BEST PLACE TO CANOE Miami 2002 - Everglades National Park
With all the water around these parts, there are plenty of places to paddle. Everglades National Park is best, though, because -- duh -- it's a national park. No high-rise condos blocking the horizon. No screaming beerheads in go-fast boats about to swamp you. No polluted water seeping in from city streets. We're talking pristine. That means virtually any spot in the park where you can launch a canoe you'll encounter serene natural beauty unmatched in South Florida. Stop at the visitor's center at park headquarters and ask as many questions as you can. The rangers will help you select a route to fit your skills and interests. Rental canoes (and kayaks) are available at Flamingo, the end-of-the-road settlement 34 miles from the park entrance. From there you can paddle out on Florida Bay or up the Buttonwood canal toward vast Whitewater Bay. They'll also rent you a canoe stashed at Nine Mile Pond, a delightful trail featuring a variety of waterscapes, eleven miles up the road from Flamingo. If you have your own canoe, you already know this and more about the dozens of great paddling adventures that beckon throughout the park.