Last updated on January 9th, 2017 at 04:03 pm

~Here’s the recipe for a great day in Florida.

Start with 80 degree winter weather in December and visiting friends or family.

Add a kayak trip on the Imperial River in Bonita Springs, just north of Naples.

My location
Get Directions
 Afterwards, drive 10 minutes to Barefoot Beach Preserve, a perfect Gulf beach where the the white sand is as powdery as a dry snowfall.

Walk on the beach, admiring shells and sand castles, while the sun sets.

That was my Sunday, and I recommend the combination.

I had earlier written about how delighted I was with a kayak trip on the Imperial River. Here are the details. This time, my husband and I brought along our two visiting daughters and we rented kayaks from Kayak Loco Outfitters, which operates out of Artist Cabin #6 in the Old Liles Hotel complex on the Imperial River. (It’s a beautifully landscaped historic spot in Old Bonita Springs.)

 Imperial River Bonita Springs
Imperial River Bonita Springs

Last time we kayaked the Imperial River, we were accompanied by friendly manatees. We were not that lucky this time, though manatees had been seen in the river just two days earlier and are frequently seen there in winter.

We took our time kayaking the Imperial River, spending about three hours paddling up the river and back.

We saw herons, lots of turtles and some wonderful fat cypress trees  with lots of personality. Most the the kayak trip is shaded, with live oaks forming a canopy overhead.

Imperial River kayak trip, Bonita Springs
Imperial River kayak trip, Bonita Springs
Kayaking Imperial River
Kayaking Imperial River


Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs
Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs

From there, it’s a 10-minute drive west to Barefoot Beach Preserve, a Collier County park that is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands. Here’s a previous story on Barefoot Beach Preserve. It has made Dr. Beach’s annual list of 10 best beaches in past years and our visit confirmed he’s right. Near the parking area there were lots of people. But within  a short walk, crowds disappeared and it was just us and reeling sea birds, diving pelicans, gentle waves and golden sunset.

Both of these destinations are out-of-the-way spots worth discovering. Together, they make a perfect day.


More things to do in Bonita Springs



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.