With a population of 154,305 and a geographical size of 120 square miles, Cape Coral is one of the largest cities in Florida. Its nickname is the "Waterfront Wonderland" because of its more than 400 miles of navigable waters, and it boasts more miles of canals than any other city worldwide.
Cape Coral is anything but a small town. With a population of 154,305, it's one of Florida's largest cities, and at 120 square miles it covers a heck of a lot of ground. Geographically, it has more canals (mileage-wise) than any other city on the planet, and it's home to more than 400 miles of navigable water. Perhaps all this water has something to do with the fact that, no matter where you are in Cape Coral, you don't really feel like you're in a big city. It's true that the area is home to a number of huge corporations, but underneath this thriving business community there's a laid-back vibe, thanks in part to the magnificent waterfront views that make you feel like you're on a perpetual vacation, even when you're working.
Moving to Cape Coral
Whether you're looking for apartment complexes or rental homes in Cape Coral, you're sure to find something to suit your lifestyle. Its wide variety of apartment homes includes a large number of studio apartment units, one-bedroom apartments for rent and substantially larger units as well, so you'll have plenty to choose from. This is Florida, so don't expect bargain prices, and be prepared to pay first and last month's rent, plus a hefty security deposit of a couple hundred dollars. The good news, however, is that some landlords will be happy to bargain with you, and they may even waive that last month's down payment altogether.
Is there really a renter's season in Florida? The answer is yes -- and no. The snowbirds (these are second home owners who come south to escape the winter, hence the nickname) typically come down during the late fall and winter months and leave during the late spring; but most of them own their homes, so they don't really affect rentals all that much. Because of the fantastic climate, there's tourism all year in Florida, but lots of folks still make it a summer destination, so expect to see more people out and about during the summer months. Again, this shouldn't affect rental prices or availability too much, unless the property is advertised as a vacation rental as well.
Neighborhoods in Cape Coral
The main commercial drags in town are Del Prado Boulevard, Santa Barbara Boulevard, Cape Coral Parkway and Pine Island Road, so if you want to be close to stores and service providers, it's a good idea to look for rental properties near these areas. Otherwise, here are a few of the most popular residential areas:
Southwest Cape Coral: In the area between Cape Coral Parkway and Cape Harbor, you'll find a large number of apartment complexes, townhouses and condos, as well as rental homes. Plus, it's located near all the amenities, including Walmart Supercenter, Walmart Family Market, Publix Supermarket and Kohl's, so it's a great place to start looking.
Southeast: In the area around the Cape Coral Yacht Club, you'll find some beautifully appointed townhouses, condos and apartment rentals.
Gloriana Canal: Also known as Unit 64, this neighborhood has beautiful tropically-landscaped homes, many on waterfront lots.
Summerville Loop: This area features a number of beautiful homes for sale at a variety of prices.
Southeast: From 12th to 18th Avenues, you'll find a variety of house rentals throughout the year, many with beautiful large lawns. Plus, this area is just a few minutes away from Walmart Supercenter, Target, Publix and Dunkin' Donuts, so you can get a quick doughnut fix whenever you need it.
Living in Cape Coral
With 355 days of sunshine a year, what else can you say about the climate? Oh, wait -- there's also 145 days and 54 inches of precipitation a year; but don't forget, this is Florida, and most of those passing rain storms only last a few minutes and then evaporate into thin air, leaving you refreshed and ready for the next round of sun. During the summer months, temperatures can get into the mid-90s, so you'll be grateful for those bursts of rain; and with all that sunshine, who's complaining?
Cape Coral has a great public transportation system, LeeTran, which offers bus service throughout the city and into Fort Myers (less than 10 miles away). Nevertheless, this city covers a big area, so it helps to have your own wheels down here. Plus, it's hard to get out of the rain when you're waiting for a bus.
If you want to get an idea of what Cape Coral is really all about, your first stop should be The Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve a stunning natural sanctuary featuring hiking trails through mangrove forests, native wildlife and untouched wetlands. You'll also find a lovely boardwalk that stretches alongside the picturesque Caloosahatchee River, where you can rent a kayak for the day.
Want to have a boatload of fun? Visit the Cape Coral Yacht Club. It offers great boat docks, a beach, tennis courts, a fishing pier and a superb restaurant. Plus, the fishing is really good in this area, and you'll catch your quota of snook, sea trout and redfish before sundown.
Speaking of fish, somewhere around Misto Bar and Grill the fish must be biting, because there's always a deliciously fresh seafood dish, as well as steaks, chops, roast duckling and a scarpariello that will keep you coming back again and again. If you're in the mood for casual comfort food, head on over to Ciao Wood Fired Pizza and Trattoria, where you can enjoy specialty pies with toppings such as fennel sausage, gorgonzola, San Marzano tomatoes and marinated eggplant.
To paraphrase Jimmy Buffett, it's always five o'clock somewhere in Florida when it comes to bars, and one locals' favorite is Bubba's Roadhouse & Saloon, a friendly, low-key place where you'll likely as not find peanut shells on the floor, as well as great drink specials, an awesome beer list, good pub grub and live entertainment.
If your idea of tee time means clubs and balls instead of china pots and cups, then you're going to love Cape Coral's many golf courses, including the one at Palmetto-Pine Country Club, a lush, landscaped golfer's paradise where you'll find a championship course designed by Arthur Hills. Another winner is Royal Tee Golf Club, where you'll find a semi-private 27-hole course that includes 50 acres of pristine lakes and natural wetlands.
For a great many reasons, Florida is perceived by more than a few folks as something of a paradise, and Cape Coral encapsulates all of those reasons. With its casual, low-key, friendly vibe, its thriving business community and its beautiful waterfront vistas, it has a lot to offer, especially if your idea of a good time includes sunny, white sand beaches and miles of oceanfront property.