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Fort Myers, on the southern Florida Gulf Coast, is a quiet city famous for its palm-tree lined streets. Not a typical beach town, it nonetheless maintains a tropical flavor, attracts some tourists, and is home to several baseball spring-training camps. It is also home to a large number of retirees. Offshore islands Sanibel and Captiva are more touristy, although both are restrained in development compared to other areas in the state. Cape Coral, just to the southwest, is a relatively large and new planned community even more popular with retirees, 115 square miles in all, located along canals and the waterfront. Although Fort Myers is better known, Cape Coral is actually the larger community.
The Florida climate is generally pleasant, and the southerly and slightly inland location of Fort Myers provides particularly nice and dry winter weather. But on the downside, the area is far from big-city amenities such as arts and culture, entertainment, and air service. While employment has been a concern at times, current and future projections are strong. The area is also spread out and growing more so, creating some sprawl-related problems.
Fort Myers is located on the south bank of the Caloosahatchee River about 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. The terrain is level and low with a mix of coastal plain and wet oak, magnolia, and evergreen forests. The climate is subtropical with a strong Gulf influence. High temperatures generally range from the low 60’s in winter to the low 80’s in summer. Winters are mild with many bright, warm days and moderately cool nights. Occasional cold snaps drop temperatures to the 30’s, but rarely to the 20’s.
About two-thirds of annual precipitation occurs June through September, mostly as cooling late afternoon thunderstorms 2 out of every 3 days. There are frequent long dry periods in winter. Late summer and fall tropical storms and hurricanes cause occasional torrential downpours, delivering perhaps 6 to 10 inches in 24 hours.