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Fort Myers Vs Naples

Relocating to Southwest Florida? Learn how the Fort Myers and Naples areas compare.

Fort Myers and Naples are both popular cities in Southwest Florida, but what exactly does each destination offer, and why are people choosing to relocate to them? If you're thinking about moving to Florida and considering the Southwest region of Florida, this page will provide you with a top-level overview of what Fort Myers and Naples offer local residents as we compare and contrast them.

Size & Geography

While Fort Myers and Naples are both popular destinations for retirement and vacationing in the sunshine state, let’s begin our comparison by looking at the size and geography of each respective city. Fort Myers, the larger of the two cities, has a population of 95,949 persons which is four times larger than Naples’ population of 19,618 (2022 Census Data). Geographically, the city of Fort Myers is located about 10 miles inland, along the southern banks of the Caloosahatchee River, and is protected via the islands of Captiva, Sanibel, Pine and Estero to the west. Conversely, downtown Naples is located just a few blocks from the coast, and bordered by Naples Bay to the east.

In looking at the age demographics of the Fort Myers area vs Naples, the median age in Fort Myers is 40.9 while Naples median age is 65.4, which makes Naples one of the higher-aged populations in the state. As a comparison, the median age in Florida is 42.2 years. Another large difference between these two cities is the look and feel of their downtown areas. The Fort Myers downtown area, lined with palm trees, brick-paved streets and charming historic buildings, offers a lively and vibrant atmosphere, including variety of shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, and live music venues. The Naples downtown area, by comparison, offers a more luxurious and sophisticated experience. Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South, the main hub of the downtown area, are lined with high-end boutiques, art galleries, upscale restaurants and luxurious hotels of a Mediterranean-style architecture.

Home Prices & Cost of Living

Median home prices in Fort Myers and Naples, which include both single family homes and condos/townhomes, vary greatly considering they are only separated by 42 miles. While Fort Myers’ median home price is in the mid-to-upper $300s, the median home price in the Naples area is roughly $200K more. See exact median home prices listed further down this page. As both cities attract many retirees each year, master-planned communities, which offer a variety of home styles at various price points, remain a popular choice for many. The largest and best-selling master-planned community in the greater Fort Myers area is Babcock Ranch. In Naples, the top-selling master-planned community is Ave Maria. Each of these communities are located east of I-75 where much new growth and expansion in Southwest Florida is taking place.

In terms of the cost of living between these two cities, Naples is higher, mostly due to the increased cost of housing as the city has a reputation for luxury real estate and high-end properties. Dining out in Naples typically costs more as well with its many upscale restaurants and gourmet dining options. As for common monthly expenses such as gas, electricity, water, and internet, they are generally similar. Overall, Florida’s cost of living comes in at 3.1% above the nation’s average for the 1st quarter of 2024.

Activities & Things to Do

Both Fort Myers and Naples offer several great beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. In the Fort Myers area, Sanibel Island offers some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches with clear turquoise waters. It’s also a popular area for shelling (ie. looking for sea shells). In the Naples area, Vanderbilt Beach is top-rated for beachgoers. In addition to outdoor recreation, both Fort Myers and Naples offer a vibrant arts and cultural scene. Fort Myers is home to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, The Florida Repertory Theatre, art galleries in the River District as well as historical sites such as the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Naples, similarly, is home to the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, many art galleries in the downtown area as well as the Historic Palm Cottage. Fort Myers and Naples also offer a wide variety of year-round festivities which include music festivals, outdoor car shows, food and wine festivals, and annual boat parades just to name a few.

Now that we have overviewed some of the similarities and differences between Fort Myers & Naples, be sure to check out our Southwest Florida page to view more photos, interactive maps and helpful relocation information.

Map of the Fort Myers and Naples Areas

Circles on map represent population size of each metro area.

Southwest Florida

The Southwest region of Florida is home to white-sand beaches, wild life preserves, the Edison and Ford winter estates, America’s 1st solar-powered town and more miles of canal-front property than anywhere in Florida. Stretching nearly 90 miles of coastline along the Lee Island Coast and the Paradise Coast, the SW Florida region spans Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties. With an average year-round temperature of 74’ in a subtropical climate, the area attracts many snowbirds and tourists as well as seniors seeking an active retirement lifestyle.

Top area beach:
Bowman's Beach (Sanibel Island), Vanderbilt Beach (Naples)

Top master-planned communities:
Babcock Ranch (Fort Myers), Ave Maria (Naples)

City Median Home Price Average Age
Fort Myers $364,388 40.9
Naples $599,953 65.4
  Home Prices as of July 1, 2024

Discover Southwest Florida

Scenes of Fort Myers & Naples