Overtown Youth Center
Overtown is a slum and the last place you'd expect to see real estate whiz, revered art collector, and poster man for the rich and powerful Marty Margulies. But there he was one day, noticing how kids on NW Fourteenth Street were hanging and banging, preparing for a future in dope slinging or gangsta pimpin'. Some may have been plotting escape, but that's a lofty dream down here. Margulies -- a rare if not unique mix of developer-smarts and goodness-of-heart -- whipped out $2.5 million and had built the terrific 18,000-square-foot complex known as the Overtown Youth Center. About 200 children have joined the new facility, which boasts spiffy classrooms, a fine auditorium, lockers, showers, computers, and the best basketball court in town. Alonzo Mourning, who appeared at the center two months and two days after a kidney transplant to speak to the children, has used his charities to fund day-to-day expenses. Only children who are members of the center's after-school program can use the gorgeous court, but they play teams from around the county and anyone can attend. Also, the OYC is part of Gibson Park. Walk past the Chinese restaurant and the church, across the park's grassy knoll, and, at the southern end, you'll find excellent courts where anyone can play.

Haulover took this award in 2002. Then, as today, it had competition, most of it from Key Biscayne. That island's eight-mile-long eastern shore offers the full range of amenities, from crowds and condos to seclusion and wilderness. (It has also won this honor twice.) South Beach, once a strong contender, can no longer be given serious consideration. Its fatal flaw: congestion. You can spend half the day (and a small fortune) just parking your car. Parking, however, is never a problem at Haulover, where the lots cover many acres and the price is a reasonable $4.25. But Haulover's greatest attraction is its spaciousness. South of the crowded clothing-optional area it is possible, even on holiday weekends, to claim a patch of sand without feeling like you're crashing someone else's party. Often the place seems deserted, a rare luxury these days.

Haulover Beach Park
Photo by osseous / Flickr
Haulover took this award in 2002. Then, as today, it had competition, most of it from Key Biscayne. That island's eight-mile-long eastern shore offers the full range of amenities, from crowds and condos to seclusion and wilderness. (It has also won this honor twice.) South Beach, once a strong contender, can no longer be given serious consideration. Its fatal flaw: congestion. You can spend half the day (and a small fortune) just parking your car. Parking, however, is never a problem at Haulover, where the lots cover many acres and the price is a reasonable $4.25. But Haulover's greatest attraction is its spaciousness. South of the crowded clothing-optional area it is possible, even on holiday weekends, to claim a patch of sand without feeling like you're crashing someone else's party. Often the place seems deserted, a rare luxury these days.

Considered one of the finest charities in the nation, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is a model of how a charity should work. Administrative costs are kept down while a significant percentage of funds raised through local affiliates remains in the communities where the money was donated. This race qualifies as the big-money benefit for a great cause. Approximately 1.5 million runners participate in the 5K run/walk, which is conducted in many locations. The local race takes place every October in Bayfront Park, winding its way through downtown and the Brickell area. (There's also a race in West Palm Beach.) Runners are separated into divisions that include one specifically for survivors of breast cancer. You can also join a one-mile walk or enter your kids in the tot run. Ceremonies pay tribute to cancer victims and celebrate the success of survivors. A good way to take over downtown (known to shut down completely for the filming of terrible Hollywood movies) for a cause that matters.

Considered one of the finest charities in the nation, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is a model of how a charity should work. Administrative costs are kept down while a significant percentage of funds raised through local affiliates remains in the communities where the money was donated. This race qualifies as the big-money benefit for a great cause. Approximately 1.5 million runners participate in the 5K run/walk, which is conducted in many locations. The local race takes place every October in Bayfront Park, winding its way through downtown and the Brickell area. (There's also a race in West Palm Beach.) Runners are separated into divisions that include one specifically for survivors of breast cancer. You can also join a one-mile walk or enter your kids in the tot run. Ceremonies pay tribute to cancer victims and celebrate the success of survivors. A good way to take over downtown (known to shut down completely for the filming of terrible Hollywood movies) for a cause that matters.

This bayside park at the eastern terminus of the Venetian Causeway was recently renamed to honor the Bee Gee brother who died in January 2003. (The brothers' private recording studio is a block away. Maurice loved the park.) A free boat ramp and adequate parking make this a good place to launch and for a variety of paddle adventures. Head northwest into the expanse of Biscayne Bay and its spoil islands. A southern route will take you along the Beach's mushrooming skyline toward Star Island, Government Cut, Fisher Island, and the open ocean. On either side of the park are canals that wind through residential neighborhoods and provide access to Indian Creek, which leads to La Gorce Island and beyond. Helpful hint: Bring along a map.

This bayside park at the eastern terminus of the Venetian Causeway was recently renamed to honor the Bee Gee brother who died in January 2003. (The brothers' private recording studio is a block away. Maurice loved the park.) A free boat ramp and adequate parking make this a good place to launch and for a variety of paddle adventures. Head northwest into the expanse of Biscayne Bay and its spoil islands. A southern route will take you along the Beach's mushrooming skyline toward Star Island, Government Cut, Fisher Island, and the open ocean. On either side of the park are canals that wind through residential neighborhoods and provide access to Indian Creek, which leads to La Gorce Island and beyond. Helpful hint: Bring along a map.

Wifflegolf is the generic title for the various forms of golf using plastic or rubber balls and not using a golf course. There are many types of plastic balls to choose from, some thin and some thick, some with no holes and some with big holes. The best course in Miami is Country Walk, but any neighborhood heavy on houses and light on traffic works. To begin, design the course. First tee is your own driveway. First "hole" is the stop sign at the corner. Some players insist that only putters be used, while others prefer to allow wedges for more advanced play. You knock your first shot into the street, attempting to get close to the middle without going over it so your ball will roll on the road as far as possible before slowly spinning into the grass. (Miami streets are all tilted down from the middle for drainage purposes.) The second shot generally involves a short chip aimed to land a few feet in front of the sign. Then tap your harmless orb in. (As this isn't a hole, you need only hit the sign.) Par three -- unless a car runs over your ball, which hurts, or the wind has its way, or a dog joins the game. The next hole is that giant ficus around the corner (a sort of dogleg). Loft your tee shot over the roof of the blue house next door, then use spin to go around the hibiscus bush....

Wifflegolf is the generic title for the various forms of golf using plastic or rubber balls and not using a golf course. There are many types of plastic balls to choose from, some thin and some thick, some with no holes and some with big holes. The best course in Miami is Country Walk, but any neighborhood heavy on houses and light on traffic works. To begin, design the course. First tee is your own driveway. First "hole" is the stop sign at the corner. Some players insist that only putters be used, while others prefer to allow wedges for more advanced play. You knock your first shot into the street, attempting to get close to the middle without going over it so your ball will roll on the road as far as possible before slowly spinning into the grass. (Miami streets are all tilted down from the middle for drainage purposes.) The second shot generally involves a short chip aimed to land a few feet in front of the sign. Then tap your harmless orb in. (As this isn't a hole, you need only hit the sign.) Par three -- unless a car runs over your ball, which hurts, or the wind has its way, or a dog joins the game. The next hole is that giant ficus around the corner (a sort of dogleg). Loft your tee shot over the roof of the blue house next door, then use spin to go around the hibiscus bush....

We're not recommending a specific trail or route through this historic agricultural district, but we do recommend you explore it on foot sooner than later. The building boom exploding throughout the southern part of the county means it's only a matter of time before the quiet back roads and fragrant groves and colorful nurseries and lushly landscaped ranch homes are but a memory. A good place from which to set out is the county's 32-acre Fruit and Spice Park (24801 SW 187th Ave., 305-247-5727), a unique collection of some 500 types of fruits, nuts, spices, and herbs. Prepare for sun, heat, bugs, and road-hogging farm equipment.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®