Winters are brutal in the Midwest, snow cold, wind, grey skies, basically half the year is spent hibernating inside. Then, you come down to sunny Cape Coral in the winter for vacation and think…. The weather is so amazing, I should move here! And down that rabbit hole we go 😊
A lot of people move to Florida and then move away, it’s always been this way, a transient state. Many more have been moving here for other reasons than the sunshine in the last few years, they move here because its also the freedom state. No state income taxes and very pro-business. Florida has had a net gain of people moving in vs moving out but its slowing down.
I’m a real estate broker, I get paid to sell houses but I’m not going to try to “sell” you to move here. It will either work for your life style or it won’t, I hope to give you some things to consider beyond the obvious…the sunshine and beaches are amazing!
Cape Coral and SWFL traffic
In the winter season, after thanksgiving through April, traffic is very busy and Florida drivers like to drive FAST. A way to mitigate your time in traffic, when you’re considering buying a home in Cape Coral, you’ll want to strategically buy a home near the areas you will spend most of your time, less driving. Do you gulf? Do you fish? Do you have a boat? Maybe you work from home so the commute doesn’t matter to you. People complain about the traffic, I find if you can find a home positioned to where you spend most of your time, it will minimize the traffic driving frustrations but SWFL has a lot of traffic.
Cape Coral and SWFL are too hot to live in the summer
It is very muggy and hot about half the year. People tend to stay inside more in the air conditioning. It’s really no different than when you live in the north, just flip flop your seasons. In the Midwest you hibernate in the winter and when you live in Cape Coral, you hibernate in the summer. Something to ask yourself, when its time to grocery shopping or run errands, would you rather it be 95 and humid and put on the AC in the car or have it freezing cold and turn on the car heater and bundle up, when you move to Cape Coral you’ll be trading one for the other. Some people love the cold and ice fishing, while other prefer the heat and boating year round.
Cape Coral is too buggy to live, and they have snakes!
Cape Coral does have mosquitos, no seeums, palmetto bugs, along with geckos, snakes and alligators. People get worked up they will be mauled. The Midwest has cougars, bears, moose, wolf, coyote, and a lot of mosquitos. I consider this a tie. In both places, there are some dangers, you get used to it and mitigate the danger, don’t go for a walk in the woods in the Midwest alone where there are known wild wolf packs…same in FL, don’t go swimming where there are alligators. When I first came to Cape Coral, the no seeums got me good, they, to me, are worse than mosquitos. If it’s a calm morning or evening with low wind, don’t go outside without long pants and shirt. If you sit outside, in the lanai, get a ceiling fan to create wind, making it hard for them to fly. The palmetto bugs are gross, none of us like them, if you keep your home clean you shouldn’t see them. If you do, get an exterminator. Moving to Cape Coral, just like the Midwest, you’ll have bugs to deal with, mitigate and you’ll be fine.
Moving to Cape Coral you’ll have hurricanes
Hurricane season is June 1st to November 30th. Hurricanes can cause massive damage, hurricane Ian created a lot of serious damage that will take a long time to fully recover. Since Cape Coral does have the hurricanes, it’s logical to be concerned about moving to Cape Coral to live here. Hurricanes raise the cost of home insurance, wind, surge. Cape Coral has hurricanes but lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. If hurricanes concern you, you could buy a little further away from the coast. The big damage comes from the water surge from the gulf, they don’t usually come more than a few miles in shore. FEMA just rezoned it’s flood map, this affects insurance, so when you’re trying to figure out the best area to move and live in Cape Coral, add including flood zone to your buying list, here’s more information about FEMA flood zones info. Second thing to know, Florida changed its building code after Hurricane Andrew, the first big change started in 2002, and modified numerous times with stricter standards. From my observation, the homes built a few miles away from the coast, with the new hurricane building codes, fared a lot better than the home pre hurricane building code changes. If hurricanes concern you, add to your Cape Coral buy list location, look at FEMA zone, year built date with hurricane building codes you feel confident about. If you move to Cape Coral or SWFL, you will probably have a hurricane to deal with at some point. Each time, they build back stronger and better so its less damage if the hurricane hits again. The Midwest has bad tornados, no matter where you live, there is risks of severe weather. I encourage you to fully research hurricanes and how to live with them.
What is the cost of living in Cape Coral
I wont spend a lot of time on this topic because its different for all, for some, its very affordable, for others, its more expensive, depending on where you’re coming from. Things I’ve found to more expensive, home owner insurance, water/sewer. The other normal utility bills and food/gas are comparable. What I recommend you do on your Cape Coral home buying list, add creating a budget. When you find a home you like, run a budget and see how it compares for you, we can help you with creating the budget if you need. After you have a budget, then compare it with where you live and see if its better or worse for you and if moving to Cape Coral is affordable for you.
Cape Coral and the ocean and beaches
Cape Coral has one beach at the yacht club in SE Cape Coral. As of the time of writing this blog (March 2023) it’s undergoing a major renovation, it had damage from hurricane Ian, it was built before hurricane standards, so it will be rebuilt under the new standards with a ton of updates. I’m really excited about it, its going to be a really nice place, you can boat there, hit the beach, they will have a tiki bar/restaurant. Here’s a link to the Cape Coral Yacht Club. If you have a boat and want beaches, you can launch in Bokeelia, or St James, 20-30 min drive from Cape Coral, after you launch your boat go to Cayo Costa state park. If you don’t have a boat you can take the Cayo Costa Ferry, Cayo Costa is a private island only assessable by boat with some of the nicest beaches in all of Florida, from Bokeelia, it’s about a 20 minute boat ride going 30mph.
You can drive south to Ft Myers beach, it was hit hard by hurricane Ian and undergoing some major renovations, no pier. Here’s a link to learn more Ft. Myers beach.
You can go a little further south to Lovers Key State Park, I love this beach, because it’s a state park, like Cayo Costa it has that old Florida vibe feel.
The ocean is amazing, water temps heat up and its like swimming in warm welcoming bath water May-October, drops a little cooler in the winter, too cold for me to swim but some still swim all year round.
I’m going to spend a little extra time on boating because Cape coral is extra special for boating and fishing. If you would rather trade in your ice shake for all year round boating, Cape Coral is an amazing place to live! Cape Coral has hundreds of miles of canals, some are fresh water and some salt with access to the gulf. There are a number of boat launches with in 20-35 min drive, kayak launches too. What makes boating so special around Cape Coral is it offers both inshore and offshore fishing. You have Pine Island, Florida’s largest island on the gulf coast, then Sanibel and Captiva in between, this creates a massive inshore fishing and boating opportunity. Why this is so unique, most of the coast you’ll have to boat in the Gulf, many days its to windy and wavy, in the inshore near pine island, often its MUCH calmer and way better boating, similar to boating in a large lake. You can boat to Boca Grande sand bar, they have a live music fest on the water every May, tons of boats, here’s a link Boca Grande Sandbar Music Fest. Come to Cape Coral, have a fishing guide take you out and you’ll never look back, you’re 30 minute boat ride away from the tarpon capitol of the world, its incredible.
Move to Cape Coral to play pickleball
The big craze is pickleball and its hooked me. Cape Coral was a little behind on pickleball courts but that’s all changing soon. Here’s a link to the pickleball courts coming Cape Coral pickleball courts.
- Camelot Park – Two (2) tennis courts -OR- Four (4) pickleball courts with lights – open until 9:00 p.m. daily
- Giuffrida Park – Two (2) dedicated pickleball courts – no lights
- Jim Jeffers Park – Two (2) tennis courts -OR- Four (4) pickleball courts with lights – open until 9:00 p.m. daily; and two (2) warm-up pickleball courts
- Joe Stonis Park – Two (2) tennis courts -OR- Four (4) pickleball courts with lights – open until 9:00 p.m. daily
That’s a lot of pickleball going on! You could be playing outside all winter long if you live in Cape Coral.
Move to Cape Coral people from the Midwest will visit
Cape Coral is near 2 airports, Punta Gorda and Ft Myers. This makes it easy to visit friends from the north or they will come visit you in the winter. Both airports are about 20-50 mins away.
Moving to another state is a big decision. Some people come and stay for 3 months to see how they like it, what I encourage people to think about. Each place you live will have pros and cons. Make a list of pros and cons of where you live now and Cape Coral. If your life would improve by 20% or more, then I think its worth moving, less than that, probably not. So for example, if you liked living in the Midwest 40% of the time and hated it 60% and think you would like living in Cape Coral 60%, and hate it 40%, its worth the move, life is short, why not enjoy where you live 20% more of the time. To really have your cake and eat it to, if you’re one of the financially blessed, have a winter home here and summer home in the Midwest, people who are able to afford this absolutely love it. About the time they get sick of Florida its time to go north, about the time they get sick or the north its time to go south.
Cape Coral has a lot of up and coming new developments for shopping and dining, it’s a great place to live. If you want to learn more about moving to Cape Coral from the Midwest, reach out to us today. We can set you up for free on an automated house search so you start to see what living in the sunshine is all about.
When you move to Cape Coral or SWFL, embrace it
Whether you move to Cape Coral or SWFL or really anywhere, a big reason people don’t succeed in their new life, they never fully embrace the new move. Its like being in a past relationship your not over but already dating someone new and not fully giving the new relationship a chance. If you’re on the fence about moving to Cape Coral, the best option is come and rent for a few months, get to know the areas. Embrace the community, visit the parks, fully give the lifestyle a chance, if you do and it’s a match, reach out to us and start your journey to living in the sunshine state.