than 200 miles from Orlando and Miami. It currently has a population of 18,000 and is a small city with various attractions on offer.
Nature enthusiasts will find the Charlotte Harbor Center an exciting experience. It provides educational experiences for children with guided tours by local experts, providing an insight into the indigenous flora and fauna.
The Punta Gorda Nature Park spans 21 acres to enjoy a picnic with the family while taking in the spectacular landscape. You can catch some fish too.
There are so many nature trails with educational signposts that give you invaluable information about the wildlife and vegetation on your path. Men and women of culture will enjoy the Sea Grape Gallery, with an eclectic collection of art pieces.
The Gallery takes pride in its support for the local community, providing an avenue for local artists to showcase their work on a broader stage.
You might be mistaken to think you’re in Italy, but this beach-inspired city is one of the most amazing places to visit in The Sunshine State. Venice, Florida, has a population of 22,000 people.
The town is so named because of its complex canals and waterways reminiscent of its Italian cousin. The overall architecture has an Italian feel. Downtown Venice is one of the most iconic examples of a historical masterpiece.
Venice Beach is your first port of call, where you can relax under the soft silky white sands overlooking the ocean. The Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters makes it suitable for swimming all year round with lifeguards on standby. The Venetian Museum and Archives give you a backdrop of the city. The Museum has several important artifacts worth exploring, and it’s on the National Register of Historic Places list.
If you’d like to visit or relocate, Southwest Florida should be the first location on your list. The region is dotted with beautiful cities, the lushest mangrove estuaries, and not forgetting the magnificent Florida Everglades.
The top 10 cities in Southwest Florida, listed above, offer tremendous value for vacation or relocation, and you can’t go wrong with the choices on our list.
Related: Living in the Villages, Florida