About the Collier-Lee Region
The "Collier-Lee" region includes two counties located on the lower western Gulf Coast of Florida. Collier County includes the towns of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City. Lee County includes Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, Bonita Springs and Estero, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Boca Grande and Lehigh Acres.
Collier County, with a population of approximately 287,000, is an outdoor enthusiast's dream come true. From sandy white beaches with shells galore to kayaking, canoeing, boating, golf, saltwater and freshwater fishing, and bird watching there's something here for everyone.
Everglades City is located on the western edge of the Everglades National Park and thousands of acres of protected land and wildlife. Marco Island is located on the north end of the Ten Thousand Islands and is the largest island in the area. Its white sand beaches, fresh seafood and water sports draw people from around the country. Naples is home to over 35 arts organizations, artists' studios, art galleries, and community theaters. In addition, restaurants, shopping, golf courses and the Philharmonic Center for the Arts will keep you happy and occupied.
With a population of about 455,000, Lee County offers miles of white sand beaches, fishing, art galleries, museums, golf, tennis, an annual tarpon tournament, zoos and the American Sandsculpting Festival to name just a few of the attractions of this laid-back piece of beautiful Florida.
Fort Myers was the summer home of both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The Edison-Ford Winter Estates include guided tours into the professional and private lives of these men who are responsible for so much that we take for granted. Of course the beaches, galleries and outdoor activities are not to be missed. Cape Coral is the largest city in Lee County and has 400 miles of canals - more than the city of Venice, Italy! The Caloosahatchee River (also known as the Okeechobee Waterway) connects the Gulf of Mexico with the Atlantic Ocean.
The Climate of Collier-Lee
The sub-tropical climate of Collier-Lee ranges in winter from 56 - 74 degrees and in summer from 72 - 90 degrees. The annual rainfall is 42 inches. The hurricane season runs from late July through October.
History of the Area
The Calusa Indians were the first Native Americans to settle in the Collier-Lee area. They were a strong tribe, ruled by a chief, who controlled the small villages across southern Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic. The Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, attempted to colonize the Calusa in 1521, but was killed by the tribe. Decades later, war and disease wiped out the Calusa and their culture.
In the early 1700s, Native Americans from the Georgia and Alabama area arrived and intermarried with African American slaves creating the Seminole Native American tribe. White settlers wanted to relocated the Seminoles to reservations west of the Mississippi. The Seminoles fought hard, and though many were killed, a small band moved into the Everglades where they remain to this day.
After the Civil War, people from the north moved to this part of Florida and began developing small towns. They fished and farmed and eventually established trading posts and commerce. In the early 1900s Barron Gift Collier settled in the area and had roads, electricity, businesses and homes built. During World War II, the Naples airport was home to the U.S. Army Air Field where they trained combat pilots. Today tourism and agriculture are Collier-Lee's greatest economic resources.
Attractions of the Area
When you think of Florida, you think of beautiful beaches, sun, fishing, golf and boating. But the Collier-Lee area is home to much more. In addition to shopping, museums and historical sites, you can spend days enjoying the art and architecture of the area. You can swim with the dolphins and the gentle giant Manatees, snorkel, SCUBA dive, and spend hours bird watching.
Naples features two zoos: the Aviary and Zoo of Naples which focuses on over 200 species of birds, and the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens which has 52 acres of tropical plants and animals including some endangered species. The zoo is actively involved in conservation and offers presentations and many activities.
If you want to explore a unique ecological setting, the Everglades and the Big Cypress National Preserve is the place to experience plants, animals and water habitats that are not found anywhere else in the world. Airboat, walking, canoeing and kayaking tours put you up close to this wondrous experience.
Another bonus to this area is its close proximity to other Florida attractions. Orlando with its themed parks is only 170 miles away. You can visit Tampa, home of Busch Gardens, in just 130 miles. And bustling Miami with countless things to see and do is a 155-mile drive on the Tamiami highway. In Collier-Lee you decide: lie on the beach and soak up the sun or get active! Or. . . how about a little of both?
Senior Services in Collier-Lee
While some of the Collier-Lee county area has an average mean income of $60,000, other areas can be found with an average income of $30,000. Less than 6% of the population 65 and older is living below the poverty line, which speaks well for the standard of living for seniors and the level of senior services.
There is a full spectrum of living options available. From independent retirement communities to assisted living, continuum of care, Alzheimer's care and skilled nursing, there's something here to meet every need. The website offers definitions of each of these options to help you decide what is best for your situation. The website also includes services such as health agencies specializing in senior care, home health care and supplies, doctors and legal assistance. The Search Senior Services will give you the information you need with just a simple click of the mouse.
Be sure to check the "Resources" section on the website to connect you to government, airport, television, newspaper and local activities websites that will help you learn more about the Collier-Lee region.