BEST PLACE YOU CAN’T TAKE YOUR PARENTS

Howl Gallery/Tattoo

Howl Gallery has all the necessities: art, tattoos, piercings, craft beer, and on many evenings bands and other performers. But you probably wouldn’t want to bring your parents with its embrace of the occult, the taboo, the risqué. More...

BEST BASEBALL PHOTO

Finally, after 80 years!   More...

BEST STATE PARK

Myakka River State Park

The Myakka River State Park east of Sarasota on SR 72 is laced together in 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands by the river itself, designated a Florida Wild and Scenic River. More...

BEST OPEN MIC

Frankie Colt and The Wolfpack Showcase

Hosted by musician Frankie Colt, who earlier this year released her alt-rock album “Transmutation,” The Wolfpack Showcase embraces musicians and performers of all types. More...

BEST PLACE TO RECLAIM YOUR INNER CHILD

If your inner child is into both science and history, Fort Myers now has the perfect place to reclaim that evasive little sprite. More...

BEST LOCAL FILM

“Bubbles” (César Aguilera, 2016)

From the warped opening strains of “Dream of Me” in an empty barber and beauty shop to its satisfyingly bloody conclusion six minutes later, César Aguilera’s “Bubbles” is a fascinating oddity in a genre, supernatural hor More...

BEST NIGHT SPOT TO TAKE YOUR FURRY FRIEND

Dogs need Happy Hour and some social time too, and lately there are number of offerings for the fur kids to frolic and enjoy a few puppy biscuits. More...

BEST PLACE FOR FREE MUSIC

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but free music is there for the enjoying at Music Walk in downtown Fort Myers. Music Walk has been happening for nearly 10 years in the River District and it just keeps on growing. More...

BEST VINYL

Joe’s Record Exchange

This place just has good vibrations thanks to owner Joe Honeycutt, a laid-back and amiable aficionado who has probably forgotten more about rock ’n’ roll than most of us will ever know. More...

BEST COUNTY DEPARTMENT

Lee County Parks & Recreation

Forget budgetary priorities of “core services” such as police and fire. We all need places to throw a baseball to our kids and walk a trail among the cypress trees. More...

BEST FREE SERVICE YOU DON’T USE

The Lee County Library System

Libraries are peaceful places, kind of like churches, except much more informative and all-inclusive. And there are drinking fountains. More...

BEST SUMMER SPORTS TEAM

The Fort Myers Miracle

It’s not just about the baseball at Hammond Stadium in south Fort Myers. It’s about Thursty Thursdays with half-price beer. More...

BEST PLACE TO CAMP

Caloosahatchee Regional Park

It’s tenters only at this shady Alva campground on the north bank of the Caloosahatchee River. The sites are described as primitive, but we’re not talking dirt and stinky pit toilets here. It’s prime camping. More...

BEST WATERFRONT EXPERIENCE

Lani Kai Island Resort

Open 365 days a year, the Lani Kai is a top Fort Myers Beach destination and boasts the perfect beach vacation in Southwest Florida. More...

BEST PLACE TO MAKE YOUR WIFE HAPPY

Congress Jewelers

Family owned and operated, Congress Jewelers on Sanibel Island is the place to go to make your wife happy — and Scott and Melissa Congress take great pride in helping you find the perfect piece to create smiles and gasps when she opens up that More...

BEST PLACE TO SPARKLE

Bradley’s Jewelers

Working with golds, silvers, and platinum, Brad and Colbi Congress of Bradley’s Fine Jewelers boast a full service fine jewelry salon, specializing in exquisite diamond and precious gemstone jewelry, custom design, appraisals, expert repair as More...

BEST PLAYBILL

Florida Repertory Theatre

Now celebrating 19 years, Florida Rep continues to provide first-class theatre for Southwest Florida audiences. More...

BEST COLLECTION OF ISLAND VACATION PROPERTIES

Marco Escapes

Living up to its claim of being Marco Island’s Leading Luxury Brand, Marco Escapes delivers with only the finest vacation home and condo accommodations on Marco Island and greater Naples area. More...

BEST STAYCATION

South Seas Island Resort

South Seas Island Resort is more than a tropical retreat: Welcome to true Island Life. More...

BEST PLACE TO BE A BOOKSTORE CAT

Sandman Book Company

Bookshop cat and ghost chaser Kitty-Wan Kenobi is living the high life. Since 2009 he has been the cat-in-residence at Punta Gorda’s Sandman Book Company. More...

BEST PRIVATE GOLF CLUB IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD

St. Andrews South Golf Club

Enjoy a private golf club in your own backyard. St. Andrews South championship 18 hole, par 71 course provides a challenge for players of all levels. Its practice facilities include a driving range, and chipping, putting and short game areas. More...

BEST PLACE TO SHOP, DINE AND SAVE

Miromar Outlets

With more than 140 top designer and brand name outlet stores, if you start at one end of Miromar Outlets and shop your way to the other, you can stretch your dollar approximately two miles — and save up to 70 percent off retail prices. More...

BEST ARENA WEST OF I-75

Florida SouthWestern State College

The Suncoast Credit Union Arena opened its doors to the public on Nov. 29, 2016. While serving as the new home of the FSW Buccaneers basketball and volleyball teams, the stunning 75,000-square-foot arena is also a gathering spot for students. More...

BEST LOCAL CRAFT BEER

Gateway Gold

The first shall be first. The Fort Myers Brewing Co. was the first brewery in the area and still knocks down the BEST handcrafted brewskis, among them High 5 and its signature Gateway Gold. More...

BEST HOT SAUCE

Hot As Blazes Hot Sauce

You’d think the competition would be heated, but no. More...

BEST PLACE TO WATCH TORTILLA MAKING

You wonder how they do it, don’t you? More...

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLE WOMEN

Last year at “Love That Dress!” the signature fundraiser for PACE Center for Girls which happens at the Embassy Suites in Estero every year, there was one, lone single guy sitting at the bar — and he was collecting phone numbers by More...

BEST REPRESENT

Danny Rawley

Local actor Danny Rawley has a recurring role on WBs “Sleepy Hollow” series — the handsome SWFLoridian represents well and has quite the online following.   More...

BEST CATCH

14-foot tiger shark

Clients of Capt. Frank Ventimiglia, who runs Sanibel Offshore fishing charters at The Bait Box on Sanibel Island, caught this 14-foot tiger shark last May. That’s about half the length of Capt. Frank’s boat. More...

BEST UP AND COMING (YOUNG AT HEART) COMEDIAN

Norma Miller

Norma Miller, 95-year-old local resident and legendary Queen of Swing, took to the mic and performed a standup tour. We’re happy to report she didn’t knock ’em dead.   More...

BEST PLACE FOR A ROMANTIC TRYST

Tarpon Lodge

Motel 6 might seem like a good idea now, but you’ll probably regret it later. The BEST place to disappear is Tarpon Lodge, nestled on the water in the sleepy fishing village of Pine Island. More...

BEST RETAIL SHOP THAT WELCOMES DOGS

Lily & Co. Jewelers

Karen Bell and Dan Schuyler, owners of Lily & Co. Jewelers on Sanibel, clearly put dogs on a pedestal. Their store is named after Ms. Bell’s Labradoodle (Lily) and two golden Labradors, Angel and Gracie (& Co.). More...

BEST USE OF A TURNTABLE

Everything from vinyl records to chickens are BEST done on a rotisserie, but the Elliott Museum in Stuart uses a special one to display classic cars on demand. More...

BEST BAND

The Freecoasters

The Freecoasters’ 2016 debut album “Show Up” now seems like a call to artists to get out there and, yes, show up. More...

BEST BASKETBALL UP-AND-COMERS

FGCU men and women

While they didn’t make it to the Sweet 16 as they did in 2013, FGCU’s men’s basketball team made a valiant effort in the NCAA March Madness first round against the towering team of FSU, losing by a mere 6 points. More...

BEST LOCAL MUSICIAN

Eric DeMayo

Eric DeMayo has long been part of the Southwest Florida music scene, starting nearly two decades ago as a 16-year-old. More...

BEST PLACE TO SQUANDER A TAX REFUND

Fantasy’s at the Beach

Your check is in hand or auto-deposited by the IRS right into your personal checking account, and now you’re going to put that right into your savings account, right? Well, you could do that. More...

BEST PLACE TO CANOE/KAYAK

The Great Calusa Blueway

Don’t know where to rent a kayak? No problem. Not sure where you can launch your canoe? No worries. Afraid you’ll get lost in the mangroves? Not an option. More...

BEST REAL-LIFE HISTORY MUSEUM

Koreshan State Historic Site, Estero

The intersection of U.S. 41 and Corkscrew Road appears to be like dozens of others in bustling south Lee County, but years ago it was thought to be the center of the universe. More...

BEST PLACE FOR FRESH, SMART, FUN THEATER

The Laboratory Theater of Florida

Great theater, like a life lived well, should be about taking chances and thinking out of the box. More...

BEST BOOTY IN TOWN

Salty Sam’s Pirate Cruise

Grab your sense of adventure and bring aboard a 90-minute interactive comedy cruise on the Pieces of Eight, a 65-foot replica Spanish galleon. Don ye pirate garb and cruise the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in search of ships to plunder and fun. More...

BEST GOLD, SILVER, DIAMOND, JEWELRY AND RARE COIN EXCHANGE

Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry

A respected Florida institution, Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry, is Southwest Florida’s leader in rare coins, bullion, gold and silver, jewelry, diamonds, fine watches and auctions. More...

BEST PLACE TO REVITALIZE

Shangri-La Springs

Built in 1921, this legendary historic property in old downtown Bonita Springs is the hidden treasure of Southwest Florida. More...

BEST DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT ON THE WATER IN PUNTA GORDA

Fishermen’s Village

Shop till you drop, bop to live entertainment, catch a sunset by land or sea, and enjoy some of Punta Gorda’s BEST restaurants all in one location — the picturesque Fishermen’s Village right on Charlotte Harbor. More...

BEST ‘EATER-TAINMENT ’ DESTINATION

Bell Tower Shops

At the bustling Bell Tower Shops, you’ll always find hot deals, high fashions and faces new and familiar, whether splashed across the cinema’s silver screen or sitting next to you sipping a martini in the bar at one of its many distinctiv More...

BEST BET IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO BROADWAY

Broadway Palm

Year after year, Broadway Palm brings home to Southwest Florida the big, crowd-pleasing shows and full-scale Broadway musicals that generations of audiences adore. More...

BEST STEAL

Ford’s Garage

Dan Kearns, the founder of many downtown restaurants downtown, did not get in trouble for using the Ford Motor Company logo for his booming Ford’s Garage restaurant. More...

BEST FOOD TRUCK TIE-BREAKER

Fort Myers Brewing Company

There are too many great food trucks in Southwest Florida to pick just one. More...

BEST PLACE TO GET A TASTE OF THE SPANISH INVASION

Rosy Tomorrow’s Heritage Farm

It’s only been 504 years since Ponce De Leon arrived in Florida and sailed into Charlotte Harbor, after all. More...

BEST TOMATO

Ritchey’s Produce

No, it’s not in Indiana or Missouri or Ohio or even in Immokalee, center of the tomato-growingest region in the U.S., where 90 percent of all the tomatoes eaten by Americans in winter come from. More...