To say 2020 wasn't exactly the easiest, or most normal, year to be an NCAA basketball player would be an understatement. Between game cancellations and travels during COVID, the challenges seemingly never stopped. Neither did Isaiah Wong, though. He played in every game the Miami Hurricanes played, and he played well. Wong averaged 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game, playing a team-high average of 35.5 minutes a night. In a season of difficult circumstances — one that won't count against his eligibility — he shot up many areas in the Hurricanes record books. His play, and leadership, were vital to a team that badly needed availability, not just ability. Wong will be back this season to build on his 2020, and, if all goes well, continue to make his mark in the annals of Hurricane hoops.

The Miami Hurricanes were missing a lot of things in 2020, but a leader wasn't one of them. D'Eriq King was in the Heisman Trophy conversation for much of the year, on a team that managed to disappoint in the end. Before losing his season to a knee injury, King threw for 2,600 yards and 27 touchdowns (four rushing). His play shone all season, including an incredible 5 touchdown, 430-yard performance against North Carolina State in a thrilling 44-41 win. King not only stabilized the Miami program in 2020, but he gave Manny Diaz some room to get it back on track. Entering 2021, Miami is ranked #16 in the nation. If they are to improve on that, it will be because D'Eriq King played as well as he did in 2020.

Mike Cugno is young, handsome, and provides the best sports coverage in South Florida. Looks, affability, talent — it's borderline annoying! A local boy who attended Miami's Columbus High School and Florida State University before joining CBS in 2014, Cugno is exactly the sort of source fans want on the beat. He's seemingly everywhere at once, but always back inside your television by the end of the day. From covering the latest Dolphins training camp news to appearing on The Hoch and Crowder Show afternoons on 790 The Ticket (WAXY-AM 790) to heading back to the CBS studio, Cugno seemingly does not stop. That sort of grind is what took him from a producer to a South Florida mainstay at CBS so early in his career. Nothing beats homegrown talent.

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Photo by Amadeus McCaskill

Everyone knows the best activity to engage in while it's raining is staying in bed and bingeing true-crime docuseries on your laptop. But, God help you, the kids can't shut up about how bored they are and you've threatened to put them up for adoption so many times they know for sure it's a bluff. So pack some snacks and head to the Frost Museum to let them burn some energy. The museum has plenty of things to see and do, including a three-level aquarium partially exposed to the elements, but still offers plenty of coverage to shield visitors from the rain. The 250-seat planetarium provides a chance for some shuteye as the young'uns marvel at the 8K projection and surround sound. And then there are the continually rotating exhibitions that guarantee you'll be back the next time you wish you weren't responsible for other human beings. For the time being, you can head home and drink an entire bottle of red wine while watching Too Hot to Handle. (No judgment.)

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wake up early, bust out the Bustelo and whip up a colada to prime yourself for the four-hour drive to a blissful oasis in the middle of Florida. Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka is Orange County's longest-running attraction, which was providing locals and tourists alike a place to distract themselves in a fantastical setting long before Disney World came into existence. Emerald springs feed the Wekiwa River and lush tropical hammocks that are home to a wondrous wildlife habitat. Take a lazy canoe ride downstream or gallop on horseback along miles of trails. When you've had enough exploring, cool off in the park's namesake natural spring. By the time Wekiwa closes at sundown, you'll be ready for a tired ride home.

Just south of Tampa on Florida's west coast lies St. Petersburg, a little city with a big art and beer scene. About three and a half hours from Miami, downtown St. Pete's is rife with museums, restaurants, nightlife, and a new pier with a giant tiki bar at the end! There are a number of hotels, but the Vinoy is the city's crown jewel — a grand pink palace right on the water. Once you're settled, visit the Dalí Museum, home to over 2,400 works of art by the surrealist master; you can even chat with a virtual Dalí while you're there. The city is also home to the Chihuly Collection, featuring sculptures by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. When you've had your fill of art, stroll the new St. Petersburg Pier to the end and stop for a Sundowner at Pier Teaki. Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, also on the Pier, is a great choice for a waterfront dinner. On Saturday morning, head over to the Saturday Morning Market and stock up on fresh veggies, handmade pastas, honey, artisan cheeses, and fresh flowers. Later, escape the afternoon heat with a visit to a brewery in the Edge District; just a few miles from downtown, this neighborhood can only be described as St. Pete's Wynwood, with over half a dozen breweries, art galleries and a giant dog-friendly bar called (what else?) the Dog Bar. Grab a bite at the Galley, a nautical-themed pub back in downtown, before checking out the bars along First Avenue. On Sunday, stop at Black Crow Coffee before heading home.

Sometimes you just want to get away — but not too far away. Sure, there's always Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, or someplace else with lots of sand and proximity to the ocean. But why not indulge yourself like a local? Plan a staycation in Coral Gables. Book a stay at the Biltmore Hotel (1200 Anastasia Avenue; biltmorehotel.com), one of the oldest hotels in South Florida, and schedule a service or two at the spa. (We want you to feel properly pampered.) For dining and nighttime entertainment, head to Miracle Mile. No vacation is complete without a little shopping and some, you know, culture, so plan a visit to the Coral Gables Museum (285 Aragon Ave.; coralgablesmuseum.org) and do a little damage at the Shops at Merrick Park (358 San Lorenzo Ave.; shopsatmerrickpark.com). Spend an afternoon at the Venetian Pool (2701 De Soto Blvd.; venetianpool.com; see "Best Pool") or taking in a flick at the Coral Gables Art Cinema (260 Aragon Ave.; gablescinema.com). Browse the shelves at one of the best bookstores anywhere, Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave.; booksandbooks.com). Oh, and check to see if anything's playing at GableStage (1200 Anastasia Ave.; gablestage.org) and consider adding a night of magical Miami theater to your itinerary!

Flamingo Campground
Photo courtesy of Bear Mountain Inn

Camping in the swampy and buggy South Florida Everglades sounds intense, but Flamingo Campground makes the experience easy. Flamingo is located on the southernmost tip of the Florida peninsula within the Everglades National Park and is just an hour and 45 minutes away from Miami central. Various amenities and activities offered by Flamingo are enticing for experienced and amateur campers. If camping in a tent isn't your thing, the campground offers glamping-style eco-tents furnished with beds, plug-ins, and lamps over a boardwalk to keep you away from mud and bugs. Campers can get down with nature by renting kayaks, canoes, bikes, or boats to explore the swampy canals and Florida Bay. Currently under construction, the latest addition of Flamingo Campground will soon offer one and two-bedroom lodging with kitchenettes and balconies, plus a full-service indoor restaurant and bar that will be open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Pérez Art Museum Miami
Photo by MannyofMiami.com

Sure, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is filled with beautiful and thought-provoking artworks, But the entertainment doesn't stop there. Go for the art and stay for the people-watching. The guy who places his cell phone across the room and sets the camera timer in the hopes of catching the perfect oh-just-me-looking-at-some-art photo for the 'Gram. The girl who'd much rather be at Club Space but stepped in to grab a few pics to look cultured. (Whatever that means, amirite?) The person actually interested in the art who silently reads all the placards before gazing deeply at the painting. The mom who's trying desperately to keep her young kids occupied. For those who enjoy people-watching, PAMM is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. All that, and the museum is a veritable flytrap for tourists. Tourists!

Whether you've spent your whole life in Miami or are a recent transplant, there's no denying the Magic City moves to the beat of an unseen Cuban rhythm. The Cuban flavor is everywhere — from the people to the food to the art. If you're looking to enchant a potential bae, there's no better place for a first date than Little Havana. There are options galore depending on the type of date you want to have. Still testing the waters and don't want to blow your budget? Go for a free, self-guided walking tour of Calle Ocho. How about more of a mid-tier first date? Start the evening with drinks and a bite at Old's Havana (1442 SW Eighth St.; oldshavana.com; see "Best Mojito"), then go dancing at one or more of the various bars along the strip. What? You say this is an OTP (one true pair) audition? Make a day of it! Catch a flick at Tower Theater (1508 SW Eighth St.; towertheatermiami.com; see "Best Art-House Cinema"), engage in a little people-watching at Domino Park with some ice cream from Azucar (1503 SW Eighth St.; azucaricecream.com) in hand, have dinner (see above), and end your day with drinks at Guantanamera (1465 SW Eighth St., #105; see "Best Latin Club") while enjoying a hand-rolled cigar.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®