Business Florida 2022 - The Regions
Charlotte • Collier • Lee
Life & Leisure
No Better Place to Settle In
According to WalletHub, three of the top 25 fastest growing cities in the U.S. are in Lee County: Fort Myers (No. 1); Cape Coral (No. 14); and Lehigh Acres (No. 21). And once people get here, it seems they settle in and stay. According to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of “Best U.S. Places to Retire,” Fort Myers came in at No. 2 and Naples was No. 4.
So Much to See and Do
It’s downright impossible to be bored in Florida’s Southwest because this place overflows with so many things to see and do. Start with the natural “stuff” — Ten Thousand Islands National Refuge; Big Cypress National Preserve; Everglades National Park; and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, home to the largest remaining stand of old-growth cypress trees in North America. And add to all of this: miles of coastal waters for fishing, swimming, boating and birdwatching. If you’re into beachcombing, do check out Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island — one of Conde Nast Traveler’s 2021 “Best Beaches in the U.S.” Just be sure to bring along a bucket for all the seashells you’ll collect.
Babcock Ranch, Southwest Florida’s solar-powered community planned for up to 50,000 residents and 19,500 homes, continues to grow. Powered by a 440-acre solar plant producing close to 75 megawatts of electricity, Babcock Ranch has a downtown district, a fitness center, medical offices, meeting rooms, a park with tennis, pickleball and basketball courts and two schools: Babcock Neighborhood School (K-8) and, under construction, Babcock High School (9-12). Of Babcock’s 18,000 available acres, half are set aside as greenways, parks and interconnected lakes. And newly opened in September 2021: a 48,387-sq.-ft. Publix supermarket with a drive-through pharmacy to serve as the anchor for an 82,640-sq.-ft. shopping center.