Step into Downtown Bonita Springs to see the historic Liles Hotel, a butterfly garden, bandshell and the artist cottages at Riverside Park. This park, off Old 41 Road right on the Imperial River, is used for a variety of town functions – everything from holiday celebrations, art shows, festivals, Movies in the Park to the annual Celebrate Bonita Festival held every spring.
Amenities include sheltered picnic tables, park benches, and restrooms as well as a Veteran’s Brick walkway and Veteran’s Memorial to honor all those who have served.
A stunning fountain and an abundance of green space provide the perfect atmosphere for a bit to eat at one of the picnic shelters, or benches.
Meanwhile, the historic Liles Hotel, built in 1926, offers exhibits in the public areas of the hotel while the Imperial River cottages, restored fishing bungalows, offer a selection of handmade jewelry, paintings, sculptures and other fine arts. The Artist Cottages are open to the public on Sundays during season and offer Art Nights the fourth Wednesday of each month.
The City of Bonita Springs also provides other opportunities for individuals to enjoy the outdoors at a variety of stunning parks along the water:
• Stroll down to Bonita Beach Park, a 2.5-acres of beachfront featuring a boardwalk and ample areas to take a dip in the blue water. Need a break out of the heat? Stop by one of the eight gazebo and picnic shelters surrounded by sand dunes and coastal vegetation.
• One of the last underdeveloped barrier islands on the southwest coast of Florida offers 342-acres of natural land where a shifting habitat of beach, dunes, coastal strand, maritime hammock and estuarine mangrove forest is located. Barefoot Beach Preserve, actually in Collier County, has 8,200 feet of sandy beaches for people to enjoy creating sandcastles, or splashing in the water. The preserve is also a popular attraction for avid fishermen who enjoy loosing themselves in nature while trying to catch one of the many varieties of fish.
• An isolated location, Little Hickory Island Park, is located just off Little Hickory Island. Take a dip in the water, enjoy a little meal at one of the shelters or — a local favorite– cast a line in the surf. It’s also a great place to take in a beautiful Florida sunset.
• For those who have a furry four-legged best friend, stop by the Bonita Springs Dog Park, which has a bridge spreading across Leitner Creek providing some peace and serenity. The wooded, spacious park gives dogs 6 acres to run some of their energy off in three separated enclosures depending on the dogs size.
• A popular old Florida-style attraction, Everglades Wonder Gardens provides visitors with an opportunity to travel back in time to learn about artifacts collected by Bill and Lester Piper, as well as explore the 3.5-acre botanical jungle bursting with native trees and plants. Take a moment to feed the bright pink flamingos, take a stroll through the butterfly garden and stop and view the intriguing alligators.