What's it like to live in Fort Myers, FL?

Al Hemingway

Profile written by local expert:

Al Hemingway

For many years the Southwest Gulf Coast's population had little growth and remained somewhat isolated from the rest of the Sunshine State. That seclusion ended in the early 1900s when inventor Thomas Edison and industrialist Henry Ford built winter homes in Fort Myers. At the start of the 20th century, the City of Palms started to boom. And that growth has continued to this day.

Nestled alongside the Caloosahatchee River in Southwest Florida, Fort Myers is a midsize metro area. It has retained its small-town heritage though, with a charming downtown lined with shops and restaurants, many of which are dog-friendly. Museums, parades, festivals, theaters, parks, historical sites and art galleries pepper the metro area and its social calendar. 

Just a few miles away, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral and Sanibel Island are popular among boaters, kayakers, sailors and anglers.

See all the best places to live in Florida.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Fort Myers, Florida is ranked:

#58 in Best Places to Live

#2 in Best Places to Retire

#1 in Fastest-Growing Places

#8 in Best Places to Live in Florida

#21 in Most Expensive Places to Live




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Fort Myers, FL Quick Stats

  • 718,679

    Metro Population

  • $43,000

    Average Annual Salary

  • 84.3° / 64.4°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 48.1

    Median Age

  • $226,825

    Median Home Price

  • 53.2 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.2%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,093

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 27.3 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Fort Myers, FL?

When it comes to the arts, entertainment and attractions, the City of Palms is one of the most vibrant metro areas on the Gulf Coast. The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and Arcade Theatre (which hosts the Florida Repertory Theatre) are great venues to catch a play, musical or concert.

The area parks, butterfly gardens and beaches appeal to residents who enjoy the outdoors. Boating and fishing tournaments also fill Fort Myers' calendar. Locals enjoy dining in the metro area's various restaurants, exploring the River District and attending the annual Edison Festival of Lights. Sports enthusiasts can watch the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins baseball teams during their spring training camps.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Fort Myers, FL.

What's the cost of living in Fort Myers, FL?

Fort Myers residents benefit from a lack of state income taxes. However, home prices have been rising steadily and are expected to continue climbing. Fort Myers residents also pay more than the average American for transportation, though other everyday expenses – such as groceries – tend to be more affordable here. 

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Fort Myers, Florida.

Value Index

Index Score: 5.2 /10

How we calculate this.

Fort Myers offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019

Fort Myers


Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Fort Myers, FL.

What's the weather like in Fort Myers, FL?

The climate in Fort Myers is tropical, and residents contend with oppressive humidity at times. From June to September, the metro area experiences a decent amount of rain, which the locals refer to as "liquid sunshine," but that is offset by more than nine months of sunny days.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.1 in


3.3 in


9.2 in


7.5 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Fort Myers, FL?

Many residents rely on personal vehicles to get into the city proper from suburban areas. Downtown is prone to traffic congestion, but once you're there, a handful of parking lots and garages make it easy to explore the downtown area on foot.

The LeeTran buses are an alternative to driving, and they service Fort Myers proper and nearby Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral and Pine Island. LeeTran also provides trolley service between downtown and Fort Myers Beach.

The bus also provides transportation to Southwest Florida International Airport, located southeast of downtown. The airport welcomes about a dozen domestic and international airlines, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Air Canada. Meanwhile, the Rosa Parks Transit station is serviced by Greyhound.

Commuting in Fort Myers, FL

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

27.3 minutes

0.7 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Fort Myers, FL?

Fort Myers has a younger population than you may expect in a town known as a retirement hot spot. Though more than a quarter of the population is over age 65, Fort Myers is also home to a sizable population of working professionals, not to mention a significant number of young families. Married couples slightly edge out singles by a few percentage points.

Less than 40% of the metro area's population is affiliated with a religious denomination; Catholicism is the most prominent faith.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Fort Myers as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.