Best Beach 2018 | Sunny Isles Beach | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Courtesy of City of Sunny Isles Beach / Liliana Vazquez

South Floridians have a treasure trove of beaches to choose from, but Sunny Isles Beach is the shiniest of seaside jewels. For close to 40 blocks east of Collins Avenue, visitors can admire the turquoise Atlantic Ocean from various lounging and swimming spots. Public parking lots are available at 174th and 193rd Streets, and 21 access points lead visitors directly from Collins to the shore. Most entry points are ADA-accessible. Once you're lounging on the sand, feel free to give the one-finger salute to President Trump's International Beach Resort on 180th Street, or better yet, take a break from the national rancor and enjoy the sights tourists pay big money to see.

Courtesy of the GMCVB

If one thing is certain when it comes to getting stoned, it's that reactions vary from person to person. Some people immediately get the munchies, while others just want to lie down. Then there are the adventuresome types who like to go exploring, while some just want to sit on a park bench and people-watch. No matter how you feel after getting ripped, the underrated SoFi neighborhood in Miami Beach can satisfy your every augmented sensation. If you get hungry, a seemingly endless list of restaurants, such as Prime 112, Fogo de Chão, and Joe's Stone Crab, can satisfy a doped-up palate. Feeling active? A scenic jog through beautiful South Pointe Park can burn off some of that energy. Check out the new South Pointe Pier for a trippy, Instagram-ready view of South Beach, or slow down and watch departing cruise ships in the distance. Boats, Jet Skis, scuba equipment, and snorkeling gear are also available for rental at the marina, though you should save those for a sober day.

Courtesy of the Miami Dolphins

When his season with the Miami Dolphins began, Kenyan Drake was little more than a spot-duty back-up running back and refreshing change-of-pace complement to then-starter Jay Ajayi. But after a shocking midseason trade that sent Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles and Drake into the Dolphins' starting lineup, he became much more than that. Drake wound up becoming the most capable Dolphins player on the field, and one of the best at his position in the entire NFL from December through the duration of the season. He finished the season with 133 carries for 644 yards and four touchdowns. Those stats might not seem like much, but for a guy who had only four carries in the first six games of the season, it was an unexpected level of growth in a short period of time. Drake also pulled in 32 catches in his abbreviated season, and the team improved with him taking the handoffs. In a season that didn't see much go the Dolphins' way, watching Kenyan Drake exceed expectations as a starting running back in the NFL was the most exciting development to emerge from last year's campaign.

Photo by B137

Goran Dragic is a load-bearing beam that keeps the Miami Heat's house standing tall. Despite a seemingly never-ending number of changes happening around him, Dragic has been a team mainstay since 2015, when he was traded to the Heat from the Phoenix Suns. Last season, Dragic was pegged to lead the team after Dwyane Wade became a free agent and went on to sign with the Chicago Bulls. The duo's reunion and a better-functioning team elevated the Heat to the sixth seed in the playoffs this year, and Dragic's steady play and incredible work ethic paid off in another big way: He made his first NBA All-Star team this year. His average points per game declined from 20 last season to 17 this year, but that's partly because he's become a facilitator for other Heat scorers who have emerged this season. Dragic's ability to put his ego aside and fill the role that's needed from him at any given moment is his greatest strength and an asset to the team.

Courtesy of University of Miami

You know how the old sports cliché goes: Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. Based on his performance last season, Braxton Berrios definitely fits the bill. He pulled in nine touchdowns and 55 catches last fall with the Miami Hurricanes, and all of those plays were consequential. From scoring TDs to beat Notre Dame, to snagging third-down grabs that extended game-winning drives against Florida State, to making in-your-face touchdowns against North Carolina, Berrios was a beast in his slot in 2017. And beyond the stats, he added something the team lacked in recent years: swagger. The Hurricanes invented swagger, but Berrios brought it back. This fall, after a stellar career in Coral Gables, he'll take his talents to the New England Patriots.

Courtesy of University of Miami

The Miami Hurricanes had an up-and-down season last year, and many of the downs can be traced to one incident: the loss of Bruce Brown to a foot injury in late January. Up to that point, Brown had been a beast on the field. He led the team in rebounds per game (7.1), assists per game (4), and steals per game (1.3) while clocking in second on the team in points per game (11.4). Soon after the season ended, Brown declared he was ready for the NBA and decided to forgo his final two years at Miami to become eligible for the draft. But Brown's season (albeit abbreviated) and the Hurricanes' success before his injury and after his recovery are testaments to his talent and indicators of his potential for greatness on the professional circuit.

Photo by CornFarmer / Flickr

He's the last man standing after a year of painful trades and new ownership for the Miami Marlins. First baseman Justin Bour, along with catcher J.T. Realmuto, now lead the team in tenure, and Bour has risen to the task of elevating a sorely depleted team. He played his greatest season as a pro in his fourth season with the Marlins, when he hit 25 home runs and 83 RBI to go with a .289 average. If the Marlins are to be competitive this season, Bour must outperform those numbers. But with few stars left to latch onto, Marlins fans have rejoiced in the fact that Bour stuck around to see the rebuild through. With young stars coming down the pipeline, he'll be tasked with leading the team for the foreseeable future.

Photo by Eliot K. Schechter / NHLI via Getty Images

The Florida Panthers are loaded with young talent, but their best player is a future Hall of Fame goaltender who'll turn 40 next season. Roberto Luongo is more than just a clutch net-minder; he's the heart and soul of the Panthers franchise. On a team otherwise in flux, his steady hand in the net and calming veteran influence in the locker room have been driving forces behind the maturation of players such as Aaron Ekblad. Luongo has been there to balance the emotions of a team that has a tendency to oscillate violently between winning and losing streaks.

Courtesy of University of Miami

Clemson had just scored its third touchdown of the first quarter when furious orange-and-green-clad fanatics began streaming out of Sun Life Stadium. By the end of the game, only a few hundred spectators were left in the cavernous stadium to witness coach Al Golden's Hurricanes capitulate 58-0. That was October 2015. Fast-forward two years later, and everything has changed. Sun Life is now Hard Rock Stadium, Mark Richt has taken the coaching reins, and the University of Miami's fans are the loudest in the nation, packed by the tens of thousands into the stadium, rocking golden Turnover Chains around their necks. In just his second season, Richt led the Canes to a 10-3 regular-season record and a berth in the ACC title game. Most important, he reminded UM fans how to bring swagger back into the stands.

Sportscasters are almost part of our families. They are the voices we let into our homes multiple times a week and sometimes yell at in isolation. Award-winning Miami Heat TV analyst Eric Reid has millions of extended family members throughout South Florida, most recently through his work for Fox Sports Sun. From his signature "Kaboom!" call after a Heat player drains a three-point shot, to his elegant storytelling, Reid has been the perfect person for the Heat's sportscaster spot since the franchise's inception in 1988. He's fair to the opponents yet favorable enough to the Heat that you're constantly reminded he's rooting for the home team.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®