History in Bonita Springs

The area in Southwest Florida known as Bonita Springs has been inhabited for roughly 8,000 years, beginning with Native Americans and extending through the years as Europeans discovered the region and named it Survey. As time went on and the development boom happened, the town was renamed Bonita Springs to give it more appeal to would-be newcomers, investors, and tourists.

In the early 1900s, roadside attractions helped lure visitors to the area on their way south to Naples. In 1936, the first major tourist attraction—Everglades Reptile Gardens — opened to visitors, with guests flocking to see the fascinating creatures. Today, you can visit one of the remaining sites like this, the Everglades Wonder Gardens, where Old Florida lives on with an array of native trees, plants, and animals, including exotic birds and reptiles.

The historic downtown area of Bonita Springs is rich in culture and history, and the best way to explore this area is with a Bonita Springs Historical Society history walk. Stop by the History Center, located in the Liles Hotel, and learn more about this southwest Florida landmark, then stroll the streets on a guided tour for an up-close look at historic buildings and sites, including the 1915 McSwain Home, the Banyan Tree, and Riverside Park.

Explore historic cemeteries, view a special World War II video exhibit, and learn the history of the invention of the swamp buggy. Meander through the grounds of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s winter homes at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in nearby Fort Myers, where a 21-acre botanical garden and a museum offer insights into two fascinating historical figures.

The history and culture of Southwest Florida come alive in Bonita Springs, and when you stay with us at Hyatt Residence Club Bonita Springs, Coconut Plantation, you’ll not only have sun, surf, and adventure, but historic sites and attractions that will leave you more knowledgeable about America’s enduring history.