Best Of Sports & Recreation

  • Best Beach

    Fort Lauderdale Beach Park

    At daybreak, before the Maseratis and the Duck Tours clog A1A, before the sand temperature matches that of the coals on the grill, before the throngs of socks- and Teva-wearing tourists kick sand on your towel, Fort Lauderdale Beach is yours. You know it's worth waking up early for the...

  • Best Park

    John U. Lloyd Beach State Park

    Parks, we've got a few here in the Sunshine State — 161 state parks alone. But while plenty of states can boast of plenty of parks — some with giant redwoods and others with grand holes in the ground — in Florida, we have more of one thing than almost...

  • Best Dog Park

    Happy Tails Dog Park

    Not all dogs are created equal. Some fit in handbags. Others stand taller than their owners. And some may very well consume as much chicken as their owner on Wing Night. At Happy Tails Dog Park, all dog's creatures — especially those in need of a good run — can...

  • Best Surf Spot

    Fort Lauderdale Beach off A1A between Belmar and Viramar Streets

    Surfing is a state of mind, they say. It's not so much a destination but a journey of the soul. But you do actually have to go to a destination to surf. No need to drive forever and wind your way to some secret spot when there are miles of...

  • Best Kayaking

    Middle River

    Motors have ruined boating. There was a time when taking to the sea meant adventure — just you and your vessel, fighting nature together, working as one to tame that violent lover known as the ocean. Gone are those days. Now you just hit a button and let technology do...

  • Best Nature Trail

    Coastal Hammock Trail at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

    You live where other people dream of taking their vacations. Sure you have to go to work during the weekdays and sitting in I-95 traffic with a broken A/C in the long summer months is sucktastic. But toss on a pair of rubber flip-flops and stroll down to a beachside...

  • Best Cheap Thrill

    SkyZone

    Trampolines were an exercise fad in the '80s. Every kid's mom had one sitting out in the garage completely unused. And a large percentage of those kids who lived in South Florida set it up next to the pool to use as a springboard. A percentage of those kids were...

  • Best Not-So-Cheap Thrill

    Scuba Diving With Force-E Pompano

    Diving with sharks is not for the faint of heart, and it's not for the faint of wallet either. But then again, there are some things in life you shouldn't bargain-hunt, and haggling with the guy who may soon be pulling you from the literal jaws of death is probably...

  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

    Butterfly World

    Your friends, family, and acquaintances will find their way to the beach. Just tell them to head east. But to make it through the urban sprawl to the oasis that is Butterfly World, they might need a guide. On ten acres of botanical gardens, you will find more than 20,000...

  • Best Day Trip

    John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

    It's easy to forget that Fort Lauderdale is only a 90-minute drive to a different ecosystem. At John Pennekamp, the first undersea state park in America, you'll see fish of every size, shape, and color. For $29.95 (plus an $8 park entry fee per vehicle and equipment rental if you...

  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Canoeing on Peace River

    Less than a three-hour drive from Broward County past Lake Okeechobee and west through the town of Arcadia, you cross Peace River. The name comes from the peaceful conditions of the flow of water, making it no trouble to paddle upstream through water that's reddened by the shallow conditions. If...

  • Best Pool

    Pelican Grand Beach Resort

    What's better than a four-star beach resort with a heated pool just a stone's throw from the lapping waves and sun and sand? Why, a four-star beach resort with a heated pool just a stone's throw from the lapping waves and sun and sand... with a built-in lazy river! There...

  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Sailboat Bend

    Hear us out on this one. Sailboat Bend is more than a residential neighborhood; it's an eclectic community in the historical district of classic old Fort Lauderdale. Here at the far west of Las Olas Boulevard, away from the chichi shops and art galleries, new minicondos sit next to dilapidated,...

  • Best Place to (Snow)Bird-Watch

    Dairy Belle Ice Cream

    They flock in groups of five to six — however many they can fit in their rented Chrysler minivan — and will stand in line chirping for nearly half an hour as they wait for momma bird to serve up that medium soft serve, in a cup, double on the...

  • Best Place to Spend a Rainy Day

    Undergrounds Coffeehaus

    One of the best ways to spend any rainy day is with a good book and a hot drink. You'll find plenty of both and far more at Undergrounds Coffeehaus in Fort Lauderdale. Accurately self-described as an artsy coffee shop and used-book store, the 'Haus is located on Federal Highway...

  • Best Place to Get High

    Museum of Discovery and Science

    If the DEA really wanted to catch pot smokers, it would buy an IMAX theater and host weekly screenings of Gravity. Add science, reptiles, and some mind-blowing exhibits to the mix and it's game over. You've just created a pothead paradise. But let's be very clear, people. You are to...

  • Best Place to Watch the Sunset

    Sawgrass Expressway

    Dusk in South Florida is easily forgotten. Living on the East Coast, one can forget the simple pleasure of just stopping to watch the sinking sun linger in the sky until it drips into the horizon. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. The best way to watch an actual...

  • Best Place For a Quickie

    The Parking Garage at Galleria Mall

    After a sweltering day of sun, drinks, and salt water on Fort Lauderdale Beach, sometimes the sand in your suit isn't the only thing grinding you. If you weren't swift enough to slip off for a quick one in the water, there are few spots between A1A and Federal Highway...

  • Best Place to Propose

    Las Olas Gondola

    If you look closely on Fort Lauderdale's New River, in between the yachts and beer-guzzling bros on their party boats, you'll see something rare floating down the water. It's called love. And it's salty. The Las Olas Gondola (approximately $150 per ride) operates here in the Venice of Florida, operated...

  • Best TV Sportscaster

    Will Manso, Sun Sports

    Miami Heat broadcasts are lathered in emotion for Heat fans. Especially when the hometown team loses. So what the fans need is a calm, collected, amiable face to remind everyone that, yes, losing sucks, but we have the best team in all the land, so chill. And that face belongs...

  • Best Marlins Player

    Jose Fernandez

    Some sports stars seem to fit seamlessly into their cities, like left hands into well-worn mitts. Derek Jeter was destined for Yankees pinstripes. George Brett was made for the muddy modesty of the Midwest. And Wade Boggs embodied Boston with his blue-collar attitude and bizarre superstitions, like eating fried chicken...

  • Best Panthers Player

    Roberto Luongo

    Whoever came up with the saying "You can't go home again" has never watched goaltender Roberto Luongo's long and winding — and award-winning — career with the Florida Panthers. Luongo's first stint with the Panthers began in 2000 and resulted in franchise records being set, Vezina Trophies being won, and...

  • Best Dolphins Player

    Brent Grimes

    It's been tough to find a silver lining in the Miami Dolphins for the better part of a decade, what with all the suck that has washed over this franchise like a terrible wasting disease. Yet by some miracle, there was actually at least one player who gave the Fins...

  • Best Heat Player

    Ray Allen

    Seven seconds. The Miami Heat was seven seconds away from losing its NBA crown and watching the San Antonio Spurs celebrate the 2013 NBA Finals championship on the Triple-A home court. Heat fans were seven seconds away from having their hearts ripped out of their chests and their souls condemned...

  • Best FAU Player

    D'Joun Smith

    USF quarterback Steven Bench had to have known he was in trouble the minute the ball left his hands. His team was down to the Florida Atlantic University Owls 21-10 late in the fourth quarter, and he was desperate to get his team back on the board. But Bench decided...

  • Best Team Bonding Activity

    Cycle Party

    There's a reason we make kids run three-legged races. It teaches them about teamwork. To win the race, one must work with the other person as a unit. The kids learn to communicate, burn a couple of calories in the process, and maybe even get a plastic trophy at the...

  • Best Place to Watch the World Cup

    King's Head Pub Restaurant

    The World Cup is right around the corner — why not get off the couch this year and take in the excitement in a pub that makes you feel like you've been following the sport the past four years (you haven't, but you can pretend!). The King's Head Pub in...