Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate


Feb. 14, 2019

Edison Festival of Lights Parade Fort Myers 45/365

Edison Festival of Lights Parade

Edison Festival of Lights Parade Fort Myers 45/365

As of 2019 the Edison Festival of Lights Parade had an eighty year history behind it. The parade itself is wildly popular and simply an enormous parade.  Long story short, people start setting up chairs and staking their spot on the parade route weeks in advance. The Edison Festival of Light Parade is a night time parade so it has a totally different perspective than most day time parades.  The participants range from local school teams and clubs to miniature ponies pulling wagons to the pipes and drums bands.

There is a lot going on in downtown Fort Myers surrounding the parade and events around the parade. If you go be sure to check the official website for parade details, including route changes, and announcements of other events happening near the parade.  It’s one of the most fun things to do in Southwest Florida and definitely fun to do with kids.

The Edison Festival of Lights parade is suitable for all ages; dress accordingly, bring strollers if needed and be ready for all the fun that comes with celebrating Southwest Florida’s most famous winter resident, Thomas Edison.

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 13, 2019

Photo Shoot at Cullums Trail Bonita Springs 44/365

Photo Shoot Locations Bonita Springs

Photos at Cullums Trail Bonita Springs 44/365

If you are looking for a reason to take family photos or even candid engagement or wedding photos head to Cullum’s Trail.  Cullum’s Trail is a little piece of olde Florida right in the middle of Bonita Springs.  Besides seeing tons of nature the starring attraction is a pretty backdrop at every turn. It’s not used very often by photographers but it should be.  I happened to capture this shot of a photographer shooting near the kayak launch.

The trail runs along the Imperial River at the rustic native end where old cypress trees and knees are in abundance. There is also a stand of oak trees so the photo ops abound.  The trail eventually comes out at Bonita Nature Place.  Other nearby preserves and trails are around if you’re just up for a good walk. There are tons of fun things to do off of Kent Road in Bonita Springs.  Grab your camera and your kids and head out for a walk.

If you’d like to learn more, read also: Cullum's Bonita Trail at Bonita Nature Place and watch

Paddling the Imperial River in Bonita Springs Florida With Cullum Hasty

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 12, 2019

9 Thai Sushi in Bonita, Springs, Florida 43/365

9 thai sushi ginger salad

9 Thai Sushi in Bonita, Springs, Florida 43/365

Whether you love sushi or not I am going to let you in on one of the best kept secrets in Bonita springs, Florida … 9 Thai Sushi for lunch. Hands down it is both the freshest and the fastest lunch you can have in Bonita Springs.  The salads are so fresh you can see the moisture where the cucumber and carrots have just been sliced freshly on top. 

9 thai sushi rollThe sushi is remarkable and always a winner. There are a variety of veggie sushi dishes for those who do not eat seafood.  My go to lunch is the ginger salad and an avocado roll.  Fresh, delish and I’m in and out for lunch in under thirty minutes. Most importantly the calories are controlled and the meal is one of the healthiest alternatives in town.

Besides sushi there are many Thai dishes available for just about every palate. The helpful owner will guide even the pickiest eater to the perfect dish. We know because we have a few picky eaters in our family and we have taken them there and they’ve been pleased with their meal.

9 Thai Sushi is located on US 41 in Bonita Springs right across from Bonita Bay’s north gate entrance.  Turn east at that traffic light.

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 11, 2019

Visit the Shell Factory Fort Myers, Florida 42/365

Visit the Shell Factory Fort Myers, Florida 42/365

Shell Factory Fort Myers

The Shell Factory is a short distance from Bonita Springs but totally worth the drive. The Shell Factory is located 2787 N Tamiami Trail (US 41) North Fort Myers, FL 33903 and has been around for eighty years! The Shell Factory is a unique place for visitors and locals to shop, eat or just gather with friends.

There is both indoor and outdoor attractions for the whole family. There is free entry and parking but a small charge to get into the nature park. At the Shell Factory there is a huge retail store which includes a Christmas store. The amount of activities are endless; there is petting/feeding zoo, bumper and paddle boats, Zip-line, Dinosaur Land, Mini Golf, and the Nature Park. The Nature Park admission (Feb 2019) is Seniors 55+ $10 Adult $13 Children (4 to 12) $8 Children 3 & under Free. The park features animals from iguanas, alligators, raccoons birds and zebras.

According the the Shell Factory there is over 400 animals living there. There is a picnic site or you can enjoy the restaurant on Cap'n Fish n Bones. I will say the Shell Factory is mostly original and could use some updating but it is such a different experience from anything else around town and the kids just love it. It’s a taste of “roadside Florida” of days gone by.

A visit to the Shell Factory is great if you are looking for fun things to do with kids.  There is also a nearby preserve where you can take a walk with them.

Read also: Prairie Pines Preserve | N. Fort Myers, Florida

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 10, 2019

Bonita Springs Art Shows – Things to Do 41/365

Bonita Springs art show

Bonita Springs Art Shows – Things to Do 41/365

Winter is our festival season and one of the most fun things to do is visit Riverside Park for the numerous art shows.  The Center for the Arts Bonita Springs holds a hand full of shows every winter. The artists generally begin setting up on the Friday before and the shows are open both Saturday and Sunday. This photo was taken super early on a Saturday morning while walking the dog.

There is a nominal donation charged for entry.  Artist who display and sell art use all sorts of mediums; painting, sculpture, metal, fabric, jewelry, glass and more.  It’s a feast for the eyes and a great way to spend time and people watch. There is food and drink for sale and public restrooms available.

If you’d like to learn more visit the official page 

If you’d like to learn more about festivals and winter events in Downtown Bonita Springs, Florida  join the Bonita Springs Estero Community Forum.  The winter calendar is released towards the end of October every year.

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 9, 2019

Palm City Brewing Fort Myers, Florida 40/365

Palm City Brewing Fort Myers

Palm City Brewing Fort Myers, Florida 40/365

Tucked away in the back of an industrial area you would never expect to find the coolest little brewery, Palm City Brewing. It is right off Alico Rd. in Fort Myers, Florida. When we walked in a were pleasantly impressed with the industrial style interior and the over twenty beers on tap they had to offer!  When you walk into the back there is all kinds of games like corn hole, shuffleboard and a giant Jenga.

Palm City Brewing has different food trucks on site on different nights. We happened to be there on a Saturday night and it was a pizza truck.  The pizza was really delicious. If you enjoy visiting a micro brewery, this is a must stop.

Did I mention we were able to bring out kids and actually enjoy ourselves?! There were so many fun things to do. The kids loved being able to play the games and just hang out with us at the picnic tables while we enjoyed the “San Carlos Proper” which is their original beer they started out with.

Palm City Brewing is located at 7887 Drew Circle #120, Fort Myers, FL 33967 and open Wednesday-Friday 4:00pm-10:00pm Saturday 12:00am-11:00pm Sunday 12:00am- 6:00pm. [Feb 2019]


About the Author - Jenna Hatfield is a life-long resident of Bonita Springs, Florida and mother of two boys.  Their family resides in Arbel.

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 8, 2019

Watch Nesting Eagles in Bonita Springs 39/365

Bonita Springs Bald Eagle

Watch Nesting Eagles in Bonita Springs 39/365

When you think of places to site see in southwest Florida you normally you wouldn't think of a church. Right in the thick of it in Bonita Springs is a beautiful church with a pair of bald eagles who call it home. The grounds around the church are very lovely and there are a couple of ponds where you will find other wildlife such as turtles, otters and ducks. The eagles like to sit high atop the cross in the early mornings watching over their nests. It is quite the site to see. St Leo Catholic Church in Bonita Springs is a very popular church. It is located on Beaumont Road in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Bonita Springs Bald Eagle


About the author: Melinda Cochran is photographer and Southwest Florida resident. You can find more of her images at:  If you know of a great place for Melinda to capture wildlife in action send a message in the comments section of this post.


Similar stories, read also: John C. Yarbrough Linear Park | Fort Myers, Florida 

and Ding Darling National Refuge Sanibel Island

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 7, 2019

The Naples Pier in Naples, Florida – Things to do 38/365

Naples Pier Naples Florida

Naples Pier – Naples, Florida – Things to do 38/365

The first thing I’m going to mention about the Naples Pier is that if you are in or on the water, you need to stay 100 feet away from it. I mention, because I’ve been told more than once to keep my kayak that distance away by the nice lady in the official looking uniform. It’s obviously a reasonable safety precaution; however, like all of the fish that are drawn to congregate underneath its supporting pylons, it is a natural attraction to be drawn towards.

Like the fish that congregate underneath the pier, their terrestrial counterparts are drawn to it for probably the same kind of reasons: people watching, dolphin watching, fish watching, bird watching, and whatever else might be drawn to the attraction. It’s a place to congregate.

When I first started visiting Naples, I would grab a book and towel, and go down to the pier to suntan, read, and people watch. I’s a fun and low cost for those looking for things to do in Naples. There are two volleyball nets set up just south of there and so I’d often play volleyball with whoever needed a player. Over the years, things have changed, and now they also have a stand with free honour system life jackets for kids, available.

There is a concession stand about halfway out to the end of the pier that serves up hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza slices and drinks. There is also a roofed area with a few picnic tables to sit and eat in the shade. There’s also fish cleaning tables with running water if you’re lucky enough to catch a keeper while fishing.

There are bathrooms and showers as you enter the pier from the cul-de-sac that serves as a drop off point for people with serious beach gear: beach umbrellas, coolers, beach chairs, and so on.

There is paid parking one block East, or if you are a Collier County resident, you can park for free, (I think; there has been discussion about charging a fee for residents, and given the history that I’ve witnessed, if the County can find a way to squeeze some coin out of Paradise, they eventually will). I haven’t used it, but I believe you can receive text messages when your time is running out, and add time to your parking spot via a phone app.

The best time to go? When isn’t the best time to go to the beach in Naples, Florida? When there are full moon sets, (usually in the mornings, in this part of the world), or if there are distant offshore summer lightning storms, (again, in the mornings; the summer afternoon lightning storms here are terrify). I’ve lived here long enough that I would say the two times I would avoid the Pier are during the New Years and Fourth of July fireworks, and that has more to do with traffic than with the experience. I enjoy the fireworks and the crowds of people well enough but it is a traffic jam trying to get out of town after. If I go nowadays, I park my pick up around Tin City, and bicycle the rest of the way to the beach.

Sunsets. I almost forgot to mention sunsets. This is one of the best times to go when you get to the age where lying on a towel in the sand soaking up rays is not as much of a to-do list item any more. This isn’t really specific to the pier, but a lot of people like to go to the beach to watch the sunsets. Again, especially in season, parking can be an issue, so if I want to watch a sunset, I usually plan to be parked an hour before the sunset, because I’ve seen cars parked a block and a half away by people hoping to catch a green flash sunset. I usually bring my guitar, and go stake out a spot on one of the benches. Usually the benches also fill up pretty quickly, as sunset approaches, and people generally engage in friendly neighbourly chat, sip wine, and oooh and ahhh over the sunsets. P.S. it’s probably not exactly legal to sip wine on the beach, just as an FYI.

As for the particular subcategory of green flash sunsets, I have probably witnessed over a dozen of them, and have yet to capture one on camera. That’s probably a subject for a digital photography article. But they are unique, and people generally are pretty excited to witness them.

Read also: Clam Pass Park Naples Florida 


About the author - John Farren is a resident of Naples, Florida and an avid kayaker.

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 6, 2019

Grab a Slice at Deromo’s in Bonita Springs Florida 37/365

Deromos Bonita Springs Florida

Grab a Slice at Deromo’s in Bonita Springs Florida 37/365

Deromo’s Gourmet Market and Restaurant in Bonita Springs, is located at The Promenade Shopping Mall in front of Bonita Bay. Deromo’s is an amazing place to visit whether you dine or not.  The deli is remarkable and a feast for the eyes.  There is also a separate full service restaurant.  For this adventure, this is a fast and easy way to grab dinner and do a little people watching.  Of course, people watching is such a fun thing to do, too!

Inside of the Deromo’s gourmet store there is a pizza bar.  Pizza and hot sandwiches are available.  Pizza by the slice is a fast, easy fix for dinner after a long day.  It’s perfect for casual dining, too.  You simply go to the pizza bar, order your slice, they warm it up for you, box it and you pay at the register. You can grab a drink from the coolers by the check out or you can get a glass of water which is in a denser by the door.   Outside the door are several café tables with umbrellas. 

There are generally several styles of premade pizzas available by the slice. Just be careful when you order your “slice”.  A slice is actually a quarter of a pizza which is equivalent to two regular-human-slices of pizza. The first time Jerry and I ordered “two slices of pizza” we had essentially ordered a full pizza and had ridden bikes to Deromo’s so it was an adventure getting those extra slices home.

If you’re looking for a fast way to grab a bite to eat head to Deromo’s. It’s worth the trip and the the pizza is great!

Posted in Things To Do
Feb. 5, 2019

Disc Golf in Bonita Springs, Florida 36/365

Disc Golf in Bonita Springs, Florida 36/365

Bonita Springs Disc GolfYou probably drive by the Bonita Springs Rec Center all the time and had no idea that there was a disc golf course there.   Yes, disc golf.  It’s a little-known sport and for those looking for fun things to do it is an alternative to high impact sports.

The disc golf course at the Bonita Springs Rec Center has been described as a testy courses with good variety of both long and short holes. Alternate tees on the classic course and pin placements on every hole makes these courses challenging and tons of fun. There is lots of water and obstacles.

The Bonita Springs Disc Golf Course offers a handicap league every week. At the time of publication the league plays every Sunday at 9:30 AM … early to beat the heat., It’s a great way to socialize while playing with some great golfers and get a little exercise. On Wednesday nights/evenings the course offers a bag tag round ( NOT a handicap round) that starts at 6:00 PM. In the winter months when the sun goes down earlier there are games of glow golf.  Bring your glow sticks and flashlights!

About the disc golf course: It’s an 18 hole course and suitable for all ages. Disc golf is similar to ball golf – you throw off of a tee to a hole which is actually a basked.  It takes about 2.5  hours to play and players average 1.5 to 2 mile walk while completing the ccourse.  This is not your normal beach Frisbee and uses specialty discs.

It is free to use the course at the Bonita Springs rec center.  You can buy a full set of discs to compete for under $200. You don’t have to be a great player to have fun while playing disc golf

There are approximately four disc golf courses in the southwest Florida area -  Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and Fort Myers,  To learn more call (239) 992-2556 or visit the official Facebook page:

The Bonita Springs Rec Center is located at 26740 Pine Ave., Bonita Springs, Florida.

Posted in Things To Do