Miami Springs Golf & Country Club

This place Trumps the Blue Monster! The Biltmore and Crandon Park? They command princely greens fees. So our choice is Miami Springs Golf & Country Club. Miami's oldest muni course and site of the Miami Open, the Springs has hosted Sarazen, Snead, Nelson, and all the greats from the game's golden era . These days, it welcomes scratchers and duffers alike. Fees are reasonable — weekday rates are $25, and weekend rates are $35 (plus cart and tax) — and there's plenty of yardage to challenge Bubba. Miami pioneer Glenn Curtiss and a group of fancy golfers who called themselves the Miami Coconuts built the course and clubhouse in 1923 for $101,000. Four years later, Curtiss sold it to the City of Miami after the Coconuts could not afford the maintenance. For 30 years, the Miami Springs Golf Course hosted the Miami Open. The last one was played in 1955. Later that year, the city burnt the clubhouse to the ground after deeming it an unsafe structure. In 1997, Miami sold the golf course to the City of Miami Springs for $3 million. Today, the course is the forgotten jewel among its more popular cousins in Doral and Coral Gables.

Country Club Of Miami

The best place to practice your golf swing in Miami is off the back of your megayacht, placing your perfect golf ball atop a gold-plated tee and swinging your custom titanium driver across the square of real, live Bermuda grass that you had imported from Bermuda (where else?), which was expertly manicured just hours earlier by Ernesto, your attractive (but not threateningly so) yacht gardener. But it turns out that sending golf balls into the ocean like tiny, pockmarked missiles is bad for the environment. Miami manatees have enough problems without having to dodge your shanks. Besides, you're broke. Luckily, the driving range at the Country Club of Miami is the next best place to improve your golf skills. Its grass is well-maintained, and it's open from dawn until dusk. And when you've tired of working on your big swing, there are nearby chipping and putting greens. Head over during Friday-night driving-range happy hour, when buckets of balls sell for $1 from 4 to 7 p.m. (the range is open 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays). Hey, until you and Ernesto sail off into the sunset, it'll have to do.

It's your one-stop park for every outdoor activity. Visitors to Tropical Park can find everything from tennis courts to soccer fields to a football field that regularly hosts high school games. Then there's the equestrian center, where horse enthusiasts can rent stables and participate in regular competitions. Among the courts for basketball and racquetball, you'll find a boxing center offering an amateur program. There's also a two-acre dog park with an obstacle course and lots of shady trees. There are paddle-boat rentals on a lake and another body of water with large-mouthed bass, bluegill, catfish, and more. For those looking to picnic, there is an array of options, from idyllic, hidden-away lakeside spots to rows of shelters for parties. There's even a grassy hill that is among the, ahem, highest pieces of earth in South Florida. It can make for a heck of a ride for daredevil dirt bikers, not to mention one precarious King of the Hill game.

East Greynolds Park

Your dog has simple needs: Food, water, a little exercise, and something — be it rawhide or the remote control — to chew on. So when it comes to dog-park amenities, it's all about catering to dog owners. And East Greynolds does a great job of exactly that. Some of the place's amenities are solely for the dogs, of course. There are separate sections for large and small breeds, ensuring Princess the Chihuahua won't get trampled by any rough-housing direwolves. Fountains are on hand to make sure pups don't get dehydrated while they're prancing around in the hot Miami sun. But you'll find all those things just about anywhere. Greynolds stands out because of its human touches: shaded pavilions in both large and small dog areas, for example, so dog owners can stay comfortable and sunburn-free while their pups play. Parking ($2 per hour) is plentiful, and the location is picturesque, with a thin forest to the north and a dock overlooking Maule Lake to the south. There's even a public and clean (by park standards, anyway) restroom right outside the dogs' play area, ensuring you won't have to pop a squat, Fido-style, when you've gotta go.

Alice C. Wainwright Park
Courtesy of the GMCVB

It's hard to preserve waterfront property in Miami. If high-rise developers aren't locked in a bloody battle over a parcel, it's destined to become a gaudy mansion. Every now and again, a municipality gets a sliver of land to maintain for the masses. Alice C. Wainwright Park is a gem hidden among multimillion-dollar mansions on a hard-to-find spot south of downtown. To the north are Brickell's glittering office and condo towers. To the south is still-Bohemian Coconut Grove. The park is a narrow strip of green space that ends at Biscayne Bay and offers sweeping views of Key Biscayne and the edge of downtown Miami. The best place to roll out the blanket, before depositing the cheese and wine, is next to the water, which is separated from the rest of the park by a short, rocky drop-off. If you want to take things to the next level, fire up the built-in charcoal grills.

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There's no disputing that downtown Miami provides one of the most gorgeous vistas in this town. From the JFK Causeway to the arch of the Rickenbacker, the arresting sight of Downtown dominates Biscayne Bay. And no matter what the weather or time of day, from flaming sunset to cool-blue midnight, it provides a special patch of sky-high glass and colorful noise that's unnervingly pretty. And nowhere gives you a more complete and undisturbed view than the dock along the west side of Watson Island. Park your car in the empty lot in the shadow of the Miami Children's Museum — there's rarely more than one or two other cars there — and wander over to the edge of the seawall, where huge rusted moorings hark back to a time when the skyline across the bay was a simpler, smaller thing. Bask in the glory of the city's majesty. From the Omni to the Port of Miami, the view from Watson Island captures a panorama teeming with madness and neon and beauty. It's a paradise lost and reclaimed, home to an international array of raving lunatics and geniuses, murderers and poets and princes. It's damned near perfect.

Whether you're driving a shitty car that requires a double-pump of the clutch to work properly, riding a bike that's rusted into eternal sixth gear with a half-flat tire, or walking back to your Mid-Beach hotel at 6 a.m. with blisters after dancing the night away with foreign strangers at LIV, this stretch along the water is unbeatable. It starts right around Brittany Park on Indian Creek Drive. Then, going south, it fluidly becomes less about the shitty day you had at work or the fight you had with your BFF and more about the surroundings. Close your eyes and feel the breeze. Look at the sunset peeking through every building. Study the stellar mansions of Millionaire's Row. Palm trees are perfectly placed along the water, so photo ops are unavoidable. Fancy yachts from Italy and the French Riviera line the docks for weeks at a time. At night, the 41st Street Bridge lights up like a deep-sea creature with bioluminescent capabilities. Lampposts lining the bridge show bright, interchangeable colors. This is the Magic City at its greatest.

It's hard to believe, but there is quite a landscape to explore in the western part of Miami-Dade known as Little Venezuela, AKA Doral. Home to industrial complexes and modern housing developments, it's a trip inside the mind of an urban planner on blotter acid. The city is a great place for a day trip on two wheels. So do yourself a favor. Link up with the Doral Cycling Club, a group of hard-core cyclists who keep safety in mind. The club always provides a warm welcome to new cyclists, sponsoring weekly morning rides and a 55- to 65-mile adventure that takes you from Doral to Key Biscayne on Sundays. However, we suggest bike riders stick to the Saturday ride that covers a distance of 45 to 55 miles within the city limits. The journey begins at 7:30 a.m. from Eugenia B. Thomas Elementary School. From there, you'll trek across Doral's urban terrain, hitting the Dolphin Mall and the International Mall while twice crossing the bridge on NW 97th Avenue that goes over the Dolphin Expressway. The average speed is 20 to 22 miles per hour, although there are three "speed zones" in which speed is increased substantially to 26 to 32 miles per hour. Each speed zone has a sprint where riders can top 35 miles per hour. The average size of the peloton on Saturdays is 50 to 60 riders.

Pull into the gravelly parking lot at Crandon Park Marina. Park as close as you can to the road, in the free spaces. Turn off your engine, step into the humid morning air, and feel the breeze on your soon-to-be sweaty skin. Stretch your legs against the bumper of your car — really stretch them. Now run west on the paved path that parallels the road. Notice the fishermen prepping their boats for a day at sea. Stride onto the first bridge, an easy one with a barely noticeable incline, stretching from Crandon Park to Virginia Key almost at sea level. Feel that first energizing blast of bay wind right off the water. Look across the horizon to the few sailboats in the distance and the pinks and peaches of sunrise beyond. Keep running. Set foot back on land at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. How long has that building been under construction now? No matter. Take note of its beautiful beaches. Keep running. Pass Miami Seaquarium and Mast Academy, then the road that used to lead to Jimbo's. Reminisce. Keep running. Smile at the other runners, speedwalkers, and families. The path is wide enough for you all. Keep running past the kayak tours and snack vendors until you're past the Rusty Pelican and the Rickenbacker bridge looms. It's not as far or as steep as it looks, and the skyline view from its peak is worth the effort. Coast back down to land with the breeze cooling your skin and slowing your heart. Know that the hardest part is over. Or maybe not. Your car's at the marina, dummy.

Soccer enthusiasts in Miami-Dade don't have to wait for World Cup fever to enjoy a competitive game. The rooftop at 444 Brickell offers no vuvuzelas or waving banners, just straight foot-to-ball contact in a place that feels as if it were on top of the world. The view from the field offers skyscrapers and breathtaking cityscapes. A concession stand, a lounge, and an outdoor patio separate two turf fields on top of the converted parking garage. They are equipped with netted courts and padded walls for safety. It's a clean, relaxed environment, and the staff is on a first-name basis with most players. The Brickell location makes it an ideal stop for a quick game during a lunch break or after work. The Roof Top is also putting together a soccer academy, leagues, and tournaments. Rates are competitive with other Miami canchas (from $100 to $120 for a field per hour), but what makes rooftop soccer unique is the atmosphere. Round up ten close buddies and pay less than you would for dinner to get your blood circulating, oxygen flowing, and heart racing. It's open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., weekends 9 a.m. to midnight. There's both garage or street parking, giving you no excuse to be lazy.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®