Looking for outdoor adventures in southwest Florida, but want to escape the crowds at the ultra-popular beaches and nature spots? Just minutes from Naples and Bonita Springs, the area around the Bonita Beach Hotel offers scenic beauty and thrills for nature lovers without the hassle of fighting traffic and hordes of tourists.
From kayaking through mangrove tunnels to hiking through historic ruins, you can find excitement beyond the pool at this charming boutique hotel. Here are 5 hidden gems near Bonita Beach Hotel where you can get your adrenaline pumping in Old Florida style.
Paddle Through the Mangroves on Lovers Key State Park
Just 10 minutes from the hotel, Lovers Key State Park feels a world away from the bustling beach towns. Linked to Bonita Springs by a bridge, the park encompasses three barrier islands with over 2 miles of pristine shoreline and lush mangrove forests.
But this state park offers far more than just beachcombing.
|Kayaking||Paddle through the maze of mangrove tunnels and spot birds, fish, and other wildlife up close. Rentals available from Lovers Key Adventures.|
|Hiking||5 miles of inland trails and beach boardwalks let you spot herons, egrets, ospreys and even manatees in their natural habitat. Consider a guided tour for expert insights.|
|Biking||Pedal over the causeway and along hard-packed sandy trails on a beach cruiser. Bike rentals from Lovers Key Bike & Beach Shop.|
|Birdwatching||Over 200 species recorded! Prime birding from observation towers and the Wetland Trail. Join a birding tour for help spotting key species.|
Lovers Key often gets overlooked for more famous state parks like Cayo Costa, but the pristine ecosystems here make it a hidden gem for nature lovers craving an authentic adventure. Ditch the crowds and get back to nature kayaking through the mangroves or cruising the backcountry trails.
Just don’t forget the bug spray!
Spot Local Wildlife on an Imperial River Boat Tour
Winding through Old Florida towns near Bonita Springs, the scenic Imperial River offers outstanding sightseeing opportunities beyond just gazing at the mansions lining its banks. You can get up close with local flora and fauna by hopping aboard one of CPT’s Imperial River Cruises.
Their naturalist-guided tours cruise past mangroves and marshes as expert captains point out birds wading in the shallows, turtles sunning on logs, and even dolphins if you’re lucky!
|Eco Tour||90 minutes of cruising spotting ospreys, eagles, herons and more.|
|Sunset Tour||The best Imperial River views as the mangroves glow at dusk. Cash bar available.|
|Private Charters||Custom 2-hour naturalist tours for groups up to 49. Ideal for weddings and private events.|
Beyond great wildlife viewing, CPT’s boats have restrooms, covered decks, and comfy seating so you can relax and take in the sights. Don’t miss this unique way to experience Old Florida charm along the Imperial River!
Paddle Your Own Adventure Along Bonita Beaches
Want to chart your own course rather than follow a guide? Bonita Beach Kayak Rentals offers stable, sit-on-top kayaks perfect for DIY estuary exploration right from Bonita Beach.
Paddle through peaceful mangrove tunnels or across bays dotted with wildlife. Here are some self-guided adventures to try:
- Mangrove Trails – Glide under arching mangrove branches as you wind through green tunnels teeming with birds.
- Little Hickory Island – Cruise across open water to reach this secluded island with a pristine beach.
- Lovers Key – With practice, paddle the 2.5 miles to Lovers Key State Park’s inviting beaches.
Rentals include paddles and life jackets, while delivery is available for an extra fee. Friendly staff provide maps and tips so you can make the most of your self-guided tour.
Looking for help navigating? Book a 2-hour guided mangrove eco tour for just $50 per kayak.
Time Travel Through Koreshan State Park
History buffs and nature nuts alike will love exploring the bizarre backstory and scenic trails of Koreshan State Park in Estero.
The Koreshans were a cult-like utopian society who settled here in 1894 to create the “New Jerusalem” based on their leader’s unique religious visions. Tour their historic buildings and learn how they dreamed of immortality but met a much different fate.
Beyond the quirky history, Koreshan’s bamboo groves and lush gardens offer prime hiking and biking trails to explore.
|Guided Tours||Join a ranger-led tour of the Founder’s House, Planetary Court, and other sites where the Koreshans lived and worked. Offered daily.|
|Hiking||2 miles of shaded nature trails meander through exotic bamboo stands and along the Estero River.|
|Biking||Pedal park roads and trails on a 1-hour loop to take in the scenery and historic sites. Bikes available to rent.|
The next time you need an unusual escape, visit Koreshan State Park to get lost in its natural beauty and oddball occult history. Just 10 minutes from Bonita Beach Hotel, it’s the perfect hidden history gem to uncover.
Smash Stress Away at Bonita Beach Tennis Center
Tennis, anyone? While renowned for its spectacular Gulf views, Bonita Beach Public Tennis Center also offers first-rate tennis facilities just minutes from the hotel.
With 10 Har-Tru hydrogrid clay courts, this center draws players from across southwest Florida for its top-notch amenities. Take advantage with:
- Lessons – Sharpen skills with private and group lessons from experienced pros.
- Clinics – Join 90-minute clinics for 2-4 players at your skill level. Offered most mornings.
- Matchmaking – Get paired with players of equal ability for singles or doubles matches.
- Tournaments – Test your mettle in USTA leagues and events.
Tennis shoes required on all courts! For just $8-$10 per hour, you can rent these pro-quality public courts and unwind with a few sets in the sea breeze. Don’t miss this hidden gem for keeping active outdoors during your Bonita Beach getaway.
Start Your Adventure from the Bonita Beach Hotel
The area around the Bonita Beach Hotel offers outdoor excitements beyond just sunny beaches and golf courses. From paddling through mangroves to biking lush nature trails, you can find plenty of hidden gems for adventure without the crowds.
So next time you visit, escape the tourist trail to uncover Lovers Key, Koreshan, and more outdoor fun where the locals play. The friendly staff at Bonita Beach Hotel can offer tips to help you find these not-so-secret secrets. Just don’t tell too many people – we want to keep the hidden gems hidden!
Ready to book your active Florida vacation? Check rates and reserve your adventure getaway at Bonita Beach Hotel here. And get ready to create memories paddling, hiking, biking, and exploring across Old Florida’s scenic landscapes.
Q1: Are there any hiking trails near Bonita Beach Hotel?
Yes, there are several hiking trails within a short distance from Bonita Beach Hotel. The Everglades National Park and Lovers Key State Park offer diverse and scenic trails for adventure seekers.
Q2: What water activities can I enjoy near the hotel?
The hotel’s location provides access to a variety of water activities, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. You can rent equipment nearby or join guided tours for an exhilarating experience.
Q3: Are there any opportunities for fishing in the area?
Absolutely! Bonita Springs is known for its excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you’re into deep-sea fishing, pier fishing, or backwater fishing, you’ll find charter services and prime fishing spots near the hotel.
Q4: Can I go wildlife watching around Bonita Beach Hotel?
Certainly! The nearby parks and nature reserves offer great chances for wildlife watching. Keep an eye out for manatees, dolphins, birds, and other native species in their natural habitats.
Q5: Are there options for guided ecotours close to the hotel?
Yes, the area offers a range of guided ecotours. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will take you through the local ecosystems, providing insights into the flora, fauna, and unique natural features.