Southwest Florida

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.

The many sun-bleached dead trees give the Stump Pass Beach State Park its name.

Discover the other Florida barrier islands along the Gulf

Discover a less well-known string of islands — Gasparilla Island, Don Pedro Island and Manasota Key. Each holds a spectacular state park with top beaches.

2009 Freedom Swim. Photo courtesy the Sun Herald.

2017 Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim: Cool 4th of July ‘happening’

The 2017 Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim begins at 11 a.m. July 4, but while folks cross the 1.5-mile wide Peace River, this isn’t a race. It’s a “happening” and one of the few ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in Florida and stay cool.

Kayaking the Alafia River near Tampa

Alafia River: Kayaking through tame rapids a half hour from Tampa

This cypress-lined Alafia river has an unusual feature for Florida: Rocky shoals that create fun rapids to kayak. It’s near hiking trails, springs and a very nice paddling trail at Little Manatee River State Park.