In September 2022, Hurricane Ian hit Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, and the islands of Sanibel and Captiva with Category 4 hurricane strength.
Severe impacts were felt in North Port, Punta Gorda, and Naples.
The causeway and the surrounding road that is the only way on or off Sanibel and Captiva had a large piece missing, and roads on both sides were buckled or washed away.
It could be 2023 or later before the repairs are made to allow tourists to this area.
Fort Myers Beach is called “Ground Zero of Devastation,” but the local sheriff and almost all buildings were ripped to shreds.
No estimates have been given for repairs because the recovery is still ongoing in October of 2022.
Florida : Safety by City
- Amelia Island
- Boca Raton
- Boynton Beach
- Cape Coral
- Cocoa Beach
- Coral Springs
- Daytona Beach
- Deerfield Beach
- Delray Beach
- Everglades City
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- Fort Pierce
- Fort Walton Beach
- Key Largo
- Key West
- Lake Buena Vista
- Lake City
- Lake Worth Beach
- Marco Island
- Miami Beach
- Miami Gardens
- Mount Dora
- New Smyrna Beach
- North Port
- Ormond Beach
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Palm Harbor
- Panama City Beach
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach
- Port St. Lucie
- Punta Gorda
- St. Augustine
- St. Petersburg
- Vero Beach
- West Palm Beach
- Winter Park
You don’t need to go to Venice to enjoy a city full of canals.
There’s one right on the west coast of Florida in Cape Coral.
Once touted as a “waterfront wonderland,” this city has grown to be one of the favorite family-friendly destinations in the state outside of Orlando.
This is one of the fastest-growing cities in America.
It’s not hard to see why.
Water sports fill every nook and cranny through neighborhoods, parks, and preserves.
The nightlife is almost as fun as the day life.
The shopping is impeccable and foodies turn out in droves to sample the cuisine diversity of this town.
In a state where snowbirds are financial drivers, Cape Coral escapes the reputation with half the population being under 44 years of age, and there are more people under 16 years old than over 65 years old.
It’s a young, hip, vibrant community.
It’s designed for families to live, which makes it a great family vacation destination as well.
The crime numbers are just as inviting.
Cape Coral has the third lowest crime rate in cities with more than 150,000 people and all crime categories fall well below the national average.
Warnings & Dangers in Cape Coral
OVERALL RISK : LOW
For every safety tip I give here, end the sentence with "unless a hurricane is coming." Cape Coral is surrounded by water and just a few feet above sea level and that's a potential flooding disaster and storm surges are generally the worst part of a hurricane. That's said, there's a low overall risk here "unless a hurricane is coming."
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
LeeTran busses take you to many different routes throughout Lee County, which is where Cape Coral is located. To improve the carbon footprint, some of the buses are now hybrids. Taxis and rideshares are regulated in this community. There's a low risk of using this type of transportation, but a car is advisable as getting to and from the beach can quickly rack up fees.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There was one purse snatching in all of 2020, and no pickpocket reports, giving this a low risk. More than 400 of the larceny reports were from automobiles, a good reminder to keep valuables out of plain sight in your car.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Cape Coral has seen the impact of several hurricanes, either directly or getting sideswiped by what's called "the dirty side" of the storm (that means the side with the most rain). When tropical weather is approaching, since Cape Coral has so much water, the entire city gets evacuated. There's a high risk when a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, but otherwise a medium risk for the summer thunderstorms and intense rain, winds, and lightning they bring.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
I double and triple-checked this, but there were only 20 robberies in Cape Coral in 2020. That's among the lowest risks I've seen in my travel research. There's a 1 in 9700 chance of being a robbery victim based on the numbers reported to the FBI.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's no big terror risk in Cape Coral. There are no hard targets or military bases nearby. The only risk might be the nearby ports, but even that is a stretch given the more prominent ports in Florida. There's a low risk here.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Rental scams are always a risk in Florida, so we'll call that a medium risk. When renting a place to stay, you need to make sure it's a locally licensed location. Ideally, reach out to a local travel group to help you so you know they are legitimate. Never, under any circumstances, wire money ahead of time to secure a rental.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk for women here. Nothing in the crime data suggests women are more likely to be a victim than anyone else.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here (unless a hurricane is coming). The tap water meets or exceeds the standards in "appearance and safety", according to the latest water quality report by the Cape Coral city government. When a hurricane is coming or after it hits, water quality can be impacted by flooding. A boil order will be issued when this happens. If you are in Cape Coral during hurricane season, which is June - November, stock up on bottled water just in case.
Safest Places to Visit in Cape Coral
Let’s start with family-friendly adventures.
The Sun Splash Water Park and Mike Greenwell’s Family Fun Park are two great locations to enjoy the beautiful south Florida weather.
The Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve is worth it for the mangrove walking path where you see wildlife through a tunnel of trees poking out of the water.
You can rent a boat to explore the 400 miles of canals (that’s the most of any city in the world!) or ride on the Caloosahatchee River.
To get the Florida beach experience, you’ll need to drive about 15 miles to Sanibel Island, which could be a whole article in its own right.
Downtown Coral Springs is filled with daytime dining and shopping, then comes to life at night with several nightclubs in this area.
Don’t miss the “Big John” statue.
It’s a 28-foot tall statue, once the mascot for a local grocery store, and now part of the fabric of Cape Coral’s community.
Places to Avoid in Cape Coral
In a city that is growing so fast, the good and bad neighborhoods can change quickly.
New developments keep popping up, so some of the older neighborhoods get a bad rap just based on appearance.
The Cape Coral Police Department has a crime mapping option on its website.
You should check it out before your trip to see what kinds are trending in what neighborhood.
Since the city population is just exploding, there isn’t that historically “bad part” of town to avoid.
You do want to avoid going on private property to access a canal or boat ramp.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Cape Coral
- Download the Ping4Alerts! app to get safety and weather information while visiting Cape Coral. This free app is location-based, so it will follow you wherever you go. You won’t miss a single safety message if you have this app.
- The Florida511 website and app are must-haves in Florida as you can keep track of any travel delays as you explore. Everything from construction zones to road closures to highway cameras is available on this app.
- Cape Coral has a mix of saltwater and freshwater in its canals and rivers, so if you want to fish, get a license for both activities. You can call 1-888-FISH FLORIDA(347-4356) to get a license over the phone or visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) website.
- Whether you are a pedestrian or you are driving near pedestrians, use extreme caution. Cape Coral-Fort Myers is #11 on the list of cities with the most pedestrian accidents and deaths. Only cross a street in a crosswalk when you have a signal.
- There’s a lot of wildlife to see in Cape Coral, including the popular Burrowing Owl, but you need to enjoy it from a distance. If you are close enough to an animal for it to react, you are too close. Do not feed animals. If you mess with the animals you could be fined or charged with a crime, so just enjoy the view.
- The canals in the Cape Coral area can contain alligators. There was a 600-pound one pulled from the water in 2010. The alligators generally won’t mess with people. They want smaller, less noisy snacks. However, you should never approach an alligator or feed it. If it’s a nuisance, call FWC and they’ll come to remove it. Go ahead and shoot a video of it if you can from a safe distance. I worked in this area for 5 years and videos of alligators always started trending on social media.
- The canals, as beautiful as they are, can fall victim to blue-green algae contamination. The toxins can be seen with the naked eye and the small toxic particles can cause breathing problems. The algae kill fish which then rot in the sun and the smell is among the worst I’ve ever experienced. If you spot any blue-green algae during your visit, stay away from it and report it to environmental authorities.
- The Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery is a tourist attraction in Cape Coral. You can get a tour of the facility and sample some of the rum. The tour is open to all ages. Of course, you have to be 21 to sample the run. In the summer heat it can get uncomfortably hot in the rum factory, so dress appropriately.
- You can rent a bike in Cape Coral and ride on more than 90 miles of trails. Everyone under 16 years of age needs to have a helmet, and it’s recommended that everyone follow suit. You need to ride with the flow of traffic and wear appropriate shoes—no barefoot or flip-flop riders.
- If you are out on the water, you might see a manatee. These “gentle giants” of the ocean might catch you a bit off guard, but they aren’t going to hurt you even if they are right next to you. I was once kayaking near Sarasota when a group of paddleboarders shouted “There’s a manatee right underneath you!” Sure enough, I looked down, and there it was. It followed me a good 20 minutes before disappearing under the water.
So... How Safe Is Cape Coral Really?
It’s very safe by national and Florida standards.
The crime rates are low and getting lower, even as more people move to the area.
- Violent Crime: 1 in 760 chance
- Robbery: 1 in 9700 chance
- Larceny: 1 in 114 chance
- Aggravated Assault: 1 in 898 chance
The biggest safety concerns are in the water with the algae blooms and alligators.
An approaching hurricane is going to get the city evacuated fast.
Look at the Lee County Government website so you know which evacuation zone you’ll be in.
Anywhere near the water is going to get evacuated first and then the zones move inland.
How Does Cape Coral Compare?
- Visas - All the Visa requirements are handled at the airport and port of entry. Make sure you have a legal ID so you can rent a boat, drive a car, or drink alcohol.
- Currency - You'll use the U.S. Dollar currency here. Credit cards are widely accepted and there's little need to carry cash around. If you do, keep your wallet or purse close to your body and in your control at all times.
- Weather - There are 265 sunny days per year in Cape Coral and the area gets 53 inches of rain. Always pack for rain or shine when coming to Florida. The weather can change quickly. Summers are hot and humid, so bring lots of light-colored loose clothing and be prepared to sweat through it. Winters are beautiful with highs in the 60s or 70s and lows in the 50s. An occasional cold snap causes what we call "Florida Cold." That's when people dress like they are in Antarctica when the temperatures get into the 40s.
- Airports - Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers is the closest airport. It's a 35-minute drive and 15 miles away from Cape Coral. The next biggest airport is Tampa International and that's three hours to the north.
- Travel Insurance - You need travel insurance because there are just too many weather variables in Cape Coral.
Cape Coral Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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