BEST PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE Markham Park 16001 W. State Road 84

Sunrise

954-389-2000 The words mountain and Florida rarely come up in the same sentence -- unless you're an upwardly mobile biker who has found the next best thing to an actual mountain range: Markham Park. It may not be the Rockies, but Markham provides intense trails for serious riders. Amateurs beware: If you're not the type who can find an upside to falling down, stick to Oleta River State Recreation Area. "I don't recommend Markham for beginning riders," says Carlos Yulee, who leads group treks at several South Florida parks. He says Oleta is great for a workout and is safer, but for a real challenge he'll take Markham. The park has long steep climbs and even better drops, the latter branded with names like Big Gulp and the oddly (mis)spelled Fred's Foly (which riders have also dubbed Fudge Brownie because it's all dirt the color of bittersweet chocolate). Rider John Sabatier says he likes Markham's variety, adding, "Oleta is technical, Markham is fast and technical."

BEST PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE Markham Park 16001 W. State Road 84

Sunrise

954-389-2000 The words mountain and Florida rarely come up in the same sentence -- unless you're an upwardly mobile biker who has found the next best thing to an actual mountain range: Markham Park. It may not be the Rockies, but Markham provides intense trails for serious riders. Amateurs beware: If you're not the type who can find an upside to falling down, stick to Oleta River State Recreation Area. "I don't recommend Markham for beginning riders," says Carlos Yulee, who leads group treks at several South Florida parks. He says Oleta is great for a workout and is safer, but for a real challenge he'll take Markham. The park has long steep climbs and even better drops, the latter branded with names like Big Gulp and the oddly (mis)spelled Fred's Foly (which riders have also dubbed Fudge Brownie because it's all dirt the color of bittersweet chocolate). Rider John Sabatier says he likes Markham's variety, adding, "Oleta is technical, Markham is fast and technical."

1802 NW 37th Avenue

Miami

305-633-4583 Challenging in every sense of the word, 17 is a 602-yard, par 5 dogleg sandwiched between an impressive lake guarding the left and a tee-side waste bunker and sand traps, looming the length of the fairway, to the right. If you manage to avoid a case of "the shanks," you'll end up on an elevated green -- the front of which greets you with more beach -- with all balls accounted for. Other challenges include low-flying airplanes landing at and taking off from nearby Miami International Airport, and resident raccoons that will gladly steal the hot dog you just bought from the snack cart. Melreese is a public course, and greens fees will run South Florida residents $58 on weekends, $48 on weekdays, and $32.10 after 3:00 p.m.

Readers´ Choice: Sixth at the Biltmore Golf Course

1802 NW 37th Avenue

Miami

305-633-4583 Challenging in every sense of the word, 17 is a 602-yard, par 5 dogleg sandwiched between an impressive lake guarding the left and a tee-side waste bunker and sand traps, looming the length of the fairway, to the right. If you manage to avoid a case of "the shanks," you'll end up on an elevated green -- the front of which greets you with more beach -- with all balls accounted for. Other challenges include low-flying airplanes landing at and taking off from nearby Miami International Airport, and resident raccoons that will gladly steal the hot dog you just bought from the snack cart. Melreese is a public course, and greens fees will run South Florida residents $58 on weekends, $48 on weekdays, and $32.10 after 3:00 p.m.

Readers´ Choice: Sixth at the Biltmore Golf Course

BEST POWERBOAT RENTAL Ablaze Boat Rental 24th Street and Collins Avenue

Miami Beach

305-674-9300 This business (formerly Beach Boat Rental) has occupied the same spot for 40 years. From the little roadside stand near the pedestrian bridge over Indian Creek, you can rent an eighteen-footer for $99 (two hours) or a yacht for 30 grand daily (with captain and crew, of course). Proprietor Anthony Marzilli owns every boat in his eleven-strong fleet and claims they all have current-model-year motors. He can also hook you up with wake boarding, water-skiing, tubing, and marine tours.

BEST POWERBOAT RENTAL Ablaze Boat Rental 24th Street and Collins Avenue

Miami Beach

305-674-9300 This business (formerly Beach Boat Rental) has occupied the same spot for 40 years. From the little roadside stand near the pedestrian bridge over Indian Creek, you can rent an eighteen-footer for $99 (two hours) or a yacht for 30 grand daily (with captain and crew, of course). Proprietor Anthony Marzilli owns every boat in his eleven-strong fleet and claims they all have current-model-year motors. He can also hook you up with wake boarding, water-skiing, tubing, and marine tours.

Haulover Beach Park
Photo by osseous / Flickr
BEST TOPLESS BEACH Haulover Beach 10800 Collins Avenue

North Miami-Dade

305-944-3040 Wandering around South Beach, the average tourist might think it's the place to go au naturel. The drunk women who parade along Ocean Drive while having deliberate "wardrobe malfunctions" sure make it seem that way. The bare-naked transients taking advantage of the free beach showers add to the effect. But it's a few miles up the coast at the north end of Haulover Beach where getting your privates sunburned is socially acceptable and legal. There's a marvelously diverse display of nature's bounty; some delightful days see thousands of disrobed sunbathers. It's easy to let those bikini-top strings loosen or trunks drop in this setting. Actually you sort of feel like a pervert if you keep the bathing suit on. Go ahead. Take it off. Nobody's looking. Just remember to dress before you drive away.

BEST TOPLESS BEACH Haulover Beach 10800 Collins Avenue

North Miami-Dade

305-944-3040 Wandering around South Beach, the average tourist might think it's the place to go au naturel. The drunk women who parade along Ocean Drive while having deliberate "wardrobe malfunctions" sure make it seem that way. The bare-naked transients taking advantage of the free beach showers add to the effect. But it's a few miles up the coast at the north end of Haulover Beach where getting your privates sunburned is socially acceptable and legal. There's a marvelously diverse display of nature's bounty; some delightful days see thousands of disrobed sunbathers. It's easy to let those bikini-top strings loosen or trunks drop in this setting. Actually you sort of feel like a pervert if you keep the bathing suit on. Go ahead. Take it off. Nobody's looking. Just remember to dress before you drive away.

Amelia Earhart Park
BEST DOG PARK Amelia Earhart Park 401 E. 65th Street

Hialeah

305-769-2693

and

The City of Miami Beach There are a lot of good dog parks in the area, which, given the population density, may be surprising. Nonetheless, in a crowded, ruthless, and sometimes lonely city, dogs, aside from wanting to run your life and have you catch a delicious bass for them, don't ask much. Whether you share your recreation time snoozing on a bench with a drooling, pulmonarily incapacitated English bulldog or chasing Frisbees with an agile whippet, the time spent with a pooch is time spent in the company of somebody who loves you. So it's natural, even for a scofflaw, to want to show a canine a good time. Law-abiding citizens and their pets can find enjoyable, shady dog parks in Coconut Grove -- there's a little one on Virginia Street and a big one at Kennedy Park on Bayshore -- but the crme de la crme of Miami-Dade legal dog parkdom is at Amelia Earhart. The five-acre Bark Park is a puppy paradise, but humans love it too because it's completely fenced and thus safe for escape-minded, car-chasing beagles. There's even a special area for smaller dogs. Amenities include paved walkways, benches, shade trees, waste stations, and specially designed drinking and spray fountains for thirsty pooches and their owners. Better yet, Bark Park admission is free (after a four-dollar parking fee to Amelia Earhart). However, the Atlantic Ocean is nearby, and dogs love the sea. Though the law against dogs on the beach is in fact enforced when there are lots of humans there, Miami Beach is really the place to roam with a dog. Older dogs and dogs with joint problems can run on the sand without risking injury, and younger dogs can really zoom along the shore and sometimes even surf the waves or wade through the breakers. And there are lots of clumps of seaweed, the occasional dead fish, and many other interesting smelly things for dogs to unearth, bury in the sand, or just roll in. Lifeguards will not and cannot enforce the no-dogs law, but the cops will. A still beachy tried-and-true alternative is the informal "dog beach" on Virginia Key near the Seaquarium, a dog-friendly patch of sand for decades.

BEST DOG PARK Amelia Earhart Park 401 E. 65th Street

Hialeah

305-769-2693

and

The City of Miami Beach There are a lot of good dog parks in the area, which, given the population density, may be surprising. Nonetheless, in a crowded, ruthless, and sometimes lonely city, dogs, aside from wanting to run your life and have you catch a delicious bass for them, don't ask much. Whether you share your recreation time snoozing on a bench with a drooling, pulmonarily incapacitated English bulldog or chasing Frisbees with an agile whippet, the time spent with a pooch is time spent in the company of somebody who loves you. So it's natural, even for a scofflaw, to want to show a canine a good time. Law-abiding citizens and their pets can find enjoyable, shady dog parks in Coconut Grove -- there's a little one on Virginia Street and a big one at Kennedy Park on Bayshore -- but the crme de la crme of Miami-Dade legal dog parkdom is at Amelia Earhart. The five-acre Bark Park is a puppy paradise, but humans love it too because it's completely fenced and thus safe for escape-minded, car-chasing beagles. There's even a special area for smaller dogs. Amenities include paved walkways, benches, shade trees, waste stations, and specially designed drinking and spray fountains for thirsty pooches and their owners. Better yet, Bark Park admission is free (after a four-dollar parking fee to Amelia Earhart). However, the Atlantic Ocean is nearby, and dogs love the sea. Though the law against dogs on the beach is in fact enforced when there are lots of humans there, Miami Beach is really the place to roam with a dog. Older dogs and dogs with joint problems can run on the sand without risking injury, and younger dogs can really zoom along the shore and sometimes even surf the waves or wade through the breakers. And there are lots of clumps of seaweed, the occasional dead fish, and many other interesting smelly things for dogs to unearth, bury in the sand, or just roll in. Lifeguards will not and cannot enforce the no-dogs law, but the cops will. A still beachy tried-and-true alternative is the informal "dog beach" on Virginia Key near the Seaquarium, a dog-friendly patch of sand for decades.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®