Naples Day Trips Part 1: Explore Bonita Springs

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Naples is full of activities, dining and luxurious experiences, but guests in our luxury Naples rental homes often ask what the best day trips are when you’re visiting our paradise. This blog will be the first of a series that will explore the best day trips to take when you’re visiting Naples.

Bonita Springs is located just north of Naples in Lee County. If you flew into the Fort Myers Airport, like most of our guests do, you passed exits on the highway for Bonita on your way here. Like Naples, Bonita offers pristine beaches and luxury shopping. Bonita, however, also hosts a variety of fun activities, different places to visit and unique dining experiences. In this blog we’ll look at our top five picks for activities and dining. We are especially excited to give you our take on one of the newer restaurants in the area: The Bohemian.

Top Five Things to do in Bonita Springs

  1. Barefoot Beach Preserve: A favorite destination for Naples locals and visitors, Kick off Barefoot Beach Preserve is one of the most pristine and scenic beaches in the area. Enjoy white sandy shores, crystal-clear waters, and the opportunity to spot diverse marine life. The preserve also boasts walking trails through natural habitats, making it a haven for nature lovers.

  2. Everglades Wonder Gardens: Looking for something truly Old Florida and quirky? Check out the Everglades Wonder Gardens, a classic Bonita Springs destination. Nestled in wonderfully quaint downtown area, the Wonder Gardens is a unique zoo/garden combo that the whole family will enjoy. I recommend getting there early because they only let they only allow animal feeding for a short period.  

  3. Koreshan State Park: Commune or Cult? You decide! Did you know that Southwest Florida was home to a famous religious settlement, the Koreshan Unity? While technically in Estero, this is a great place to check out when your visiting the Bonita area.  Step back in time at Koreshan State Park, a historic settlement that once served as a utopian community. While the Koreshans are long gone, you can still explore the preserved structures, lush gardens, and walking trails while learning about the fascinating history of the Koreshan Unity.

  4. Bonita Springs Farmers Market: Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Bonita Springs Farmers Market. Held every Saturday from 8AM to noon, this vibrant market showcases fresh produce, handmade crafts, and local delicacies. It's a great place to support local businesses and get a taste of the community.

  5. Lovers Key State Park: Truly a hidden gem and a must-see, check out the secluded beauty of Lovers Key State Park, a pristine barrier island known for its unspoiled beaches and abundant wildlife. Enjoy activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply bask in the tranquility of this natural haven.

Five Restaurants to Try in Bonita Springs

  1. The Bohemian – Funky and Fun: While the Bohemian is actually closing in on its second anniversary in business, this relatively new restaurant has an unforgettable vibe and has quickly become a favorite destination for Naples locals and visitors alike. Between the bright blue lacquered walls, cool lighting and funky light fixtures, it feels like another dimension. The Bohemian is renowned for its innovative and inspired dishes that showcase a fusion of international flavors. On my last visit I was there with a table of six friends so I was able to try a little bit of everything. My favorites dishes were the Warm Crab and Lobster Jar and the Baked Oysters and Roasted Bone Marrow.

  2. Buffalo Chips – A Local Favorite: For a true local Bonita Springs experience, look no further than Buffalo Chips. With about as casual and relaxed an atmosphere as you can get in Southwest Florida, Buffalo Chips is a no-frills spot locally-famous for wings. The extensive menu offers a little bit of everything, but I can personally recommend the fried pickle chips and the delicious, unfussy, Reuben sandwich.

  3. Petar's Restaurant – Date Spot: Whenever my friends mention they are going to Bonita for a date-night, I am never surprised to hear they’ve got a reservation for Petar’s. As one of the best date-night spots in the area, Petar’s refined ambiance and delicious cuisine make for a memorable experience. Featuring authentic dishes from Greece and Italy, Petar's commitment to using fresh and high-quality ingredients shines through in every bite. Favorites from Petar’s include the Braised Angus Short Ribs and the gnocchi and pork belly appetizer.

  4. Kim Chi Grill - Asian Fusion Mastery: Looking for a quick, delicious, lunch or dinner and you’re not worried about ambiance? Have I got a delicious dim sum place for you! Kim Chi Grill is one of my absolute favorite places to grab lunch in the area. Seating is limited inside and out, so takeout is another way to enjoy the crispy, deep-fried, spicy pork dumplings or the pork belly bao buns. I also highly recommend the King Manduu dumplings and the char siu pork and wonton soup from the main menu.

  5. Limoncello – Old School Italian Cuisine: Limoncello has a perfect combination of old-school Italian restaurant vibe and delicious food to round out this list. Nestled at the corner of Old 41 and US 41, Limoncello has some of the best service and Italian food around. The décor is unpretentious and the live music is loud. The food, however, is the star. Start with some burrata or cozze al vino blanco and indulge in any of the homemade pasta dishes or veal marsala. You won’t be disappointed.

Bonita Springs is just a short drive from Naples and certainly a great place to spend the day. Whether you’re looking for a casual combination of activities and food – the Wonder Gardens and Buffalo Chips are a stone’s throw away – or a great date-night spot like Petar’s, we’re happy to help with suggestions at Naples Florida Rentals.