Just north of Naples (and south of Fort Meyers) you’ll find what used to be a citrus community that is well worth your while to explore. These days, Estero is known as the home of Florida Gulf Coast University—and is also the home of the Florida Everblades Ice Hockey team!
But there’s a lot more to Estero than higher education and ice hockey. For those who want to explore the natural beauty of the area there are numerous options including:
- The Estero River Paddling Trail. This paddling trail begins as a curving black water stream that meanders through hardwood hammocks until the lush shoreline gives way to mangrove swamps, coastal bays and islands. It’s a great place for bird watching and is home to yellow-crowned night herons, cormorants, anhinga and even black-whiskered vireos and mangrove cuckoos.
- The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. The main route of this trail leads to the tiny town of Bokeelia on Pine Island. Paddle east of Pine Island through Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve and south to the artsy fishing village of Matlacha. If you want to go farther, you’ll find Picnic Island and the Koreshan State Historic Site. This cluster of barrier islands is the perfect place to hike, bike or land your kayak. Click here for more information.
If you lean toward less strenuous activity (or just plain love good shopping) you may want to check out Coconut Point Mall— a 1.2 million square foot main street shopping center that is one of Florida's premier shopping destinations. It hosts approximately 120 different retail stores with everything from A to Z (Apple to Zoom Tan) and lots in between, whether you’re shopping for clothing, coffee, a bite to eat, party supplies, or something unusual from Pier 1 Imports. Or head over to Miromar Outlets—voted "Best Shopping Center” in Southwest Florida every year since opening in 1998. You’ll find top names such as Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store.
For those interested in history Estero has some interesting options, including:
Mound Key Archaeological State Park. Framed in forests of mangrove trees, the shell mounds on Mound Key rise more than 30 feet above the waters of Estero Bay. The highest elevation for miles around, the island is almost entirely an artificial creation, resulting from nearly 2,000 years of human activity. Mound Key is a beautiful place for nature study and to observe Calusa midden mounds. A three quarter-mile trail traverses the island across several mounds and through mangroves and a tropical hardwood hammock. Click here for more information.
Koreshan State Historic Site, which was settled in 1894, was home to a religious settlement that once boasted 50 buildings (11 still remain, including the Bakery, Art Hall and the restored home of founder Cyrus Reed Teed). The archives for this unique (and nationally recognized historical site) utopian community are maintained at The College of Life Foundation. There are guided walks and campfire programs offered seasonally. Click here to find out more.
Of course one can hardly mention a Florida community without a reference to golf! The Stoneybrook Golf Course offers a magnificent championship golf course with a reputation for excellent greens and superb golf course conditions. With seven sets of tees, Stoneybrook offers a golf course for everyone and is one of only 200 courses nationwide to be certified “BEGINNER FRIENDLY” by the National Golf Course Owners Association. Click here for more information.
Compared to Naples, property in Estero is more affordable. The median home price in Estero is listed at $243,600—compared to a median price of $707,000 in Naples. With the difference in price, you may be able to purchase more house for less money—and still be able to turn a nice existing home into the home of your dreams.
I invite you to click here to see homes we’ve remodeled up and down southwest Florida’s cost—from Estero to Marco Island, and to read the reviews we’ve received from delighted clients. And if you’re not sure where to begin with the remodeling of your Estero home, please download this free Remodeling a House, Creating a Home eBook. It’s packed with ideas, tips, and answers you may have about the best way to get the most out of your home remodeling project.
Estero is a great place to live. And whether you currently reside there or are thinking about making a move there, make sure the home you end up in is one that you love spending time in.