Twelve Hacks to Survive Bonita Springs Tourist Season
1. Doctors in Bonita Springs Area - Make as many medical and dental appointment as possible “off season” between May and October. “In season” make them as early as possible as schedules spin out of control as the day progresses.
2. Grocery Stores in Bonita Springs - Trips to the grocery are painful when the isles are crowded. Take advantage of a meal delivery service such as HelloFresh or Blue Apron at the very least during the peak winter season of January, February and March. Shopping during the day avoids the after-hours work force crowds. If you like shopping sale items, BOGO’s or specialty items like Fresh Market crab cakes, get there early or go home empty handed. Publix has a great app where you can find coupons and order your deli items for pickup in the cooler beside the deli. Your order, even custom sandwiches will be waiting for you when you arrive.
3. Drugs and Medication - Take advantage of pharmacies who will deliver your prescriptions. Walgreens, for example, has both a phone app and option for delivery to the home. When you order your scripts online it will provide a location for you to choose a store for pick up or another button for mailing the prescription to your home or P.O. box. Your local pharmacist likely doesn't know about the option. You can download the app from your phone provider app store. Brooks Pharmacy is a local pharmacy with delivery services.
4. Driving in Lee County – Getting anywhere takes longer in the winter. It just does. Avoid driving south 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Avoid driving north 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Those are the rush hour drive times. A good portion of the work force in Naples lives out of the area, partly due to real estate prices. On 41 the middle lane is the fast lane as the drivers in the left and right lanes are looking for where they need to turn to get where they need to go. Learn to identify the markings of rental cars and try to not get stuck behind them No smoking sticker on glass, “Sunshine State plate and sensors on windshields. Use the waze app for commuting to avoid accidents in major arteries. Most of the time you can turn right on red. The person in the roundabout has the right of way; don’t stop in the circle to let people in.
5. Dining in Bonita Springs/Naples – If you must eat out, learn to use the “Open Table” app for reservations. Consumers can scan for last minute dining reservations of any restaurant that may have table times available.
6. Southwest Florida Growing Season – If you want a little back yard garden keep in mind that summer in Bonita Springs is sort of like winter up north. Instead of too cold, it’s too hot to grow plants unless it’s orchids. It also rains … a lot. Our produce/vegetable growing season starts in the fall and runs through spring. Starting in the fall there are farmer’s markets sprinkled around town nearly every day of the week. Farmer Mikes on Morton Road in Bonita Springs, Florida is open by November and also has a u-pick option.
7. Biking around Bonita – we have a lot of bike lines and great sidewalks but the drivers, many of whom are from outside of the area, unfamiliar with the area and often distracted. Defensive riding is a must. Don’t trust that they saw that you have the cross walk signal.
8. Boating and Fishing in Bonita Springs – Many bays and water ways become idle speed in the winter to protect the manatee that come inland because the water is warmer. Book a boat rental weeks out during the winter season. You can rent a boat or join a boat club at Baywater. A license is needed for fishing in most circumstances. For fishing licenses and advise visit Sunshine Ace Hardware in Bonita Springs across the street from the USPS.
9. Bonita Springs Beaches – Bonita Beach and Barefoot Beach are crowed in the winter. You weren’t the only person who wanted to get warm in the winter. Go to the beach off of peak hours and you may be able to find a parking spot. If you’re consider purchasing a home or condo in Bonita Springs considering purchasing in a community with a beach club membership that has shuttle service. Keep in mind that we are projected to grow for the next 20+ years due to the boomer population and the access to the beach is going to become more difficult than it already is. Here’s a list: Bonita Springs Communities with Beach Club Access. Live shell removal is prohibited. If a sand dollar is not totally white it is still alive. If it stains your fingers yellow or orange it’s alive. Throw it back in.
10. Bonita Springs Festivals and Fairs – our “summer” or comfortable weather is actually in the winter so that is when our outdoor events are planned. They typically begin in November and run through April. Follow the Bonita Springs Estero Community Forum to learn of upcoming events.
11. Download individual restaurant apps for establishments who allow you to order online for easy pickup. For example, Tropical Smoothie cafe allows you to order and pay online and then pick up your sandwich or smoothie in the fast pickup lane.
12. Register at www.USPS.com and subscribe to informed delivery so that you know what is coming in the mail, either at your home or your PO Box before you have to drive in congested traffic. You can also order stamps online through the site, too! There are a lot of postal services available online that can reduce your time on the road.