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Sports & Recreation

  • Cindy Hutson

    Personal Best

    CINDY HUTSON ORTANIQUE ON THE MILE, 278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, 305-446-7710 Remember when Lincoln Road wasn't so crowded? When there were no chain stores and several really good restaurants? If you do, then you have fond memories of Norma's on the Beach, which opened there in 1994 and thrived for nearly five glorious years. As Norma's chef, Cindy Hutson… More >>
  • BEST NIGHTTIME BIKE RIDE

    Nighttime in Shark Valley

    Everglades National Park

    During the day, Shark Valley is a great place to rent bikes or take a tram on the fifteen-mile looping paved road through the sawgrass wetlands of the Everglades. At night, though, a different world emerges. On a clear evening the stargazing is spectacular, and the vast openness of the savannah beckons as an alluring respite from urban congestion. After… More >>
  • BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY

    Parmers Resort

    Spread over five waterfront acres in a quiet residential neighborhood, Parmer's is not a resort as commonly understood. There's no golf course, no spa, no restaurant. But that's a good thing. It means the people who drive down to the Keys and choose Parmer's are there for the right reason -- to relax and enjoy the beautiful setting. In fact… More >>
  • BEST BASKETBALL COURT

    Concord Park

    3200 SW 114th Avenue

    West Miami-Dade

    If you can't get high on this court, you'll probably get stuffed. But leave your feet too long for an ill-advised dunk (if you can do that sort of thing) and your hindquarters will get with the pavement quicker than an NBA player gets with a stripper. These are the courts at Concord Park on a daily basis. More ground… More >>
  • BEST FISHING HOLE

    Newport Beachside Resort Fishing Pier

    For the sake of the senses, a brisk ocean breeze is a must for a pleasant day spent fishing. A beautiful view of the sea is an added plus, as is a truly comfortable and well-appointed pier from which to cast your line. Newport Beachside Resort's 900-foot structure, the only commercial pier in Miami-Dade, has all that. Known to old-timers… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO ROLLERBLADE

    South Bayshore Drive

    Coconut Grove

    On any given day South Beach has gaggles of in-line skaters rolling along Ocean Drive, but South Bayshore Drive (between McFarlane Road and Vizcaya) has the shade and the scenery. But first a word of warning: Rush-hour traffic is unpleasant and dangerous. Best time for this is very early morning or late evening. Weekend mornings are lovely. Start at Peacock… More >>
  • BEST BOWLING ALLEY

    Cloverleaf Lanes

    Rave bowling? That's right. If you like your ten-pin experience on the freaky side, Cloverleaf offers its version of rave bowling on Friday and Saturday nights from 9:30 p.m. till 3:00 a.m., during which time the place transforms into a veritable South Beach nightclub, complete with blaring dance music and black lights that make the balls and pins glow in… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC PARK

    Gardens of Crandon Park

    This is a park within a park, and it has an identity all its own. In 1980, when Metrozoo pulled out of its 30-acre facility at the south end of Crandon Park, it left behind cages, pathways, several large ponds, meandering lagoons, and a colony of iguanas. Years of neglect transformed the place into a wild jungle populated by a… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO JOG

    Virginia Key to Key Biscayne

    Jogging is an introspective activity for loners. You don't need friends to jog. You don't need to coordinate your schedule or talk to anyone along the way. It's just your stamina and your thoughts and your path. Of these three, the path is about the only thing you can really control, so best to make it a good one. Park… More >>
  • BEST TENNIS COURTS

    Flamingo Park Tennis Center

    Since management at Flamingo's tennis center changed last year, using the courts has become a more pleasant experience. A new team of pros associated with the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton have been reshaping the tennis programs, adding clinics, maintaining competitive ladders for all levels of play, and improving Flamingo's seventeen clay courts (many of those nasty lumps have been… More >>
  • SECOND-BEST PLACE TO DITCH THE KIDS FOR A FEW HOURS

    Miccosukee Resort and Gaming

    As long as you're going to do something decadent like play bingo or eat fried alligator, you really owe it to the kids to let them experience similar overstimulation. Like everything else in the shiny new Miccosukee complex, the child-care center -- known as Club Egret -- is big (8500 square feet), brashly colorful, and unabashedly designed for having a… More >>
  • BEST RESTORATIVE STROLL

    Arch Creek Park

    Arch Creek Park was created around a natural limestone bridge formation that once was part of an important Indian trail, first used by the ancient Tequestas then by the Seminoles. Legend has it that the limestone had the power to absorb any dark, destructive impulses that may have infected a tribesman, leaving him purified and refreshed. So if you're feeling… More >>
  • BEST BIRDWATCHING DAY TRIP

    J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

    A two-and-a-half-hour trip across the Everglades (take Interstate 75 for the fast trip; Tamiami Trail for the scenic ride) gets you to Lee County and Sanibel Island. There you'll find the 6000-acre refuge, named in honor of two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and pioneer conservationist Jay Norwood Darling. The mixed estuarine habitat includes open water, mangrove islands, mud flats, freshwater… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL

    Flamingo Park

    The city deserves praise for replacing the pool at Flamingo Park. It was out with the old and in with a brand-new facility in an historic-district-approved pastel shade of yellow. Admission fees are just $1.25 for adults, a mere 75 cents for children (with a kiddie pool for the wee ones), and it's open every day until 7:30 p.m., late… More >>
  • BEST NATURAL HIGH

    Gust fronts

    Also known as "outflow boundaries" in meteorology jargon, gust fronts are those dramatic and refreshing winds that blow in from nowhere just before thunderstorms break. Though they only last five to ten minutes, the mighty gust fronts can provide intense moments of ion-charged exhilaration to us sweaty slogs who toil in Miami's soupy subtropical climes. When you see thick black… More >>
  • BEST BEACH

    North Shore Open Space Park

    With construction filling in virtually every inch of available waterfront property from Government Cut to the Broward County line, this seaside park is a rare jewel to be treasured. Seagrape trees not only form a shady buffer between Collins Avenue and the sands, they and the dunes are a much more pleasant backdrop than any high-rise condo or hotel as… More >>
  • BEST URBAN BIKE RIDE

    Coral Gables

    Residents of this fair city will tell you that the municipal administration at times resembles a fascist dictatorship. They may not have trains to run, but they do keep the streets quiet, sparklingly clean, and wondrously leafy, allowing you to cruise along under a cooling canopy. Sunday mornings are probably best for an excursion, with minimal intrusions from cars. Start… More >>
  • BEST MARINE STORE AND BAIT SHOP

    El Capitan Marine & Fishing Center

    El Capitan is a big, bright-blue box of a building as serene as the sea in an otherwise ugly strip-mall and warehouse-infested section of Miami. If the blue doesn't stop you, the big plastic model of a hammerhead shark affixed to the wall just may. Inside you'll find a well-run marine store that has been operated by the Coto… More >>
  • BEST DAY TRIP

    Everglades National Park

    As Uncle Sam is preparing to spend billions on restoring the River of Grass, Mr. Big Developer is licking his chops over the eastern fringes, so get to 'em while you can. Thank your lucky stars that you live so close to a spectacular, albeit unusual environment. A nearby, fun, and easy expedition is Shark Valley, a straight shot along… More >>
  • BEST PEDESTRIAN EXPERIENCE

    Hollywood Beach boardwalk

    As South Beach is to perfectly sculpted, hair-free human specimens, the beach at Hollywood is to everyone else. A stroll along the boardwalk (actually a paved path) is a perfect opportunity to let it all hang out and/or to marvel at others who do so with abandon. The scene can range from Canadian tourists roasting themselves on the sands before… More >>
  • BEST HOLE AT A GOLF COURSE

    Eleventh hole

    Doral Blue Monster

    Doral Golf Resort and Spa

    If you're asking yourself: Really, what am I doing on the links during wartime? the eleventh at the Doral's Blue Monster may be just the hole to assuage your guilty conscience. Or at least to make you feel you're engaged in a battle of your own. At just 363 yards, the eleventh is one of the shorter holes on the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DITCH THE KIDS FOR A FEW HOURS

    Childrens Zoo at Metrozoo

    The petting zone in the children's zoo, which is located just west of the aviary, has all these things young kids love: sheep, goats, pot-bellied pigs (who really dig little hands petting them), turkeys, chickens, ducks. So your little ones will be fascinated and occupied, and you can relax a little. At the moment management is installing a wildlife carousel… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO KAYAK

    Myakka River State Park

    Why should anyone drive roughly three and a half hours from Miami just to put a kayak in the water? Because Myakka River State Park offers fantastic paddling unlike anything in these parts. This is Florida's largest state park (roughly 45 square miles), and the Myakka is a rare gem, one of only two state-designated "wild and scenic" rivers. It… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BIRDWATCH

    Everglades National Park

    According to no less an authoritative source than the Tropical Audubon Society, the southern portion of Everglades National Park is "one of the best winter birding locations in the United States." Check out Tropical Audubon's Website (www.tropicalaudubon.org) for a comprehensive list of species and specific locations, but suffice it to say that the sightings run from warblers (more than twenty… More >>
  • BEST UNDERAPPRECIATED PARK

    A.D. Barnes Park

    At 62 acres it is much more than just a neighborhood park, but not enough people outside the immediate vicinity make the effort to seek out A.D. Barnes. Their loss. Besides the amenities you'd expect at a park this size (swimming pool, basketball courts, barbecue huts, picnic pavilions), Barnes can boast two attractions that distinguish it: elaborate accommodations for the… More >>
  • BEST POWERBOAT RENTAL

    Club Nautico

    Miami Beach Marina

    In Miami anything can be arranged -- for a price. For example, if you have an uncontrollable urge to race over the ocean in an ear-splitting, teeth-rattling go-fast boat, the folks at Club Nautico on Miami Beach could make it happen. Of course, owing to steep insurance costs and the need for an experienced skipper, you'll have to put up… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GO FLY A KITE

    Crandon Park

    It's spacious (no throngs of sunbathing tourists) and it's always windy as hell. What else does a kite-flying enthusiast need? Sure, there are wide-open spaces in barren parts of Miami-Dade, but we don't want to send you to the middle of nowhere. Crandon Park is easily accessible, and provides beautiful scenery when you're not looking up. But we also don't… More >>
  • BEST GUERRILLA SKATEBOARDING

    Florida International University

    University Park Campus

    Guerrilla skaters here regularly used to be escorted out by campus security, but today, thanks to Gov. Jeb Bush, a thrasher can ride for hours without being snagged. Simple reason. According to administrators, state funding cuts (the Bush connection) have forced a reduction in the campus security force of about twenty percent. Bad for late-night student stragglers trekking to their… More >>
  • BEST YOGA STUDIO

    Miami Yogashala

    This is not just a place for supermodels to sweat off water weight or body builders to stretch out their quads. What distinguishes Yogashala from the plethora of yoga studios and gym yoga classes in Miami is owner, director, and instructor Fred Busch. His positive attitude and serious attention to correct form and proper breathing not only enable people from… More >>
  • BEST SNORKELING SPOT

    Government Cut jetty

    For offshore reef snorkeling we highly recommend Biscayne National Park (reservations: 305-230-1100). But for viewing sea creatures, and for convenience and price, nothing beats the rock jetty that demarcates the northern edge of Government Cut. You don't need an inflatable life vest. It's great to have a quality snorkel and swim fins, of course, but in truth all you need… More >>
  • BEST PICNIC SPOT

    Greynolds Park

    So close yet so far from the commercial frenzy of upper Biscayne Boulevard and Aventura, Greynolds Park is an oasis of green and calm from the minute you turn off West Dixie Highway. Designated picnicking areas, some with barbecues, abound. For a quieter, more contemplative time, consider a shady spot near the West Lake or one of the tables tucked… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HIKE

    Everglades National Park

    Over the years we've recommended nearly all the viable hiking trails accessible from the park's southern entrance. The Long Pine Key trail network and especially its unnamed but gorgeous offshoot just beyond Pine Glades Lake (details from the main visitors' center). The five-mile round-trip Rowdy Bend trail just north of Flamingo (don't bother with the nearby but monotonous Snake Bight… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WATCH MANATEES

    Black Point Marina

    Manatee-watching may not be as consistently rewarding as birding. Often the only sign of the massive creatures are the concentric circles of water swelling upward from their underwater path. But if you keep an eye on the canal leading from Black Point Marina to Biscayne Bay, you'll see a snout poking above the water to snuffle in some of that… More >>
  • BEST PRIVATE SWIMMING POOL

    www.biltmorehotel.com

    The Biltmore's world-renowned, crescent-shaped pool is a record-holder. At 700,000 crystalline gallons, it ranks as the largest hotel pool in the continental United States. It is frequently used as a backdrop for movies, fashion spreads, and video shoots. The old grandstand bleachers, once used for popular aquatic shows, have been replaced with private cabanas and lush landscaping of palms, bougainvillea,… More >>
  • BEST TOPLESS BEACH

    Third Street

    Miami Beach

    Round women, short women, sleek and tall women. Women with foreign accents. Iowa girls with sensitive skin, glistening pink through a coat of sunscreen and barely believing they're lying on hot sand while their friends at home shiver under layers of scarves and sweaters. Brazilian goddesses all brown and slick with oil, their hair in braids or free in the… More >>
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