Gateway to the Gulf
Bonita Springs is called Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico because its white sugar-sand beaches and calm Gulf of Mexico waters lie the shortest distance from the interstate. The town is located near Estero, Florida (its neighbor to the north) and sandwiched between Fort Myers, north of Estero and Naples, to the south
Bonita Springs’ warm tropical climes create an ideal tourist destination with year-round outdoor living, boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, tennis, and biking.
Named for a medicinal spring on Old Highway 41 that the local Indians believed could heal the sick, Bonita Springs history began as the town of Survey, Florida -- an outpost that was transformed first into a pineapple, banana, and coconut plantation, then into a hunting and fishing destination.
Prosperity & Tourism
The arrival of developer Barron Collier’s Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41) and railroad changed Bonita Springs history and brought a new wave of prosperity to the town, which incorporated for the first time in 1925, and again in the late 1990s.
Developers decided that the name Survey lacked sales and tourist appeal, so they rechristened it Bonita Springs.
New attractions helped bring more people to vacation in Bonita Springs. At Everglades Wonder Gardens, Bill and Lester Piper exhibited panthers, bears, alligators, and other native Florida animals and supplied rare animals to the Chicago Zoo. Their family continues the tradition of wildlife fascination today.
Beaches, Fish & Golf
Canadians Harold and Mildred Crant saw the millions of shells lying, free for the taking, knee-deep in brilliantly colored heaps along the beaches and opened the Shell Factory to sell the crafts they manufactured from them. The factory burned down in the early 40s but was later rebuilt in North Fort Myers.
During the same era, the town came to be known for its tomato fields, which produced red, juicy fruit both spring and fall. Little Hickory Island, today home of the waterfront Bonita Beach community, developed as a commercial fishing village.
Bonita Springs is still a healing place and a gateway to gorgeous beaches. Its homey downtown is surrounded by prestigious golf and waterfront developments, some of the finest Florida hotels, superb dining, and world-class shopping.
Southwest Florida Travel Guide is your foremost vacation and information resource for exploring the Bonita Springs area.