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BEST DAY TRIP Miami 2004 - Miami Beach to Naples

One of South Florida's natural bragging rights is the ability to see both sunrise and sunset over vast expanses of water. We cry for the people of Iowa and Kansas every time the purple and orange and yellow paint the horizon with fire. Try it: Find the precise sunrise and sunset times for any day of the year (aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.html is one source). Begin your trip from the pier in South Pointe Park at the southern tip of Miami Beach, where you'll see the sunrise over the Atlantic and perhaps meet some straggling, staggering clubbers on their way home. Then hop over to Little Havana, load up on café and pastelitos. Take the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41, or, in the city, SW Eighth Street) west. Stop at the Shark Valley Visitors' Center for a glimpse of the Everglades while strolling away the leg cramps from all that driving. The Miccosukee Indian Village is the next stop, the perfect place to grab some lunch and see how the natives survive in their Everglades. If you're ahead of schedule as you pass Everglades City, visit Tin City in Old Naples for super shopping. Stay south while heading west in Old Naples and you'll easily locate Naples's beach and its venerable pier (25 Twelfth Avenue S.). Dolphins often gather beside the pier, picking up lost bait and the fish attracted by all those anglers. Go to the end, lean on the wooden rail, and enjoy the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Ponder the notion of coming back.

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