Southwest Florida

Cortez Fishing Festival celebrates its maritime roots: Feb. 17-18, 2018

Cortez Fishing Festival celebrates its maritime roots: Feb. 17-18, 2018

This tiny fishing village wedged between Bradenton and Anna Marie Island celebrates its rich heritage as a commercial fishing hub.

Armadillo races at 2015 Swamp Cabbage Festival. Photo courtesy Pete Cross.

Swamp Cabbage Fest marks 52 years, Feb. 24-25, 2018

You can get gator tail and swamp cabbage at this festival. But the real reason to go is to revel in a last corner of small town America in Florida — beauty pageants, high school bands, armadillo races and a rodeo.

Everglades Seafood Festival

Everglades City Seafood Festival: Feb. 9-11, 2018

Seafood lovers mark their calendars for the annual Everglades Seafood Festival, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 9-11, 2018, in Everglades City, gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands. This free event packs ’em in for fresh seafood, country music, carnival rides, crafts booths — with an estimated 50,000 people expected to attend this year’s event in a remote corner of Florida.

Five favorite places to paddleboard in Tampa Bay area

Five favorite places to paddleboard in Tampa Bay area

For paddle boarding, it would be hard to find a better destination than Tampa Bay. In addition to beaches and bays, you can paddle amid mangrove islands, in tannic rivers with alligators and, within a two hour drive, one of the most spectacular clear spring runs in Florida.

Stone crabs from Triad Seafood, Everglades City

Stone crabs in Everglades City: Historic fishing town is recovering from hurricane

Stone crab season starts Oct. 15 and it has never been more critical for Everglades City, a small, isolated fishing village, where stone crabs are an important part of the economy. Everglades City was flooded with an 8-to-10-foot storm surge during Hurricane Irma and more than 100 homes in the town with a population just over 400 were destroyed.

Naples fest Oct. 27-29 kicks off stone crab season

Naples fest Oct. 27-29 kicks off stone crab season

This Gulf Coast community’s annual Stone Crab Festival marks the beginning of Florida’s stone crab season while showing off the city’s historic center and bayfront attractions. Let’s get crackin’.

Venice Municipal Beach

Venice’s beaches: Shark’s teeth to be found in the sands of time

There are six fabulous beaches in the Venice area, including one set aside for canines. But the big attraction are ancient shark’s teeth that wash ashore in the surf.

Ghost Orchid by Mick Fournier, Pompano Beach. (Note: This photo is a ghost orchid, but not the one at Corkscrew.)

Naples: Rare ghost orchid blooms at Corkscrew for 2017 season

Corkscrew Sanctuary could be hosting lots of orchid fans again this summer, as its rare ghost orchid has formed buds. The ghost orchid was made famous by the 2002 film “Adaptation” starring Meryl Streep and the best-selling “Orchid Thief,” by Susan Orlean.

Fort Myers Beach has a broad beach with powdery sand and popular fishing pier. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Fort Myers Beach: Old school beach town, on the cusp of change

With a beautiful beach, free pier, beach-side restaurants and a lively downtown, this is a classic beach town. It’s frozen in time while it awaits redevelopment.

We spotted dolphin in Estero Bay three times on our kayak trip to Mound Key State Archaeological Park. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Mound Key: Kayak to archaeological park, once center of its world

A fascinating kayak destination: Mound Key Archaeological State Park, an uninhabited island accessible only by boat near Fort Myers Beach. The ceremonial center of the Calusa people, Mound Key is one of a kind and is surrounding by waters full of wildlife.