Finding affordable parking — heck, any parking — in Miami Beach is a strategic and risky game. The goal is to optimize price, location, and availability, which alone would be difficult — even if you didn't have to try your damnedest not to run over jaywalking tourists. Next time you're circling around South Beach, distressed by this eternal quest, consider the following rules: ( 1) Stick to City of Miami Beach parking (lest you get hustled by an independent lot with a history of towing problems, or fork over a flat rate that'll cost you more than your dinner). (2) Shoot for a spot near Lincoln Road. Anything near SoFi will already be taken. Sorry. (3) Try the Pennsylvania Avenue Garage. Everyone knows about the 17th Street Garage — the behemoth across from the Miami Beach Convention Center — but few people realize that the adjacent Pennsylvania Avenue Garage, a fraction of the size, is much better. When it's a big holiday or festival weekend and Ol' Faithful is somehow already full (all 1,460 spots — we will never understand it), turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue and continue straight past gluten-free haven Oolite. Then make a left onto Lincoln Lane North (the alleyway behind Lincoln Road). To your left, directly across from H&M, you'll find the easily obscured but oh-so-magical word: "entrance." Tons of the 550 parking spaces are almost guaranteed to be open because few people realize that the 17th Street Garage's scaled-down, younger cousin is even there. The cost for parking is $1 an hour for the first six hours, which is a miracle in South Beach. And the location is perfect if you're catching a performance at the Fillmore or New World Center. It's also within walking distance of anywhere else between Alton Road and Collins Avenue you might wish to go. You can even walk to Ocean Drive to enjoy a giant frozen margarita.

Amelia Earhart Park

Hialeah is more than agua, fango y factoría. In fact, the City of Progress is home to 515 acres of the great outdoors. From extreme watersports to mountain biking to a petting zoo, there's never a shortage of things to do at Amelia Earhart Park. For adrenaline junkies, there's the Miami Watersports Complex. Located on the park's 90-acre freshwater lake, MWC offers all sorts of wakeboarding, water-skiing, and kneeboarding. On a not-so-intense level, el parque also has less extreme water attractions like paddle boats and lush biking trails for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders. Animal lovers can feed goats and pet cows at the Bill Graham Farm Village and even take a hayride. With pony rides and the slides, swings, and balance beams at Tom Sawyer's Play Island, kids can run around for hours and burn off their energy until it's time to grab a soda from the general store across the Farm Village. There are even two giant hills that provide a bird's-eye view of Hialeah. With all of that nature, you might forget you're in La Ciudad Que Progresa.

Readers' choice: Oleta River State Park

The history of the swimming pool dates to the third millennium B.C., when the Great Bath was built in what would become Pakistan. Since then, pool technology has improved greatly thanks to breakthroughs like chlorine, filters, water jets, and pool skimmers. But perhaps the peak of pool technology is the lazy river. The history of the lazy river is sadly underdocumented, so we don't know who to credit with its invention. All we can do to honor that legacy is, well, sit in giant tubes as jets propel us along manmade rivers at leisurely speeds. Luckily, we can do that at McDonald Water Park in Hialeah. The oblong loop traverses the northern end of the park, and riders pass lovely palm trees and under walking bridges and arches. For the laziest among us, that will be enough. But the park also features a wave pool and splash pond for those who have not reached maximum amounts of chill. Admission costs $10 for adults and $7 for children; Hialeah residents get in for $5 (adults) and $3 (children).

Readers' choice: Venetian Pool

If you're in Miami and don't play in the water, have you even lived? Those of us who call the 305 home take the ocean for granted, and that's just not right. We need to get out there in the salt air. It's good for the soul. Miami doesn't have waves for surfing, but who needs 'em when we have paddleboarding? Want to see the world from a bird's-eye view? Hang tight on a parasail and get a change of perspective. Need to feel the wind in your hair? Climb onto a Jet Ski and let your wild side hang out. You can even rent a party boat with friends or step into the future on a mothereffing flyboard (you know, that crazy thing that lets you fly around like Iron Man). Miami Watersports is open from 10 a.m. till sunset every day of the week to help us explore the great watery world around us. It's also available for lessons, all-day getaways, and package deals. Prices range from $25 to $150 an hour, depending upon the activity, and packages start at $199. Don't let another summer snooze by without seeing how the other half — cough, tourists, cough — lives.

Bird Bowl

You know what should never be fancy? Bowling. We don't understand why, then, at the beginning of the millennium, "luxury" bowling lanes began popping up around the nation, including Miami. Bowling is about cheap beer, questionable footwear, and greasy bar bites. So when you're done overpaying for a lane and "chef-inspired" eats, head west to experience one of the last remaining old-school bowling lanes in the county. Bird Bowl boasts 60 lanes — yes, 60 — which means wait times are usually minimal or nonexistent. The cost to attempt a strike is regularly $3.95 per person during nonpeak hours and increases to $31.95 per hour (up to eight people) Saturday nights and $25.95 per hour Sunday nights. Though we occasionally enjoy a grimy bowling alley, Bird Bowl is clean and well maintained, meaning you won't be slumming it out in the burbs. The restaurant has a fully stocked bar — you'd be surprised how little you'll pay for drinks once you're outside the city — and the menu includes everything from chicken wings (starting at $6.99 for six) to burgers ($7.99) and a Cuban sandwich ($6.99). No fusion menu here. Don't want to bowl? There's also billiards and a game room. And if the kiddo is having a birthday party, Bird Bowl can host it for $19.95 per child.

Readers' choice: Bird Bowl

Bayfront Park
Photo by Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

In the '90s, everything was amazing. Neon reigned supreme, children were free-range, and no one had ever heard of Kim Kardashian. That's why a '90s throwback is always a win. Millennials (and even Gen Xers) will never say no to reliving the pretechnology glory days. This cultural obsession with nostalgia is part of the brilliance of Bay Skate. Dreamed up by the brotherly duo of Alex and Marcos Macias of Macias Advertising as a way to give Miamians something awesome to do, the event won the Miami Foundation's Public Space Challenge in 2014. The first incarnation, held at Bayfront Park's Pepper Fountain this past February, brought back the days of couples' skates and strobe lights. For one shining night, downtown Miami was skate central, and everyone was invited. With a killer DJ spinning classic skate tunes, hip-hop legend Monie Love making an appearance, and a bay view in the background, it was Kendall's Hot Wheels' heyday all over again. Did we mention it was free? It's time Miami's masses brought their rollerblades out of retirement in preparation for the next installment.

facebook.com/BaySkateMiami

If your favorite position is the downward dog, walk the little fellow over to Skanda Yoga. A unique form of body, mind, and spirit balancing, Skanda is an alignment-based power vinyasa style funneled by the Dreamspell. Can't keep up with this yogi slang? You'll be well-versed after a moon cycle's worth of classes with the guru of Skanda himself: Ken von Roenn III. Just so you know, Dreamspell is based on the 260-day, 13-moon galactic cycle and Mayan calendar, with every day representing a "galactic gateway" that will reveal your truth and align you with nature's cyclical pattern. It's OK to be confused. In simpler terms, every day has a specific energy, which kicks off each yoga class, guides the sequence, and will open you up to the synchronicity of the universe. Take, for instance, red self-existing skywalker, which initiates the exploration and adventure of life, giving you the courage to step outside your comfort zone. Most of this class will be spent upside down (a position you aren't typically in from 9 to 5) in order to grow and surprise yourself both on and off the mat. Still confused? You probably need some Skanda yoga in your life.

Readers' choice: Bikram Hot Yoga Miami

Living in Miami can drive people to crave that mythical bikini body year-round — after all, summer isn't only three months of the year here. Fad diets and wild weightless solutions aren't the answer when the ultimate goal is keeping off weight. That's where a personal trainer comes in handy. Concept 21 Fitness is tucked away on the second floor of a shopping center on the corner of Ludlam Road and SW Eighth Street. The fitness center is mostly bare yet contains essential items like hand weights and a weight bench. Yanniel Santos, lead personal trainer and owner, employs everything here to get your heart rate pumping. He'll have you run around the parking lot, climb the stairs two at a time, and even do lunges across the hall. Wait until he has you do burpees or jump rope — your legs will feel like jelly after a session. But sooner rather than later, they'll turn into rock. If you've never worked out a day in your life, Santos can help. He'll take it easy on you and build a routine around your strengths and personal goals. Rates are based on availability and frequency of sessions. Call for a personal assessment, and be on your way to a year-round beach body.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®