Miami Herald veteran sportswriter and columnist Barry Jackson covers everything, everywhere, all at once. If there's a press conference, he's likely there, even if two are happening at the same time — one in Sunrise, and another in Miami. It could be Photoshop, but it's probably just Barry being Barry — the hardest-working sports reporter in Miami. While many are covering the games and the players, Barry is covering the stories. He's on top of the scandals and scores alike. Sports coverage is that much better for having Barry Jackson manning the sports desk at the Herald.

Some people need no introduction, and when EReid walks into a restaurant in Miami, he's one of those people. Since the first ball was dribbled at a Heat game in 1988, Eric Reid has been there to take in the action and relay it through our television screens. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro weren't even born when Reid first hit the airwaves. We all owe a debt to the man for keeping the Heat on high for three decades and counting.

Best Team Owner
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The best sports owners are only heard from when they're hoisting a trophy or introducing new players or coaches at a press conference. No one wants to hear from the billionaire that owns their favorite team unless there is good news, or a change being made. Vincent Viola, unlike many of his peers, could walk into the food court at Sawgrass Mills Mall and not be recognized. Hopefully, that changes as the Panthers win multiple Stanley Cups over the course of the next few years. But for now, it's just a sign that he's done his job in the shadows and let Bill Zito and his team do their jobs. The success, along with side-stepping in-season drama, is enough to claim he's had the best year of any sports owner in South Florida.

Matheson Hammock Park
Photo by Chris Garcia / Courtesy of the GMCVB – MiamiandBeaches.com

A tunnel of arching ficus trees down Old Cutler Road leads to an inconspicuous parking lot across the from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Matheson Hammock Park. Since both are landmark attractions, the bumpy unpaved lot might seem like overflow parking. It isn't. A short, shaded trail starts in the southwestern corner and winds through a tropical hardwood forest, past ferns and sinkholes, and opens to acres of grass fields speckled with curious limestone structures and towering royal palms. It's a popular spot for joggers and dog walkers, but diverge from the beaten (and paved) path to the remote and picturesque picnicking spot of your choosing — whether beside a pond or beneath a royal poinciana tree. There's nowhere as picturesque yet devoid of influencers in all of Miami. (We can only hope it stays that way.)

South Pointe Park
Photo by Bruno Fontino / Courtesy of the GMCVB – MiamiandBeaches.com

A grown-ass man walks across the green grass holding an ice cream cone. He happily licks the melting sweet cream as he looks for a place to sit. Nearby, a young girl does cartwheels across the park while her mother applauds from her seat. A tarot card reader sets up a small table and a pair of chairs by the sidewalk. His glittery tablecloth billows with each passing breeze. You never know what you'll see — or hear — at South Pointe Park. Its proximity to the Atlantic and stunning views of the Port of Miami make it an ideal people-watching spot any day of the week. If it's a front-row seat for the South Beach carnival sideshow, that's all happening a little way to the north; by all means check it out. But South Pointe is...not that. The doings here are subtler, not so cartoonish. Nearly every Sunday, a group of yoga enthusiasts gather here to practice their acrobatics. They tie ropes between trees and balance as they walk across. Engaging your core never looked easier. If you're lucky, a local band might turn up for an impromptu jam session. Your eyes will be satisfied within minutes.

Best Reason to Stay in Miami for the Summer

A.C.'s Icees

A.C.'s Icees
Photo by Nicola Haubold

Anyone who's spent a summer in Miami gets it: The heat can be unbearable. But there are things that can lure even a diehard thermophobe out of their air-conditioned indoor comfort. Like frozen lemonade from A.C.'s Icees, whose proprietor, Allan Cohen's, has been cooling off Coconut Grove residents and visitors since 1978. Hasten to David T. Kennedy Park any day from 11 a.m. till 5 p.m., and you'll spy the beloved A.C.'s truck serving up its delectable frozen treats in three flavors: cherry, piña colada, and good old lemon. As you sip your heatstroke away through your spoon/straw, have a seat in the park, relax, and chuckle at the panting dogs. (Be sure to bring cash, though; A.C.'s doesn't accept credit cards.)

Chasing that high on the cheap, legal, and low-key? Alcohol not cutting it? Kava and kratom teas may be your answer, and the best bar that serves them in Miami is Syndicate Wynwood. There are different strains and types available depending on your preference, ones that can leave you feeling relaxed or even euphoric, and none priced over $20. You can ride your buzz exploring the venue, but Wynwood's art scene welcomes your expandable mind as soon as you step outside. Go wander, find a cheap bite to eat at the Taco Stand, Zak the Baker, or the Salty. If you prefer to stay put, Syndicate offers plenty of seating, not to mention board and card games to play with friends. Dogs are considered regulars at the venue, too. Syndicate is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. for you to enjoy, as they like to say, "all the buzz, none of the booze."

You've heard of being a tourist in your own city. What about being a tourist over your town? Since the mid-1990s, Miami Seaplane Tours has offered scenic flights over South Florida hotspots like the Upper Keys, Stiltsville, Big Cypress National Park, and Biscayne National Park via its Cessna SkyHawks and Skywagon seaplanes. Designed to land and take off from water, the seaplanes provide "unparalleled" scenic views of South Florida landmarks from a low-level or bird's-eye view. The experiences range from 20 minutes to two hours in length and are priced from $150 to $400, depending on where you wanna fly.

What once was South Beach's iconic roadway and a favorite for car enthusiasts looking to show off their wheels has unfortunately become a hotbed of controversy, causing friction between locals, tourists, and city officials. For a long while, Ocean Drive was open to traffic in both directions. Then, in the early days of the pandemic lockdown, there came an idyllic period when it was closed to auto traffic and only accessible to pedestrians, who could stroll freely down the boulevard as if it were an all-day street fair. Now Ocean Drive has a hybrid configuration of a single southbound lane for cars, plus a bike lane. As it currently stands, the drag is congested, tense, and nigh impossible to traverse, and you're better off choosing any other road if you're actually aiming to get anywhere.

Miami's urbanites want to experience the subtropical charm of a beachside city with golden sun, glistening sand, and plenty of food options near the sea — i.e., not South Beach. Luckily, there's a tranquil gem nestled along Biscayne Bay, far removed from the headache of barrier island traffic. The Village of Key Biscayne, one of Miami's prettiest suburbs, has everything a burnt-out city dweller dreams of. Access to Bill Baggs Historic State Park makes for a relaxing stint on sand and surf, with sufficient proximity to the offshore enclave of Stiltsville for ambitious kayakers. History lovers can tour the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse, a vestige of settler-era Miami and the inspiration for one of our town's iconic craft beers, Tank Brewing's El Farito. After a day by the water, stroll down to No Name Harbor for a bite at Boater's Grill and/or a cocktail at the Cleat MIA. Simply put, Key Biscayne has everything an escapist might need, plus a spectacular view of their hometown — from a safe distance.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®