Things to Do in Bonita Springs and Nearby Cities

Bonita Springs Beach

Bonita Springs Beach is a public beach situated at the end of Bonita Springs Road. It is comprised of 2.5 acres along the Gulf of Mexico’s coastlne. There are picnic shelters with tables, a sand volleyball court, and restrooms at the park. Parking is available for $2 per hour. Bonita Beach Park has been open to the public since 1992 and it popular with visitors of all ages.

The views are amazing! To the south you can see Naples and to the north Ft Myers beach. There Lots of family-friendly activities–parasailing, fishing, shelling, jet skis, etc. The beach is not surrounded by any hotels or significant commercial development and is away from all the residential development of Bonita Springs. Instead, you’ll find a very upscale beach community with some condominiums. The beach is great for running, strolling and shelling.

 

 

One of the great features of this park is that the beach is only a matter of yards from the parking lot and does not get too crowded. Of course, the disadvanage is that during the season and particularly on weekends and holidays the small parking lot fills up fast.

However, if no spaces are available you can valet park your car at Docs Bar and Restaurant as long as you plan on eating there. But bring cash because they only accept cash as payment.

Parking is metered and you pay at two machines. There are bike racks and crosswalks too if you like to bike. The machines take credit and debit cards.

Being on the Gulf of Mexico the beach is famous for its beautiful sunsets. and sugar-white sand.

What we like about this beach: One word “convenient.” Parking is just a few yards from the beach there are public restrooms, showers, and covered changing areas with benches, and a full restaurant and bar located right next door On top of that the beach is only about 15-20 minutes from even the most easterly portions of Bonita Springs. Finally, the location is ideal for sunset viewing and like Mallory Square in Key West people flock to the beach in the late afternoon to take in the beautiful sunsets.

Bonita Springs Beach is rated #3 of 16 things to do in Bonita Springs according to TripAdvisor.com.

Bonita Springs Beach offers families a wealth of opportunities for sun, sand, and fun; all at affordable prices.

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Barefoot Beach Bonita Springs

Barefoot Beach Preserve is a 342 acre barrier island that still hasn’t been developed. One can walk a mile along the beach to the end, where you reach the swift currents of Wiggins Pass a Florida State Park with beach access.

Barefoot Beach Preserve while technically located in Naples, Florida is right on the borderline between Bonita Springs and Naples.

It is located at the end of Barefoot Beach Road off of Bonita Beach Road 15 minutes west of I-75. To reach the park, you drive through a spectacular winding road past million-dollar homes.

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Barefoot Beach Access is located on Lely Barefoot Boulevard which is 20 feet off Bonita Beach Road. The access has a wide and wide-open space for beach visitors.

Barefoot Beach Preserve Park is located just South of this access point.

In the summer, you can see nesting sea turtles and their nests along the nature trail between the sand dunes and hammock, and you can find gopher tortoises and their burrows at abundance along the trail.

Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park is the perfect beach choice for those looking to enjoy beach life in a more natural setting. The beach is ideal for both young and old. It offers safe swimming as well as a great setting for relaxing and taking in the view.

It also has plenty of parking compared to the Bonita Beach public beach just to the north.

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This beautiful beach features a mile-long boardwalk/nature trail along with amenities like showers, restrooms, and concessions for rentals and food. Handicapped beach has wheelchair access.

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Riverside Park

Riverside Park is located on old US 41 Road in downtown Bonita Springs, and rests along the banks of the Imperial River. The park is a great place to visit any time of the year, and is also used for various art shows, festival, and more. There are movies that are shown occasionally in the park.

The City of Bonita Springs hosts many events year round. Whether the event is a small neighborhood festival, charity run/walks or concerts, the Riverside Park area is a popular park for special events.

The park is listed on TripAdvisor.com as #5 of 16 things to do in Bonita Springs.

Things to Do at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs

The park is used for holiday celebrations, art shows and festivals and for the Celebrate Bonita Festival.

Other amenities include sheltered picnic tables, park benches and restrooms. The Imperial River cottages offer an enchanting assortment of handmade jewelry, paintings, sculptures and more. Artist Cottages are open to the public on Sundays during season and offer Art Nights the fourth Wednesday of each month

Additionally, there are several events held throughout the year, such as art shows, conferences, festivals, and holiday celebrations; furthermore, there is a band shell that stays quite busy, so it is likely that you will see live music here.

You can also rent a kayak from a private company located across the street from the park and launch a one or two person kayak right on the Imperial River.

The historic Liles Hotel and Imperial River cottages are also on display in the park. Built in 1945, the bungalow-style cottages were originally situated on the edge of the Imperial River. The hotel was built between 1926 and 1927. It is the oldest building in the city. There is also a museum located inside.

Contact info:

10451 Old 41 Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34135, Phone: 239-992-2556

Special Events at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs

Some of Riverside Park in Bonita Springs’ most notable events include the annual craft beer festival held in the spring of each year, Fourth of July parties, the annual Celebrate Bonita Festival, and various art shows.

Celebrate Bonita Festival

This free event features live music, food, games and kids activities, and it’s a great way to bring the community together.

Bark in Riverside Park

This is also a free event. Just bring your favorite pooch and see if he or she can win the dog tricks contest. There will also be a silent auction. There are cardiac and dental examinations and food donations accepted. All leashed, friendly pets are welcome.

Bonita Brew Fest

During this festival, you will be able to sample some of the best craft beers from Florida and beyond in the form of 3 ounce samples.

The Bonita Brew Fest, held at Riverside Park, provides the perfect environment to discover new brew styles. They will have a variety of craft beers, hard ciders and meads available to tempt your palate. Plus, they will have Food Trucks onsite selling their food. And Live Music.

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Bonita Brew Fest is hosted by the Southwest Florida Brew Crafters with proceeds to benefit the Bonita Springs Historical Society.

Only 1800 people attend each year with many coming from across the state.

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Florida Blues Festival

The Florida Blues Festival is an annual two-day event that attracts people from all over Southwest Florida. Some people even plan their vacations around the festival. Pets are not allowed, but you may bring chairs, blankets, and sunscreen. Proceeds also go toward local charities..

Bonita Springs Concert Band

Join the band at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs, Florida, its main venue. Bring your lawn chairs, face masks, and shade hats. All concert will comply with COVID regulations.

Bonita Springs National Art Festivals

The juried fine art/fine crafts festival attracts more than 200 international and national artists. Art lovers of all backgrounds gather to see these works, and there’s more than just paintings.

Everglades Wonder Gardens

If you would like to travel back in time to the old Florida era, you will need to visit this Historic Roadside Attraction. It is rated as #4 of 16 things to do in Bonita Springs by TripAdvisor.com.

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Everglades Wondergarden is a very well preserved roadside attraction from the 1940’s era and the entire structure has remained the same since it was built alongside Old Route 41. Established in 1936, the Everglades Wonder Gardens has a rich history with something for visitors of all ages.

Outside the facility, you will enter into a three-and-a-half-acre botanical jungle filled with native trees and plants as well as species from around the globe.

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Everglades Wonder Gardens is home to many alligators on the “swing bridge” that overlooks the swamp pit. It is here where you can see the feeding frenzy at lunch time. In fact, many of the alligators who you can see sunning themselves during the day are huge. The Gardens have housed several notable gators and crocs: “Crusher,” “Old Man,” and “Ironhead.” The last, “Big Joe,” is stuffed and on display in the Gardens’ museum.

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The facility s is also home to a collection of native birds, including flamingos and turtles. The grounds include botanical gardens and trees from around the world as well as a butterfly garden.

The Otter Show and Alligator Feedings are entertaining for both children and adults, and are a great opportunity for children and adults to see animals up close.

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The animals are well cared for by people who appear to have a deep understanding (though not necessarily developed in academia) of animals and their needs.

The Everglades Wonder Gardens is located at 27180 Old US 41, Bonita Springs. It is located a block away from Riverside Park in downtown Bonita Springs.

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It is also located within a block or two of Buffalo Chips restaurant a 36 year old restaurant which serves BBQ, wings, sandwiches and other delicious fare in an informal setting that is perfect for families. .

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

A visit to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a visit to the Everglades’ core ecosystem. A 2.5-mile boardwalk journey offers a chance to see all the natural beauty of a landscape that is thriving with wildlife.

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The Corkscrew Cypress Rookery Association was formed in 1954 to protect the area. The National Audubon Society accepted responsibility for management and started constructing the first boardwalk through the swamp in 1955. In all, nearly 45 square kilometres (17 sq mi) of wetland was purchased or donated, most of it from or by the owners, Lee Tidewater Cypress Center Co. and Collier Enterprises.

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Forty minutes east of Naples, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to alligators, otters, deer, and turtles. Photo opportunities are available at each turn of the boardwalk trail. A wide variety of wading birds, songbirds, raptors and also the fabulous Painted Bunting can be observed.

A walk along its 2.25 mile boardwalk takes you into a liquid and green world where you are surrounded by pure unadulterated natural beauty.

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More than 100,000 people walk Corkscrew’s 2.25-mile boardwalk each year and visit Blair Audubon Center every year.

At the end of the trip around the boardwalk visitors can post on a chalk board what wild animals they viewed on their trip.

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The sanctuary contains the world’s largest stand of virgin old-growth bald cypress woods. The sanctuary’s has trees a hundred feet high, 24 feet in circumference, and they can be nearly 600 years old..

Along the way, helpful signs educate visitors about the forest, about special trees and about the swamp and its wildlife and to help peak interest the signs often contain “Fun Facts.”

The sanctuary holds the World Wetlands Day Festival each year on a weekend near World Wetlands Day. In addition to photography workshops and art exhibits, the festival also includes swamp hikes, creative activities for children, live music, and art exhibitions. World Wetlands Day actually falls on Feb. 2 every year, marking the adoption of an intergovernmental treaty for wetlands protection in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.

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Tip: During the festival, take swamp-buggy tours through the sanctuary’s remote areas.

Guided walks (when available, check ahead) lead visitors through the marshes, woodlands, and fields to encounter the amazing reptiles, amphibians, and birds that call the swamp home.

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary offers an environmentally-friendly alternative to the exciting and adventurous Disney World or SeaWorld, while still offering the thrill of visiting exotic locations.

Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Blair Audubon Center 375 Sanctuary Road West Naples, FL 34120 Admission:

$14 for adults, $6 for full-time college student with photo ID, $4 for students 6 to 18 and free for kids under 6.

Hours:

Corkscrew Swamp now requires advance ticketing and reservations and is open more limited hours..

Flamingo Island Flea Market

If you enjoy shopping, then Flamingo Island Flea Market would be the right place for you. The 14.67-acre Bonita Springs flea market, located near Interstate 75, features 81,152 square feet of open-air vendor space with room for nearly 600 vendor booths. The occupancy of the flea market is nearly 100% during season, but drops down to around 70% in the off-season. It consists of strips of covered booths – 600 spaces in total– known as the “Red Aisle” and the “Blue Aisle.” It is the only flea market in the Naples area. The closest other flea market is in Fort Myers.

This market is not just a place where you’ll find a number of merchants but it also provides you with an amazing opportunity to buy new and second hand goods at lower costs. You can find products such as clothes, handbags, and furniture which are second hand but are still in excellent condition.

The Bonita Springs Flea Market has been known for offering fantastic bargains to its local merchants since the year 1947. With everything that you need at reasonable prices, this is a good place for you to do some shopping without spending a fortune. There are a number of vendors selling things at the flea market including designer merchandise, gift items, electronics, furniture, and clothing. However, if you prefer to buy something that is new and not at all used, it’s best to go to the Bonita Springs Flea Market because you are guaranteed to find quality products that are still very new on these shores.

Nice Atmosphere and Great Bargains

So I went to the quirky flea market off Bonita Beach Road a few weeks ago, ready to be guided by the forces of chance.

As I enter the flea market compound, I am faced with my first big decision of the morning as I pass through produce stand. I have several choices. To the left and right of me are some quasi fast food establishments. I see people eating pizza, Philly Cheese steaks, Greek food, and sandwiches. Also sold are mini donuts, smoothies, beer, Margaritas, pickles, nuts, seafood, gourmet food items, ice cream, hot dogs, and burgers.

Another choice is to turn right and go down the blue (or is it red) aisle or keep walking and turn down the blue isle. Both isles have lots of vendors but the first aisle appears to have a few more as that is the more popular aisle since it is the aisle that visitors come across first.

There are a wide variety of vendors, including those selling cell phone accessories, antiques, small electronics, reading glasses, sunglasses, golf supplies, clothing, purses, pet products, pet clothing. fishing rods, rare coins, ski masks and military apparel, T-shirts, discount kitchen accessories, pottery, wigs, watch repair, jewely, homemade soap, discount cable TV, and handy things like batteries, tools, microfiber cleaning cloths, etc. Need CBD oil? Need your teeth whitened? Need your feet fixed? A quick massage? Its all available at the Flamingo Island Flea Market: You can even buy a golf cart there. Its a great place just to wander around aimlessly or to visit on a cloudy day when going to the beach is not a viable alternative,.

Pets: Pets are allowed but they must either be in a pet carriage, or carried. They cannot be on the ground regardless if they have a leash or not. They have a booth that rents the pet carriages if you need one.

Location: 11902 Bonita Beach Rd., Bonita Springs Information: 239-948-7799

Hours: Open year-round, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday Webs

Website: flamingoisland.com

Farmers’ Markets

The Bonita Springs Farmers markets offer a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. They also sell organic products, such as honey, eggs, olive oil, and locally produced crafts. Although the market is not open year-round, they do have a few special seasonal sales. you’ll find a variety of locally produced goods, homemade jams, jellies, and other spreads. In addition to fruits and vegetables, you will also find crafts, handmade clothing, cheeses, and other food items. At one of the stores, you might even be able to buy your own pickled garlic, if you are lucky enough to find one there. The assortment of goods available is truly amazing.

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Here are some of the top farmer’s markets in Bonita Springs and nearby areas.

Promenade At Bonita Bay

There is one Saturday only market, at the Bonita Springs Farmers Market located in the Bonita Bay community in the parking lot of The Promenade Shopping Center. This “green” outdoor market opens the first Saturday in October through the last Saturday in April, 8am – Noon.

Local vendors sell fresh fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, plants, baked goods, seafood, honey, jams, and much more. While you shop, you can also enjoy breakfast or lunch prepared by local food producers. This season there will be a small number of artists and crafters.

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Rated by TripAdvisor.com as #12 of 16 things to do in Bonita Springs.

Be sure to stop by and visit the Organic Produce Booth from 12 seasons Farms. They are the only (or one of the few) growers and local farmers there. They have the absolute best heirloom tomato varieties, organic and local citrus, as well as lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, cucumber, peppers, and broccoli.

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You can get fresh bagels by out of New York bagels, Doug’s Seafood (known by locals in Bonita for their fresh and delicious lobster rolls) has a seafood stand selling fresh fish and lobster rolls, Greek and Italian food is also available.

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Chef Sebastian Mazzotta sells Crab Cakes both regular and gluten free.

Farmer Mike’s U-Pick

Farmer Mike’s U-Pick is a small family farm located in Bonita Springs, Florida with over 100 acres. The farm has been growing various types of fruits and vegetables for more than 30 years now. It has a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other products such as honey, orange juice and their delicious homemade strawberry bread. I love their locally grown lettuce and fresh stringbeans.

What makes Farmer Mikes the best small farmer’s market in Bonita Springs Florida? There are actually many things that make this stand out, but the main ones are the fresh, quality products and congenial staff.

Have fun picking strawberries and tomatoes. If you don’t want to pick you can still by pre-made baskets of straweberries and tomatoes.

Farmer Mikes U Picks It Bonita Springs, Florida does not disappoint, and that is why I end up going back every week.

Around Hallween they have pumpkins and a corn maze.

This market is rated #7 of 16 things to do in Bonita Springs by TripAdvisor.com.

Koreshan State Park Farmers Market

This is a year-round open air market open on Sundays only offering local fresh produce, seafood, honey, arts and crafts, pickles and olives, fresh mozzerella cheese, native plants and trees.

The market features local produce, fresh seafood, unique crafts, local honey, native plants, seafood, honey, fresh mozzerella cheese, native plants, trees handcrafted jewelry and more. A market pass is just $1.

It is located at the Koreshan State Historic Site at 3800 Corkscrew Road in Estero, Florida. Open Sundays 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Currently closed due to Covid pandemic.

Vanderbuilt Farmers Market (North Naples)

This market boasts that it is the largest (with over 90 vendors in season), & longest running Farmers Market in North Naples.

The market is open every Saturday year round, rain or shine 8 AM – 1 PM. Pets are welcome.

Fall Market kicks off every Saturday starting on November 3rd, 8 am – 1pm. They claim to have some of the freshest produce and vegetables around, micro-greens, fresh seafood, natural honeys, pastries, European breads, NY bagels, home goods, organic candles, art, clothing, jewelry, and so much more!

The market is open every Saturday year round, rain or shine 8 AM – 1 PM. Pets are welcome.

Off season this farmers market has few vendors, but come November things are different with over 60 vendors. Great place for buying local organic produce. They even sell sour and half-sour pickles.

Imperial River Kayaking

Imperial River: Beautiful kayak trail through old Bonita Springs

The ideal location to go kayaking is in the Imperial River in older downtown Bonita Springs. You need to head north on Old 41 to River Park. You can rent kayaks from a kayak rental company located across from River Park. The kayaks launch from where the Imperial River flows alongside River Park (not to be confused with Riverside Park).

The Imperial River’s name suggests a grand and imposing piece of land. However, the creek is only nine miles long, winding through Bonita Springs to Estero Bay on the Gulf of Mexico.

The Imperial River is a part of the Great Calusa Blueway, a 190-mile method of kayak and kayak trails in Lee County.

The upstream route takes you about two or three kilometers to where I-75 meets the Imperial. The river has a natural coast consisting of mangroves and sand bars rather than seawalls. It is mostly lined with old trees that provide shade. During most of the trail’s length there are homes, but there are a lot of them spread out and partly hidden by vegetation. it actually is pretty cool in many areas due to the shade from trees and very peaceful. The route also takes you under several historic bridges.

Kayaking is fairly easy even for beginners although inexperienced kayakers sometimes end of stuck near the shore in shallow areas and have to push off to get moving again, The water is generally crystal clear and the bottom is sandy at spots, allowing you to see fish, turtles, birds and sometimes manatees. I have yet to see an alligator.

CGT Kayaks at 27313 Old 41 Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 rents both single and tandem (2-person) kayaks. Rates are reasonable but become even more reasonable for larger groups.

Insider Tip: Check Groupon for discounted deals on renting Kayaks.

Little Hickory Island Beach Park

If you’re looking for a quiet white sand beach with a feeling of seclusion, head to Little Hickory Beach Park, located on an island in Bonita Springs. Getting there is easy by boat or car (the island has limited parking) and there are plenty of shells available.

The water there is beautiful and relaxing. On our first visit to the park we spotted manatee and dolphins.

Surf fishing is a popular pastime here. Restrooms, picnic tables and showers are located near the beach. A ramp runs from the parking lot to the sand allowing accessibility for wheelchairs. Parking $2 per hour.

Also known as access #10, Little Hickory Island Park is in an isolated location just off Little Hickory Island with public restrooms, shelters, picnic tables and a great view of the gulf.

Big Hickory Island’s Gulf side beaches are accessible only by boat.

The ramp from the parking lot to the beach on the beach allows people with disabilities to walk on the sand, this makes the beach accessible to everyone, and surfing is a favorite pastime for visitors here.

Besides a beach club near the north end, the park is bereft of commercial development and consists of this Big Hickory Island Preserve. A habitat for birds and other wildlife, the mangroves and the mangrove islands on their shores were purchased by the government to preserve environmentally sensitive property.

Bonita Beach Dog Beach

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Ever wish you could take your dog to the beach? Well you can at Bonita Beach Dog Beach the area’s only “off-leash” dog beach.

It is located north of Bonita Beach Road where it curves north and becomes Hickory Blvd. It is located just north of the New Pass bridge and just before Carl Johnson boat ramp and Lover’s Key state park.

It’s just a few miles south of Fort Myers Beach.

Dog Beach is a beach where your dog may play in the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

There are doggie showers and disposal stations available.

Dog Beach is the only beach in Lee County where pets are allowed.

Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs, and there is a limit of two dogs per person. Parking is offered at no charge.

One of the few beaches where dogs can run and swim freely while off-leash.

Dogs are allowed to be off-leash only at the dog beach. This beach does not provide any amenities or facilities.

You have to be at least 15 years old in order to bring your dog and you can’t bring more than two.

Children who are under five can’t go into the area where dogs are allowed off-leash.

Both non-neutered dogs and sick or aggressive dogs are not allowed on the beach.

Bonita Dog Beach is open between dawn and dusk.

 

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