Fort Myers vs. Naples – what’s the best choice for your retirement? Both cities rank high among the best places to retire among the US. We break down both locations here for you so that you can see which suits you best.
With 45 miles between them, both Fort Myers and Naples are situated on the Gulf Coast in Southeast Florida. Fort Myers is to the north, placing it close to Tampa and St. Petersburg. Towards the south, Naples is closer to the Florida Keys and Marco Island. Both cities can be easily accessed through major interstate highways. They are also within easy driving distance from Florida’s major cities such as Orlando and Miami. Airport access is where both differ. Fort Myers has an international airport, while the Naples airport only serves the region.
Fort Myers was pretty rundown in the 1970s and 80s, but the redevelopment plan – launched in 2003 – changed everything. The area is now also known as the River District, and it is rich in history and rife with cultural activities. It also boasts numerous restaurants and shops.
Naples’ downtown also has a storied history that stretches back to the 1930s. Visitors from out of state would head down during the winter to enjoy the city’s sunny climate. In 1932, the famous Charles Lindbergh landed his plane there! Even today the city draws tourists from around the world who enjoy the numerous activities on Fifth Avenue and its surrounding streets. Stroll down meticulously-maintained sidewalks lined with picturesque homes and gorgeous lawns. Just a few blocks west, you’ll find Naples Beach and the pristine white sand that captures the very essence of the Gulf Coast.
So, what are you looking for? Fort Myers has a 19th century downtown that has been beautifully preserved, while downtown Naples feels a little more sophisticated. Choose your own brand of charm!
The Caloosahatchee River runs through the middle of Fort Myers and the ocean is never far away. If you’re looking for outdoor activities, Fort Myers has plenty of options. Think Lovers Key State Park, which comprises four barrier islands situated between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach. Or maybe you might want to head to Lee County Manatee Park. Like visitors to this sunny state, the manatees travel here in winter to escape the frigid waters of the north and find respite in Florida’s sun-blessed seas. Sporting activities are also rife – the JetBlue Park is where the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins play their home spring training games.
Although it doesn’t have a major river, Naples also has its share of water activities. The Naples Municipal Beach and Pier is a favorite with its residents and tourists. Head down to fish, sunbathe or watch the spectacular sunsets that the subtropics are known for. Check out our guide for recommended beaches in Naples.
Selecting the Right Place for Your Retirement
Finding out what location suits you best is a personal choice. Here’s our guide for selecting the right senior living community, which will equip you with a framework to make that choice for yourself. And if you’re thinking of heading to Florida to check out both cities, why not schedule a tour with us while you’re here?