My sister lives in Southwest Florida, about halfway between Ft. Myers and Naples, so we make quite a few trips down there (of course, I love my sister and all, but the fact that she lives in Florida, 10 minutes from a beach, makes it an easy decision to go visit). Whenver we go, though we’re often tight on time, I always try to reserve at least a half hour or so to visit one of the area’s Gulf Coast beaches. I’m allergic to early mornings, but I usually try to go around 9:00 or so, because the crowd hasn’t really arrived yet, and you can usually find a good stretch of beach to walk without running into someone every 15 seconds. Our most recent visit was over Labor Day weekend, and on Labor Day morning, we headed out to Bonita Beach, one of Lee County’s more popular places to enjoy Southwest Florida’s trademark white sand. It took a little doing (more on that later), but we did find a quiet area, and enjoyed our walk on the beach, this time with a variety of coastal birds.
I’ll let the photos do most of the talking in this post, so grab a Corona and enjoy!
Looking east out over the Gulf of Mexico
Looking north towards the end of the beach
Two snowy egrets looking for food
White ibis also looking for food
Typical beachfront houses, obviously out of my price range
My beautiful wife, looking north again
Looking south towards the main portion of Bonita Beach
Snowy egret that has apparently spotted brunch in the water
Bonita Beach is located in Bonita Springs, 25 miles south of Fort Myers and 15 miles north of Naples. To get to Bonita Beach, from IH-75, exit Bonita Beach Road (exit 116) and head west. Pass US 41 (Tamiami Trail). Just after the road bends to the right, you will see the main entrance to Bonita Beach on the left. This is a pay parking lot, and the fee is (I think) $8. You can also take a chance and try to snag a free parking spot further up the beach. Keep heading north on the road (now known as Hickory Blvd.), and you’ll see several free parking lots on the left. There are usually only 3-6 parking spots in each lot, though, so you’ll have to get lucky to snag one. We did get lucky, but we had to try 5 or 6 of the mini-lots before finally finding a space. The upshot – if you are lucky enough to grab one, the beach tends to be much less crowded.
And remember – this is Southwest Florida, so if this beach isn’t to your liking, there’s plenty of other spots to check out within a 20 minute radius.