Bonita Beach is a Lee County park on the Gulf of Mexico right on the line between Collier County and Lee County. In this location, this little bit of geography has special meaning. If you start walking south along the beach, you immediately step foot onto Barefoot Beach and you can walk for miles along the beach, through Barefoot Beach Preserve shoreline, all of the way south to Wiggins Pass.
You’ll pass by some beautiful beachfront homes and you won’t encounter many people on this stretch of beach but, you’ll enjoy the beauty and serenity of Barefoot Beach. If you look north from the entrance to the beach at Bonita Beach Park, you’ll see Doc’s Beach House and the rental kiosk for parasail rides, jet skis, all kinds of beach equipment and beach toys. From this point, you can also walk north for a few miles before you encounter Big Hickory Pass.
So, bottom line here is that you can walk along the beach forever in either direction from Bonita Beach Park. Walk south for a more natural setting and stay around the main area for more people, more action, the beach rentals, beach volleyball, people watching and proximity to Doc’s Beach House Restaurant & Bar and the hot dog lady in the parking lot. In addition, you have full Lee County facilities here with restrooms, showers, picnic tables and small pavilions.
Parking is tight so get there early during the busy season. Other parking spots available include an auxiliary Lee County parking lot immediately north of Docs’ Beach House (still convenient to all of the facilities and there are a few grills and pavilions here, too). You’ll need to pay by the hour for these lots and display the machine receipt on your dashboard – and yes, somebody does come around to check your expiration time on the receipt slip.
Adjacent to the parking lot for Bonita Beach to the south, is a parking area called Barefoot Beach Access and this is especially good if you have a Collier County beach sticker on your windshield because then you park for free. Otherwise, you’ll be paying $8 to the machine to get a receipt for your dashboard; and yes, again – somebody checks very regularly. Don’t even think about parking in the big lot across the street that belongs to Bonita Beach & Tennis condo complex.
One other local tip for parking opportunities – there are small access points to the beach going north along Hickory Boulevard past Doc’s Beach House that are marked with banners. The first one (Access #1) is actually the parking lot that is mentioned above located immediately north of Doc’s Beach House and that one requires paying.
Beach Access #2 through Access #9 are all free parking areas but very limited in the number of spaces. Definitely get there super early if you plan on capturing one of these prized spaces. Some of them even have shady spots such as Access #4 just south of the Bonita Bay private beach area. Also, these areas are nothing more than very convenient access points to the beach and there are no facilities at all there.
Note, as you go farther north in search of a parking spot you are getting farther away from the facilities and Doc’s Beach House, if that’s important to you. At the north end of Hickory Blvd., about two miles north of Doc’s, is Beach Access #10 which is a much bigger parking lot and does require paying the machine. As a plus, there are restrooms and foot showers here.
Aside from the social aspects of hanging out at Bonita Beach, shelling can be outstanding along Bonita Beach. We have found some our very best specimens on the beaches north of Doc’s Beach House. If finding sand dollars is a pastime for you, then you’ll want to be walking north along the beach starting near Beach Access #7. Particularly at low tide, the shallow waters along the sandbars here are a prime area for finding sand dollars. Honest to God, we have found 75 sand dollars within an hour’s time on more than one occasion along this beach. Remember, if a sand dollar is dark in color and has fuzz on it, it’s alive. Don’t take it. It’s against the law.
In addition, on those rare days when the wind really kick ups, Bonita Beach is very popular with the kite boarding crowd. It’s very entertaining as they put on quite an acrobatic show in the water with flips, 360s, jumps and amazing hang time. Another spot where you’ll find the kite boarders on a windy day is the Wiggins Pass area (either access through Delnor-Wiggins State Park or through Barefoot Beach Preserve).
Bonita Beach Park
27954 Hickory Blvd.
Bonita Springs, Florida 34134