Consider Buying or Building a Home in Cape Coral, SWFL
Looking to move amid turbulent times in the COVID-19 Pandemic, political atmosphere, or the risks of recent natural disasters?
When you have the chance to choose your address, it feels like the world opens up before you. And if you’re one of the growing numbers of Americans who have chosen to move to sunny Florida, you have a lot of great cities to choose from. Each city and township in Florida offers many attractive features and advantages. Some urban areas are closer to the Atlantic; others hug the Gulf. Northern Florida is known as the panhandle, and the Central cities are close to some of the biggest theme parks in the world. As you travel south, you’ll find this part of Florida is truly tropical. South Florida is the home of the Everglades and offers some of the state’s most spectacular natural attractions. However, even among all the fantastic destinations in the Sunshine State, one city stands out as being both upscale and affordable, as supremely civilized while staying close to nature; Cape Coral.
Cape Coral is located in Lee County in the Southern half of Florida. It’s next door to the booming city of Fort Myers and is an easy drive to both Orlando and Miami. Not everyone has heard of the picturesque oceanside town, but this charming locale has become one of Florida’s most popular relocation destinations.
Why is Cape Coral Such a Great Place to Live?
Once you visit Cape Coral, you’ll be struck by its beauty. While many towns claim to be beautiful, Cape Coral is an exceptionally appealing collection of tidy cottages and larger homes. The architecture is influenced by traditional Spanish and Italian styles, but striking, modernist homes also pop up in neighborhoods. The city is crisscrossed with waterways and bridges, so docks and boats are always within view. The entire area is green, lush, and full of bright flowers and distinctive vegetation like palms, cypress, and mangrove trees.
Because it is surrounded by water and nature preserves, Cape Coral is an outdoorsman’s dream. Not only is the city next to the ocean, rivers, and canals; it’s also interweaved among them. Residents can swim, boat, and fish in freshwater and saltwater on the same day.
And while this city is always growing and building, Cape Coral is also dedicated to protecting the diverse and unusual wildlife that make this part of Florida so compelling. There’s an incredible variety of plants and creatures that live in the water and in the surrounding nature preserves and parks. Some of them, like manatees and burrowing owls, are rarities outside the region.
Once you visit Cape Coral, you’ll fall in love with one its most distinctive features; the canals. Cape Coral has more than 400 miles of canals, more than any other city in the word (including Venice.) Not only are these beautiful waterways home to a wide variety of plants and animals, but they also make boating and fishing more accessible than you ever thought possible. With so many canals, many homes have docks and boats right next to their home.
Cape Coral Florida is One of the 25 Best Places to Live
More and more people are paying attention to Cape Coral’s irresistible appeal. A recent report from U.S. News & World Report ranks Lee County second nationwide on its list of “The Best 25 Places People Are Moving to in 2018.”
While it may sound like Cape Coral is getting crowded, the city is not yet completely developed. City planners report that the Cape’s population, currently estimated at 180,000, can comfortably grow to 400,000 before it’s considered fully built out.
Despite steady growth, it’s still easy to get around in Cape Coral. Traffic congestion is unusual except at the height of tourist season, and public transportation is inexpensive and reliable.
Cape Coral is one of the Most Affordable Places to Live in FL
Florida has become known as a destination which offers lots of amenities at an affordable cost. But residents of Cape Coral enjoy even higher value. Cape Coral has been named the third most affordable city in Florida. While the median income in Cape Coral is about $50,000, the median home value is just $180,000.
Of course, affordability goes beyond home prices. In Cape Coral, you have access to a wide variety of low-cost or free recreational choices like beaches, nature preserves, fishing, and more. The cost of food, transportation, and energy is also comparatively low, meaning you can live better for less in Cape Coral.
You won’t have trouble finding a job in Cape Coral. According to a recent Forbes report, the local job market is hot. The unemployment rate remains low. And because so many retirees and working-class families continue to move into the area, it’s predicted that there will be a sustained demand for employees, especially in health care, construction, and education.
And did we mention that there is no state income tax in Florida?
While home prices, cost of living, and job opportunities are important economic indicators, Cape Coral’s value goes beyond dollars and cents. The neighborhoods and communities of Cape Coral offer an exceptional quality of life that’s a value at any price. Cape Coral isn’t just cheap; it’s also a place you’ll love.
Water, Water, Everywhere
If you love water, you’ll find lots to love in Cape Coral. This seaside town is known for the exceptional access it provides to both fresh and saltwater. On any given day, Cape Coral residents can choose from canals, lakes, rivers, or an ocean (not to mention swimming pools and water parks.) Maybe that’s why, in 2015, Today CNBC named the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers area the best place to retire if you love the water.
Cape Coral has more than just an impressive array of aquatic options. Cape Coral contains more than 400 miles of navigable waterways, and most of these waterways are canals. When you live in Cape Coral, you’ll be able to access the Gulf of Mexico, the Caloosahatchee River, and even far-off Lake Okeechobee, just by using the vast network of canals. Depending on where you live, you may have easy access to either saltwater or freshwater canals.
The Gulf of Mexico, known for its warm waters, laps onto hundreds of miles of Florida’s shore, including a wide swath in Cape Coral. So, it’s no surprise that local beach lovers have so many ways to enjoy the ocean. Whether you choose Lovers Key Beach and State Park, Four Freedoms Park, Lighthouse Beach Park, Bowman’s Beach, Yacht Club Public Beach, or any of the many other sandy beaches available to the residents of Cape Coral, you’ll find a day at the beach is never far away.
If you’re not a local, you might be surprised to discover that many canals of Cape Coral lead to a major inland river; the Caloosahatchee. This 67-mile long river was once a meandering tributary. Today, it is a miracle of civil engineering featuring a series of locks and dams that prevent flooding. This legendary river connects the Gulf of Mexico all the way inland to Lake Okeechobee. Known as Florida’s inland sea, Okeechobee is the eighth largest freshwater lake in the nation, and the second largest contained entirely within the United States. This exceptionally shallow lake lies at the northern edge of the Everglades and is home to many varieties of native wildlife and vegetation.
The U.S. Corp of Engineers were careful to ensure that even with improvements, the monumental waterway remained a haven for a wide variety of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and unusual plant life. Boating and kayaking on the river are popular activities, as is manatee watching. Hikers and cyclists often congregate at nearby Caloosahatchee Regional Park, and birders enjoy views from the Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve or the Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
Florida Sports and Golf
When you have warm weather year-round, you’re able to enjoy your favorite sports and activities in every season. Cycling and running are popular in Cape Coral. The Tour de Cape is one of many running and cycling events. This popular annual race includes 5K runs and bike tours with 15, 30, 60, and 100 mile-long routes.
If you have a BMX racer or skateboarder in your family, take them to the Cape Coral BMX Park. Cape Coral Park was built in the 1970s and is one of the oldest BMX tracks in the country. Skateboarders will love Eagle Skate Park, a place to practice with ramps or grind the rails.
Of course, the sport of choice in Cape Coral is golf. With so many retired golfers flocking to the area, the city and surrounding communities have responded by building a wide selection of public and private courses, suited to all skill levels.
- Coral Oaks Golf Course offers an 18-hole championship course with contoured fairways and a lush natural setting. In addition to the par 72 course, Coral Oaks has one of the largest practice facilities in the area.
- Cape Royal Golf Club is a hidden gem that offers 27 holes of championship golf. The fairways are integrated with the preserves in the community. It’s not unusual to see egrets, herons, or even storks on the course.
- El Rio Golf Club is a more affordable golf course with shorter holes. This no-frills course is a great place to practice your short game with just a few par 4 holes.
- The Del Tura Golf and Country Club is 27-hole course with some tight holes. The well-manicured course features curvy greens and some challenging holes.
- The Myerlee Golf Club is a popular, local course offering 18 holes of golf suitable to many ages and skill levels.
- The Eastwood Golf Club is a city-owned 18-hole course that lists itself as more affordable and suitable for most skill levels.
- Nearby Fort Myers Country Club Golf Course is city-owned and one of the oldest golf facilities on the west coast of Florida. This historic course was a favorite of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Recent renovations have made the greens more accessible to people with disabilities.
- Hunters Run Golf Course’s 9-hole layout offers a more relaxed approach to golfing. No tee times are required, so it’s first come, first play.
- Palmetto-Pine Country Club is an 18-hole course that has been around since 1969. This high-end course was designed for a wide range of abilities and offers 8 tees sets.
Nature Surrounds You in Cape Cora
One of the great things about living in the Cape Coral and Fort Myers areas is the access to world-class outdoor attractions. These coastal cities are built for outdoor living. Residents of the region enjoy all the recreational benefits associated with a premier Gulf Coast destination.
Cape Coral residents love spending time on the beach and nearby islands, and know the delights of fishing along the Caloosahatchee River. Because of the intricate network of scenic canals and waterways that run throughout Cape Coral and Fort Myers, water and nature are everywhere.
But this area’s natural attractions are not limited to our variety of waterways. Wildlife preserves and state parks literally surround Cape Coral and Fort Myers, so it’s no surprise that even city dwellers find it easy to spot a wide variety of wildlife.
When people move to Cape Coral, they often have a new appreciation for nature and the importance of living side by side with native plants and animals. Koreshan State Park, Lovers Key State Park, Don Pedro Island State Park, Manatee Park, Rotary Park, and Caloosahatchee State Park all offer residents ways to experience Florida’s wild spaces firsthand.
Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve is a 365-acre park and is the biggest public-accessible nature preserve in the city. The Visitor’s Center and the Veterans Memorial Area welcome visitors, and help them find trails to hike, or help them rent a kayak to explore from the water. Visitors walk through Mangrove Forest, birdwatch or explore nature first hand on a variety of trails.
Even outside of nature preserves, residents are surrounded by nature. Whether jogging, boating, golfing, or just running errands, it’s common to encounter many of the natural wonders in our area. However, even though nature is close by, it is important to remember that Floridians are committing to preserving their wildlife, so residents of Cape Coral will be expected to follow rules, regulations, and state laws when interacting with local flora and fauna.
Wonder what kind of plants and animals you’ll see in Cape Coral? Here’s a short list.
The Burrowing Owl
Cape Coral is proud of this native bird and with good reason. The city has the most burrowing owls in Florida, with about 1,000 nesting pairs recorded. The burrowing owl is federally protected in the United States, Canada, and Mexico by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This sweet bird is a tiny owl, at just 7 to 11 inches tall and weighing well under a pound. They commonly hunt while walking or running on the ground but will sometimes swoop down from trees or perches. It was named the official bird of the city, and The Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife hosts an Annual Burrowing Owl Festival.
These large aquatic mammals are closely related to elephants. Manatees weigh in at about 1,800 pounds, so they’re quite large. These gentle giants are present in the saltwater canals throughout Cape Coral all year long but are more active in the fall and winter months. Boats in the canals present a hazard for manatees, and boat collisions can be deadly for these aquatic creatures. You’ll see manatee warning signs on docks in Cape Coral, and there are many slow zones on the Caloosahatchee River. These conservation efforts are paying off and are helping manatee populations to rebound. Recently manatees were downgraded from “endangered” to “threatened” by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Yep, there are alligators in Cape Coral. The ancient reptiles are sometimes spotted in the freshwater canals, and some reports estimate the alligator population in Florida to exceed 1 million. Although alligator attacks are rare, these carnivores can be deadly and should be treated with extreme caution and respect. Local law forbids feeding an alligator since this can make them aggressive.
Birdwatching, or birding, is popular in Cape Coral and surrounding natural areas. And no wonder. While white pelicans, herons, and egrets are the iconic birds that many associate with Florida, the list of birds in Florida is a long one. Local birdwatching organizations regularly report sightings of a long list of birds that includes the American widgeon mottled duck, the American coot, the bald eagle, the blue-gray gnatcatcher, the brown thrasher, the belted kingfisher, the common gallinule, the cattle egret, the downey woodpecker, the double-crested cormorant, the eastern phoebe, the gray catbird, the great egret, the greater yellowlegs, the great crested flycatcher, the little blue heron, the great blue heron, the tri-colored heron, the white ibis, the laughing gull, the mourning dove, the northern mockingbird, the osprey, the pied-billed grebe, the pileated woodpecker, the palm warbler, the red-shouldered hawk, the roseate spoonbill, the prairie warbler, the palm warbler, the turkey vulture, the purple martin, the yellow-throated warbler, and many more.
The saltwater around Cape Coral is a crabber’s dream. The waters are home to a wide variety of crabs including, blue crabs, spider crabs, arrow crabs, and gray marsh crabs. Check with local ordinances to find out which crabs are in season, and which are off limits.
Florida is an angler’s dream. Not only do you have the choice of saltwater or freshwater fishing, but you can also fish in the deep sea, from the coast, in the river, or in the canals. The saltwater canals in Cape Coral are full of fish, including mullet, snook, sheepshead, and mangrove snapper. Freshwater canals are home to largemouth bass, bluegills, catfish, shiners, and mosquito fish. Fishing is permitted, but seasonally restricted. Check with the local fish and game commission for details.
Oysters and Barnacles
If you’re new to Florida, you may be surprised to find your dock or boat is covered with hard shells. If you find flat shells attached to your dock, you’ve found oysters. These are edible but should only be harvested from waters approved of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to ensure they are free of harmful contaminants. If you find hard shells in a mountain-shaped cone or your boat or dock, you’ve found barnacles. Barnacles are not edible but can damage boats and docks and may have to be removed periodically.
Snakes are common in the wet, warm environments in Florida. The state lists 44 native snake species. While you’ll often see snakes in Cape Coral and in the surrounding natural areas, there are just four poisonous varieties to watch for. The water moccasin, or cottonmouth, is an aggressive water snake and should be treated with extreme caution. The diamondback and pygmy rattlesnakes will bite only if threatened and can be avoided without much trouble. The coral snake is elusive and rarely seen. It does it best to stay away from people.
These beloved amphibians are a common sight in freshwater canals. Cape Coral love their turtles and encourages residents to treat them with respect. Lee County is home to the Florida red-belly, mud and musk turtles, the soft-shelled turtle, and the snapping turtle. As the name implies, snapping turtles are strong biters, so keep your distance.
These striking trees are a beloved symbol of the Everglades, but they also grow in waters throughout Florida. Mangroves have exposed roots that can be seen above the waterline. These iconic trees are closely associated with the Everglades. Because the distinctive root system provides important shelter for small fish and animals and helps prevent erosion and stabilize shorelines, mangroves are an important part of Florida ’s aquatic ecosystem. The distinctive trees thrive in saltwater but can also be found in freshwater if it is swampy or brackish. If there are mangroves on your property or in your waterway, check local ordinances for restrictions before trimming or removing.
Whether it grows below the water line or above it, aquatic vegetation provides a good habitat and food for all kinds of marine creatures. Southern naiad, tape grass, and muskgrass are all important native, submerged plants. Native, emergent plants (water plants that grow above and below the water) include the blue flag iris, lizards tail, golden canna lily, and duck potato. Lee County prohibits herbicide on, or removal of, most types of native aquatic plants, and discourages or prohibits the introduction of exotic, or non-native plants to canals or other bodies of water.
What are You Waiting For? Come Find a Home in Cape Coral SWFL!
There are so many great reasons to move to Cape Coral. New lots and homes are becoming available every day, and Beattie Development has a wide range of styles and price points to choose from. If you’re ready to look at affordable, high-quality homes in one of the most sought after cities in America, contact us today.