I can remember the excitement when I first moved to Barefoot Beach in 1988…
I was finally fulfilling a dream to escape the frigid Chicago winters and make Barefoot Beach my home.
But once the wheels were set in motion, the excitement gave way to uncertainty…
Was I really about to upend my life and move halfway across the country? What should I be looking out for? Where in Barefoot Beach did I want to be? What would life really look like once I was settled in?
After living here for the last 30 years and selling homes for the last 25, I want this post to help you answer those questions.
What Is Barefoot Beach?
Barefoot Beach is a gated community that captures all of the advantages of living in Southwest Florida. Barefoot Beach homes feature lush landscaping and waterfront views, thus giving you a feeling of seclusion and tranquility unlike anywhere else. With access to resort-style experiences, beachside living, and the natural beauties of the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll quickly figure out why we call this place our piece of paradise.
Situated in the Barefoot Beach community is the Barefoot Beach Preserve, giving you 342 acres of unspoiled Florida beauty right in your backyard. Yet, Barefoot Beach is so conveniently located that you’ll never be more than minutes away from the renowned restaurants and shopping of Bonita Springs and Estero.
Imagine waking up to the sight of nesting eagles or a white ibis outside your window, then walking outside to search for seashells on the shoreline. After a game of tennis, you catch the sunset over drinks at the clubhouse’s full bar. With a Barefoot Beach home, you can do all of this while staying within walking distance of your front door.
Where Is Barefoot Beach?
Barefoot Beach is located in Bonita Springs, Florida, which is nestled perfectly between Naples and Fort Myers. The community lines 8,200 feet of the Gulf of Mexico, offering unparalleled access to white-sand beaches and unforgettable sunsets.
One of the most unique aspects of owning property in Barefoot Beach is the unparalleled privacy it offers.
There are no hotels along Barefoot Beach – just the private residences and the nature preserve located at the end of Barefoot Beach (which we’ll talk more about in just a bit), with Doc’s Beach House, the local fan favorite for Chicago-style pizza and a quick beer, being the only notable public hangout.
This makes Barefoot Beach even more private than many of the beaches you’ll find in Naples. It’s just you, the sand and the waves.
If you value your privacy but still want to be near the action, don’t worry. In a Barefoot Beach home, not only do you have access to the tranquility of the South Florida coastline, you’re also ideally positioned to take advantage of local attractions. Destinations like the Coconut Point Mall, Fort Myers Beach, and fine dining options of Naples are just minutes away.
Am I A Good Fit For Barefoot Beach?
Barefoot Beach accommodates a wide range of living situations (as we’ll cover in the next section), so it’s easy to find something that fits your needs. Thoughtfully designed in an array of sophisticated, upscale living options, every Barefoot Beach home caters to the relaxing lifestyle of the Florida coastline.
If you’re searching for upscale living with access to pools, boating, fine dining, or some of Southwest Florida’s most unspoiled natural beauty, then Barefoot Beach is the place for you. Whether you’re looking to build your own home from the ground up or purchase one of the stunning properties already lining the brick paved streets, Barefoot Beach can accommodate your needs.
What Types Of Homes Are Available In Barefoot Beach?
Barefoot Beach offers a wide variety of properties throughout the neighborhood. From villas to single family homes, there’s something for everybody:
The Villas are the first subdivision you’re greeted by after passing through the front gate of Barefoot Beach. They consist of 13 buildings with a total of 50 residences, each having access to two swimming pools and of course the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the added perks of being in the Villas is you’re located just a short walk to Doc’s Beach House, the local fan favorite for grabbing a Chicago style pizza, beer and catching a world class sunset view. Pristinely maintained, the Villas are a true oasis and a wonderful beach retreat for those who live here.
Is ease of ownership your biggest priority? If so, condo living may be for you.
The Barefoot Beach Condos consist of 12 buildings and 348 individual units, each offering immediate access to the Gulf of Mexico and many offering breathtaking beachfront views with gorgeous sunsets.
All of the buildings have been outfitted with hurricane shutters, so for snowbirds and full-time residents alike, peace of mind definitely comes with this piece of paradise.
Condo owners also enjoy access to their own separate beach club. It features a full sized pool, exercise equipment, a grill, room for private parties, and it’s located right at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. All this, and it’s soon to be expanded!
Lastly, the condos offer a unique opportunity to meet many of the other residents throughout the neighborhood. Many condo owners end up bumping into each other in the elevators or condo hallways, sometimes resulting in lasting friendships.This can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling components of being a Barefoot Beach condo owner.
Looking for something in between the simplicities of condo living and the extra space that comes with single family home ownership? Cottages may be the ideal solution.
The Cottages consist of 15 individual row homes, each of which features a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Mexico. When you walk out of your front door you’re just steps from having your toes in the sand.
But it’s not just the proximity to the Gulf that makes the location of the Cottages one of their best features. They’re also located right next to The Club At Barefoot Beach (a private club that some Barefoot Beach homeowners choose to join, which we’ll discuss more in a bit), their own private tennis courts, the nature preserve, and private docks just across the street for the Cottage owner who wants to have his or her boat easily accessible.
With the Cottages, it’s all about “Location, Location, Location.”
Single Family Homes
Looking for some extra space and unparalleled privacy? Barefoot Beach single family homes are for you.
But before you go submitting an offer, it’s critical to understand the lay of the land. Specifically, there are three main subdivisions for the single family homes throughout Barefoot Beach:
The Beach Gardens
The Beach Gardens is a community of single family estate homes that are strategically arranged on the shore around lushly landscaped gardens. This thoughtful arrangement, which puts the homes in a series of “U” or horseshoe shapes along the beach, means that each home has its own spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Each Beach Garden home offers immediate access to the Gulf of Mexico, has a shared pool with the other homes in their particular Beach Garden, and has access to the private club house and tennis courts.
If a Gulf view is your top priority, then a Beach Garden home will be a perfect fit for you.
Southport on the Bay
Southport on the Bay is a charming gated community holding just over 100 single-family homes. Many of these homes offer stunning views of the inter-coastal bay, private boat docks, and private pools.
If having immediate access to your water toys or having a private pool is important to you, Southport could be your ideal piece of paradise.
Bayfront Gardens is located on a single gated drive and is the community where my family and I live.
Similar to Southport on the Bay, Bayfront offers homes with both private pools and private boat docks that lead out to the bay. In just 10 minutes, you can travel by boat or jet ski to the Gulf of Mexico. In 5 minutes, you can go from your front door to having your toes in the sandy beach.
Additionally, a massive protected nature habitat lines the front of this neighborhood. Here, residents often spot eagles, osprey, and an occasional armadillo.
If you prioritize privacy, immediate dock access, and a short walk to the Gulf, Bayfront Gardens will be a perfect fit.
Barefoot Beach From The Skies?
For a more comprehensive and exciting view of Barefoot Beach, watch this short but informative aerial tour my partner David Jablonski and I put together:
How Do The Different Homeowner’s Associations Work?
Barefoot Beach has one primary Homeowner’s Association, but from there, each individual subdivision has its own separate association. Each of these individual associations contributes a portion of their dues to the master association.
The master association maintains the front gate, including the staffing of the security personnel, along with the Barefoot Beach signage, entrance, beautiful brick paved Barefoot Beach Boulevard and the landscaping alongside it.
The Beach Gardens
The Homeowner’s Association of these 100 homes offers maintenance and landscaping of their spacious grounds, signage, swimming pools, tennis & pickle ball courts, and club house with community room & fitness center. Dues here typically hover around $7,500 per year.
Southport On The Bay & Bayfront Gardens
The two separate Homeowner’s Associations of each of these two communities maintain their respective charming brick paved streets, lighting, community landscaping, signage and decorative privacy gate. Dues in Southport tend to be around $2,000 per year and $8,000 per year in Bayfront Gardens.
The Homeowner’s Association of the Cottages maintains the landscaping, brick pavers, signage and lighting. Dues here typically cost around $4,000 annually.
The Villas Homeowner’s Association maintains all of the landscaping, the brick paved streets, the swimming pools, and community signage. Annual dues here tend to hover around $5,000.
What Are Amenities Like In Barefoot Beach?
Living in Barefoot Beach doesn’t just mean getting a great piece of real estate. You also get to enjoy the finer things in life!
The Club at Barefoot Beach offers two dining options: Turtle’s Nest Casual Dining and the Shell Dining Room.
The Turtle’s Nest is an open-air restaurant that serves lunch daily, extending service poolside and, best of all, out on the beach while you take in the incredible views. Enjoy drinks, specials, and homemade soups while never missing a moment of the famous Florida sunshine.
For more formal dinners, schedule a reservation at the Shell Dining Room. In this fine dining atmosphere, indulge in artfully crafted 3 to 5 course meals while still watching the sunset glimmer off the gentle waves of the Gulf.
At Barefoot Beach, it’s easy to keep an active, healthy lifestyle.
Not only do you have access to swimming, boating, fishing, and jet-skiing, for more terrestrial activities, you can try out the fitness centers, tennis courts, and yoga classes offered at the Barefoot Beach Club.
Some residents prefer to keep it simple and just walk the beach daily as part of their morning or evening routine.
However you prefer to break a sweat, Barefoot Beach can accommodate your needs.
Barefoot Beach Preserve
Established in 1990, the Barefoot Beach Preserve is 342 acres of undeveloped land at the back of the Barefoot Beach community. The Preserve consists of shoreline, sand dunes, and clusters of sable palm, gumbo-limbo, and sea grapes.
The Preserve is also one of the last undeveloped barrier islands of Florida’s southwest coast, and thus a precious, protected home of the gopher tortoise and annual sea turtle nesting. Locals and visitors alike also know the Barefoot Beach Preserve as an unbeatable location for fishing.
This is the perfect spot to enjoy the abundant marine life that takes residence in the numerous tidal creeks and mangrove forests. Living in a Barefoot Beach property, you will have access to this abundance of Florida wildlife right in your backyard.
What’s The Club At Barefoot Beach?
Living in a Barefoot Beach home means you can have access to the resort style service of The Club At Barefoot Beach. The Club is a private, member-owned equity club that offers the finest in Gulf Coast luxury experience. Here you’ll find a beach-side swimming pool, tennis courts, full bar, and both casual and fine dining.
Have an event or special date coming up? The Club is a perfect location for a celebratory dinner out! For more casual dining, the Club also offers complete food and beverage service poolside, so you never have to take your toes out of the newly renovated temperature controlled saline pool.
What Are Home Prices Like In Barefoot Beach?
Because Barefoot Beach offers such a wide diversity of properties, the price ranges can vary pretty widely.
For example, condos start at around $795,000 and go up to $2,75,000. Villas tend to hover between $900,000 and $2,500,000. The Cottages typically start just North of $3,250,000. Single Family Homes can vary pretty dramatically. Starting at around $2,000,000, the newer homes closest to the Gulf of Mexico are today reaching prices of over $10,000,000.
While that is obviously a sizable investment, Barefoot Bech properties have proven to hold their value well over time. Take a look at this newspaper clipping back from when I first moved to Barefoot Beach in 1989. As you can see in the lower right hand corner, lots were a tad bit less expensive back then.
What If I Own A Boat Or Want To Buy One?
The Barefoot Beach community is highly accommodating to boaters and those who wish to spend their time out on the calm waters of the bay or the Gulf of Mexico. Having said that, the offerings can vary quite a bit depending on where in Barefoot Beach you live, so it’s important to understand the differences before settling on your piece of paradise.
Each home in Bayfront Gardens and most of the homes in Southport on the Bay have their own dock directly behind the property.
This offers unparalleled access to your water toys and is one of the most notable distinctions between Beach Garden single family homes and bay side homes. If immediate access to your dock is a big priority for you, you’ll want to look mostly at homes in Bayfront Gardens or Southport on the Bay.
Having said that, even if you’re not on the bay, you won’t be far from your water toys. Owners of Beach Garden homes all have opportunities to buy dock slips on the East side of Barefoot Beach Boulevard, subject to availability.
These docks are typically a short walk from your front door and can accommodate the same size and types of boats that bay side homes enjoy.
Sometimes when purchasing a home in Barefoot Beach it will come with a dock as part of the sale. If you don’t have a use for the dock, you can sell it to a resident who doesn’t own a dock but needs one. Docks typically sell for around $150,000.
Cottage owners can rent docks directly across Barefoot Beach Boulevard from them. These docks are owned by The Club At Barefoot Beach, but they rent these docks to Cottage owners who want a boat within steps of their front door.
One of the most unique features of these docks is that they’re the closest in all of Barefoot Beach to Wiggins Pass, the inlet that allows boaters to access the Gulf of Mexico. That means you can walk out your front door, hop on your boat or jet skis, and be in the Gulf within 5 minutes.
What If I Prefer To Rent A Boat?
As many boat owners will tell you, owning a watercraft in the taxing South Florida heat is not for the faint of heart. Maintenance can be an everyday reality, and as a result many Barefoot Beach homeowners prefer to simply rent a boat each time they want to head out on the waves.
Luckily for them, the perfect solution is right around the corner. Just a quarter mile from the entrance to Barefoot Beach is the BayWater Boat Club.
This family run business has been offering well maintained, fully gassed up boats to Barefoot Beach residents and other locals for decades. Not only that, they maintain a 10:1 member to boat ratio, meaning there’s sure to be a boat available for you when you need one.
For many homeowners, this is the happy medium between owning a boat and having no boat at all.
What’s The Process Like For Building A Home In Barefoot Beach?
Many newcomers to Barefoot Beach prefer to start fresh by building their dream home from the ground up.
Some will invest in one of the few vacant lots, while others will buy an older home, demolish it and begin anew.
It can be a unique opportunity to put your own touch on your future home, but there are a handful of things to consider before embarking on this exciting journey.
As you might expect, the most important aspect of building a new home in Barefoot Beach is making sure you have the right team in place.
You’ll need a great architect and a great general contractor. Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of architects and builders, and can share their contact information.
Likewise, we have resources like painters, plumbers, electricians, cleaning people, and landscapers. Give me a call today at (239) 248-5580 to learn more.
Hows The Weather In Barefoot Beach?
In one word, fantastic. In a few words, as good as it gets.
While everybody’s freezing up north, Bonita Springs tends to hover around 70-85 during winter.
Not only that, during winter we usually experience mostly blue skies and very little rain, as it’s our dry season.
Sure, summer gets hot down here, but whether it’s jumping in the Gulf of Mexico or sipping an ice cold Pina Colada at The Club at Barefoot Beach, there are ample ways to stay cooled off.
It’s truly a tropical paradise.
What Are Sunsets Like On Barefoot Beach?
This is the part of the blog post where the English language starts to fail us…
“Beautiful”? Sure, but that still doesn’t quite cut it…
“Amazing”? Still doesn’t do justice to Barefoot Beach sunsets…
You know what? Just watch this instead…
Want to know something even crazier?
That video was shot on my iPhone…no fancy camera equipment, just the raw beauty of Barefoot Beach…
So if that’s what iPhone footage looks like, imagine real life…you know what? Forget imagining it – just get down here and see for yourself!
What Should You Do First When Buying A Home In Barefoot Beach?
If you are considering buying real estate in Barefoot Beach, then we are more than happy to help you through every step of the process. The Susan Owens Team, with over 25 years of experience, is ready for any questions or concerns you may have. We’re here to welcome you to the Barefoot Beach community, and are happy to speak with you by phone or email.