Estero, Florida is a village that is home to around 31,000 people and has so much to offer its residents. From humble beginnings to a vibrant community, Estero has become a hotspot to settle down and build a family, as well as retire.
The community is situated in an ideal location, between Fort Myers & Naples. With the temperature floating in between light sweater weather and beach weather, residents and visitors enjoy a fairly mild climate year-round. The unemployment rate is low and the economy continues to expand and grow.
10 Things you’ll love
1. Location – Located in the southwestern part of the state, Estero is in Lee County, Florida. It is found on the edge of Florida’s Gulf Coast, between Naples and Fort Myers. Estero has about 20 miles2 of land, and one mile2 of water. It is further only 15 minutes away from RSW International Airport. Estero and Lee County are considered the best areas to live in Florida. There is a dense suburban community, and the village has a surprising number of things to do.
2. History – The name Estero means “where the river meets the sea.” Estero’s development was concentrated by the Estero River, until the 1970s. In the late 1800s, Estero was known for producing citrus fruits, and after the fruit was farmed just off the river, growers would then ship the harvest north through the Gulf of Mexico.
The most famous pioneer of this time was the leader of the Koreshan Unity, named Cyrus Teed. The group of his followers believed that the universe existed within a vast, hollow sphere. The Unity built infrastructure, including schools, a post office, and a general store.
Around 2002, growth was booming, and decisions needed to be made about how the community would proceed, Estero became an official village in 2014.
3. Business & Jobs – Compared to the employment averages of the United States, Estero comes ahead in almost all categories. Estero’s unemployment rate is around 3.4%, which is .5% lower than the national average. In the last year, the job market has grown by almost 2% and is poised for further growth. The average household income is just over $72,000 annually, which is about $20,000 more than the national average. It ends up being a salary of around $50,000 per resident annually.
The cost of living in Estero is about 12% higher than the national average, and about 10% higher than the state of Florida average. The most significant impact on the higher cost of living is the cost of housing. With the median home price being in the low $410,000, that factor has driven up the overall cost of living. However, the cost of utilities is below the national average by about 10%, and the cost of groceries comes in about 5% above average.
Many residents work in four major industries: retail and management, health care and social assistance, professional or scientific trades, and educational services. Other common careers include finance, construction, real estate, accommodation, insurance, and manufacturing. In fact, Hertz, a popular car rental company, has its world headquarters located in Estero.
Of the 31,000 residents in the village, only about 30% of them are active in the workforce. Due to the high median age of residents, many are retired and have retreated to the community.
The average annual income has been on the rise, and the economy of the village is thriving and continues to grow.
4. Education – Estero falls under the jurisdiction of the Lee County School District. There are 119 schools in the district which teach over 95,000 students. The vision of the school district is to be a world-class school system.
Estero is home to the Pinewoods Elementary School and Estero High School. Three Oaks Elementary school which is the nation's first core knowledge school and Three Oaks Middle School are located just outside of Estero, on the border of Fort Myers.
The Lee County School District offers many educational resources for students and adults alike. Adult lifelong learning classes are offered for subjects like art, technology, language, health, and culinary courses at affordable rates. They also offer GED testing for those looking to earn their high school diploma. For those who are looking to learn English as a second language, they offer ESL classes as well. To register for any of their available courses, visit their website.
While there are no post-secondary education institutions in Estero, there are some close by. Within 25 miles of Estero are Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida Southwestern State College in Fort Myers, Hodges University in Naples, Southwest Florida College in Fort Myers, and Ave Maria University in Ave Maria.
The Florida Gulf Coast University has 58 undergraduate degrees, 25 graduate programs, and 6 doctoral programs currently available. The school has a 22:1 ratio of students to faculty, so they promise a great learning experience for students. The campus is ranked #67 in the United States for the best university campus.
5. Real Estate – Single-family homes make up almost half of the housing types in the community, and over 65% of them were built after the year 2000. 31% of households were constructed between 1970-1999. Apartments and townhomes are the next most common housing type, followed by small apartments and mobile homes. On average, homes have between two and three bedrooms, with a small percentage having four to six.
85.5% of residents are homeowners, and 14.5% are renters. Many people live in Estero seasonally, so there are a large number of vacant homes for a portion of the year. Many condos and apartments are used as vacation rentals, as well.
Over the last decade, houses in the area have gained some of the highest appreciation values across the nation. Appreciating by 53.61% since 2009, the community falls in the top 10% in the United States. This, combined with the popularity of tourism in the community, is a winning combination for real estate investors. Even during the market downturn in the rest of the country, Estero’s appreciation values were still positive.
Interestingly, Estero also is huge in the tourism department. It’s a popular destination for vacation. As such, there is a booming vacation and long-term rental market, making this place one of the most attractive real estate investments you can make.
6. Shopping – Three shopping centers are popular among residents and tourists alike.
Coconut Point mall is an outdoor shopping center that is a one-stop-shop for all your needs. Featuring 1,205,363 SQ FT of outdoor mall, it can be a lot of walking, so wear your comfortable shoes. Enjoy a movie at Coconut Mall with Regal Cinemas.
Another great shopping destination is the outlet mall, Miromar Outlets. A well-known open air outlet mall with over 140 retailers, which include designer, luxury, and discount brands along with many dining options and a kids play area with rock wall!
The Gulf Coast Town Center, located just north of the village, includes big retailers such as Bass Pro Outdoor World, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Enjoy a movie at Gulf Coast Town Center with Regal Cinemas or work on your fitness at LA Fitness!
7. Recreational Activities – Due to Estero’s great location on the water, there is access to endless beaches for residents to enjoy. Whether it’s a beach close by, or twenty minutes down the coastline, the beaches in this area were made for swimming. Some of them are even dog-friendly. Florida is hot all year round, so it’s always a good time for a dip in the ocean. There are also beaches less likely to be populated by tourists, like Little Hickory Beach Park in Bonita Springs.
Estero Island, just off of Fort Myers Beach, is a resident favorite.
Koreshan State Park, Mound Key Archaeological State Park, and Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve are just a few Estero parks that are highly recommended to all visitors. There are many other parks nearby in neighboring communities, many of them on the water. For those who love camping, canoeing, water sports, and other outdoor activities, Estero has endless options.
8. Medical – Because we are so new the medical campuses are going up everywhere. Right at the Bonita Springs/Estero line there are all sorts of medical parks, clinics and hospitals that are brand new. In addition the NCH Health System and Lee Memorial Health Systems are only minutes away in Naples and Fort Myers.
Located along the appropriately named Stoneybrook Golf Blvd., is the beautifully cared for Stoneybrook Golf Club. Offering a challenging 72 par course, Stoneybrook was designed by renowned architects Gordy Lewis and Jed Azinger. 7 sets of tees ensures every skill level will enjoy their time at Stoneybrook and has landed the course on the list of only 200 courses nationwide to be considered “beginner friendly”. Stoneybrook Golf Club, from the championship tees, is one of the longest courses in Southwestern Florida at an impressive 7353 yards. Golfers will be challenged both physically and mentally.
Raptor Bay Golf Club was designed with nature in mind. Immerse yourself in the beauty and scenery of the course while experiencing top rated golf. With 5 tees available the Raptor Bay Golf Club will have players of all skill levels enjoying the immaculate greens and challenging holes. Promoting biological diversity, the course pays tribute to nature and world class golf in one stunning setting.
Estero Country Club offers 105 acres of lush greenery surrounded by over 35 acres of sparkling ponds. The 72 par course features 6 sets of tees and over 7,000 yards from the championship tees. Designed by the esteemed Gordon Lewis, Estero Country Club is exceptionally well maintained ensuring top quality golf year round. Enjoy a round of golf, whatever your skill level, or practice at the driving range or putting and chipping greens. Looking for extra assistance? PGA pros are available for instruction.
Designed by golf legend, Jack Nickalus, the Old Corkscrew Golf Club features a 7,400 yard course that boasts challenging holes, well maintained greens and top grade amenities at its clubhouse. Certified as a Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary, Old Corkscrew Golf Club was rated South Florida’s #1 golf course by Golf Magazine. Championship golf perfected blended with beautiful Florida scenery ensures you will have a day on the greens you won’t soon forget.
10. Seasonal Events – Estero hosts m any seasonal events, including the 3rd Annual Holiday Bazaar at Koreshan State Park, pictures with Santa and Santa cow, Christmas lights, Christmas cookie decorating classes, and many Christmas musical and theater performances. There’s also the Farmers Market at Coconut Mall and Koreshan Park that take place on different days. Check in advance and find a time and date that works for you.
There are many annual golf tournaments and events that go on in the community, especially during the holidays. Some of the competitions are geared towards professionals, and some are geared towards amateurs.