When we first booked a two month stay in Bonita Springs for the months of December and January (our longest stay anywhere) I must admit I was worried that I would run out of things to do or see. We did a lot while we were here and there were even a few things I thought we would do that we didn’t do. We frequented the beaches here, I fished a little and we even made one trip into the Everglades. We visited Naples, Fort Myers Beach, made a road trip to Bradenton to visit RV friends, went to Tampa for the RV show and even went over to Vero Beach on the east coast to visit Sharon's relatives. Although we never made it to Shark Valley or Key West like we hoped, we have both enjoyed our repeat stay in Bonita Springs, Florida. We even got some champagne one day and celebrated “our simple lifestyle.”
The park we chose this year, Imperial Bonita Estates, is a nice park overall. Though it is not necessarily a beautiful park as compared to some resorts we have stayed in. What made it nice for us was that it was large in size making it easy to take long power walks and bike rides. The Imperial River slices through the southern part of the park and it has been pleasant to stroll over to it. We have even been able to watch the Manatees as they have made their way this far upriver due to the 59-60 degree ocean waters.
Like most parks with snowbirds and other semi-annual resident populations who socialize with one another year in and year out, getting to really know the people here wasn’t an easy task. We did meet a lot of people and even fell into a small group of people we found to be fun and really enjoyed their company. But like every other snowbird park we have been to, unless you are a regular winter visitor it is understandably hard to become part of the “cliques”. So we realize we simply have to be comfortable hanging around on the fringe. Despite the challenges, we are still not yet inclined to return to the same park every year but may return to this one again someday.
Funny that I say getting to know “residents” can be difficult since we have gotten together a few times with some RV friends from Canada that we first met at another snowbird park here in Bonita Springs two years ago. They are the same couple we toured part of Niagara Falls and Toronto, Canada with this past summer. So we do occasionally meet people who become more than simply acquaintances… That is another benefit of this lifestyle, meeting and making lifelong friends along the way with folks we might otherwise have never even met.
Saturday we will move over for 4 days to Whispering Creek Campground in La Belle, Florida and then we head back over to Tampa to get some new tires on the RV. From there it will be to Hillsborough River State Park for a few nights and then north on Interstate 75 to spend a week near Mayo, Florida along the Suwannee River. From there we start our westward trek which includes a stop at New Orleans for some Mardi Gras fun… Any tips from others who have experienced Mardi Gras would be greatly appreciated as we will be "newbies" to this experience. Hope to see you down the road…