Situated on Florida’s sunny Gulf Coast, Bonita Springs offers families more activities than you can cram into one single vacation. When you book your vacation rental here, get ready for swimming, diving, snorkeling, tanning, and parasailing. On top of that, there’s boating, fishing, the arts, museums and more to fill up your vacay itinerary quickly. While you work that out, here’s a list of the top 12 Bonita Springs vacation rental locations to help you decide.

1. Bonita Springs

Adventure awaits you around every street corner in Bonita Springs. Cruise Fish Dive offers sightseeing and dolphin cruises, jet ski rentals, fishing and scuba diving tours. They’ll even take you up in a helicopter to see the beautiful southwest Florida coast from a unique perspective. If you want to see some Florida wildlife, you can do so at Everglades Wonder Gardens, home to flamingos, parrots and about 40 alligators. Other attractions in the Gardens include the John Brady Art Gallery, a picnic grove, a butterfly garden and a gift shop. The beach is only minutes away when you’re ready to grab the bathing suits and beach towels.

2. Southeast Bonita Springs

The easternmost edge of Southeast Bonita Springs is nestled up against Bird Rookery Swamp, a former logging site. Birdwatchers frequent the 12 miles of hiking and biking trails to view songbirds, wading birds, raptors, and owls. If you enjoy hiking or biking, the trail begins with a short crushed-shell path leading to a long boardwalk. Beyond that, the trails are sandy and grassy with swamp on both sides. The only structures along the trail are a portable toilet at the beginning of the boardwalk and some benches along the first mile and a half of the trail. Anytime you want to go to the beach, you can drive there within about 15 minutes.

3. Iona

Imagine lounging on the deck of your Iona vacation rental on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, sipping your coffee and enjoying the fresh air as the sun rises. After that, rally the kids to get ready for a big day at Sun Splash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral, less than 15 miles due north. There’s over 14 acres of water park slides, pools, splash pads for little kids and daring drops for big kids.

4. Bonita Beach, North Little Hickory Island

At the north end of Little Hickory Island, Bonita Beach is a lovely place where your vacation rental will either face Estero Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. Either way, you can be on the beach in a couple of minutes with the kids. You can spend the day swimming, windsurfing, fishing and helping the kids build sandcastles, taking time out to relax and have snacks under your beach umbrella.

5. Barefoot Beach, South Little Hickory Island

Barefoot Beach at the south end of Little Hickory Island is as laid back and casual as it sounds. You can stroll along looking for seashells, frolic in the surf with the kids or just kick back on your beach towel to soak up some rays. To jazz things up a bit, head over to Bonita Jet Ski and Parasail where they can set you up with any kind of adventure you want. They rent jet skis, sailboats, paddleboards and beach chairs, and they can also hook you up for parasailing. They’re located at Doc’s Beach House, a restaurant where you can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Doc’s offers seafood, burgers, pizzas, appetizers and other American cuisines.

6. Pelican Bay, North Naples

Indulge your interests in fine arts when you book your Pelican Bay vacation rental. East-West Fine Art exhibits the works of contemporary American, European and Russian artists who are academically trained. The gallery features some of the rarest paintings in the Eastern Hemisphere in addition to staging cultural events to engage and educate the community. Artis features the visual and performing arts, including the Naples Philharmonic, which includes orchestra, opera, ballet, and education. For outdoor recreation, Pelican Bay Community Park includes a playground, volleyball court, eight tennis courts, four racquetball courts and a walking trail system.

7. Old Naples

Old Naples, in the historic district of downtown, runs all the way to the stunning white beach. When you stay in Old Naples, a good way to get acquainted with the area is to take the Naples Historical Society Walking Tour. It includes a 1-mile tour of the district, featuring a stop at the historic Palm Cottage, the oldest house in Naples. Built in 1895 of tabby mortar, which includes crushed oyster shells, the house is filled with antiques and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Just for fun when you aren’t at the beach, the beautiful 12.84-acre Cambier Park offers wide-open green spaces for picnicking and fun. There’s also a bandshell, a playground, a covered pavilion and a softball field.

8. Park Shore, Naples

Park Shorefronts on the Gulf of Mexico and includes several delightful man-made bays. If boating is your passion, follow it to Park Shore Marina and Boat Rentals where you can find Half-day, full-day and multiple-day rentals. The Marina rentals include pontoon boats, fishing boats, cruising vessels, kayaks and stand up paddleboards. Rentals include personal flotation devices, safety information, and paddles as needed. For a different kind of experience, the Salt Cave offers various types of relaxation and holistic healing therapies, including the 450-square foot salt cave, crystal beds, mineral wraps and more. There is a play area for children to use while parents are enjoying the various areas of the spa.

9. Naples

Whether your vacation rental is inland or on the beach, there’s more to do in Naples than you can shake a kayak paddle at. Naples Kayak Company and several others offer rentals of kayaks, boats, jet skis, surfboards and stand up paddle boards to enhance your fun in and on the water. When you and your family aren’t frolicking at the beach, the Fort Myers Pier offers up one of the most popular attractions in Naples. Dating back to 1888, this landmark was rebuilt after several hurricanes and stands as a symbol of the history of the area. Apart from watersports, you can visit the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, which was a botanical garden 50 years before the animal exhibits arrived. To preserve the original layout as much as possible, the exhibits blend in with the trees.

10. Fort Meyers Beach

Go ahead, and cut loose for a great vacation at Ft. Myers Beach where the beach is white and the water is blue. You can break out the swimwear, sand toys, boogie boards and beach umbrellas for a day of family fun right outside the door of your beach vacation rental. For a high-flying adventure, Paradise Parasail offers rides up to 500 feet over the water, hitched to a smiley-face parachute. You get to choose the type of free-fall dips you want, whether gentle and relaxing toe-dips in the water or a frenetic drop that soaks you.

11. Estero

If you’re ready to put 1,000 miles between you and your stress, Estero holds your ticket to family adventures. Whether your vacation rental is high-and-dry or on the canals, watersports and local parks are mere minutes away. When Fido is on vacation too, you can take him to K-9 Corral, an off-leash, fenced dog park with a shelter. It’s located inside Estero Community Park, which also includes a lighted playground, six picnic shelters, three lighted volleyball courts, 12 lighted horseshoe courts and much more. For water fun, Eco Paddlesports offers kayak and paddleboard adventures to Lovers Keys, Estero Bay and the Gulf Of Mexico. Explorers sometimes see a manatee or experience dolphins playfully interacting with their kayaks.

12. San Carlos Island, Ft. Myers

A fun way to unwind is to make San Carlos Island your vacation headquarters. You step into a 90-minute interactive pirate adventure and delight the kids when you take them on Salty Sam’s Pirate Cruise aboard the Pieces of Eight. Everyone takes the pirate oath, joins a mutiny against the captain and engages in pirate games as the 65-foot replica of a Spanish galleon cruises the Gulf of Mexico. The kids dress up like pirates, get face paint and learn the pirate lingo. If your kids are older, you may prefer the Ft. Myers Boat Tours. They offer sunset cruises, dolphin tours, and lunch and dinner restaurant destination cruises. Guests choose from more than 15 restaurant or island destinations.