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Sports & Recreation

  • BEST PUBLIC PARK

    Crandon Park

    Without doubt this park is the greatest gift ever bequeathed to the public in Miami's history. Back in 1940 the Matheson family, which had owned most of Key Biscayne since early in the century, agreed to a deal proposed by Dade County Commissioner Charles Crandon. The family would donate the northern two miles of its holdings for use as a… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC PARK FOR SANTERĺA RITUALS

    Sewell Park

    For the uninitiated: Those people dressed in white and huddled together on the grassy area over by the south bank of the Miami River are not health-care workers on a break. They are students and practitioners of Santería, the Afro-Cuban religion whose spiritual emissaries, or orishas, rule all facets of man and nature. Believers can call upon these deities for… More >>
  • BEST HIDDEN PARK

    Legion Memorial Park

    Tucked away behind the exquisitely funky American Legion Post No. 29, this Miami city park is little more than a ramshackle public boat ramp and dock. But it's quiet. And it's always kissed by a soothing breeze. And it provides a lovely view of several of the spoil islands made famous by their role in Christo's 1983 conceptual project Surrounded… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ROLLERBLADE

    Calusa Club Drive

    If Kendall Drive is the clotted artery of southwestern unincorporated Miami-Dade, the neighborhood of Calusa is an oasis amid suburban sprawl. Pull off Kendall at SW 133rd Avenue and head south one block. All of a sudden the strip malls fall away, the blank-block apartment buildings disappear, and you're in a haven of green space and single-family homes built around… More >>
  • BEST SNORKELING SPOT

    Biscayne National Park

    If you live anywhere near the center of Miami-Dade County and you find yourself overcome with the urge to go snorkeling, we suggest you head to the rock jetty at the southern tip of Miami Beach. (Metered parking available at South Pointe Park.) When the water is relatively calm, the north side of the jetty offers surprisingly good snorkeling, especially… More >>
  • BEST TENNIS COURTS

    Tennis Center at Crandon Park

    The staff at this sprawling facility takes meticulous care to ensure that the courts are top quality. No wonder. This is the site of an internationally recognized professional tennis tournament, the newly rechristened NASDAQ Open, which brings top-ten players and their entourage to town each year. Venus and Guga and Anna and Andre may battle and preen here for a… More >>
  • BEST DARTS

    Days Inn Miami Airport North

    Fancy a game of cricket or 301? Check out the lounge in this otherwise unprepossessing hotel in the welter of bustle and noise just upwind from the jet runways. For several years the serious dart scene revolved around another bar nearby. But the scene has moved. So what happened to those players who carry their own feathered missiles and can… More >>
  • BEST BASKETBALL COURT

    Murray Park

    During the daytime it's often only the breeze that stirs the nets hanging over the two full courts, not jumpers. With the sun overhead, it is just too hot on these shadeless slabs of asphalt green. And besides, the players are in school or at work. But once the sun starts to slide down, activity picks up in a hurry.… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CANOE

    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… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO KAYAK

    Miami River

    We'll save for another time our recommendations for a paddle that highlights natural beauty and wildlife. This is urban kayaking at its gritty best. Launch at the public boat ramp on Watson Island, access to which is obscured by construction of the new Parrot Jungle. (It's on the east side of the island between the Miami Yacht Club and the… More >>
  • BEST FISHING HOLE

    Blue Lagoon and Glide Angle Lake

    These lakes are constantly buzzed by airplanes taking off and landing at Miami International Airport, but that doesn't seem to bother anglers who swear this is one of the hottest spots in South Florida for the feisty peacock bass. Not a true relative of the largemouth bass, peacocks are actually cichlids, a huge family of fresh-water tropicals native to Central… More >>
  • BEST GYM

    M Power Project

    Why? After all, it's just a gym. Here's why: The faux glitz and glamour so annoyingly present at many of today's so-called health clubs is nowhere in sight here. And it's not missed a bit, thank you. The space is small but has everything a serious gym rat needs, from free weights and a variety of cardio machines to aerobic… More >>
  • BEST BEACH

    Haulover Beach Park

    Haulover is tops not just because it includes South Florida's only official nude beach. That definitely is a plus, but this is the best beach in Miami-Dade County because it has it all. At the southern end is Haulover Cut, a great place to fish and to watch pleasure craft come and go. It's also a favored spot for family… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL

    Venetian Pool

    If you think this particular blue ribbon is a perennial favorite, you'd be right. If you believe we choose it because of the coral grottoes, underwater caves, and glorious waterfalls, you'd be absolutely correct. And if you surmise that the porticos and loggias provide us with some much-needed shade during times of sun, then yes, you're in the know. But… More >>
  • BEST KIDDIE POOL

    Cookie's World

    Your kids are going to scream either in delight or terror, depending on how they feel about swimming beneath the tentacles of a 21-foot-tall, water-shooting octopus. Located in the northeast corner of the Fontainebleau's property, adjacent to the boardwalk, the Cookie complex includes a 7000-square-foot wading pool, only a couple of feet deep, meant for small children. On the shallower… More >>
  • BEST BOWLING ALLEY

    Don Carter's Kendall Lanes - CLOSED

    It's open late -- till 2:00 a.m. weekdays and 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday. It has a bar and a grill. It sports a cluster of billiard tables in the middle of the room, center of the action, and video games bleeping in the corner. Surrounding it all, on either side, are lanes upon shiny lanes, 72 in all, with… More >>
  • BEST FIELD OF DREAMS

    Homestead Sports Complex

    Built in 1990 with more than $13 million of taxpayers' money, this beautiful little stadium was to be the spring-training home of the Cleveland Indians. But before the tribe could move in Hurricane Andrew did a number on the place. After the 1992 storm, the City of Homestead spent several million dollars more to rebuild the stadium. By then, though,… More >>
  • BEST SURF SPOT

    23rd Street

    Miami Beach

    Everyone knows that to find decent surf you have to drive north to Sebastian Inlet or fly south to Barbados. Locally the crowds congregate around First and Second streets in Miami Beach. But the truth is that nothing breaks along South Florida beaches without a storm swell. And when there is a strong swell -- especially from the northeast during… More >>
  • BEST HOLE AT A GOLF COURSE

    Seventh hole

    Not every duffer can afford to attack the Blue Monster at Doral, or even that all-sand monstrosity out there dreamed up by Greg Norman. Many golfers can't even afford to play a relatively modest municipal course, what with greens fees starting at $50 or more. No, golfers like us cast our lot at the low end of the sport. That's… More >>
  • BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY

    Captiva Island

    Drive time from Miami is almost exactly the same as to Key West. But the similarities stop there. Captiva does not cater to inebriated college kids staggering down its main tourist drag. Captiva doesn't even have a tourist drag. The closest thing to Duval Street you'll find on this barrier island west of Fort Myers and north of Sanibel is… More >>
  • BEST DAY TRIP

    Fort Lauderdale

    Admit it. You don't go up to Broward unless you have to. No shame in that. Broward people won't visit Miami on a dare. Maybe you fly out of the airport. Maybe you've driven north to catch concerts at the recently shuttered Sunrise Musical Theater. Maybe you're unlucky enough to work off I-75. So entrenched is the divide between the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO JET SKI

    East Coast Water Sports

    When this Fort Lauderdale favorite recently opened up shop down our way, the owners chose its location wisely: the Miami Beach Marina. From here you have a wide variety of navigational options, unlike many other rental operations. You can spin through the vastness of Biscayne Bay, cruise the waterways and cozy canals behind gorgeous luxury homes, or head out to… More >>
  • BEST URBAN BIKE RIDE

    This twelve-mile ride is far from the well-beaten tourist paths, which is precisely the point. Unless you live in one of these vibrant neighborhoods, you may not be familiar with their charms. Here's your chance. Begin at the Torch of Friendship on Biscayne Boulevard at Third Street, in Bayfront Park. Head north on Biscayne (beware the traffic squeeze between American… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO JOG

    Miami Beach from 21st Street north

    There are those hearty runners with lungs of steel who prefer inhaling the fumes along South Dixie Highway. But the adage "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" isn't likely to apply to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Besides, most of us get our daily recommended dose of automobile exhaust with no effort at all. This metropolis has precious few… More >>
  • BEST NATURAL HIGH

    Interstate 95

    Late at night, as commuters sleep, our infamous river of congested concrete welcomes vehicles as a junkie does a fix. Windows down. Stereo blasting. The ethereal glow of street lamps. The wind a soothing subtropical balm. In the quiet wee hours, I-95's engineered beauty emerges, unclogged and serene. Inviting. The southbound HOV flyover, high above the Golden Glades interchange, presents… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO UNPLUG

    Crandon Park Beach

    We're talking about way up at the northern tip of the park near Bear Cut, the swift-moving channel that separates Key Biscayne from Virginia Key. This is the very essence of serene. Outside of adventurous nudists and the occasional school science class trolling for sea specimens, few people explore this last vestige of Miami's natural coast. Get there early on… More >>
  • BEST TOPLESS BEACH

    Depends

    Scientifically speaking, the highest density of toplessness in this urbanized region has been recorded at the official nude beach at Haulover Park. Using the latest global positioning satellite technologies, our researchers have determined this is still the case. But in science, as in art, quality and quantity are two entirely different forms of measurement. In the field of toplessness, gender… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HIKE

    Pine Glades Lake Trail

    This trail doesn't really have a name. In fact it's barely acknowledged by park officials. But if you stop at the visitors' center on your way in and ask for a map of the Long Pine Key Trail (bicycles permitted), you'll receive a photocopied, hand-sketched diagram on a single sheet of paper. Here's what to do with it: Drive nine… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BIRDWATCH

    Dump Marsh

    The paradoxical poetry of the name comes from the proximity to Mt. Trashmore, the alpine pile of refuse that looms up from the landscape at the edge of Biscayne Bay. With that in mind, it might be a good idea to visit when the wind is not coming from the southeast -- as it usually is. The ripe aroma of… More >>
  • BEST PICNIC SPOT

    Fairchild Tropical Garden

    Want to know what a "Dead Rat Tree" looks like? Want to know how the "Old Man Palm" and the "Shaving Brush Tree" got their names? How about strolling through a simulated rain forest or watching iguanas bask in the sun? You can do all this at Fairchild Tropical Garden, as well as find the perfect spot for a quiet… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE

    Oleta River State Recreation Area

    Hard-core mountain bikers will understand why Oleta has won for the third straight year. It's by default. There isn't any real competition in Miami-Dade County. (Amelia Earhart Park has drawn too many complaints about reliability and availability to be a contender.) So that leaves Oleta, which isn't bad at all, given that South Florida mountain bikers must do without actual… More >>
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