Lakefront Hotel near the Beach
In the coastal town of Bonita Springs, a white-sand beach stretches for miles along the Gulf of Mexico. Trianon Hotel Bonita Bay sits just five minutes inland, on a private lake ringed by palm trees and colorful azaleas. The resort fits right in with its coastal setting, with columns and balustrades that resemble an enormous sand castle.
In the evening, you can enjoy a cocktail in an elegant lounge marked by recessed panels and fine draperies. This getaway entitles you to two drinks on the house. Upstairs, each standard room overlooks either Bonita Bay or the adjacent Promenade, an outdoor mall filled with restaurants and art galleries.
Reserve a table at the Lake House Bar & Grill to enjoy blackened mahi-mahi sandwiches and grilled chicken loaded with fruit salsa; the restaurant also has nice views of Trianon’s private lake. The Hawaiian-inspired cuisine of Roy’s Restaurant is well worth a try, too. Offerings include kalbi short rib spring rolls and miso-marinated black cod (this getaway comes with a $20 dining credit).
Bonita Springs, Florida: Picturesque Beaches along the Gulf of Mexico
Bonita Springs is less than 25 miles south of the bustle of Fort Myers, but it feels much more remote. Referred to as “The Gateway to the Gulf,” the charming beach town tucks up against miles of pristine coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. One of the most popular pieces of shoreline is Bonita Beach, where white sands meet warm seawater. Here, you can play a match of sand volleyball or take a scenic walk amid the grassy dunes that fringe the coast.
Bonita Springs is also home to several state parks and nature reserves that showcase southern Florida’s flora and fauna. In nearby Estero Bay on an island reachable only by boat, Mound Key Archaeological State Park is covered by a lush mangrove forest and features numerous mounds—comprised of fish bones, seashells, and pottery—that were created by members of an indigenous tribe known as the Calusa, or “fierce people.”
Farther west, Sanibel Island lures shellers—people who comb the beaches in search of seashells—with one of the largest collections in the world. Sanibel’s beaches are strewn with conch, cockle, sand-dollar, and tulip seashells, among others. While hunting for keepsakes, you might see native shorebirds, as the isle’s shallows are populated by snowy egrets, great blue herons, and roseate spoonbills.