A Day in Bonita Springs & Estero
"Spend a day exploring Bonita Springs and Estero – from the formal gardens at a historic site to gators, bears and more at Everglades Wonder Gardens. "
In the southern reaches of Lee County, just off U.S. 41, is Koreshan State Historic Site, nestled among pines and palmetto and snug up against the Estero River. In addition to the beautiful natural surroundings, there’s a late-1800s religious settlement that has been preserved. Marvel at the complex geometric layout of the historic buildings, which reflects part of the Koreshans’ religious theory. Rent a canoe and explore the river, or take a ranger-guided tour through the grounds.
Head farther south to Bonita Springs and have lunch at the Big Hickory Seafood Grille, complete with ""Cracker”-style fare, as well as more refined choices, such as Cubana Grouper. Oh, and keep an eye out for Emerald, the resident white heron.
Next stop: Wonderland. Well, Everglades Wonder Gardens may feel like Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole, or at least back to the 1930s, when the attraction was built. Each tour is narrated by a knowledgeable staffer (often one with a sense of humor). Tours are continuous, and visitors are escorted to wherever the group is at the time they arrive. Native Florida fauna, including alligators, bears, panthers, bobcats and other reptiles, is on display among tropical plantings.
After the 60-minute tour, drive to Bonita Beach Park to catch some rays or find some shells to add to your collection. Then mosey on back to the mainland and Rodes Fresh & Fancy, a seafood market with a restaurant attached. The seafood is as fresh as it gets, and the Key lime pie is delightful.