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Things to Do in and near Downtown Bonita Springs, FL

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Downtown Bonita Springs is a charming and traditional destination in the heart of Southwest Florida. Whether you enjoy historic landmarks, artistic wonders, or outdoor adventures, this quaint town has something for everyone. Here are 15 must-visit places and activities for your Bonita Springs itinerary.

1. Riverside Park

A lake with trees around it

Nestled along the banks of the Imperial River, Riverside Park is the heart of Downtown Bonita Springs. This picturesque park offers a serene atmosphere with a touch of historical charm and is a beautiful place for viewing sunsets. The park features abundant green spaces, covered shelters for delightful picnics, inviting benches to relax, and an elegant fountain adding to its enchantment. This park is not just a serene escape; it is also a vibrant hub for community gatherings, hosting various special events like Celebrate Bonita, Star Spangled Bonita, Taste of Bonita, Movies in the Park, and more. With its band shell, Riverside Park provides a stage for live performances, festivals, outdoor movie nights, and art exhibitions. Whether you want to enjoy a stroll, a riverside picnic, or immerse yourself in the local community, Riverside Park in Bonita Springs has something for everyone.

2. The Artist Cottages

An artist at work

Within Riverside Park, the Artist Cottages are a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Originally constructed in 1945 as fishing cottages along the Imperial River, these historic buildings have been thoughtfully restored to their former glory. Inside, you will find six studios where members of the Bonita Springs art community showcase their talents, creating a variety of handmade treasures. From intricate jewelry and captivating paintings to unique sculptures, seashell designs, and pine needle-coiled art, there is a wealth of creativity to explore. To fully enjoy this experience, plan your visit on Sundays during the season to witness these local masterpieces come to life.

3. Art Events in Riverside Park

An artist at work using water colors

Riverside Park comes alive with art events, live music, and entertainment. Do not miss the National Art Festival, held over three weekends in January, February, and March. Hosted by the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs, this festival features a variety of original artworks from talented artists. For more details, visit their website here.

4. Art in Public Places

A colorful mural with a beautiful sky

Take a stroll through Downtown Bonita Springs and discover a public art collection. A few of the impressive pieces you will find include The Secret Bench of Knowledge by Lea Divot, Setting the Pace, Lords of the Forest, and The Ties that Bind by Jane DeDecker - all of these are a part of the Bonita Springs Downtown Alliance. There is also a mural named My Beautiful Town created by Alex Nunez on the north wall of Benson's Grocery that depicts the history of Bonita Springs.

5. Shangri La Springs

A lady's arm as she does yoga in the woods

Shangri La Springs, situated in the heart of Bonita Springs, Florida, is a wellness and learning center named after the town's natural spring. This historic site, built in 1921, offers more than just a hotel experience; it is a unique destination for those seeking wellness and enrichment. Visitors can partake in classes, attend events, savor organic dining, and indulge in a full-service organic spa. Shangri La Springs' rich history and dedication to well-being make it a distinctive and sacred place for exploration and rejuvenation.

6. Everglades Wonder Gardens

Everglades Wonder Gardens Mural
See You There Mural in Everglades Wonder Gardens

Everglades Wonder Gardens, a captivating 3.5-acre attraction in Bonita Springs, Florida, offers a blend of botanical gardens, wildlife enclosures, and a sanctuary for rescued birds and reptiles. Established in 1936 by the Piper family as "The Reptile Gardens," it has since evolved into "The Wonder Gardens," inspiring conservation and resilience. The site's mission focuses on fostering wonder in the natural world through educational programs for all ages and maintaining high standards of care for resident animals. With over 300 animals in its care, enhanced enclosures, an ever-growing botanical landscape, educational initiatives, and community engagement, Everglades Wonder Gardens shines as a cherished gem in historic Downtown Bonita Springs.

7. Recreation on the Imperial River

Kayaks on the water

Exploring the Imperial River by kayak, canoe, or paddleboard is a picturesque adventure in Bonita Springs. This approximately 9-mile-long river, with its most popular put-in spot in Old Downtown Bonita Springs, meanders through a lush canopy of oak and pine trees. The river's clear waters host a variety of fish, turtles, and even the occasional manatee. As you paddle, you will be treated to a tranquil journey that leads to Estero Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, covering approximately 5 miles. Rental shops near the put-in spot make it convenient for all, and the calm waters make it a suitable choice for beginners. For the best experience, opt for a morning or late afternoon paddle when the sun is not directly overhead, and be sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of water.

If you are looking for a convenient launch point, River Park, situated on the scenic Imperial River between Chase Bank and Bonita Boat Center off US 41, provides shell paths, boardwalks, a fishing pier, picnic areas, and a canoe/kayak boat launch, enhancing your exploration of the Imperial River.

8. Depot Park

A kid on a swing in a playground

Located across the railroad tracks from Riverside Park, Depot Park is a shaded haven with giant oak trees. It is an ideal spot for a leisurely walk or a picnic, whether with your family or your four-legged friend. Do not miss the children's natural playground at Lions Pride Park within Depot Park. This park also features a floating dock on the Imperial River for fishing or boat launching.

9. Local Dining and Shopping


Downtown Bonita Springs offers a diverse culinary experience, from international flavors to seafood. Explore the local restaurants and savor worldly dishes. Some delicious restaurants include Petar's Restaurant, Doc's Beach House, and The Fish House Restaurant. While you are in the area, be sure to check out unique shopping options, including farmer's markets. You might stumble upon some hidden treasures and one-of-a-kind finds.

10. Farmer Mike’s U Pick

Vegetables at a market

Nestled in Bonita Springs, Florida, Farmer Mike's U-Pick is a locally owned gem of a produce farm. Here, you will find a wide array of freshly grown vegetables, fruits, and flowers, including strawberries, plums, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, and vibrant sunflowers. The unique feature of Farmer Mike's is the opportunity for customers to handpick their own produce or flowers, immersing themselves in the farm-to-table experience. For those seeking the convenience of ready-to-go options, Farmer Mike's fruit and vegetables are also available at local farmer markets in the Naples to Fort Myers area during the week and on weekends.

Another great Farmer's Market to check out in Bonita Springs is the Bonita Springs Farmers Market! They are open every Saturday from 8 AM–12 PM from October–May.

11. Flamingo Island Flea Market

A flea market

Flamingo Island Flea Market is a year-round shopping destination, open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With over 600 vendors, both indoors and outdoors, the market offers an extensive array of products to explore. While you peruse the offerings, you can savor delicious food from various restaurants inside the market, serving up everything from tacos and nachos to coffee, ice cream, and more. Do not forget to quench your thirst with a refreshing, fresh-squeezed lemonade! It is the perfect place to find a wide range of items, including fashion clothing, fishing gear, kitchen accessories, golf equipment, wigs, makeup, jewelry, clocks, artwork, pet accessories, plants, fresh produce, lights, home decor, and so much more.

12. Congo River Golf

Congo River Golf in Bonita Springs, Florida
Congo River Golf in Bonita Springs, Florida

Congo River Golf in Bonita Springs, Florida, is an action-packed adventure-themed mini-golf course that promises endless excitement. As you play through challenging miniature golf, you will encounter giant waterfalls, rocky summits, mysterious caves, and lush tropical rainforests. For a unique experience, you can even feed live gators and try your hand at the Congo River Mining adventure, where you will unearth buried treasures like gemstones, fossils, and arrowheads. Additionally, an exploration game following the footsteps of famous African Congo explorers Henry Stanley and David Livingstone adds a thrilling dimension to your mini-golf escapade as you seek lost treasures from their journeys. It is an all-encompassing adventure that is perfect for family fun and exploration.

13. Bonita Fairways Golf Course

Guy putting a golf ball into the hole

In the heart of Bonita Springs, Florida, the privately owned Bonita Fairways Golf Course offers an 18-hole public executive golf experience. Designed by Gorden Lewis, this Par 61 course spans 3,500 yards, catering to golfers of all ages and skill levels. Amenities include a full-size putting green for sharpening your short game, a well-stocked pro shop for any last-minute golfing needs, and a visit to the Bar & Grill after your round for a cold refreshment and a delectable meal adds the perfect finishing touch to your golfing adventure.

14. Cullum's Bonita Trail

Woodland trails

Cullum's Bonita Trail, a serene path adjacent to the Bonita Nature Place, offers a picturesque and accessible setting for nature enthusiasts. This short trail is ideal for those seeking a smooth walk while immersing themselves in the beauty of the natural surroundings. The trail is open year-round, showcasing packed shells underfoot and featuring convenient boardwalks over low-lying areas. Along the way, hikers can pause and take in the scenic vistas from benches strategically placed for relaxation. The ease of access and natural charm make Cullum's Bonita Trail a must-visit in Bonita Springs, Florida.

15. COMING SOON! Rooftop at Riverside

Food truck park

Located across from Riverside Park's bandshell in Downtown Bonita Springs, the Rooftop at Riverside is Lee County's first approved Food Truck Park, and its opening date is eagerly anticipated. This culinary haven offers a variety of delectable options from food trucks catering to every palate. There will also be a rooftop bar featuring skilled mixologists who craft unique and delicious cocktails, along with a rotating selection of national and local craft beers. Whether you are gathering with friends, enjoying a family night out, or looking for a place to catch the game, the Rooftop at Riverside provides a stunning view of Riverside Park from its upper deck, making it the perfect spot for a lively and exhilarating celebration. For more details, visit their website here.

Cheers to Adventure!

Aerial view of the coast of Bonita Springs, Florida
Aerial View of Hickory Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL

Downtown Bonita Springs is a true gem in Southwest Florida, blending the charm of the past with the vibrancy of the present. Whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, this town has something to capture your heart. Come and discover the secrets and treasures of Bonita Springs today!

Have you been to any of these places in Bonita Springs? If so, let us know in the comments below - we want to know which ones you visited! If you have not gone, is it on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places to add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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* This article is not sponsored by any of the businesses or locations mentioned above or their affiliates. *
** Most images above are not from the actual place but rather a representation of the place or its description. The ones that are a true representation are denoted with a caption underneath the image. **

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