We just got back from an amazing Spring Break trip. We spent a week in Bonita Springs, and it was just as amazing as it was when we were there over the holidays. (You can read my original Bonita Springs Travel Guide here!)
We did a few new, fun things during our week in Bonita Springs, so I wanted to share a new travel guide, with some updates – and some tasty new restaurant finds! Keep reading to find out where to eat, some fun family-friendly activities, and of course, all the beachy fun!
How to get there + where we stayed
We flew direct with Southwest. They are the only airline (currently) that is flying direct from GRR to RSW. Your best bet to fly in would be RSW. It’s a smaller airport, but we’ve never run into massive delays at security (even traveling during Christmas and Spring Break!).
We stayed at the same rental we did last time. It’s right on the beach, however, it is very close to the public beach, and we had issues with random people parking in the driveway, so they could set up on the beach in front of our house. I mean, really, people?!
There aren’t a ton of hotels/resorts on the beach in Bonita Springs (which is partially why we love it so much), but it does make finding accommodations a little tricky. I would suggest looking at home rental sites, like HomeAway!
Where we ate
We made breakfast and lunch at the house, and really only went out to eat for dinner! This trip, we went back to a few favorite spots, and then ventured to a few new dinner locations.
Speaking of re-visiting a few favorite spots… We went to Coconut Jack’s twice during our week in Bonita Springs. Those frozen Key Lime Coladas just call to me 😉
I ordered the coconut shrimp the first night, and it was soooo good. We also ordered a Key Lime Pie to go from Sweet Melissa’s!
The atmosphere here is amazing. and the service is even better. There is always a massive line of cars waiting to just pull into the parking lot — not an exaggeration!
Pro tip: opt for an early bird special here, and then you can get back to the beach for the sunset! This way, you’ll beat the lineup of cars (which usually starts around 6pm).
Coconut Jack’s does offer valet, and I would highly suggest using it. The guys are always super friendly, and it never takes more than a few minutes for them to bring your car back. Saves you the stress of navigating their parking lot (which is TINY).
While you’re waiting for your table or your car, make sure you snap a photo in their big, blue chair!
Admittedly, Mel’s Diner is not my favorite place to eat. We went here when we stayed in Bonita Springs over Christmas.
The atmosphere is more of the 65+ crowd, and it definitely has a Big Boy vibe. That said, the girls absolutely love it. The food is ok, but not great — however! They do offer $4 margaritas, and by your third, you won’t care what the food tastes like, and your kids will be happy with their American-diner inspired menu! Speaking of their menu — it is HUGE. Almost overwhelmingly so, with all the different options.
Seaside Bar & Grill
David and I did one kid-free date night, and chose Seaside Bar & Grill on the open table app, without doing any other research. We pulled up, and were initially very disappointed. It’s off a main road, nowhere near the water (not even a channel), and the “patio seating” was halfway into the parking lot.
Once seated (in a high top on the patio), we didn’t have too many parking lot distractions, and they really did do a good job creating an atmosphere, with the green wall and neon sign!
I am glad we stayed and gave it a chance. David and I both ordered the Jerk Shrimp and it was REALLY good. This might have been my favorite entree of the whole trip!
We also started with the chips and guac, which were good! For dessert, David ordered the cheesecake, and I went with the key lime pie — I was disappointed with mine. It was definitely not made in-house, and likely wasn’t fresh. Dave, however, was super excited with his cheesecake, and loved the presentation!
The Turtle Club
I think I was most excited for dinner at The Turtle Club! I made our reservation back in February, and I am glad we did — we got one of the last open reservations for the first full week of April — and it was inside. They offer patio seating, and even tables in the sand — both of which would be AMAZING for sunset viewing, but those were already booked up months in advance!
The ambience walking up was impressive. We walked a path with lit tiki torches, and 7′ tall greenery on one side, with gorgeous gardens on the other. However… once inside, it definitely was dated and very dark.
Dinner was really good, and so was the service… but we left confused as to why they were so booked for reservations in advance. Like, it was good, but not that good. Maybe the outside seating was THAT amazing? We will have to go back, and let you know!
I started with the ceviche, and this was my favorite part of our whole meal. It was VERY good with just a little kick. A very meager serving of crackers – or maybe that’s just my Midwest appetite? 😉 We also got the calamari appetizer, and Peyton gave that two thumbs up!
My entree was the miso marinated sea bass and it was really good!
I am sure you’re shocked that I ordered the key lime pie for dessert haha! It was good, but I did not finish it. Not because it was too rich, or I was too full. It wasn’t great, and the raspberry drizzle was thick like syrup. Not my favorite! David ended the evening with a port wine, which he enjoyed. The girls split the Turtle Club Chocolate Nemesis, and they barely, left a crumb left! haha
We did a day trip into Marco, and naturally had to stop at Snook Inn! This is one of my favorite places to eat in all of Florida — not an exaggeration!
The ambience is amazing – you’re right on the intracoastal, and can sometimes see dolphins and really cool boats coming in and out. This was the busiest we have EVER seen Snook! We were parking right at 11, when they opened, and there was a HUGE line outside already! We arrived at the same time when we visited for Christmas, and walked right into an empty patio area! So, if you’re traveling during Spring Break, keep that in mind!
I got the frozen pina colada, and ordered the appetizer size of coconut shrimp (since we were planning on walking Tigertail immediately after). The girls enjoyed burgers, and were delighted when the server brought out these cute little pirate hats!
If you’re in SWFL, you’ve gotta visit Snook!
What we did
Most of our time was spent out at the beach in front of our house. We took many beach walks, especially around sunset. The shelling was okay – but nothing like the shelling when we were there in December.
Shop some of our must-haves for beach days here:
Honestly, it is such a gorgeous beach, I could have spent my whole week in Bonita Springs plopped in a lounge chair on the beach!
Shop our swimsuits + this cute pink beach bucket here.
My bracelets are linked here.
Shop this photo here.
We also got a show from the dolphins twice each day! They were between the first and second sandbars, so they were VERY close. It was so cool! If you zoom in on the photo below, you can see 2! Of course, we all lost all chill each time we saw them, screamed, and took a million photos haha!
Shop the girls’ suits here.
We rented paddleboards and kayaks — we actually attempted to rent them from Doc’s, down the beach, but they would only allow 1 hour rentals. We ended up renting from a place further inland called Ebb-n-Flow, and they drove over right away, brought them (and a ton of life jackets) around the house to the beach, and let us keep them for 3 days. The service was WAY friendlier, and just adds to the list of reasons why I will never go to Doc’s 😂
Golf Safari Mini Golf
We went back for some safari-themed mini golf at Golf Safari! This is located right on the main road through Bonita. It’s always busy, but plays fairly quickly. The course is fun, and doesn’t have many holes that are annoyingly difficult. So it was perfect for the kids! (And, ahem, I even got 4 hole-in-ones! which is an all-time best for me!)
Shop the girls’ dresses here.
Bonita Springs Wonder Gardens
One morning, we headed out early to visit Bonita Springs Wonder Gardens. This is a smaller “zoo”, where there are lots of birds, turtles, gators, and lizards — and of course, gorgeous orchids and other flowers all over. The girls had a blast, and all the adults thought it was a cool experience. That said, it is VERY small, and took us less than an hour to walk the whole grounds.
There were a ton of cool photo-ops, and the staff was SO friendly. Many of the animals here are rescues, and their handlers were extremely knowledgable, and even let us hold some tortoise eggs, and have a cool experience with some of the tropical birds.
You can also buy food to feed the animals, which of course, the girls loved! The coolest part was seeing the birds all walk around freely! We would turn the corner, and see a bunch of peacocks on the path!! Check out this giant white peacock:
On the way out, we took a peek in the little “museum”, which is just one room. It had a ton of different animal bones, eggs, and skins. Very cool! There is a little gift shop on the way out of the Wonder Gardens, too!
I mentioned above that we headed into Marco one day. Naturally, it was to walk and shell on Tigertail. The parking lot was insane. People were just making parking spots, and traffic was so backed up. Again, we had never seen this area so busy! The beach was also packed. Usually, you can walk about 100 yards, and be cleared from all the people… but people were seated with umbrellas and coolers about a mile down the beach! It was nuts!
Shop the girls’ cute suits + shelling bags here.
The shelling on Tigertail was disappointing, as well. Granted, we were not there at low tide, but I was surprised by how few sand dollars we found. I did find two very cute whelks, though:
Shop my swimsuit here.
I am going to go ahead and say it: avoid Tigertail for shelling around Spring Break. There were just too many people, and it took away from the peace and serenity (and shells) that we love!
If you’re planning a trip to Marco Island, be sure to check out this Marco Island Travel Guide blog post, with lots more info on things to do and places to stay on the island! Marco Island is about a 45 minute drive from Bonita Springs!
Happy Beachin’ 🙂