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Last updated: April 29, 2021 • Traveling Around the World

Best places to live in Southwest Florida

Can you imagine yourself living by the coast in a city where the sun is always shining and beach vibes are running all over the place? Living in a coastal town is definitely a unique experience that most people enjoy only for a brief moment during their vacation. However, if you ever considered living by the beach, there are plenty of great places to live in Florida.

With about 1,350 miles of coast and some of the most famous coastal cities in the world, the Sunshine State is definitely on many people’s list of top coastline destinations. The Gulf Coast has many great places to visit and live, so we want to talk about some of the best places to live in Southwest Florida. Aside from the obvious economic benefits that come with no state income tax and the fantastic year-round weather, here are some incredible places on the Southwest coast of Florida deemed as some of the best places to live. 

The benefits and downsides of living in Southwest Florida

symbolic scale of stones

As unique as a place might be, there will be some pros and cons when it comes to living there. The same goes for the Southwest coast of Florida, and we are about to address some of the benefits and downsides of living here.

Pros of living in Southwest Florida

The Gulf waters are clearer, calmer, and warmer than the Atlantic waters along the east coast of Florida. The emerald waters of the Gulf and its calmer state might be more appealing for many people who enjoy spending time by the beachfront or engage in some type of water activity.

Another advantage of living on the Southwest coast has to do with its safety. Most of the towns and cities in Southwest Florida have extremely low crime rates, lower than the national average. With this in mind, many qualify these cities as the best places to live, especially for families and seniors.

Some of the most popular places on the Southwest are desirable places for building homes or buying since they are more affordable than the East Coast.

Cons of living in Southwest Florida

The Southwest coast of Florida is known for being very flat and just above sea level, which increases the risk of flooding. For many homeowners, this might result in expensive flood insurances in addition to the homeowner insurance, to protect them against financial losses.

The area’s popularity might be conducive to a great lifestyle in the future as the population growth might create a very different place than what we see today in a few years. Building and development are occurring in every city, and it might lead to chaotic urbanization in some areas, along with poor infrastructure.

Because the Southwest coast is mostly flat and above sea level, some additional threat comes during the hurricane season in Florida. Storm surges can result in more disruption from evacuations, and the damages are both life-threatening and costly.

Top cities in Southwest Florida

Every city has its own charm, and along the Gulf Coast of Florida, we have many great places that people consider to be the top-rated cities in Southwest Florida. Therefore, we are about to dive a little deeper and provide you with a list of some of the best cities on the Gulf Coast.

Naples

naples florida skyline

One of the southernmost cities in Southwest Florida is also one of the most gorgeous places you will ever encounter. With about 22,000 residents, Naples ranks as one of Florida’s top tourist destinations and one of the country’s wealthiest cities. The city of Naples is a nature lover’s paradise since it has easy access to Natural preserves and parks such as Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.

You can’t get a more picturesque sunset than the one you experience on Naples Pier; it is truly magical and unique anywhere in the world. Pair everything with the Gulf of Mexico’s gorgeous white sandy beaches, and you have one of the best cities to live in Southwest Florida. Even though it seems like a perfect coastline destination, it doesn’t come cheap. The median property value is at a whopping $850,000, making it one of the most expensive real estate markets in the state.

However, if you have the financial means to back up the expensive lifestyle, it is, without question, one of the best places to live in Florida. Get in touch with real estate agents in Naples FL, if you want to learn more about the real estate market situation.

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Bonita Springs

gulf community neighborhood

Located in Southwest Florida’s heart is the city of Bonita Springs, an oasis for senior living. Bordered both by the Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, the coastline destination offers residents and tourists many family-friendly amenities and attractions. Parks involving islands and beaches are widespread in Bonita Springs, and you have plenty of options such as Bonita Beach Park, Little Hickory Island Beach Park, Lovers Key State Park, and many others.

With high ratings for dining, shopping, and entertainment and low crime rates, Bonita Springs was ranked by many magazines and websites as one of the best places to live in Florida for both families and people in their senior years. Water activities such as kayaking, boating, fishing, and swimming are very common since you can access plenty of beachfront areas. The downtown Everglades Wonder Garden features an extensive collection of Florida wildlife, natural history museums, and a botanical garden.

Bonita Springs isn’t the cheapest city in Florida, with a median home value of about $380,000, which is about 50% higher than the state average. However, many consider it reasonably affordable for the quality of life and the beaches this small town offers. If you want to learn more about its family-friendly neighborhood, you can get in touch with realtors in Bonita Springs FL, for more information.

Fort Myers Beach

sunset over forty myers beach

Even though there is a short distance from the major city of Fort Myers, there is a big difference between the two. With high-quality life ratings and considered one of Florida’s safest places, this community ranks above others for many reasons. The city holds plenty of annual events that you should look forward to, such as the American Sand Sculpting Championship, the Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade, the Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival, and many others.

Fort Myers Beach has more places to dine and drink than many other places of its size in Florida. Because of the short distance to Fort Myers, you can also explore the cuisine and entertainment options there as well. By living in the area, you have access to important employment markets, making it ideal for people looking for a sustainable income.

But like all beach towns in Florida known for their high quality of life scores, Fort Myers Beach home prices are not low. The median home value is almost double the state average, and not a lot of people can afford to live in Fort Myers Beach. However, you are not buying just a home; you are purchasing a lifestyle since most homes offer you a beachfront view with walkable distances to the beach. Reach out to some of the top real estate agents in Fort Myers Beach FL, if you want to learn more about the area’s real estate market.

Cape Coral

cape coral florida waterfront property

The largest city between Tampa and Miami is also one of the fastest-growing ones. Known as the “waterfront wonderland,” Cape Coral, FL has about 400 miles of navigable waterways; the city ranks as one of the best places to live in Southwest Florida, for various reasons. It’s a perfect place for sailors and boating enthusiasts who love long stretches of canals, and even though you don’t have Gulf Beaches, they are just a short drive away.

The city’s safety and the family-friendly environment make it a highly desirable place to raise a family. Living in Cape Coral FL allows you to enjoy a safe environment and has a high supply of lots to build upon. Even though the area is growing fast, there is a great number of home and land availability which is good news for home buyers. 

Some of Florida’s best Southwest cities are great in terms of the quality of life they offer but are not cheap. However, that doesn’t apply to Cape Coral. Here you can enjoy all the perks and benefits of a top-notch coastline city but at a much more affordable living cost. With a median home price of about $250,000, Cape Coral is by far one of the cheapest locations on our list. Get in touch with realtors in Cape Coral FL, if you want to learn more about the local real estate market conditions.

Estero

waterfront condominiums

Estero is by far one of the smallest communities to be mentioned in our list, but size doesn’t account for greatness. The community sits between Bonita Springs and Fort Myers, and it has a population of about 3,000 people. Some of Southwest Florida’s most important landmarks are situated in Estero FL, and it is home to the Hertz Arena, which hosts sporting events and entertainment.

The natural preserves, beaches, and parks in Estero offer immaculate white sand beaches and crystalline blue waters. Aquatic preserves in the area provide an intimate look at local marine fauna and flora, and the community clubs offer a wide variety of activities, including golf, relaxation, and water skiing. The 10,000-acre Etereo Bay preserve state park offers all kinds of water sport activities in calm, clear waters, like fishings, sailboating, and kayaking.

The low crime rates in the area and the excellent quality of life make it a worthy mention on our list of best places to live in Southwest Florida. However, living costs are not very affordable since home prices are substantially higher than the median price for Florida. Therefore, living in Estero FL doesn’t come cheap since the median home value comes at around $350,000. Make sure you get in touch with real estate agents in Estero FL if you want to learn more about the housing options available in the area.

Conclusion

All of the cities mentioned in our blog are unique in their own way and provide a high-quality living environment that places them amongst the top cities in the state. To determine which one is the best for you, take a look at all the highlights of every city and decide which one might best suit your lifestyle. There is no right or wrong option, but there is definitely the right option for you. So if you are looking for some of the best places to live in Southwest Florida, this article will highlight them for you and hopefully help you decide where to purchase your dream home and relocate.

Do you agree with our list of Best cities in Southwest Florida? What do you think are the top communities of the Sunshine state’s Southwest coast? Let us know in the comments down below. If you enjoy the content, don’t hesitate to share it with your friend and family on all your social media platforms.

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