Best Trail 2019 | FIU Biscayne Bay Campus Nature Trail & Butterfly Garden | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Florida International University

From an Olympic-sized pool to kayaking tours and the occasional open-water event on Biscayne Bay, Florida International University's waterfront campus offers several outdoor attractions to its sun-kissed student body. But it's the nature trail that best shows off the university's tropical setting. Beginning at the Glenn Hubert Library, wrapping around the campus, and running partly alongside Biscayne Bay, this three-mile trek is a master class in plant and wildlife native to Florida. Not only are birds such as the belted kingfisher and roseate spoonbill often visible from the trail, but also the damp surroundings attract Instagram-worthy butterfly species such as monarchs and sulphurs. Check out the mangroves, which not only serve as a barrier from the whipping sea breeze but also make for a prime nesting place for some of these incredible creatures. You won't need to worry about cutting class to take a stroll down the trail: It's open to the non-Panther public.

Nicholas Olivera

You don't need to be a part of the Brickell elite to relax on the coastal terrace that overlooks Biscayne Bay. Head east on SW 13th Street in Brickell until you reach the water. If the Mark on Brickell condos tower overhead, you're in the right place. At this Intracoastal hideaway, the view from any angle could be an establishing shot from a classic movie or TV show set in the Magic City — from the Rickenbacker Causeway as it has appeared in countless Miami Vice rip-offs, to the industrial shipping containers you might remember from watching Dexter. Save for hopping onto a luxury yacht and cruising on the bay, this location is the ideal vantage point for a quick photo shoot in the 305. And if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of dolphins wandering through the Intracoastal Waterway.

Brittany Shammas

The only thing cuter than a dog is a swimming dog. And you'll find lots of them at Snyder Park, one of the few local dog parks with a swimming hole just for pups. When Spot is panting on a muggy Miami day, it's worth the drive to Fort Lauderdale (and the $1 hourly parking fee) to see him splash with all the other good boys and girls. Plus, this place is weirdly beautiful, with tons of towering trees and water the color of a natural spring. There's plenty of shade where you can kick back and relax while your pooch romps around with all of his new friends — although you might be tempted to jump in yourself. Just remember: The swimming hole is closed the first Tuesday and Wednesday of each month, as well as 8 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday.

Readers' choice: Haulover Beach Dog Park

The winner of this category is usually a chic place on the beach where margaritas go for $20. Not this year. If you're a real swimmer, try this centrally located spot just off I-95 where people from all walks of life gather, soak a little, and chat. It's cheap: Entry costs just $3 unless you are 17 or younger, in which case it's free. The pool is great for lap swimming, particularly on weekdays, when it opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 8:50 p.m. The staff suggests guests come early or late because the middle of the day is busier. Saturday and Sunday, the hours are shorter — 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. — and the place is packed during open swim, when children are allowed in the pool.

Readers' choice: Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Davie Golf Club, just off I-595, is about a half-hour drive from downtown Miami. It's a long course — 6,347 yards — with water at every hole. The fairways are well groomed, and the greens are fast. There's also an aqua driving range, and two Class A PGA pros are available to correct that lousy swing of yours. The course is comparatively cheap during the summer, when it costs $35 for residents and $40 for nonresidents during weekend mornings. Best of all, it's close to the Miami Dolphins training facility, so while you are swinging away in the rough, you just might get to see some real athletes. Hurry up, though — the Fins plan to move their practice facility to Miami Gardens soon.

Miami Heat

It's been a long, winding road to the top for Justise Winslow. Since being drafted with the tenth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Miami Heat fans have been waiting to see him put together an entire season of greatness. They've waited to see if Winslow is worthy of carrying the torch Dwyane Wade passed to him. That wait officially ended in 2019. Since filling in for an injured Goran Dragic at point guard, Winslow has skyrocketed from hopeful prospect to genuine stud NBA player. Winslow averaged a career high in points, steals, and assists last season. He's more than just a role player. Justise Winslow is the Heat's best player.

Readers' choice: Dwyane Wade

University of Miami Athletics

Shaq Quarterman, Miami's First Team All-ACC starting middle linebacker, doesn't have to be here. He could be making money playing football in any one of 30 cities right now. That's been the case since he burst onto the scene as a difference-making freshman for the Miami Hurricanes 39 straight starts ago. He's here to finish what he started — to win a National Championship. By returning for his senior season, the Canes' steadiest player is in a position to accomplish that goal under new head coach Manny Diaz and an entirely revamped program. Whatever happens in 2019, the Canes are a much better squad with their best player and team leader in the fold. The NFL can wait.

University of Miami Athletics

Sometimes big things come in small packages. Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes, who stood out in an otherwise unremarkable 2018-19 Canes basketball season, has likely heard this his entire life. Lykes averaged 16.2 points on 40.6 percent shooting during the season. Against stiff ACC competition, the five-foot-seven Lykes was able to stand out even as the team cemented its 14-18 record. Despite the setbacks, Lykes did his part to keep the Canes within striking distance during each game. He routinely scored more than 25 points per game last season, including a 27-point effort against the mighty Tar Heels in North Carolina.

Eliot J. Schechter / Florida Panthers

Steve Goldstein — the play-by-play broadcaster for the Florida Panthers on Fox Sports Florida — gets better with age, even if you're not checking in with him every night. In addition to making calls, Goldstein anchors the sports and news for CBS Miami, but his voice is best known for tracking the movement of the puck for Panthers fans. That Goldstein can make even the least amusing Panthers game watchable, and even thrilling, is a testament to his talent as a broadcaster.

Readers' choice: Steve Shapiro

Miami Dolphins

It's been a rocky road for Stephen Ross on his journey as the Miami Dolphins' majority owner. He's endured TMZ-level scandals, controversial decisions, and an incredible number of terrible on-the-field products. Much of the headaches and downfalls have been due to unforced errors on his part, but over the course of the past year or so, Ross seems to have turned things around for the team. For starters, he poured more than a half-billion dollars into renovating Hard Rock Stadium, which is now the crown jewel of sports venues in Miami-Dade. The past 12 months have been promising, even as the team is in the midst of an overhaul. Ross recognized it was finally time to renovate his roster and coaching staff the same way he recently refurbished the stadium. He cleaned house by trading longtime quarterback Ryan Tannehill and firing head coach Adam Gase after a disappointing three seasons. Most fans recognized long ago that the Dolphins were in need of a rebuild, and it's encouraging to watch Ross take steps in that direction.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®