Sports & Recreation

  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Patch o' Heaven Petting Farm

    It's been a strange morning. The kids are bored with their video games. In fact they're bored with everything. You're about to tell them to go out and play on the expressway. You feel as though you're a candidate for the funny farm. Well, why not go to one and take the kids along? Patch o' Heaven is a twenty-acre… More >>
  • Best Place To Canoe

    Hell's Bay

    Here you are, jammed into overdeveloped, thickly congested, air-polluted Miami, raging at the idiots around you and choking on the toxic fumes of urban life. There it is, the outback, where porpoises frolic in the shimmering flow and hawks soar against the glow of the cirrostratus. You can get there from here. First pack up your camping gear, some food… More >>
  • Best Public Park

    Greynolds Park

    Greynolds has received a bum rap in recent years. True, its once-teeming bird rookery has fallen victim to marauding raccoons, feral cats, and extensive development near park boundaries. Yet this park/golf course/ picnic ground is still a magnificent oasis from hectic urban life. Dirt and paved trails meander through oak and palmetto stands. Wooden bridges cross over water and red… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Fairchild Tropical Garden

    Feel free to frolic like the mythical gods and their favorite mortals in the Elysian Fields at Fairchild Tropical Garden. These 83 acres of tropical botanical rarities provide a delightful backdrop for your meal: flowering trees, palms, mangroves, bamboos, and vines. Throw down a blanket and become enchanted by a giant African baobab tree. Relax in the cool, moist rain… More >>
  • Best Park To Play Basketball Whether Or Not You Got Game

    Cagni Park

    The hotshots are playing on this court, running the floor like gazelles, connecting on impossible alley-oop passes, and nailing honey-sweet jumpers that would impress even Tim Hardaway. But the action isn't quite as intense just one court over, where some tykes are swarming around a bouncing ball, occasionally heaving shots that barely reach the rim, and drawing proud applause from… More >>
  • Best Tennis Courts

    Sans Souci Tennis Center

    Once among the sports of the affluent, tennis still evokes images of manicured grass courts, sparkling white togs, and exclusive racquet clubs. But the era of starchy tennis "whites" is long gone. These days tennis is being embraced by the common man. And when the common man has laid out a hefty sum for a sophisticated titanium racquet that's supposed… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Cloverleaf Lanes

    Ever since Cloverleaf Lanes opened in 1958, the scuffed Lustre King custom ball conditioner has been sitting there next to the cranky Art Deco vending machine that dispenses wrist supports, rosin bags, and tinfoil packets of Smooth Slide, which is guaranteed to fix sticky soles. And then y'got'chur baggies full of cracked ice floating in a thousand pitchers of beer.… More >>
  • Best Place To Birdwatch

    Anhinga Trail

    As a life form, humans have the singular advantage of experiencing wonderment. No, we can't flap our wings and soar into the great beyond. But we can imagine what it must be like. Thus great bird watching should combine two elements: one, the spiritual elevation of vicarious adventure, and two, birds. The well-worn Anhinga Trail, a wooden walkway stilted above… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Boca Chita Island and Lighthouse Tour

    Some intransigent people are of the unwavering belief that a genuine day trip requires meticulous planning down to the last detail. For them a complete change in scenery from one's everyday surroundings is in order. We're a little more relaxed. A leisurely drive is nice. So is an alternate ambiance. But we aren't particularly enamored of rigid schedules. We prefer… More >>
  • Best Place To Mountain Bike

    Amelia Earhart Park

    Motorists speeding eastward on Gratigny Parkway might not know that behind the wall of pine trees to their right, mountain bikers are hard at work. If you bring your stump-jumper there, you'll find a frondescent labyrinth winding through the woods on the park's northern edge (or "undeveloped" side, as county employees call it). The course isn't hilly, much less mountainous,… More >>
  • Best Rural Bike Ride

    Southern Glades Trail

    Tourist: "What's the name of that there river?" Local guy: "Pardner, that there's no river. That's a canal." Tourist: "Well, it sure in hell looks like the gol dang Mississippi." It's true. South of Florida City, a stretch of the C-111 canal does resemble a river. It even bends and flows alongside a dusty, unpaved road. Several years ago the… More >>
  • Best Urban Bike Ride

    Key Biscayne to South Beach across the MacArthur Causeway

    After fighting traffic, crowds, and auto exhaust while pedaling through the urban jungle, you'll be rewarded with a new perspective on the city. Perhaps the best route for such a point-of-view shift starts near the Rickenbacker Causeway tollbooth. Leave your car there and head back to South Dixie Highway, then go north. Detour on SE Fifteenth Street to Brickell… More >>
  • Best Place To Go Fly A Kite

    Crandon Park Beach on Sunday afternoons

    You would think Miami's ample public space near the shoreline and constant easterly breeze would make kite flying as popular as Rollerblading on South Beach. Well, maybe not. But some think it's hip to sail the winds with cloth and string. A few of these aviators/eccentrics can be found showing off their kaleidoscopic flights-of-fancy Sundays on the beach at Crandon;… More >>
  • Best Sailboat Rental

    Sailboats of Key Biscayne

    Its location is a study in contrasts. The hut that serves as the office neighbors the Crandon Marina boat ramp. Clean sailboats, ranging from 22 to 25 feet, are dwarfed by humongous powerboats that slide from their trailers into the water. As the wind-driven craft languish, high-pitched outboards burn fossil fuel and make waves on their way to Biscayne Bay.… More >>
  • Best Driving Range

    Doral Golf Resort and Spa

    For four bucks you can tee off at one of the swankiest clubs in South Florida. Of course for that price you have to confine your backswing to the driving range. Or you can get really fancy and splurge for a big bucket of balls, which costs seven dollars. If that's a little steep for your working-stiff budget, check out… More >>
  • Best Hole At A Golf Course

    Fourth hole

    After a $3.9 million renovation, International Links has easily become one of South Florida's premier public golf courses. Reopened in October 1997, it is becoming incredibly popular, thanks in no small part to the redesign of several holes, most notably number four. A monstrous par five (608 yards from the black tees, 585 from the gold, 574 from the blue,… More >>
  • Best Miniature Golf

    Malibu Grand Prix

    The mini-golf at Malibu is good. If you choose the path that leads to the castle, it's particularly fun. Then there are the batting cages, go-carts, video games, and greasy pizza. Taken as a full-day adventure, it all adds up to a rollicking good time. Want to try another location? Forget about it! Malibu doesn't really have any competition south… More >>
  • Best Snorkeling Spot

    Biscayne National Park

    As you set out across the glassy shallows of Biscayne Bay toward the mangrove-covered humps dotting the horizon, you'll know why we continue to choose this spot for superlative snorkeling. Because the place is a national park, boat traffic and commercial activity are limited. The reefs have flourished. Tangerine-color clown fish, spectral triggerfish, and barracuda, are abundant. The snorkeling boat,… More >>
  • Best Place To Hike

    Pineland Trails

    This trail system lies in the park's Long Pine Key area, which is not a key at all. It's a wooded swath of land about two miles west of the park entrance near Homestead. The terrain here is among the most varied in the Everglades. The pines are vestiges of the woods that covered South Florida long ago. There are… More >>
  • Best Beach

    North Shore State Recreation Area

    The tall, menacing black fence stretches a long eight blocks, protecting one of this area's loveliest and best-maintained stretches of beach. At the 85th Street entrance, pay a dollar entry fee (this is a state park after all), traipse through the gate, and behold the leafy sea-grape trees, which provide refreshing shelter from the sweltering South Florida sun. Walk a… More >>
  • Best Place To Rollerblade

    FIU University Park Campus

    Most Florida International University students leave campus from Friday to Sunday, which makes the place perfect for strapping on a pair of blades. Concrete was king back in the late Sixties and early Seventies when FIU was built, so there are long walkways and spacious courtyards that provide plenty of room to gain momentum. Marathoners can circle the sprawling property,… More >>
  • Best Surf Spot

    First Street Beach

    Surfing in Miami? Yes, occasionally we are blessed with a rideable swell here in the land of flat seas. While our Californian, Hawaiian, and Australian counterparts search for that ever-elusive perfect wave, we spend our winters hoping and praying for a set, any rideable set. Please God, let there be a cold front! Let there be a hurricane! Let… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    Parrot Jungle to Key Biscayne

    Canter. Jog. Trot. Okay, ready to really run? This is the path of South Florida marathoners: from Parrot Jungle north along Red Road to the footbridge, then east to Old Cutler Road, north a few miles (yes, a few miles) to Cartagena Plaza, then east almost to the water, north through Coconut Grove. Take a deep breath and follow Bayshore… More >>
  • Best Place To Jet Ski

    The mouth of Government Cut

    Forget about chasing manatees. Skip drenching sunbathers with a watery rooster tail from the rear of your personal watercraft. And don't even think of awakening Star Island residents with that wonderful buzzing sound. All that is kid stuff. You need to take Jet Skiing to a higher level. Get out there at the mouth of Government Cut and boogie with… More >>
  • Best Island Hike

    Elliott Key

    Before tree huggers and other nature lovers quashed plans for an overseas highway down the center of Elliott Key in the late Sixties, developers bulldozed a six-lane-wide opening. When the dust settled, the key emerged as part of Biscayne National Monument, which Congress reclassified as a national park in 1980. In the years since, managers of this offshore Eden have… More >>
  • Best Place To Ditch The Kids While You Lunch On Lincoln Road

    Scott Rakow Youth Center

    There isn't much on South Beach to interest eight-year-olds. Nor is there anything constructive for your teenager to do. What to do then with the young ones when you're hankering for adults-only strolling, shopping, or lunching? The answer lies at the Scott Rakow center. It is a virtual summer camp where, for only three dollars on weekdays or six dollars… More >>
  • Best Place To Play Shuffleboard

    Aboard a cruise ship

    There's something to be said for regression. When (and if) a person reaches a certain age, he or she likely begins re-enacting youthful behaviors: hanging out with the gang, playing some game or another, or killing time before time kills them. Shuffleboard, the civil sport of the retirement set, perfectly suits this enterprise, reinvigorating the mind, body, and soul. All… More >>
  • Best Waterfront Park

    Sewell Park

    Nestled along the banks of the Miami River, this remote, ten- acre park is eerily enticing. Strange artifacts leave you wondering what the designers had in mind. Concrete steps that seemingly belonged to the front porch of a house now lead to nothing; multicolor pillars stand erect on a slab of concrete; a sidewalk begins and ends in the middle… More >>
  • Best Place For A Flying Leap Into The Gulf Stream

    Fowey Rocks

    Miami mayhem got you feeling like a wreck? Then why not take a flying leap? We've got just the place: Fowey Rocks, about six miles southeast of the southern tip of Key Biscayne on the Gulf Stream's edge. A lighthouse atop a 110-foot iron frame tower, built by U.S. soldiers in 1878, helps cargo ship captains avoid the… More >>
  • Best Topless Beach

    Miami Beach between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets

    So you like to drop your top when you sunbathe, but you hate the drooling idiots who eye your bare chest as if they were schoolboys. Or maybe the plethora of plastic surgery-enhanced breasts get to you. Well, if either of the above is a problem, the beach between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets is for you. No, we cannot promise… More >>
  • Best Natural High

    Hot-air ballooning

    Despite the fact that he's been flying people up, up, and away in his beautiful balloons for the past 30 years, Don Caplan says matter-of-factly that South Florida is not a very good place for such activity; it's too windy, the weather is unpredictable, and mornings are usually the only time calm enough to launch. Caplan, owner of Balloonport of… More >>
  • Best Volleyball Courts

    Ocean Drive between Eighth and Tenth streets

    The choice is obvious. Players at this sun-splashed location spike and set in a beach-volleyball paradise. Their bare feet sink deep into soft white sand while an endless parade of beautiful people ride, stride, and roll past to the west. Just beyond this pulchritudinous procession are some of the world's most photographed bars and cafés. And over the dunes to… More >>
  • Best Public Swimming Pool

    Atoll pool at Matheson Hammock Park

    So okay, residents of other cities can criticize Miami for its lack of cosmopolitan cultural events, poor public transportation, and corrupt politicos. But when it comes to natural resources, other urban centers don't even come close. One shining example is Matheson Hammock Park's atoll pool, an eco-friendly swimming hole that puts chlorinated concrete boxes to shame. The atoll pool is… More >>
  • Best Gym

    XS Fitness Center

    Three floors of bright, airy exercise rooms chock full of equipment make this gym the county's top workout spot. An overabundance of stationary bikes and weight machines means there's rarely a delay to start sweating. Although it's located just a block from Ocean Drive, this is more than just a backdrop for Lycra-clad beautiful people with water bottles and towels… More >>