Crandon Park
Photo by Chris Garcia / Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Both nature- and city-lovers agree that Crandon Park is a great place to paddle. Not only do you get the best views of the city but you can also lose yourself in Key Biscayne's ecosystems. Whether you choose to venture under the Rickenbacker Causeway or take a tour through the mangroves, you won't be disappointed. Experienced riders can brave the choppier seas of the south and catch a glimpse of the Cape Florida Lighthouse. Prices aren't bad: $20 for a one-hour rental and $45 for three hours. If you want to get your ashtanga on, find your inner Zen with stand-up paddle yoga. Private kite-boarding lessons are also available. This is truly an adventurer's playground.

This ride never gets old. Start on the perfect pavement pushing south on Washington Avenue from Lincoln Road. Then cut over to Ocean Drive (and its equally brilliant asphalt). Then just keep going south. If you're the daring type looking for an adrenaline rush, roll down the median as luxury vehicles drive mere inches from you. If you'd rather stay away from traffic, there's a nice, smooth pathway. On a sunny day with an easy breeze, there's hardly anything more satisfying than the sight of the Port of Miami to your right and the Atlantic Ocean on your left at the South Pointe boardwalk. Leave your board on the shore, have a quick dip in the waves, pull your towel out of your JanSport, and enjoy the sights for a little while. Then, after catching your breath, get back on the road.

This is one of those courts where you can find a lively pickup game every day. And with three full-size courts on the greentop, there's usually room for you to start your own game too. Because it's just off Biscayne Boulevard, it's easy to find, and there's plenty of free parking. However, since the courts themselves are set so far back from Biscayne, the atmosphere is way more relaxed than you'd expect. The place feels like a playground in the middle of the forest. Plus, if you take a few minutes off the court and explore the park, there's a fine view of Biscayne Bay. And that bay breeze is superrefreshing when you've just sunk the jump shot of the decade.

Golf is so darn expensive these days. Just a round can cost you more than $150. So try the nine-hole, 3,100-yard course in Greynolds Park. You can walk it after 3 p.m. (or 2, when it's not daylight-saving time) for only $10. Juniors under age 18 always play for $7. If you want to hit around in the morning, it's $22 with a cart and $14 without one. That's right, you cheap son of a bitch: $14! The course is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

Miami Skydiving Center

Fun rarely comes cheap, especially in a city like Miami, where the entertainment industry is driven by the economies of high fashion and luxury. You can spend your money on expensive bottle service or oceanfront condo rentals, but nothing compares to the thrill of Miami Skydiving Center. For $299, you can indulge in a tangible experience that won't leave you aching for a glass of water to cure your imminent hangover. Miami Skydiving Center provides guests with a means of exploring the city from an aerial perspective, granting a view that gives any South Beach hotel a run for its money. Discount rates start at $299 for groups of two or more; book online and save $50 per person. And all jumps come with a complimentary breakfast at Taste Bakery Café! Who doesn't like a free breakfast after their morning adrenaline rush?

Kennedy Park
Courtesy of the GMCVB

What better fits the bill for a relaxing, inexpensive outing than a picnic? For the perfect low-key day outdoors, channel your inner Yogi Bear — or stoner — and head to David T. Kennedy Park. Located just off South Bayshore Drive, this 29-acre park contains a treasure hard to come by in this city: lush, clean, and very green space. Equipped with paths and plenty of shade, it is a pleasure to stroll through while searching for a place to sprawl. David T. Kennedy provides something for the whole family: outdoor exercise equipment, sand volleyball courts, a playground for kids, and a fenced-in dog park for pups large and small. It also offers the kind of beautiful bayfront views usually reserved for yachtsmen and women. Benches line the paths, and a wooden walkway takes visitors right over the water. The area's two parking lots fill up quickly, especially on weekends, so consider bringing out the bikes. If picnic planners want to forget the packing part of lunch, grab some takeout grub at Monty's Raw Bar (2550 S. Bayshore Dr.). And most important, pick up some legendary frosted lemonades from A.C.'s Icee's truck, which is parked at the entrance daily — worth every bit of sugar.

Oleta River State Park

It's not always easy to connect with Mother Nature when you're sitting in your Civic in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Federal Highway, your necktie cutting off your circulation as you head to work at your Brickell high-rise. But take a quick ride up I-95 and you'll hit Oleta River State Park. Florida's largest urban park feels anything but urban. Hell, it could be Colorado, if Colorado had mangrove forests and sandy beaches. There are countless ways to spend a day (or night) at this sprawling green oasis. Take two wheels on the park's heart-pounding, gut-wrenching, off-road mountain-bike trails; bring your S.O. on a romantic nighttime kayak tour; rent a SUP on a summer afternoon; spend the night in an air-conditioned cabin; sun yourself on the sandy beach. It's a one-size-fits-all park — a lush wellspring of outdoor recreation that's well worth the $6 entrance fee.

Martell Park
Photo by Dan Evans

Most people have never heard of this hidden canine oasis, but it's worth finding. Nestled next to the Blue condo tower, the waters of Biscayne Bay, and the Julia Tuttle, it has a quality of stillness. This is a small park, but there are few people here — it's usually just you and a couple of other dog walkers. So it's easy to let your pups loose and relax on one of the well-placed benches in the shade under the broad canopy of trees. A few words of advice: Make your way here before or after rush hour — so as to avoid that horridly depressing sight of so many poor Miamians sitting in a hot standstill. This is a very quaint but still metropolitan place to run the hounds.

The Standard Spa, Miami Beach
Adrian Gaut/The Standard Spa

There's nothing standard about the Standard's pool. It features an underwater sound system so you can enjoy a relaxing swim to the beat. There's also an arctic plunge with 50-degree water that will stimulate your circulation and metabolism. Or you can really relax in the Roman-waterfall hot tub with an almost-too-hot-to-handle temperature of 103 degrees, topped off with an eight-foot waterfall. It's perfect to relax those sore muscles. But wait, there's more! Just around the corner is the mud lounge, where you — or someone you're comfortable with — can cover your body in different kinds of muds as you bake under the Miami sun like a piggy. And after you're done detoxing, there are high-pressured hoses to blast the dirt off you while you receive a hydro-powered massage. Best of all, you don't even have to book a room. The Standard offers day passes ($75 Monday to Thursday, $125 Friday to Sunday) that allow you to enjoy all of this plus the indoor DIY spa treatments. It's basically a pool and spa day rolled into one. Well worth the price, if you ask us. There's also a monthly membership program. Call 786-245-0860 for details.

South Pointe Park
Photo by Bruno Fontino / Courtesy of the GMCVB – MiamiandBeaches.com

Miami Beach has endless options on the sand, but if you're looking for a favorite that's close to the South Beach scene, South Pointe Beach is hard to beat. Although you can't swim in the waters in Government Cut, you can paddle about anywhere north of the pier. And on the sand, you'll find tranquil areas to sunbathe. Or maybe not. But you will find the most attractive bathing-suit-clad bodies anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. If you need more entertainment, nearby Nikki Beach provides a nightclub experience right on the sand, while a short walk away, Smith & Wollensky provides a fabulous brunch with views of the departing cruise ships.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®