Getting Around Fort Myers: Driving & Public Transportation Tips

What to Know About Driving in Fort Myers

Getting around Fort Myers, FL, can greatly impact your day. For residents, visitors, and those considering moving to Fort Myers, gaining insights into what it's like driving, commuting, and using public transportation in the region is vital. Learn about the best routes, traffic patterns, and public transit options to make your travels smoother. Whether you're driving to work, running errands, or exploring public transportation, knowing your options can save time and reduce stress. Find out how to navigate Fort Myers' transportation efficiently, ensuring a more pleasant journey wherever you go.

Get to Know Your Major Roads

Interstate 75 is a north-south thruway on the eastern side of Fort Myers. This road runs from Miami to the southeast of Ft. Myers all the way up to the Georgia border and beyond. It's also one of the ways to cross the Caloosahatchee River into North Fort Myers, although it is so far east of the city center that it acts more as a bypass road for trucking and tourists.

US Route 41 is another important road to know for commuters in Fort Myers. It parallels I-75 through Florida to the Georgia Line. In Fort Myers, the street is also known as Cleveland Avenue. Route 41 leads to the airport at Page Field, just south of the city limits.

In addition to I-75, there are three other bridges in the city that cross the Caloosahatchee River. Two are in Downtown Ft. Myers. Cleveland Avenue crosses the river on the Caloosahatchee Bridge. Park Avenue leads to the northbound lanes of the Edison Bridge. The southbound lanes of the Edison Bridge come out at Fowler Street, so it tends to create a lot of traffic near those intersections during rush hour. Colonial Boulevard in the south part of Fort Myers crosses the river into Cape Coral on the Midpoint Memorial Toll Bridge.

What to Expect Driving at Different Times of Day

Driving in Fort Myers, FL

Most commuters in the Fort Myers area are on the road from 6:00–8:00 a.m. and from 4:00–6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The average one-way commute takes 31 minutes, which is about five minutes longer than the national average of 26.4 minutes.

Traffic only moves an average of 27 miles per hour during the morning rush, which contributes to the longer commute times. Commuters also spend an average of $1,132 per year on fuel costs in Fort Myers as of 2023. 

Parking

The city enforces parking in the downtown area, which is a hot spot for many of the things to do in Fort Myers. The city provides a map of parking garages and street parking lots, so commuters can find a location close to their workplace if needed. Downtown streets have a mix of free and metered parking spaces. There are two-hour and 10-hour metered spots available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It's free to park anywhere downtown on holidays, weekends, and during off hours. There are also some marked "Zip Zones" downtown where shoppers can park for up to two hours for free.

The community of Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island, which is located south of Fort Myers, has special parking rules in force for the foreseeable future. The community is still in the recovery phase after Hurricane Ian, and the special rules will remain in place until the recovery period is over. 

Public Transportation

LeeTran is the public transportation system operated by Lee County. It runs bus service routes between Fort Myers and the communities of Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach, and Cape Coral. LeeTran also operates a hop-on, hop-off trolley system in Downtown Fort Myers and across the river to North Fort Myers.

The buses and trolleys accept cash to pay the fares, but exact change is required. The LeeFare App for Android and Apple smartphones is an easier way to pay without having to worry about change. Another option for commuters who ride the bus frequently is to purchase a prepaid TropiCard and put cash on it when needed.

LeeTran Adult Fares & Passes:

  • Adult Fare: $1.50
  • Discount Fare: $0.75
  • All-Day Pass: $4.00
  • 7-Day Pass: $15.00
  • One-Month Pass: $40.00
  • 12-Trip Pass: $13.50

Senior/Disabled Passes:

  • 7-Day Pass: $11.00
  • One-Month Pass: $23.00
  • 12-Trip Pass: $6.50

Student Passes: 

  • 7-Day Pass: $12.00
  • One-Month Pass: $25.00
  • 12-Trip Pass: $6.75

Beach Trolley Fares:

  • Adult Fare: $0.75
  • Discount Fare: $0.35
  • One-Day Pass: $2.00
  • 3-Day Pass: $4.00

Driving from Nearby Cities

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers area offers an amazing quality of life, so it's no wonder that so many people choose to move here. Waterfront homes, oceanfront condos, and amazing luxury homes are common throughout the area, and Fort Myers’ cost of living and year-round weather can't be beaten. For anyone looking to move to the area, here are the commute times between Fort Myers and several nearby cities.

Cape Coral

Cape Coral is located southwest of Fort Myers and on the west side of the Caloosahatchee River. Drivers have to take one of the bridges to travel between the two communities, and given the large population and scope of the economy in Cape Coral, this trip is very common. Downtown Cape Coral and Downtown Fort Myers are approximately nine miles apart. 

The quickest route between the two downtown areas is to begin by taking the Cape Coral Parkway eastbound from Cape Coral. Cross the Cape Coral Toll Bridge into the south part of Fort Myers. Once the bridge reaches the other side, the road becomes College Parkway. About a half-mile from the end of the bridge, turn left on McGregor Boulevard. Follow this street for a few more miles to reach Downtown Fort Myers. 

During rush hour, this commute can take between 20 and 35 minutes. Simply reverse the route to get from Fort Myers to Cape Coral. The route from Fort Myers to Cape Coral has less traffic, so the commute takes between 18 and 28 minutes.

Lehigh Acres

Lehigh Acres is a census-designated community about 17 miles inland of Fort Myers. This is one of the fastest-growing locations in southwest Florida. Since it has a lot of room to expand and is just a short distance from Fort Myers, there are good opportunities to purchase new construction homes in Lehigh Acres.

The quickest commute from Lehigh Acres to Downtown Fort Myers is to start heading west on Lee Boulevard. Stay on this street until reaching Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and then turn right. Follow this street the rest of the way to the downtown area. If the traffic is clear, this drive takes about 30 minutes, even during rush hour. However, if traffic is heavy, expect the drive to take a little over one hour. Reversing this route and driving from Fort Myers to Lehigh Acres is faster and takes between 26 and 50 minutes during rush hour.

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach is an oceanfront community located 15 miles south of Downtown Fort Myers on Estero Island. It’s a popular destination, with some of the most beautiful views and best beaches near Fort Myers. To get to Fort Myers from the island, cross the Matanzas Pass Bridge onto San Carlos Island and continue north to the mainland. Continue north on San Carlos Boulevard for several miles until it curves to the right. At this point, the street becomes McGregor Boulevard, which continues into Downtown Fort Myers. 

An alternative route is to cross onto the mainland and turn right on Summerlin Road. This road curves to the north and eventually intersects with Cleveland Avenue, which leads directly to the downtown area as well. Both routes take the same amount of time during rush hour, which is anywhere from 26 to 45 minutes. If live traffic reports indicate a crash on one of these routes, it's usually a safe bet to take the other one.

Naples

Naples is around 45 miles south of Fort Myers. This coastal community is a great choice for anyone looking for golf course homes in Collier County. The city and surrounding suburbs have more than two dozen public and private courses.

The quickest way to drive from Naples to Downtown Fort Myers is to start heading north on Goodlette-Frank Road. Turn right on Golden Gate Parkway. Continue on this road until it intersects with Interstate 75 and then take the freeway north. Take Exit 138 in Fort Myers and immediately turn left on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Stay on that street to reach Downtown Fort Myers.

This commute can take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes during the morning rush hour. Taking US Route 41 north to Fort Myers might be tempting, but it always adds about 15 minutes to the commute time.

Other Helpful Things to Know

Driving from Fort Myers to Cape Coral, motorists have to pay a toll on the Midpoint Memorial Bridge and the Cape Coral Bridge. Lee County manages all the Toll Plazas and collects the tolls. There's no toll for driving back across these bridges to Fort Myers. There's also a toll when crossing the Sanibel Causeway to Sanibel Island from the Fort Myers side. There are three ways to pay the toll: pay-by-plate, pay by a transponder in the vehicle, or pay by purchasing an annual pass.

Pay-by-plate requires a $3.00 administration fee on top of the $2.00 toll for a 2-axle vehicle. Motorists with a transponder in their vehicle don't have to pay the administrative fee. Purchasing an annual pass is by far the cheapest option since it knocks about one-third off the regular price of the toll for daily motorists who have to cross one of those bridges.

Getting Around Fort Myers, Florida

Understanding the ins and outs of transportation in Fort Myers, FL, is key to a hassle-free experience, whether you're commuting to jobs in Fort Myers, school, or just exploring the area. With the right knowledge of driving routes, traffic trends, and public transportation services, you can significantly improve your daily travel. Remember, choosing the best transportation option can lead to more enjoyable and efficient journeys, contributing to a better quality of life. As you become familiar with Fort Myers' transportation landscape, you'll find navigating the city becomes second nature. Embrace the convenience and confidently explore all that Fort Myers has to offer.

If you've fallen in love with Fort Myers, Call Palm Paradise Realty Group at (239) 955-7256 to get in touch with a local real estate agent and find your Fort Myers dream home today.

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