Nicknamed the “Waterfront Wonderland,” this planned city was conceived as a boaters’ paradise. Bounded on three sides by water and featuring more than 400 miles of navigable canals that provide access to the Gulf of Mexico, Cape Coral is the place to live in Southwest Florida if you wish to keep your boat at your own dock in your own backyard.
Cape Coral also provides affordable housing and plenty of room to grow, given that portions of the city are still being developed and have sites available for new businesses, subdivisions and homes.
Families; retirees; young adults; multicultural; educated; education workers; healthcare workers; service industry workers; construction workers; median household income slightly above state average
Master-planned communities; waterfront communities and homes; growing population; new developments; single-family homes; condos; affordable housing; on par with state median housing prices; median value of houses $158,000; half of houses are valued between $100,000-$200,000
Boating; golfing; community influenced; outdoorsy; suburban; nightlife; family friendly; active
Community events; festivals; entertainment; independent boutiques; parks and recreation; independent restaurants and brewpubs; easy boating access to Gulf of Mexico; family activities
Boaters; golfers; outdoor recreational sports enthusiasts; families; snowbirds seeking winter homes; people seeking affordable homes
AROUND THE AREA
Located on a large peninsula west of Fort Myers, water bounds Cape Coral on three sides, with the Caloosahatchee River to the east and south, and Matlacha Pass to the west. The world’s largest network of canals in a single community serves as the defining feature of the city’s terrain along with an open prairie feel to the land. The open terrain provides ideal habitat for the city’s official bird, the threatened Florida burrowing owl. Developed from south to north, Cape Coral’s downtown region, called South Cape, features a retro-1960s vibe to the architecture. The city’s feel becomes more suburban in the later development further north. Encompassing about 119 square miles, Cape Coral is geographically the largest city in Southwest Florida and has plenty more room for growth and development. Its current population of over 163,000 is projected to increase by nearly 1.5 percent per year. The Cape’s Midpoint Memorial Bridge and Florida Route 78 provide direct connection to Southwest Florida’s main arteries of I-75 and U.S. Highway 41. Cape Coral is served by Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), a 25-minute drive from South Cape and 45 minutes from the northwestern section of the city.
Developers Leonard and Jack Rosen founded Cape Coral in 1957 as a master-planned city, and the city government incorporated in 1970. Cape Coral offers a mixture of established neighborhoods of mid-century modern Floridian-style homes built in the 1960s and 70s to brand-new developments still being built. Neighborhoods and subdivisions include the upscale Cape Harbour and Tarpon Point, the gated communities of Sandoval and Coral Lakes, and the neighborhoods of Rose Garden, Cornwallis and Concordia.
Cape Coral administers 37 city-run parks, which feature three ecologically focused parks, almost 20 parks with various sports facilities and one dog park. The city parks offer major recreational attractions in the form of Sun Splash Family Waterpark, the largest waterslide park in the region, and the Cape Coral Yacht Club and Beach, which features an impressive retro-1960s building. The city also features five golf courses, five marinas and over a dozen recreational sports leagues for youths, adults and seniors. Gulf of Mexico beaches are nearby at Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island.
South Cape has become home to innovative chef-driven restaurants, brewpubs and small retail boutiques. Nightlife includes monthly pub trolley events. Family run ethnic eateries dot the city. Major retail and restaurant chains abound along the Pine Island Road corridor in the northern section of the city. Monthly or semi-monthly community events include motorcycle “bike” nights, sunset beach celebrations, and first Friday hoedowns. Yearly signature events include the Cape Coral Festival of the Arts, Tour de Cape for bicyclists, the Burrowing Owl Festival, Sounds of Jazz and Blue Concert, and the Cardboard Boat Regatta, plus the largest Fourth of July, Oktoberfest, and holiday tree lighting celebrations in Southwest Florida. Arts groups and performance venues include the Cape Coral Art League and the Cultural Park Theater. Numerous clubs provide a significant influence in Cape Coral’s social life, including the New Residents Club of Cape Coral and the German-American Social Club of Cape Coral. The Southwest Florida Military Museum offers many programs, support services and social opportunities for veterans.
Construction and real estate, retail, healthcare and government provide the majority of employment within the city. Major businesses in Cape Coral include Gulf Care Inc. and Affordable Roofing & Gutters. Cape Coral is served by the School District of Lee County, with four high schools, six middle schools, nine elementary schools and five charter schools (to include a charter high school) within the city. Cape Coral Technical College offers post-secondary training in business, health, hospitality and technology. Florida SouthWestern State College is located just across the Cape Coral Bridge in Fort Myers, and Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) near Estero serves the entire Southwest Florida region. The city’s parks and recreation department offers extensive adult non-credit classes and features special programming for retirees. The Renaissance Academy located just across the Cape Coral Bridge in Fort Myers offers a wide-ranging catalog of adult non-credit classes sponsored by FGCU.