Southwest Florida: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida is a region of Florida , United States located along its gulf coast, south of the Tampa Bay area, west of Lake Okeechobee and mostly north of the Everglades. It consists of five coastal counties from Manatee County south to Collier County, although it sometimes is considered to include three rural counties inland, and the thinly populated mainland section of Monroe County.

The most populous county in the region is Lee County, and the region's largest city is Cape Coral with an estimated population of 151,389 as of 2006.



Fishermen wading in Fort Myers Beach

Southwest Florida was largely ignored by commercial developers until the late 1800s, and as such, lacks much of the heavier development present in other parts of Florida, such as that found in the central or southern regions of the state. In recent years however, there has been a major real estate boom focusing on downtown Fort Myers (high-rise residential condominiums); southern Lee County (commercial development and high-technology); eastern Collier County (residential development); and eastern parts of Bradenton

Overall, the region notably suffers from urban sprawl; however, numerous efforts in recent years have been made to remedy this situation, especially as the urbanized area of the coastal counties pushes eastward in to agricultural land and the sensitive Everglades.

Inland counties (De Soto, Hendry and Glades Counties) are notably rural, with the primary economic driver being agriculture. Important products grown in this area include tomatoes, beef, sugarcane, and citrus products including oranges. Agricultural harvesting in Southwest Florida employs approximately 16,000 seasonal workers, 90 percent of which are thought to be migrants. [1]


Each county in the region has its own county government. Within each county, there are also self-governing cities, towns and villages. The remaining majority of land in each county is controlled directly by the county government. It is also very common for incorporated municipalities to contract county services in order to save costs and avoid redundancy.

Regional Transportation



Southwest Florida is served by several major highways, including the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) and the Interstate 75 freeway, both of which connect the area to Tampa to the north, and Fort Lauderdale/Miami to the east. Long-term cooperative infrastructure planning is coordinated by the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (web site), and in heavily populated Lee County, the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Greyhound Lines serves several locations in Southwest Florida, including Bradenton, Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda and Sarasota.


Southwest Florida International Airport, located in South Fort Myers, served over 7.6 million passengers in 2006 and offers non-stop flights to 3 cities in Europe and 2 in Canada, in addition to 36 domestic airports. The area's secondary airport, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, served 1.42 million passengers in 2006 [1].


The Port of Manatee provides a full range of port services for commercial, industrial and cruise ship purposes.


Seminole Gulf Railway provides freight services throughout Southwest Florida.


Tourism is a major economic driver in the area. In addition, many seasonal residents live in the area during the winter months, as temperatures in south Florida stay very moderate during that time of year.

Major attractions/destinations:

  • Beaches in the following locales:

Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is located in Estero.

Spring training

Florida is the traditional home for Major League Baseball spring training, with teams informally organized into the "Grapefruit League." As of 2004, Southwest Florida hosts the following major league teams for spring training:

Area codes



Television stations


County County Seat Pop. (2004 est.) Pop. (2000) Change (2000 - 2004) Change (1990 - 2000)
  Charlotte County Punta Gorda 157,134 141,627 +10.9% +27.6%
  Collier County East Naples 296,678 251,377 +18.0% +65.3%
  DeSoto County Arcadia 34,892 32,209 +8.3% +35.0%
  Glades County Moore Haven 11,131 10,576 +5.2% +39.3%
  Hendry County LaBelle 38,163 36,120 +5.4% +40.5%
  Lee County Fort Myers 514,295 440,888 +16.6% +31.6%
  Manatee County Bradenton 296,385 264,002 +12.3% +24.7%
  Sarasota County Sarasota 355,477 325,957 +9.1% +17.3%
Total 1,704,155 1,500,846 +13.5%
  Florida - statewide 17,397,161 15,982,378 +8.8%% +23.5%

Major incorporated cities

Major unincorporated communities

Communities listed have a population greater than 30,000 according to the 2000 census.


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Southwest Florida is in Florida, a state in the United States of America and is comprised of the Gulf Coast counties of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier.

  • Bradenton
  • Fort Myers - Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel and the exotic beaches of Captiva Islands.
  • Naples - Enjoy the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, world class shopping, golf courses and the nearby untamed tropical wilderness of The Everglades.
  • Port Charlotte - Hurricane Charley on August 13, 2004 hit this area badly.20,000 roofs needed repairs, and businesses moved into trailers. However this area is on the way to a complete recovery.
  • Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), 6000 Airport Circle, Sarasota, Phone: 941-359-2777, [1]. Located on the border between Sarasota and Manatee counties.
  • Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), 11000 Terminal Access Road, Fort Myers, Phone: 239-590-4800, [2]. Located in Lee County.
  • Fakahatchee Strand State Park, Copeland, Phone: 239-695-4593, [3]. 8AM-sundown.
  • The Ringling Estate, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Phone: 941-359-5700, [4]. Daily 10AM-5:30PM. The Ringling Estate has recently finished a six-year restoration and expansion phase that restored all of the existing buildings and added four new buildings to the estate. Features of the 66-acre estate include the lush grounds and landscaping including Mable’s Rose Garden, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the Cà d’Zan Mansion, the Tibbals Learning Center, and the Historic Asolo Theater located in the Visitor’s Pavilion.
American Alligator
American Alligator
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