Estero, Florida
Village of Estero
A neighborhood of Estero
A neighborhood of Estero
Location in Lee County, Florida
Coordinates: 26°25′40″N 81°47′42″W / 26.42778°N 81.79500°W / 26.42778; -81.79500[1]
CountryUnited States
Incorporated (village)December 31, 2014 (2014-12-31)[2]
 • TypeMayor–council
 • MayorJon McLain
 • Total25.39 sq mi (65.76 km2)
 • Land24.37 sq mi (63.12 km2)
 • Water1.02 sq mi (2.64 km2)
Elevation13 ft (4 m)
 • Total36,939
 • Density1,515.82/sq mi (585.25/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
33928, 33967
Area code239
FIPS code12-21150[5]
GNIS feature ID2771501[1] Edit this at Wikidata

Estero (Spanish for "estuary") is an incorporated village in Lee County, Florida, United States, located directly beside the first aquatic nature preserve established in Florida: The Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve, otherwise referred to as Estero Bay Preserve State Park which is within Estero Bay, Florida. At the time of the 2010 census, Estero was an unincorporated community and census-designated place,[6] but incorporated as a village on the last calendar date of 2014.[2] It is part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2020 census, the population was 36,939.[7]

Sandwiched along Florida’s Gulf Coast between Naples to the south and Fort Myers to the north, Estero is known as a popular destination for both high-end shopping and for exploring history and wildlife at its two state parks: Mound Key Archaeological State Park, which is only attainable by boat, canoe, or kayak and the Koreshan State Historic Site.

Estero is the home of Hertz Arena, which hosts the home games for the Florida Everblades ECHL ice hockey team. Florida Gulf Coast University is located just north of the Estero village limits.[8]


Mound Key, located in Estero Bay, is believed to have been the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians when they were encountered by the Spanish in the early 1500s.[9] German homesteader Gustave Damkohler began planting mulberry trees in 1882 along the Estero River, followed by others who established fish camps and the region's first citrus groves.[10] In 1894, Damkohler donated property to the followers of Cyrus Teed, who proposed a theory that people live on the inside of the Earth's outer skin, and that celestial bodies are all contained inside the hollow Earth. This theory, which he called Koreshan Unity, drew followers to occupy and develop Damkohler's original 320-acre (1.3 km2) tract. They were business-oriented and lived communally, prospering enough to found their own political party ("The Progressive Liberty Party") and incorporate the town on September 1, 1904, as Estero.[11] At the behest of other local officials, the Florida legislature abolished the municipality of Estero in 1907.[12]

During the 1910 US census, the population was 299.[13] By the 1920 US census, it increased to 340 residents.[13]

The 1908 death of Teed (who claimed to be immortal) was a critical blow to the group's faith, whose membership dwindled into the 1960s. The foundation remains as "The College of Life Foundation", which contributed (for example) at least $25,000 to the Gulf Shore Playhouse in or around 2007.[14] The Koreshans' original tract is now owned by Florida as the Koreshan State Historic Site.

Access to Estero was greatly improved in the 1920s when Tamiami Trail, a highway linking Tampa and Miami, and two railroads were built through the area. Tamiami Trail was fully complete in 1928. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (via its Fort Myers Southern Railroad subsidiary) began service through Estero in 1925. A competing railroad, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (via its Seaboard-All Florida Railway subsidiary) also began service through Estero in 1927. Today, the former Atlantic Coast Line tracks are still in place east of US 41 and have been owned by Seminole Gulf Railway since 1987.[15] The former Seaboard tracks were removed in the 1940s and its former route west of US 41 is now an FPL power line corridor.

Estero incorporated as a village on December 31, 2014.[2]


The Village of Estero is located in southern Lee County at 26°25′56″N 81°48′34″W / 26.43222°N 81.80944°W / 26.43222; -81.80944 (26.432237, –81.809447).[16] It is bordered to the south by the city of Bonita Springs and to the north by unincorporated San Carlos Park and Three Oaks.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village of Estero has a total area of 25.4 square miles (65.7 km2), of which 24.4 square miles (63.1 km2) are land and 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2), or 4.05%, are water.[17]

Historically and culturally, the heart of Estero is the spring-fed Estero River, which flows to Estero Bay. Some of the earliest settlers of the area (notably the Alvarez, Fernandez, Johnson, and Soto families) were fishing families that lived on Mound Key, a mangrove-ringed island that dominates Estero Bay. During the early 20th century, these families moved upriver to the settlement which came to be known as Estero. Estero is also the location of a utopian community called the Koreshan Unity, which is now preserved as the Koreshan State Historic Site. Until the 1970s, most settlement and development in Estero was near the river.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[18]

2000 census

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 9,503 people, 4,608 households, and 3,336 families residing in Estero. The population density was 450.7 inhabitants per square mile (174.0/km2). There were 7,345 housing units at an average density of 348.4 per square mile (134.5/km2). The racial makeup of the community was 97.43% White, 0.64% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.77% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.19% of the population.

As of 2000, there were 4,608 households, out of which 10.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.2% were married couples living together, 2.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.6% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.01 and the average family size was 2.31.

In 2000, in the community, the population was spread out, with 9.2% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 14.1% from 25 to 44, 31.1% from 45 to 64, and 40.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 61 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males.

In 2000, the median income for a household in Estero was $43,734, and the median income for a family was $51,227. Males had a median income of $38,886 versus $27,883 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $30,521. About 1.9% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.1% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.

2010 and 2020 census

Estero racial composition
(Hispanics excluded from racial categories)
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race Pop 2010[21] Pop 2020[22] % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 20,596 31,834 91.08% 86.18%
Black or African American (NH) 215 499 0.95% 1.35%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 18 27 0.08% 0.07%
Asian (NH) 291 750 1.29% 2.03%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian (NH) 5 15 0.02% 0.04%
Some other race (NH) 19 105 0.08% 0.28%
Two or more races/Multiracial (NH) 141 825 0.62% 2.23%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 1,327 2,884 5.87% 7.81%
Total 22,612 36,939

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 22,612 people, 10,444 households, and 7,484 families residing in the village.[23]

2020 census

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 36,939 people, 15,763 households, and 10,706 families residing in the village.[24]

As of the census 2022: ACS 5-Year Estimates, the median income for a household in the village of Estero, Florida was $100,543, the median income for a family was $114,112 and the median income for Married-couple families was $119,269.[25]

The significant and sustained increase in median income in Estero can be attributed to a long-term influx of affluent households through inbound migration.

As of the census[5] of 2020, there were 36,939 people, 17,751 households residing in Estero. The racial makeup of the community was 32,527 White, 534 African American, 43 Native American, 761 Asian, 20 Pacific Islander, 795 from other races, and 2,259 from two or more races. There was a total of 2,884 Hispanic and Latino people of any race.


On May 7, 2013, the Hertz Corporation announced it was moving its corporate headquarters and about 750 jobs to Estero from its former bases at Park Ridge, New Jersey and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hertz built a $75 million building at the southeast corner of US-41 and Williams Road on a previously vacant lot and cleared parcel that already contained a retention pond.[26] The land is immediately south of Corkscrew Village and about a mile north of Coconut Point Mall.

Arts and culture

Estero is home to the Art Council of Southwest Florida which runs the nonprofit cooperative COCO Art Gallery at Coconut Point Mall in Estero, Florida. In 2023 the Artistic & Operations Center for the Southwest Florida Symphony relocated to Coconut Point Mall in Estero, Florida. Estero is known for being an upscale shopping and entertainment destination and in addition to the expansive Coconut Point shopping center is also home to Miromar Outlets, with over 140 stores and the 400,000-square-foot Miromar Design Center. Additionally, Gulf Coast Town Center is located just 3 miles from the northern border of Estero.


  1. ^ a b c "Village of Estero". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. May 7, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Estero History". Village of Estero. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  3. ^ "Council". Village of Estero. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  4. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (DP-1), Estero CDP, Florida". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2020 Census Summary File 1 (DP-1), Estero CDP, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  8. ^ Map of Estero Planning District
  9. ^ "Mound Key Archaeological State Park". Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  10. ^ Quentin Quesnell. (2020). "Early Estero," pp. 13-20. Published by the Estero Historical Society. ISBN 0-9726287-0-3.
  11. ^ Tampa Tribune. September 4, 1904, p. 1. "Biggest City in the World: New Jerusalem covers seventy-five square miles."
  12. ^ Pensacola News Journal. May 16, 1907, p. 4. "Will investigate the I.I. Committee."
  13. ^ a b "Number and Distribution. Population of Counties by Minor Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1900" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  14. ^ "Donors' page for the Gulf Shore Playhouse, showing College of Life Foundation donation as of 21 April 2008". Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2008.
  15. ^ Turner, Gregg M. (December 1, 1999). Railroads of Southwest Florida. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing.
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "U.S. Gazetteer Files: 2019: Places: Florida". U.S. Census Bureau Geography Division. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  18. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  19. ^ "1990 Census of Population General Population Characteristics Florida Section 1 of 2" (PDF). Florida: 1990, Part 1. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  20. ^ "1990 CPH-2-11: 1990 Census of Population and Housing Unit Counts Florida" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  21. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Estero village, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  22. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Estero village, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  23. ^ "S1101 HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES - 2010: Estero village, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  24. ^ "S1101 HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES - 2020: Estero village, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  25. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved March 21, 2022.
  26. ^ Corporate Governance Overview, The Hertz Corporation. Accessed December 27, 2011.