Cape Florida State Recreation

Sure, there are the obvious spots — a street-side café or neighborhood dive bar — when you want to observe the variegated human populations of South Florida. But looking down on Earth and its inhabitants from the 95-foot Cape Florida Lighthouse is a way better perspective.

Located on Key Biscayne, and built in 1825, it's the oldest structure still standing in Miami-Dade. Park guides provide tours of the historic tower, but — unless you're with your grandparents — avoid them. Instead, show up when the sunlight gets lazy and climb the spiral staircase all the way to the top. From there, it's an endlessly fascinating 360-degree view of the Atlantic, Biscayne Bay, mangrove forests, and the beach. Watch little kids as they scurry over sand dunes, through green growth, and into the ocean waters. Scope teens tucked into thick brush, engaged in various forms of bad behavior. Check out families flocked inside the picnic areas, grilling hot dogs and carne asada. But bring some military-grade binoculars for a chance to glimpse the few remaining residents of Stiltsville. Or, yeah, the sunbathing nudists aboard that pleasure yacht anchored offshore aren't bad to watch either.

Just three days after taking over for 23-year veteran Tony Segreto on the 6 p.m. broadcast, Joel Connable stood before a green screen doing what even national squawk boxers failed to: clearly explain the situation involving US Airways Flight 1549’s descent into the Hudson River. Connable had one advantage most didn’t — he’s a former private pilot — but his ease in front of the camera and seeming concern for the story helped too. His often ad-libbed delivery on a range of stories was a welcome change from so many of the teleprompter addicts that fill our local airwaves. He might not have been able to single-handedly bring WTVJ out of its ratings slump (a new set, better reporters, and less hyperkinetic direction would go a long way), but his increased role was a positive addition to the troubled station.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My remote can reach, even out of sight

For it's likely under the beige-gray couch.

I love thee at the level of volume

To hear thee giggle at thy flubs sweetly.

I love thee free, for thy Murrow Award;

I love thee pure, praying thee will earn more.

I love thee with a passion put to use

Wondering what the "Q" rightly stood for.

I love thee with a love I seem to lose

With others — I love thee with the breath and

Smiles of broadcast life! — and, if Ansin choose,

I shall but love thee more after transfer to Orlando.

Bahia Honda State Park

The next time you spend a weekend in the Keys, make it your mission to find Mile Marker 37 and plan an entire day in the small piece of paradise known as Bahia Honda. With its emerald green waters caressing the powdery white sand, an effervescent coral reef just off the shoreline, and the tattered remains of the old Flagler Overseas Railroad in the backdrop, Bahia Honda State Park is one of the Florida Keys' best-kept secrets. It is, quite possibly, the best beach you'll find in all of Florida. The three beaches that make up Bahia Honda stretch out toward the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf, and their waters are teeming with fish. Along with kicking back on the supple white sandy beaches — or in the shade of one of their many pavilions — and wading in the warm turquoise water, you can also take a hike along the Silver Palm Trail or ride along the bike path. The Bahia Honda Bridge is a great place for pictures or for spotting the nurse sharks that swim underneath the railroad. The park also features kayak rentals and boating excursions. Overnight lodging is available, but because reservations are tough to come by, it's probably best to stay at a hotel in Marathon, which is a good 20-minute drive away. Key West sits about an hour south. Park entry costs $3.50 per person, $6 for two (plus 50 cents for additional person), and $1.50 per walk-in. Open from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Homestead-Miami Speedway

There's nothing more Floridian than cultivating a sunburn amid the stench of burning rubber and gasoline exhaust. So when the lethal days of late June finally hit, fight that self-preservation impulse to stay home alone with the A/C. Detour instead to the Homestead-Miami Speedway for a full weekend of daredevil bikers whipping around the 2.21-mile road course as part of the Championship Cup Series. Founded in 1984, the CCS is a club-level racing organization, meaning that most riders are sportsmen and hobbyists competing on their own dime. After more than two decades of grassroots racing, their events have become recognized as training grounds for both beginners and serious pro prospects. This year, the tour will make its Miami-area stop June 27-28, with time trials Saturday and nonstop races Sunday. There will be free parking, no admission cost for kids, and $25 passes for adults. Besides that, you're guaranteed 100-plus-degree heat and humidity-stoked smog, but at least it's a chance to finally achieve that high-red skin tone of the hard-core subtropics-dweller.

Spectate and study as much as you like, but only a player truly knows the game. And Kim Bokamper — former first-round NFL draft pick, Dolphins linebacker from 1977 to 1985, and Pro Bowler — is a man with a surplus of on-field experience. So it was simple logic that led him, following retirement, to step into a new life as a talking head. But where many ex-athletes flounder, Bokamper has consistently translated his deep understanding of pro sports into quality airtime. Throughout the '90s, he put in time as a radio host, Dolphins pre- and post-game personality, and Channel 33 football analyst before finally graduating to local TV news. Now, reporting five days a week for CBS4 in addition to anchoring the station's Sunday Night Sports Wrap, Bokamper continues to demonstrate the kind of niche knowledge, curiosity, and range that's needed to go one-on-one with Tony Sparano, talk mixed martial arts, or honor Dan Marino's late father. Plus, if all of that's not enough proof, KimBo also has the expert testimony of Don King: "You the greatest sportscaster in the world!"

Two words: Paula Deen. The lovable Georgia peach, butter lover, and Food Network über-personality lost her pants at this year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and the whole world watched. Nearly 600,000 curious people took to YouTube to view the footage, shot by New Times videographer Jacob Katel. Sauntering across the stage as her drawstring slacks slid down her thighs, Deen attracted even more attention to the weekend that unites foodies and chefs from around the world. But this festival doesn't need middle-age arse to sell tickets. Even with recession-unfriendly prices, it's easily one of the nation's most significant culinary events. This year, luminaries such as the King and Queen of Spain were honored, celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Bobby Flay held up-close-and-personal cooking exhibitions, and Paula — oh, Paula. What started out as a small fete to celebrate local cuisine has blown up to become the only place to get your grub on for an entire weekend at the end of February. Bring your own fork, optional.

Yeah, y'all know him. He's Miami's ole-school pimp. The one with the limp. It's that Cuban-American chico, DJ Laz. The 37-year-old music producer and morning radio-show host has been representing the 305's signature booty bass sound since 1990, when it first busted out on the scene. Like the Miami Dolphins, DJ Laz is a venerable franchise, maintaining a steady level of success throughout his career, even if his Latin-infused 808-heavy tracks will never garner critical acclaim. He has also been a main fixture at Power 96 for the past two decades, from his days throwing it down on the turntables for rush-hour music mixes to his current gig hosting the radio station's morning show. But local superstardom hasn't gone to Lazaro Mendez's head. That's because he understands what it's like to overcome adversity. Laz was born with a disabling muscular disorder in his legs that required 17 surgeries. Every year, he hosts a marathon session in which he regularly raises more than $50,000 for Radio Lollipop, a nonprofit children's agency. This past January, he raised a separate $50,000 in just five hours to help a couple pay for the funeral services of their three children killed in a car accident. His ability to raise tens of thousands of dollars for charitable causes from his listeners is a testament to Laz's popularity and his adoration for the citizens of his hometown.

As one of Miami's most influential African-American leaders, Bishop Victor T. Curry has his hands full promoting the interests of his flock and tending to his parochial empire. However, he still sets aside time every day to directly interact with his followers as host of the Morning Glory Show, weekdays 6 to 10 a.m. on WMBM-AM. What you really want to catch, though, is Tuesday Talk, which airs at 9:30 a.m. (and again at 9 p.m. every Tuesday). Here is where Bishop Curry really shines, whether he's tackling civil rights, the role of women, or minority politics, among many fun and controversial topics. You don't necessarily have to be a believer, because much of the advice and most of the arguments are universal, but don't be surprised if you start to fall under the spell of this charismatic shepherd.

Raleigh Hotel

We don't know about you, but whenever we see porky-pie singer Beth Ditto take the stage, we can't help but get all wet with glee. So when we heard the powerhouse vocalist and her band the Gossip were headlining Deitch Projects Art Basel Miami 2008's opening bash, we made sure to plop ourselves on one of the chaises at the Raleigh Hotel's beachside patio to catch the show. And we certainly were not disappointed. The storied Art Deco hotel was packed with scenesters, hipsters, art lovers, and Miami's glitterati for an unbelievable performance under a breezy and clear moonlit night sky. It was so much fun that no one cared about paying $20 for one tumbler of Grey Goose and club soda (it helped that no matter where you turned, some serious chronic smoke was being blown in your face). The Gossip, along with drag king act the Kingpins, played against an artistic backdrop constructed out of fashion, protest, rock 'n' roll, and corporate T-shirts sewn together to create a tapestry of quotes. The party reached its crescendo when just about everyone rushed the stage for the Gossip's final set. Days later, YouTube videos captured the frenetic finale as the band played on despite a crush of fans dancing, bobbing, and jumping around Ditto, who looked absolutely fabulous in a shiny gold ensemble and gold-beaded braids.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®