Cape Coral is Florida's second largest city, in terms of area with 120 square miles, located on the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the largest cities with about 190,000 inhabitants.
The land area of Cape Coral in direct comparison with major cities in the US shows just how big the city really is: Cities like Miami, Boston, San Francisco or Washington, D.C. are at best a third of this size. Despite the size of the city, finding your way around is relatively easy as the American road system keeps everything fairly square and straight lined.
Located in Lee County, with over 400 miles of navigable waterways, the city has some 40,000 waterfront estates, which is unique in the world. Therefore, the city has always been known as the "Waterfront Wonderland".
How it began
Cape Coral's story began in 1957 when two brothers from Baltimore, Maryland - Leonard and Jack Rosen - flew across the peninsula, then known as the "Redfish Point". The Rosen brothers, who worked with partners in the real estate business, bought a 104 square mile section for $678,000 and began in 1958 with the development of the city.
The Gulf American Land Corporation (GALC) was founded to develop the area. GALC developed a marketing model that was completely different from traditional sales methods. Lee County was granted permission to plan the entire land in plots. Marketing to wealthy North Americans was so successful that offices were opened in 24 states and an agreement was made with an airline to conduct charter flights. Potential buyers were flown over Redfish Point so the customer could choose their location. Instead of taking loans from banks, the developers used the purchase contracts to pay for building the infrastructure. Canals were dug, streets paved, houses and shops built. Celebrities were brought in to promote the benefits of the "Cape".
At that time, the first Dry Plots for $ 990, Water Plots for $ 1,990 and Plots on the Caloosahatchee River were sold for as much as $ 3,390. In the first year, the sale of land reached the $ 9 million mark. The first four homes in Cape Coral were completed in May 1958 on Riverside Drive and Flamingo Drive. In 1963, the population was 2,850, about 1,300 buildings were completed or under construction. It built 130 kilometers of roads and dug 260 kilometers of canals. The public yacht club, a golf course, a medical clinic and a shopping mall started operations. An important addition to Cape Coral was the construction of the 3,000 foot Cape Coral Bridge over the Caloosahatchee River, which opened in early 1964. Prior to connecting directly to Fort Myers over the water, you had to cover 20 miles by land to get there.
In 1965, around 500 prospective customers drove daily through Cape Coral to secure their piece of the small Venice. When sales peaked in 1969, Cape Coral was sold to the General Acceptance Corporation of Pennsylvania for a total value of $250 million.
The city of Cape Coral was officially founded in August 1970 and the population grew rapidly. In October 1997, the Midpoint Bridge was added further north, with a length of 1 ¼ miles and 4 lanes. In 2017, Forbes named Cape Coral the # 1 fastest growing city in the U.S.A.!. In 2019, Cape Coral had about 195,000 inhabitants and is only 48% developed, making the capacity limit of 400,000 far from being reached.
If you are looking for a relaxing and affordable vacation in a holiday home near the beach, you will find that Cape Coral is the perfect destination. Here you can plan a diverse stay with countless adventures and shopping opportunities.
Many destinations are within reach and can be planned in day trips.
Vacation in Cape Coral
Several American Airlines and Eurowings offer flights to the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. While you have to fly with American airlines like Delta, for example, through its hub in Atlanta, Eurowings even offers direct flights from German cities. In 2017, more than 9 million passengers were handled, making the airport one of the top 50 in the US.
From the airport you can easily reach your holiday home in Cape Coral by car in about 25 minutes.
Due to the location in southwest Florida, one expects a subtropical climate with year-round warm temperatures. While the summer is very hot, humid and rainy, the "winter time" brings a dry and pleasant climate. Cape Coral records approximately 130 cm of precipitation each year, with most of the rain falling between May and September.
During the summer months you have to get used to the short rain showers in the afternoon, where large amounts of water are dumped - then immediately afterwards the sun is shining again. The warmest months are June, July, August and September with well over 86 degrees.
Due to the very high humidity, cooling down in the pool or ocean is all the more pleasant. The best and most popular season are therefore the winter months. At this time of year many retirees from North America come to Cape Coral to spend a few months here. Likewise, many affluent Americans and Canadians head south to spend a few months in their second home. The humidity then decreases and the temperatures are on average 73 degrees.
Beaches, Shopping and Restaurants
Cape Coral is a nice option with its own beach if you do not want to sunbathe in Fort Myers or Sanibel Island. Since Cape Coral has grown up as a resident peninsula, there are no major shopping centers within the city. The largest shopping mall is the Coralwood Center with around 20 stores. Big outlets and malls can be found in Fort Myers with the Edison Mall or the Miromar Outlet in Estero, as well as the Coconut Point and Gulf Coast Town Centers, which provide a total of several hundred shops. In Cape Coral it does not take long to find quality restaurants - there are a variety of national chains and smaller restaurants offering something for every appetite. Check them out!
In Cape Coral there are plenty of vacation homes to choose from. With or without pool, on dry land or on the canal, also with access to the Gulf of Mexico for the boaters who want to sail the Gulf with smaller boats or larger yachts. If you look at the prices per night, it also becomes clear why there are almost no hotels in Cape Coral: Everyone prefers to have their own house with a pool rather than booking a hotel room. The largest hotel in Cape Coral is the Westin at Marina Village at the Tarpon Point Marina with 261 rooms. There is also a promenade at the marina, where you can stroll past shops and restaurants.
Shopping Malls und Outlets
Edison Mall (160 shops)
4125 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers, FL 33901
Bell Tower Shops (36 shops)
13499 S Cleveland Ave #161, Fort Myers, FL 33907
Gulf Coast Town Center (130 shops)
9903 Gulf Coast Main Street, Ft. Myers, Florida 33913
Sanibel Outlets, former Tanger (30 shops)
20350 Summerlin Road, Fort Myers, FL 33908
Miromar Outlets (180 shops)
10801 Corkscrew Road, Estero, FL 33928-9436
Coconut Point Mall (138 shops)
23106 Fashion Drive, Estero, FL 33928
Cape Harbour und Tarpon Point Marina, Restaurants
Also very beautiful is the Cape Harbour development. This is located in the south of Cape Coral and is highly recommended if you want to go out in the evening. In addition to the luxury yachts in the marina you can visit numerous shops and dine well in restaurants such as Rumrunner's or Fathom's. A drink at the pavilion with live music and great motorcycles completes the evening.
Not far away is another idyllic marina, where you can see many amazing boats: the Tarpon Point Marina. There are also shops (The Marina Village Shops) and restaurants, such as the Pincher's Crab Shack, Marker 92 Waterfront Bar & Bistro and The Nauti Mermaid Dockside Bar & Grill, where you can enjoy the sunset with a drink and live music. From there, a water shuttle will also be offered to Fort Myers Beach.
Burnt Store Marina
North of the outskirts of Cape Coral is Burnt Store Marina. At this beautiful marina you can take a break and enjoy yourself in the restaurant Cass Cay or the Trading Post - or rent a boat, with which you can drive to Charlotte Harbor. Also created by the Cape Harbor planner, this development is home to nearly 1,800 residents.
At the Cape Coral Yacht Club, located on the southeastern tip of Cape Coral, you will find the Boat House Tiki Bar & Grill and the Cape Coral Beach. We recommend a short walk on the pier, which leads you across the water for about 600 ft and at sunset offers a great view of the water and Cape Coral.
Then you can either stick your toes in the sand on the water’s edge or hang out at the top of the Tiki Bar where food is served and can watch the beautiful sunsets.
If the beach is not enough for the ultimate water fun, there is Sun Splash Family Waterpark. On 30 acres there are 14 different pools and slides, sometimes up to 180 ft long.
Try the X-Celerator where you slide through tubes with almost 30 mph down into the pool. That's great fun, so you can easily spend a whole day here.
Four Mile Cove Naturpark, Vacation Activities
Cape Coral also offers something for the nature lover. The Four Mile Cove Natural Park, with nearly 1.5 million square feet, is a nature reserve consisting of a network of trails, a visitor center, kayak rentals and the Veteran Memorial.
There you can also observe some animal species. If you are looking for other leisure activities, you can get an overview by clicking on the picture link:
Those looking for more events in the area, can do this here. Events such as The Bike Night can be viewed in the city calendar.
Among the most famous and largest events in Cape Coral is the Oktoberfest, hosted by the German-American Social Club. This event takes place the last two weekends of October. Whether wearing a Dirndl or leather pants or normal clothing, everyone is welcome on the 15-acre fairground to have fun.
In addition to having a large festival tent, German beer and hearty Bavarian specialties are served to around 30,000 visitors, making the Cape Coral Oktoberfest the largest in Florida. Also an authentic German brass band from Munich is flown in to provide entertainment. For the little ones there are plenty of games and rides to enjoy.
Boating, Golfing and Parks
Cape Coral is a boater's paradise. In addition to the 400 miles of waterways in the city, there are plenty of islands and beaches around to explore. However, to know within Cape Coral which areas are navigable and where bridges are located and their height, the Map for Canal System and Bridge Heights I created helps. There is also a map in which you can see boat ramps in freshwater as well as gulf access canals in Cape Coral.
In the above map you can see the approximate distances from the various residential areas in the city to the nearest exit to get to the Gulf of Mexico. A drive time calculation for any gulf access property in Lee County is available with our iboatmap tool.
Boating and Golfing
Cape Coral is a paradise for boaters. In addition to the 400 miles of waterways in the city, there is also a variety of islands and beaches to explore. However, to know within Cape Coral which areas are navigable and where the bridges are can be tricky. Thus, I created a map showing the canal system and bridge locations as well as heights. If you would like to know where boat ramps are for both freshwater and saltwater systems in Cape Coral, see this map.
Of course, golfers can also enjoy themselves on 4 manicured and affordable golf courses (72 holes)
Golf Courses in Cape Coral
Coral Oaks Golf Course
Royal Tee Country Club
Cape Coral Executive Golf Course
Palmetto Pine Country Club
Those who prefer to just relax or take a walk will find a place to rest. With nearly 40 public parks, Cape Coral offers a great deal of options.
Cape Coral also provides a friendly atmosphere for businesses. The crime rate in Cape Coral is extremely low. The index of crime rates, which records cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, showed Cape Coral in 2017 in the top 5 of the safest cities with the 2nd ranking!
The Street and address system in Cape Coral
Finding your way around the city of Cape Coral can be difficult if you don't know how the city is laid out. But once it is understood, getting lost will be a thing of the past. Cape Coral is divided into four quadrants: SE, SW, NE and NW. The majority of street addresses are identified with these prefixes.
Santa Barbara Blvd and Hancock Bridge Pkwy / Embers Pkwy are the center of the city. Santa Barbara is the east-west dividing line. Hancock Bridge Pkwy / Embers Pkwy is the north-south diving line. The center of the city is where the two roads intersect. The numbering system of the streets starts at the center of the city. Address numbers grow larger as one moves father away from the center.
SOUTHWARD: Starting at the center of the city and moving southward in the SW and SE quadrants, the street numbers begin at one and continue until 59th Ter or to the river.
NORTHWARD: Moving to the NW and NE quadrants of the city the numbering system also starts with one and continues northward to 48th Ter or to the city limits. East / West roads are called Parkways, Streets, Terraces or Lanes.
WESTWARD: Starting at the center of the city moving westward in the NW and SW quadrants the street numbers begin at one and continue until 47th Ave or to Matlacha Pass.
EASTWARD: Moving to the NE and SE quadrants of the city the numbering system also starts with one and continues eastward to 26th Place or the Caloosahatchee River. South / North roads are called Boulevards, Courts, Places and Avenues.
House numbers coincide with the bisecting street number. The first number of an address indicates the intersecting road it is closest to and the second indicates the house number in that block. Even numbers are assigned to the South and West sides of roads, odd numbers are assigned to North and East sides. Streets without numbers like Dolphin and Bayview are typically located in the downtown or Yacht Club area.
Cape Coral has over 400 miles of canals, 27 miles of shoreline and is 114 square miles large. Think of the road layout system as a large grid, with an occasional canal that gets in the way. Therefore it is always good to carry a Cape Coral map and check out the location before leaving.
Stop by our office to say hi and pick up your free copy!