Best of Miami®

Best Of 2012

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Escape From Reality

Lucky's Place is the Jimbo's of the Everglades — or technically, of the Big Cypress National Preserve. And proprietor Lucky Cole loves it when you stop in, browse the general store, grab a beer, take a seat under an umbrella, eat some barbecue, and peruse the hundreds of nude female portraits the 60-something-year-old has been photographing most of his life. Lucky lives on-site with his wife Maureen, and women from around the world visit to have their naked pictures shot on his property full of vintage and rustic backdrops. Naked ladies pose in front of the antique Coke cooler, in the outdoor shower, on an old motorcycle, and even in the slow-flowing waters of the grassy river near his home. He even has a (non-nude) shot of a young Eva Longoria. There's also a "redneck hotel" where you can stay the night in swampy paradise. Everybody is welcome at Lucky's, which is (usually) open to the public Saturdays and Sundays. It's a short drive west from Miccosukee Resort & Gaming and a long way from reality.

Best of Miami: Sports & Recreation
Kira Shaimanova

Click here for all Sports & Recreation winners.

READERS' POLL WINNERS

Sports & Recreation

Best Coach: Erik Spoelstra

Best Dolphins Player: Matt Moore

Best Heat Player: Dwyane Wade

Best Hurricanes Player: Lamar Miller

Best Marlins Player: Giancarlo Stanton

Best Park: Kennedy Park

Best People-Watching Spot: Lincoln Road

Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners: Lincoln Road

Best Sportscaster: Dan Le Batard

Best Day Trip

Pack up the bikes and head west to Shark Valley, where there are no sharks but plenty of sunbathing gators lounging around the 15-mile looping path. It's a nature-filled workout with ample views of pristine saw grass and loads of migratory birds from January to March. What's that, you say? Pedal-pushing your way past gators and birds is sooooo touristy? Well, there's also a decent chance of spotting one of the much-hyped Burmese pythons that are grabbing national headlines. Park ranger Eric Riordan says five of the suckers were removed from the park in December, including one that was 16 feet long. If that's not motivation to keep pedaling, what is?

36000 SW 8th St., Miami, 33194
MAP
305-221-8776
Best Kayaking
West Lake Park

Two minutes in West Lake Park is it all it takes to get away from the asphalt hell of South Florida sprawl. The trip begins with a light paddle down a serene mangrove tunnel — keep your eyes peeled for always-awesome manatees and some nice birds. When the trail empties out onto the lake, it's your choice. Let the boat float, and kick back to relax while soaking up the rays, or cut across the lake — a workout in itself on a windy day — and explore the mangrove-lined, color-coded trails. If it weren't for the not-so-distant skyline peeking over the trees, you might forget you're smack in between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Prices aren't bad either: Drop $15 to rent a canoe for one hour, $20 for two hours, or $50 for the whole day.

751 Sheridan St., Hollywood, 33019
MAP
954-357-5161
Best Tour Boat

The next time you have guests from the Midwest crashing at your pad, there's a sure-fire way to show them Miami like an undercover narcotics detective with an affinity for fine Versace suits. Head to Bayside Marketplace and board the Thriller SuperCat 55, a cigarette boat with room for more than two dozen people that takes riders on a high-speed adventure via Government Cut. After jumping through waves and doing water doughnuts on Biscayne Bay, the Thriller slows things down for a very informative tour of Star Island. The captain provides Trivial Pursuit-style tidbits of information about the wealthy, famous people who own mansions there. For instance, you'll learn that Ivax Pharmaceuticals founder Phillip Frost imported 50 date palms from South Africa at $9,000 a pop to decorate the landscape of his and his wife's $55 million estate. You'll also discover that the neighboring house was used in the 1955 movie Guys and Dolls, starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. It costs $35 per adult and $22 per child to ride the Thriller (or $32 and $19 if you buy tickets online).

401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 33132
MAP
305-371-3278
Best Kids' Thrill
Super Wheels Skating Center

Sure, you can take the youngsters to the latest mega-arcade or crowded water park, or trudge three hours in traffic to the beach. Or you can introduce them to the kind of place you once hung out before the days of Xbox 360 Kinect and Twitter. Take 'em skating! OK, strapping on a pair of skates and rolling around in a giant circle with music pumped in the background seems a bit outdated. But that doesn't mean it's not fun. It's also amazing exercise and a great way to tire out the kids from all that pent-up summertime energy. Super Wheels Skating Center, which has been in operation since 2009, has 20 HDTV sets, five giant screens, a large music selection, and a "live text" broadcast. There's also an enormous arcade with old-school favorites like air hockey, plus a snack bar where you can stuff your face with pizza, chicken wings, fries, and Dippin' Dots. But the enormous hardwood skating rink is where the real excitement is to be had. Friday is Cheap Skates Day, where you can rent skates for $7 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and $12 after that. And Super Tots sessions for the little ones cost only $8 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Yeah, skating isn't what it used to be. But it's still a kick-ass time for the whole family.

12265 Southwest 112th St., Kendall, 33186
MAP
305-270-9386
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Best Escape From Reality: Lucky's Place

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