Best of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of 2016


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Map It

Arts & Entertainment

Food & Drink

Readers' Choice


Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Miami Heat Player
Dwyane Wade
Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons

The big stories this season for the Miami Heat focused on many of the newer names adorning the roster sheets. Star center Hassan Whiteside is finally getting out of his own way to become a legit all-around player. The late-February signing of veteran All-Star swingman Joe Johnson has paid massive dividends. And the emergence of rookies Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow in the absence of Chris Bosh is a testament to the management of one the league's most consistent franchises. However, it was the return to form by the Heat's greatest all-time player that quietly became the warm center that this team huddled beside for comfort and reassurance. For the first time in more than four years, 34-year-old Dwyane Wade was healthy enough to play the majority of an entire season. Through a combo of cleverness and patience, Wade and the Heat staff managed his various rehabs, his minutes, and his approach to the game to ensure he was on the floor when they needed him most. Flash isn't as quick as he used to be, but this past season, he not only provided the leadership he always has but he also delivered the sort of signature performances we haven't seen since his prime, when he carried the weight of Miami's championship hopes on his battered legs. It was a banner year that saw both his knees and the future of the team in better shape than expected.

Readers' choice: Dwyane Wade

Best Cheap Thrill

Now, this stunt will require preparation and a friend or two to document it. First, search the internet and purchase a chicken suit. Once your order arrives, tell your friends to meet you at Anglin's Fishing Pier. Put on your chicken suit and let your adrenaline slowly boil over. Go to the pier and run down it like a goddamned chicken boss. Jump.

2 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, 33308
Best Park
Esplanade Park
Courtesy City of Fort Lauderdale

What it lacks in amenities, Fort Lauderdale's Esplanade Park makes up for with three assets: location, location, location. You have to thank long-gone city planners who were visionary enough to set aside green space in the center of downtown, steps from Las Olas Boulevard and facing the New River. The grassy lawn is good for picnicking and makes a great waterfront perch for watching yachts parade by. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Discovery and Science, and an IMAX theater are all within walking distance, and the park is a popular spot for events and concerts, including regular jazz brunches and the annual New Times Beerfest. Once you've sufficiently chilled out, follow the brick path into the Arts and Entertainment district for a quick bite or a cold beer.

Readers' choice: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

400 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale, 33312
Best Nature Trail

Military Trail Nature Area features 20 acres of open greenery perfect for an afternoon run, a meditation session, or a much-needed break from reality. The trail highlights old Florida history, as it was built to act as an access road for soldiers in the mid-1830s, during the second Seminole War. It's also known for having one of the rarest plant communities in Broward, with scrubby flatwoods, pine and oak trees, and even a few bald cypresses. With barely any palm trees, you might even feel like you've stepped out of Florida for a hot minute.

4600 NW Ninth Ave., Deerfield Beach, 33442
Best Beach
Hollywood North Beach Park
Courtesy of Hollywood CRA

The beach is fun. The beach is great. But getting to the beach can be a major pain in the ass. You have to lug around chairs and coolers, along with your bottle of sunscreen. And wallet. And keys. And radio. Then when you get to the beach, you have to step onto the searing-hot sand as you navigate oily bodies to try to find a spot. Then you need a towel to lie on and an umbrella, unless you're one of those people who likes to slowly broil to death. Then you have to get back up to go buy food on the Broadwalk when you're hungry or when nature calls. It's a goddamned chore. But it doesn't have to be — because Hollywood North Beach Park is right there to alleviate the pain-in-the-ass production that is a day at the beach. It has a bevy of benches with grills, so you can just bring your own food to cook. It's also shaded by trees, so no umbrella is required. There's also a restroom. The park even has the Turtle Cafe, if you should get a hankering for a hot dog. Best of all, it's literally steps from the beach. The park also extends across A1A, where you can watch the boats, fish, have a picnic, or just people-watch. You can either park at the meters or inside the park itself for $8 on weekdays ($10 on weekends). If you arrive after 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, the price drops to $6. We knew you'd love a deal.

Readers' choice: Fort Lauderdale Beach

3601 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood, 33019
Best Snorkeling Spot
The Caves/Twin Ledges Moorings
Photo by Oleg Kaplun

Flashes of neon blue, orange, and yellow dart in and out of your foggy peripheral vision. A school of grunts appears on your left, and it's getting awfully close. Wait, is that a sea turtle? No, just a coral. Darn. You settle for chasing after the little pufferfish that just swam by and pretending you're an extra on the set of Finding Nemo. The past few weeks have had you itching for some Vitamin Sea, and the Twin Ledges moorings never fail you. Located an easy two miles north of the Port Everglades inlet, these 16 mooring buoys are teeming with marine life, and the visibility is typically good. Blue and yellow angelfish, parrotfish, lobster, and yes, the occasional sea turtle have no qualms with letting you drop by for a visit every once in a while. Don't forget to grab your GoPro and get to snapping. #snorkelselfie

Degrees/Minutes N 26 7.750 W 80 5.460
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 7 45.000 W 80 5 27.600

Readers' choice: Red Reef Park


Best Miami Heat Player: Dwyane Wade


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