Best Hidden Neighborhood - 2009
Located along a lush stretch of Old Cutler Road and concealed by banyan and mangrove forests, Hammock Oaks is undeniably idyllic, if exclusive. It's essentially a gated wonderland of big-money Miami mansions, massive free-form swimming pools, and private grass tennis courts. So indulge your inner Gatsby and loiter a little bit while walking, running, or biking through the affluent enclave. But don't linger too long because there remain a number of awe-inspiring places where the common people can freely congregate. Start with the Fairchild Tropical Garden, featuring a fruit pavilion, palm glade, and vine pergola—plus large-scale outdoor sculptures by art stars such as Roy Lichtenstein and Dale Chihuly. Then, move north to Matheson Hammock Park, an amazing 629-acre expanse of public land. There are manmade lakes everywhere, including the park's legendary saltwater lagoon, and the forest is so secluded in spots that civilization seems an incredibly remote idea.