Tell me about Sanibel, Captiva and the Fort Meyers Area

My wife and I moved to Northwest Montana about 3 years ago from California. I am able to work out of my house, so I can work pretty much live wherever I want. :slight_smile:

We built a house on 7 acres, love living up here, and have no intention of relocating, but we are looking at becoming snowbirds during the harsh winter months (plowing snow daily can get tiresome).

While we would prefer to ‘snowbird’ on Maui, for cost and other reasons we are looking for rental property somewhere in the southern half of the US, excluding California, Arizona and Texas.

In talking with a good friend, who recently moved here from South Florida, they recommended that we look at the Ft. Myers area in general, and Captiva and Sanibel Islands in particular.

From what little research I have done these seem to be ideal locations for what we want… sandy beaches, warm weather, clear water, and a relatively low cost of living, but we have never actually been there.

Obviously we need to make a trip down there to check it out, but is there any reason why we shouldn’t consider these locations? We aren’t rich and don’t want to hob nob with the wealthy. We just want a nice quiet place to spend a few months out of the year

Most likely we would be down there for part or all of January, February and perhaps even March, which I realize is their high season, so it would be the most expensive time to live there.

Any thoughts?

obligatory bump…

Obligatory Reported For Forum Change…

I meant to put this in IMHO… sigh

Just got back from vacation in Sanibel about 3 weeks ago. I lived in Bonita Springs about 10 years ago (halfway between Ft.Myers & Naples) for a year working in Ft.Myers so I know the area fairly well.
Sanibel/Captiva is very nice. A lot of it is a nature perserve so development has been limited. I don’t think there is a bulding taller than 3 stories on either island.
Since there is only one way to the islands via causeway and one main road the peak season can be very packed. I never went during peak season since there was often traffic backed up over the causeway.
The really luxurious homes seem to be on Captiva. Check out a bunch of them on this site.
The beaches are nice but the sand is course instead of soft since it mainly crushed shells. Lots of bike trails all over the islands.
Ft. Myers ain’t much to talk about since it’s mostly inland except for Ft.Myers Beach which is small and not that great.
Naples is where the rich snobby people are and especially Marco Island.
The strip between Naples and Ft. Myers (41 or Taimiami Trail) is an overdeveloped clusterfuck (pardon my french). Retail on top of retail on top of retail. Any other land is sprawling housing developments and gated golf course communities.

I’d for sure opt for Sanibel/Captiva (even though it will probably cost more than double what you find in Ft.Myers) but I wouldn’t plan on leaving the island much.

So is there some other area on the west coast of FL you would recommend we look at? We’re looking for a quiet beach town, which may not exist during the peak season…

Depending on your age and how quiet you like it Venice is a quiet little gulf town.
Filled with retirees, well kept clean little town.
There’s a lot of towns further north but I haven’t ventured beyond Clearwater.

There some nice little towns on the Atlantic coast. Summer Haven, Painter’s Hill, New Smyrna.

What about Bonita Springs?

Moved from General Questions to IMHO.

samclem, Moderator

That’s where I lived. Very over developed and the majority of it is inland. There is a tiny bit of it on the gulf shore but it’s kind blah/dumpy.