Seven Hidden Gems of Bonita Springs
While it’s not the most well-known city in Southwest Florida, Bonita Springs has become one of its hot
spots. While it has a rich history, the modern era really comes in 1999 when Bonita Springs was
incorporated as a city. It is nestled right in between Fort Myers and Naples, the two bigger cities in
Southwest Florida, and is just north of Naples. Bonita Springs only had a population of 53,000 people in
2020, but many of the residents are snowbirds who are not here year round. So, when it gets cold up north
and it’s warm in Florida, the population basically doubles. In this article, we’ll explore seven hidden gems
of Bonita Springs that you’ll want to check out on your next visit.
Hidden Gem #1: The Beach
This is what draws most people to Bonita Springs. There’s actually eight miles of beaches in the city with
ten access points. One that you’ll absolutely want to enjoy is Bonita Beach, located in the heart of Bonita
Springs off Highway I-75 via Bonita Beach Road. There are multiple restaurants in the area to enjoy, but
if you travel a little further south you can experience Barefoot Beach, which is a state park. Besides
enjoying the white powdery sand, you can also go kayaking, rent jet skis, and play beach volleyball.
Hidden Gem #2: The Imperial River
I call this gem hidden because it’s not the center of attention like the beaches. That being said, the
Imperial River is certainly a sight to see. It runs straight through Bonita Springs, and you can enjoy
kayaking, fishing, and even boating among the mangroves if you’re closer to the Gulf of Mexico. The
river leads out into Estero Bay, so if you’re ambitious and looking for a long day exploring, you can
actually kayak upstream all the way to the Gulf.
Hidden Gem #3: Downtown Bonita Springs
The downtown area has a lively and vibrant culture. As you drive into downtown, you won’t see any
skyscrapers; instead, you’ll see quaint, artistic buildings with murals painted on the walls. With little
coffee shops and even an ice cream shop, this is a great place to meander and spend a day. Its quiet
atmosphere makes you feel like you’re in small town, old Florida, something special you’ll definitely
want to check out.
Hidden Gem #4: Riverside Park
While we’re exploring downtown, you’ll also want to make sure to visit Riverside Park, which runs along
the Imperial River. The park houses an amphitheater that exhibits different shows and concerts throughout
the year with food trucks periodically. During the holidays the park is especially beautiful, with the trees
decorated with lights. Make sure to check out the Riverside Park Amphitheater calendar to see what’s
showing, there’s sure to be something for the whole family to enjoy.
Hidden Gem #5: Lover’s Key
Lover’s Key is made up of four barrier islands that are basically untouched, super unique for Southwest
Florida. At Lover’s Key, you can go biking, kayaking, and hiking, as well as visit the dog park beach,
which is one of the only beaches pets are allowed on in Southwest Florida. This is a great place for both
your family and your pets to enjoy the water and have tons of fun.
Hidden Gem #6: Coconut Point Mall
If beaches, nature, and downtown aren’t for you, shopping is another option. Bonita Springs has a lot of
different shopping options, most notably Coconut Point Mall. This mall is the Crown Jewel of Southwest
Florida as far as outdoor malls go, with big box stores as well as nice restaurants. Another mall is the
Promenade, which is smaller and more quaint, but sports an excellent Italian restaurant and market called
DeRomo’s. Both malls are wonderful to explore.
Hidden Gem #7: Wonder Gardens
Our final gem is something that has been a part of Bonita Springs since 1936: the Wonder Gardens. It is a
very natural space that houses many different plant species as well as birds and reptiles. They host a
remarkable flamingo exhibit that has been at the gardens for over 40 years, reflecting the fact that
flamingos are near and dear to Floridians’ hearts. While it’s not a huge place, Wonder Gardens is
absolutely worthwhile to visit.
If you’re looking for real estate in Bonita Springs, Florida, feel free to reach out to my team. We would
love to work with you!
By: Brad Dohack
Edited by: Ashley McCrea