BONITA SPRINGS, FLORIDA

By  Mike Miller Updated November 7, 2023

Bonita Springs, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

The City of Bonita Springs in Lee County, Florida is a great place to visit or call home. This city of 54,000 is situated along the Gulf of Mexico and offers stunning views, beautiful beaches, and a variety of recreational activities.

Bonita Springs Berfoot BeachBonita Springs Barefoot Beach
Flickr/Amre

Located just north of Naples and south of Fort Myers on US-41, you'll find plenty of things to do, from shopping in its many local stores to exploring its historic sites.

HISTORY OF BONITA SPRINGS, FLORIDA

The first residents here were native Americans as long as 8,000 years ago.  By the time Ponce de Leon first made contact with the Calusa Indians in 1513, this area was home to many native Americans,

The remains of Calusa villages and mounds show they were a prosperous group, but like many indigenous people whey were wiped out by European diseases or sent to the Caribbean as slaves.

Not long after the Civil War the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyed the land along the Imperial River.  Later the land became known as "Survey" and the river as "Surveyor's Creek."

Bonita Springs SchoolEarly Bonita Springs School

Survey grew from a small community of farmers into a village, and in 1901 a post office was opened. In 1910 a hotel was operating and catering to tourists who came for the hunting anf fishing.

Somewhere along the way people decided the name Bonita Springs sounded better than Survey, so the town was renamed.

Surveyor's Creek was renamed Imperial River.

In the early 1920s, Barron Collier extended his Fort Myers-Southern Railroad south in the 1920s through Bonita Springs.

When he also completed the Tamiami Trail from Naples to Miami, a land boom came to the area.

Bonita Springs Hotel in the 1940sBonita Springs Hotel in the 1940s

The first tourist attraction to open in Bonita Springs was the Everglades Reptile Gardens in 1936. This attraction featured native and local animals.

Now known as the Everglades Wonder Gardens, it is a well loved natural and historic treasure in this part of the state. 

Air conditioning became common in Florida in the 1960s and the area began to grow.  I-75 was completed east of town and Bonita Springs began to grow with shopping centers, planned developments, offices, and golf courses.

BONITA SPRINGS TODAY

If you're looking for outdoor recreation, the beaches are a great spot for swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking and more.

Esplanade Park provides a great place for walking trails, picnicking and viewing the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.

Riverside Park on the Imperial River is a good place to spend some time.  A historic tourist attraction, Everglades Wonder Gardens, is near this park.

The park and attraction are located on Old US-41 which goes through the center of the original downtown area of Bonita Springs.

Bonita Beach Park is directly on the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the best places to access the beautiful beaches.

The warm climate makes Bonita Springs a desirable destination year-round. Average temperatures range between 50°F to 90°F with humidity levels dropping during the colder months.

Barefoot Beach Shutterstock Barefoot Beach
Shutterstock, Andriy Blokhin

If you're looking for outdoor recreation, the beaches are a great spot for swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking and more.

During the summer months visitors can take advantage of cooler ocean breezes and enjoy outdoor activities like golfing on one of many courses or lounging at Barefoot Beach Preserve with its powdery white sand beaches.

BONITA SPRINGS BAREFOOT BEACH PRESERVE

Bonita Beach Bonita Beach Crossover
Shutterstock, Stephen Orsillo

Visitors to Barefoot Beach Preserve can take advantage of numerous amenities such as picnic tables, pavilions, grills and restrooms.

There are also several fishing platforms located along the shoreline where anglers can cast out their lines in search for prized catches such as snook or tarpon.

Bonita BeachBonita Springs Beach View
Shutterstock, Ray Dukin

Of course no visit would be complete without a dip in the crystal-clear waters that line this gorgeous beach – perfect for swimming, snorkeling or simply lounging on a floating device!

Bonita Springs also has a thriving arts and culture scene that includes numerous museums such as the Koreshan State Historic Site which focuses on early settlers who founded their utopian society nearby.

Bonita Beach SignBonita Beach Park
Shutterstock, Jillian Cain Photography

In addition to these cultural attractions there are dozens of annual events like the Bonita Blues Festival held each June featuring blues musicians from around the country as well as festivals celebrating everything from art and music to seafood!

This city is also home to many upscale planned communities, including Bonita Bay.  Real estate can be expensive in Bonita Springs with an average 2022 home listing price of $640,000, well above the national average.

Bonita Bay Entrance SignBonita Bay Entrance Sign

Many residents move to Bonita Springs because of its charming atmosphere. This friendly city boasts an array of unique neighborhoods with everything from upscale homes in Barefoot Beach to rustic farmhouses in Imperial River Estates—there's something here for everyone!

It's also conveniently located near Fort Myers International Airport.

Lovers’ Key State Park immediately north of Bonita Springs provides visitors with trails to explore by foot or bike where they can admire local wildlife living in its natural habitat – including bald eagles and manatees!

It is one of the last undeveloped barrier island in Southwest Florida.

There are also two kayak launches within the park allowing people access to even more adventures on Estero Bay beyond what can be seen from land.

Fort Myers Beach is immediately north of the state park and is a nice place to visit.

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is east of the Bonita Springs area and is a great place to experience a boardwalk stroll through a natural cypress wetland.

The Coconut Point Mall features over 140 shops to browse through - perfect for finding unique souvenirs or gifts for loved ones back home!

Miromar Outlets is a large discount shopping mall in Estero, adjacent to Bonita Springs on the north, as is Florida Gulf Coast University.

There are also numerous restaurants throughout downtown serving up delicious meals ranging from fresh seafood dishes to familiar favorites like pizza and burgers.

With miles upon miles of sandy beaches; plenty of outdoor activities; a vibrant arts & culture scene along with its extraordinary landscape beauty—it's no wonder why so many people choose this incredible city as their permanent home.

Bonita Springs is a destination that caters to everyone – from birdwatchers looking for nature trails to sunbathers seeking relaxation on white sand beaches and shoppers searching for gifts at chic boutiques – all within reach during a single visit!

That’s why Bonita Springs remains one of the top Southwest Florida tourist locations year after year.


THINGS TO DO IN BONITA SPRINGS, FLORIDA

Barefoot Beach Preserve
505 Barefoot Beach Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134 | (239) 252-4000

Barefoot Beach Preserve, mentioned above, is one of Florida’s last undeveloped barrier islands. We enjoy strolling along the sandy shore, collecting shells, and watching dolphins play in the waves.

The preserve is home to various wildlife, including sea turtles and many bird species. Visitors like exploring the nature trails and learning about the local ecosystem at the learning center.

The calm, clear waters make it perfect for swimming and snorkeling, providing a peaceful escape into nature.

Lover's Key State Park
8700 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 | (239) 707-6328

Lover's Key State Park, mentioned above, is a picturesque spot in nearby Fort Myers known for its beautiful beaches and wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors love kayaking through the mangroves and spotting manatees and dolphins.

The park's two miles of sandy beaches are perfect for sunbathing, shelling, and swimming. We appreciate the well-maintained boardwalks and picnic areas, making it ideal for a family outing. Fishing is also popular here, with the waters teeming with a variety of fish.

Everglades Wonder Gardens
27180 Old 41 Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 | (239) 992-2591

Everglades Wonder Gardens, mentioned earlier, offers an interactive experience with Florida’s native wildlife and exotic plants. We enjoy the colorful and lush botanical gardens and the butterfly conservatory.

The park’s collection of rescued birds and reptiles, including flamingos and alligators, fascinates visitors of all ages. Educational programs and guided tours provide deeper insight into the habitats and conservation efforts. It’s a great place to learn while having fun.

Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
375 Sanctuary Rd W, Naples, FL 34120 | (239) 348-9151

Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, also mentioned above, is an enchanting entry into the heart of the Everglades ecosystem. We love walking the 2.25-mile boardwalk that winds through wet prairie, marsh, and the largest remaining stand of old-growth bald cypress in North America.

Visitors enjoy bird watching and spotting rare plants like the ghost orchid. The sanctuary is a peaceful retreat where nature’s beauty is on full display, making it a photographer’s paradise. Online tickets are recommended.

Bonita Beach Park
27954 Hickory Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134 | (239) 533-7275

Bonita Springs Public Beach at the Bonita Beach Park, mentioned earlier, is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the Gulf of Mexico’s beauty. We love the soft white sand and the gentle waves, ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

The beach is well-equipped with showers and picnic spots, and visitors appreciate the volleyball courts and the scenic views, especially at sunset. It’s a family-friendly beach with a laid-back atmosphere.

Riverside Park
10450 Reynolds St, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 | (239) 992-2556

Bonita Springs Riverside Park, discussed earlier, is a community hub where locals and visitors gather for events and outdoor activities. We enjoy the concerts and festivals held here throughout the year.

A Veteran's Brick walkway and Veteran's Memorial are also placed here to honor those who’ve served their country. The park features walking paths, a playground, and access to the Imperial River, perfect for a leisurely day or an evening stroll.

Visitors like the amphitheater for live performances and the local art shows that display the work of Southwest Florida artists.

Bonita Springs Dog Park
11071 E Terry St, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 | (239) 992-2556

Bonita Springs Dog Park is a wonderful place for pet owners to let their dogs run free and socialize. We enjoy watching the dogs play in the fenced areas, which are well-maintained and safe for pets of all sizes.

The park includes watering stations, shaded areas, and agility equipment. Visitors love the friendly atmosphere and the chance to meet other dog lovers in a beautiful outdoor setting. Picnic tables are available.

Little Hickory Island Beach Park
26082 Hickory Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134 | (239) 949-4615

Little Hickory Island Beach Park is a quieter alternative to the larger public beaches. We enjoy the untouched natural beauty, perfect for a day of fishing, shelling, or just reading a book by the water.

The beach offers stunning views of the Gulf and is often less crowded, providing a serene environment for relaxation. Visitors appreciate the clean facilities and the easy access to the beach.

Flamingo Island Flea Market
11902 Bonita Beach Rd SE, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 | (239) 948-7799

Flamingo Island Flea Market is a vibrant marketplace where you can find everything from fresh produce to unique crafts. We love browsing the hundreds of stalls for treasures and tasting the variety of food from local vendors.

The market is a fun way to spend the morning or afternoon, discovering new items and enjoying the lively atmosphere. Visitors like the friendly vendors and the wide selection of goods at affordable prices.

Bonita Springs Farmers Market
26795 S Bay Dr, Bonita Springs, FL 34134 | (239) 949-1573

Bonita Springs Farmers Market is a popular spot for picking up fresh, local produce and handmade products. We enjoy the selection of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and artisanal items.

The market is a great place to meet local farmers and craftsmen while supporting the community. Visitors appreciate the festive environment and the opportunity to try new and interesting foods in a welcoming outdoor setting.


BONITA SPRINGS FLORIDA INTERACTIVE MAP




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