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Top Beaches in Bonita Springs

Tiana Burgos
March 18, 2020

Florida is famed around the world for having a stunning coastline. Few other parts of the US are able to offer the white beaches, clear waters, and deep blue skies which come with The Sunshine State, and millions of people flock to this part of the world each and every year. Bonita Springs is a small city in Southwest Florida, and is widely considered to be one of the friendliest, prettiest, and most tourist-friendly parts of the state. The beaches in Bonita Springs have a strong reputation for their beauty and serenity, but figuring out which part of the coast you’d like to visit can be a challenge when you have so many options.

Barefoot Beach Preserve, Little Hickory Island Beach Park, and Bonita Beach Park are three of the most popular beaches in Bonita Springs. While they all bring something unique to the table, they all share the same clear water and fine white sand, and it’s easy to see that they’ve been meticulously managed by Florida’s Parks and Recreation department. Bonita Springs is filled with beautiful beaches, and we’re going to be exploring them all.

What to Do Before You Go to the Beach?

Going to the beach can be quite an adventure, but it’s worth taking your time before you get too carried away. There are a number of steps to take before you decide to go to the beach, and one of the most crucial of these will be research. You need to know how to get to the beaches in Bonita Springs, where you will be able to find parking once you get there, and whether or not the beaches will meet the requirements of the group you’re taking with you.

Alongside researching these vital areas, it will also make sense to look up the busiest times at the beaches you choose. Getting a good spot to lounge and relax with your family will be a challenge at peak times, and it can often make sense to visit the beaches in Bonita Springs when you know they’re unlikely to be full. The weather will also play a large role in this, and you should look at one or two forecasts before you decide to set off on your trip to the beach.

Smart planning can be one of the best ways to make the most of a day at the beach. You will want to set off nice and early to make the most of midday sun, and it will be a good idea to factor in any travel time when you’re thinking about this. You should also think about what you’ll eat and drink on your adventure, along with the clothing you’ll wear, the sun protection you’ll be using, and the money you bring along to make it possible to buy things for your family.

What to Bring to the Beach

Going to the beach without the right preparation can make the day a painful one, with sunburn and discomfort being commonplace when people don’t consider what they need to bring along with them. Bonita Springs is filled with great stores, making it possible to find items if you need them in an emergency. Those closest to the coast will often cost more than the shops you’re used to, though, so it can be a good idea to try and bring as much as possible with you.

It’s worth being careful when it comes to the larger items you bring along. Sunloungers, barbeques, and some ball sports can be banned from certain beaches, but you should be able to figure this out from tourist information websites.

You can find some of the items you might want to bring along to the beaches in Bonita Springs below. The season might change your selection a little, though Florida is usually pleasant throughout much of the year, and you may not have to worry about bad weather.

  • Sun Protection: Beaches don’t have much shade, and this means that even the mildest of days can expose you to a lot of sunlight. Sun lotion will be essential, with children and babies needing the highest SPF number. Hats, sunglasses, and loose clothing can also be a good way to protect yourself from the sun, but you should also spend some time in the shade every once in a while.
  • Food & Drink: Having plenty of water with you is crucial on a hot day, and a lot of people will also want to bring some food. Some beaches even permit barbecues. You can’t drink alcohol in public in the US, and this is well worth keeping in mind.
  • Swimming Gear: Florida is blessed with clear oceans, and the beaches in Bonita Springs are a fine example of this. You will have plenty of opportunities to swim in the ocean, but you’ll need some trunks, a bikini, or a one-piece to do this.
  • Towels: Even if you don’t want to swim, towels can be a great tool on the beach. They provide a surface to lie on, while also making it easier to dry your feet after washing them as you leave.
  • Wind Protection: Beaches can be windy places, so having a wind guard can be a nice idea if you don’t like a breeze.
  • Games & Activities: Ball games, frisbees, and things like bodyboards and wakeboards can be excellent fun when you’re on the beach, and there are loads of other fun activities you can enjoy in this environment. Buckets and spades can be used to make sand castles, and a pair of binoculars will be fun to look out to sea with.
  • Chairs & Loungers: Some beaches will already have chairs and loungers waiting for you, but others will expect you to bring your own if you want this sort of luxury.

This might sound like a lot to bring with you, especially alongside the items you need to look after a baby or young child, but it’s worth coming prepared. The last thing you’ll need will be a big beach bag to put all of it into.

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Barefoot Beach Preserve

Barefoot Beach Preserve is the Southernmost beach on this list. Rated at 4.5 of 5 stars on TripAdvisor, with more than 1,500 reviews, people have plenty of good things to say about this stretch of beach. As one of the most popular beaches in this area, it can get quite busy at times. It’s size makes this less noticeable, though, and most people won’t feel too squeezed when they spend a sunny day at Barefoot Beach Preserve.

One of this beach’s most notable features is a sheltered mangrove trail. This can be explored with a canoe or kayak, and you can borrow these when you arrive. There is also an interactive walking trail, loads of wildlife, and a stunning view of the ocean to enjoy. You will need to bring your own seating to this beach, and you will need to pay for parking for the day if you decide to bring a car.

The main event at Barefoot Beach Preserve is the wildlife. Whether you decide to hit the water or want to stay on foot, you will get the chance to see loads of different birds, turtles, and butterflies. Turtles nest on the beaches in this area, and this means that you have to be very careful if there are signs warning you about nests. If you’re lucky enough, you may even get to see some of the little ones hatch.

Little Hickory Island Beach Park

Like Barefoot Beach Preserve, Little Hickory Island Beach Park has 4.5 of 5 stars on TripAdvisor, and this is backed up by a huge number of reviews. Sitting in the north of Bonita Springs, this beach is quite unique. With a park situated at its rear, you can enjoy a beautiful green space alongside your time at the beach, giving you a lovely place to sit down and enjoy some food. 

You can come to Little Hickory Island Beach Park with high expectations, and you won’t be disappointed. You can find some of the key attractions and features of this place below.

  1. Dolphins: People spend a lot of money for the opportunity to see dolphins in the wild, but you don’t even need a boat to see these beautiful creatures at Little Hickory Island Beach Park.
  2. Turtles: Like many of the beaches in Bonita Springs, this one is a key nesting spot for sea turtles. You may even get to see some of these animals during your visit.
  3. Swimming: The ocean is cool, clear, and calm at Little Hickory Island Beach Park. This makes it perfect for swimming, even if you’re not the most confident in the world. Snorkeling is also popular here, and you can borrow the equipment you need for it near the beach.
  4. Relaxation: The sound of the ocean washing up against the beach, the smell of salt in the air, and the warm sun beating down on you all make for great relaxation. The white sand only adds to this.
  5. Education: A lot of work has been done to teach the public about the wildlife and scenery surrounding this beach. You will find a board with information about the animals, plants, and even shells you will find on this beach.

Little Hickory Island Beach Park is also known for the shells which can be found here. It’s crucial that you are careful when collecting these, as any living creatures inside will be protected by Florida State law. Of course, though, you can always put them back when you’ve had a good look.

Bonita Beach Park

Bonita Beach Park boasts the same TripAdvisor rating as the last two beaches; it’s looking good for Bonita Springs. This beach is no exception to the beauty, serenity, and adventure to be found at the other beaches, either. The park has a volleyball court, playground for the kids, and a lovely picnic area for you to enjoy with the family. The beach itself is the most central of beaches in Bonita Springs, giving you easy access to the city and the other attractions which can be found there.

Thrill seekers will be excited to know what lies next door to this beach. Bonita Jet Ski and Parasail is a rental company based right next to the beach, but they do a lot more than their name suggests. Alongside jet skis and parasails, they also rent out bikes, paddleboards, and even whole boats. This can give you something very exciting to do when you visit this beach, though it’s worth booking ahead to make sure that you can get what you want.

Bonita Beach Park has much of the wildlife found on the other beaches in Bonita Springs. You can see dolphins from the beach, will find frogs, butterflies, and other small creatures where the sand stops, and may even get the chance to see turtles out in the open. This array of animals is hard to find elsewhere, and will be a treat for the whole family.

Bonita Beach Dog Park

Dogs love the ocean just as much as humans, but they often don’t get to experience it on normal beaches. Pets like this can cause a lot of problems when there are people around who don’t like them, making it a challenge to find the opportunity to let your dog play in the sea. Bonita Beach Dog Park is different, permitting dogs to be let off of their leashes to enjoy playing together. There will often be dozens of dogs here at any given time, making it worth thinking about your pooch’s temperament before they arrive.

Thanks to the position of this beach, the water is very shallow for quite some distance. This makes it excellent for dogs and kids alike, with the adults in the equation having little to worry about. The park is also nice and far from the nearest road, adding to your mental wellbeing. The beach itself is similar to the other beaches in Bonita Springs, boasting white sand, clear water, and blue skies. Of course, though, you can’t forget about the palm trees.

How Far is Bonita Springs from Fort Myers Beach?

Fort Myers is the nearest major city to Bonita Springs. They sit very close together, and it’s easy to get between the two places if you have a car available. Getting from the centre of Fort Myers to the centre of Bonita Springs will take around 35 to 45 minutes in a car, and the journey will be just shy of 30 miles.

Knowing this doesn’t tell you how long it will get to each of the beaches in this area, though. It’s always good to know how far you will have to travel to the beaches you’d like to visit, and we’ve figured it all out for you.

  • Bonita Springs to Barefoot Beach Preserve: This journey is about 20 minutes by car, though it could be longer if the traffic is bad.
  • Bonita Springs to Little Hickory Island Beach Park: Getting to Little Hickory Island should only take about 15 minutes from the centre of Bonita Springs.
  • Bonita Springs to Bonita Beach Park: Depending on the route you choose, this journey can take anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes by car.  
  • Bonita Springs to Bonita Beach Dog Park: Getting to this beach should only take about 20 minutes by car.

If you’d like to figure out how long it will take to get to each beach from Fort Myers, you can add these times together. Public transport is quite frequent in this area, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find a taxi if you have the right app on your phone.

Can I Bring My Dog to Beaches in Bonita Springs?

Dogs aren’t always allowed on beaches, and this can be for good reason. Not everyone likes these animals, and not everyone is as responsible for their pets as you are. This means that dog owners will be unhappy to find that Barefoot Beach Preserve and Little Hickory Island Beach Park don’t allow dogs, even if they are kept on leashes. This is partly thanks to the wildlife found in these places. Bonita Beach Park is happy to welcome well behaved dogs which are kept on the leash.

Bonita Beach Dog Park is the perfect place for dog owners to enjoy a day on the beach. This spot actively encourages dogs to be let off of their leashes, and the people here will know what to expect. The water is calm enough for dogs, and you don’t have to worry about the roads which run close to other beaches. This gives you a couple of beaches to choose from, but we know that we’d always choose Bonita Beach Dog Park if we had a pooch with us.

Taking your dog to the beach will change your experience somewhat. They don't want to relax in the sand, and will probably want to play. It’s worth bringing a bowl for them to drink from, as well as some bags in case they need to go to the toilet. A lot of dog owners will also bring toys to the beach, but you have to be aware that other dogs might want to play with them. It’s also worth thinking about your dog’s temperament, as they will be expected to behave themselves around their new friends.

Let Royal Shell Help You Find the Perfect Rental for Your Beach Vacation 

Getting the opportunity to enjoy the beaches in Bonita Springs is one you should always take. Here at Royal Shell, we have everything you need to get started on planning a trip to this stunning part of Florida. Many of our vacation rentals are situated very close to the beach, offering easy access to all of the attractions we’ve covered in this post. Whether you want a traditional bungalow with a private pool or a luxury villa with its own hot tub; we have the keys to a trip of a lifetime.

You can view our vacation rental properties on our website, and we encourage anyone who is interested in this sort of break to get in touch. Our friendly team is always on hand to answer questions and queries about the beaches in Bonita Springs, and we will do everything we can to find the ideal place for your break.

Need to check availability of a perfect Bonita Springs vacation rental?
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