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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Spot For Skinny-Dipping

    Hallandale North Beach Park

    Hallandale's North Beach is the beach that trespassing regulations forgot. It's bad enough that hotels, motels, and estates claim most of the Atlantic shoreline in Broward and Palm Beach, but after dusk most parks are gated, heavily policed, or too populated for you to strip down in safety. Amid this prohibition North Beach's laissez-faire attitude and its relatively clean beach… More >>
  • Best Place To Mountain-Bike

    Quiet Waters Park

    Though there are no mountains to climb in South Florida, a few mountain biking tracks do require a substantial amount of technical expertise and endurance to conquer. Not Quiet Waters. It is neither a tire buster nor a dull flat track, and therein lies its attractiveness. The South Florida Trail Blazers volunteered to turn this lakeside trail into a legitimate… More >>
  • Best Indoor Rock-Climbing Gym

    Coral Cliffs

    Before opening his indoor gym of faux rock walls last spring, Coral Cliffs owner Robert Christiansen had a 1400-foot wide, 25-foot tall section of the warehouse space he leases covered with foot- and handholds comprising 23 routes -- from a ladderlike beginner's climb to contortionist-only extreme routes. And working by himself he's gradually expanded the climbing face, working toward a… More >>
  • Best Beach

    Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

    We can imagine doing without the beer-soaked bacchanalia of Fort Lauderdale beach in season. We can imagine doing without the annual dance of the white-bellied snowbird on Broadwalk along Hollywood beach. But somehow we can't imagine doing without the small-town charm of the short but sweet stretch of beach known as Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Drive along A1A from Sunrise Boulevard north. You'll… More >>
  • Best Place To Breathe Exhaust And Hear Engines Roar

    Air Dania

    The only thing loud enough to distract your attention from the throaty buzz of motorcycles tearing around the dirt track is the more imposing rumble of passenger jets. The planes, landing at nearby Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, pass low over the track's carefully bulldozed berms, jumps, and banked curves, lending a hint of aviation-fuel aroma to the unmistakable scent of… More >>
  • Best Sports And Recreation Value

    Gulfstream Park

    You can't even get into a concert these days for much less than $20 or $30. So when you consider that a show by an act like Cheap Trick or Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is included in the $3 admission fee every Saturday and Sunday at Gulfstream Park, the economics are evident. Also included for that measly two bucks is… More >>
  • Best Tennis Courts

    Jimmy Evert Tennis Center at Holiday Park

    Tired of going to the two-court spot closest to home and finding hacks swatting the ball back and forth on both of them? Sick of playing on the same tired surface? Don't have a ready partner but want to swat some tennis balls anyway? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, try Holiday Park, where they serve up… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Billie Swamp Safari and Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

    Proving they have more to offer than bingo and tobacco, those savvy Seminoles lure tourists to their Big Cypress Reservation with the promise of panthers and snakes, swamp buggies and airboats, chickees and crafts. Signs lead the way from Alligator Alley to Exit 14, then north on State Road 833 to West Boundary Road and into Billie Swamp Safari. Careen… More >>
  • Best Place To Jog

    Hollywood Broadwalk

    Plenty of parks in Broward and Palm Beach counties are suitable for putting a few miles on the running shoes. But if you're going to live in South Florida, you might as well take advantage of the ocean. There's no better stretch of property than the Broadwalk in Hollywood. It offers an unobstructed view of the ocean and a pleasant… More >>
  • Best Snorkeling

    Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

    Yes, you can pay $50 or more to go out on a boat, don a mask, and swim with the fishes. But why, when you can glide 200 yards out from the beach near the charming old Anglin's Fishing Pier and see coral reefs and sealife that's just as good -- for free. Mornings, before the surf is up and… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Tournament Players Club at Heron Bay

    "He's got a tricky little pitch shot from off the green, and we can see his knees shake from here," whispers Johnny Miller of NBC, sitting up in his TV tower next to the filled grandstands surrounding the 18th green. You grip down on the sand wedge, ignore the crowds (and the pressure), and lift the ball out of the… More >>
  • Best Place To Learn About Nature/Palm Beach

    Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

    The collection of dark-stained, cedar-sided buildings that houses the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center's classrooms, labs, and displays looks like ski lodges. The illusion is furthered by what appear to be several giant hot tubs spread out below the deck out back. But instead of decompressing skiers, the tanks are filled with turtles, fish, lobsters, and sharks, which staff members point… More >>
  • Best Basketball Court

    Cypress Park

    While those poor, underpaid NBA players were working out their contract dispute, they cost owners a bunch of cash. They also cost fans half a season. So while you're boycotting the babies who call themselves pros, "get game" yourself. You and your friends can take it to the hoop in style at Cypress Park, where smooth, hunter-green asphalt is divided… More >>
  • Best Place To Learn About Nature/Broward

    West Lake Park/Anne Kolb Nature Center

    Spread out beneath the two-story observation tower at Anne Kolb Nature Center is a microcosm of South Florida's pristine natural habitats: more than 1400 acres of preserved coastal wetlands, West Lake, the Intracoastal Waterway, and, off in the distance, the Atlantic Ocean. And in the park below, all but the ocean are accessible by trail or canoe. The best place… More >>
  • Best Horseback Rides

    AA-D Horse Adventures

    Nobody intends to tumble from the saddle, but if it happens, let it be with AA-D Horse Adventures. An amiable guide will dust you off, explaining what caused your abrupt dismount and how to avoid future falls, taking care to minimize your embarrassment. Then, as in the proverb, the group leader will help you back onto the tamed beast. With… More >>
  • Best Free Open-Air Pool Table

    Ernie's Bar-B-Ques and Lounge

    Certainly it's not the finest pool table you'll come across in South Florida. There are a few divots and funny felt runs, and the rails don't play quite true. But how many bar tables in equivalent stages of disrepair force you to shuck out four quarters to play on? Just about every single one. Here play is gratis. So rack… More >>
  • Best Place To See Wildlife

    Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

    If you want lions and tigers and bears, oh my, then you're better off at Dreher Park Zoo in West Palm Beach or Lion Country Safari. But if it's local flora and fauna you crave, then you can't beat this massive preserve in south central Palm Beach County. It's all that remains of the northern portion of the Everglades, and… More >>
  • Best Place To Walk Your Dog

    InnoPet Park

    We give this place four paws up! The 2.5 acres of fenced-in park is built exclusively with mutts (or purebreds) in mind. It offers obstacle courses, wading pools, water fountains for dogs, and cleanup bags for, well, you know. Canines romp on the main grassy area while their owners sit and watch the frolic from the shade. For dogs more… More >>
  • Best Beach Volleyball

    South Beach Park

    No contest here, or should we say plenty of contests here? South Beach Park, which is south of Las Olas Boulevard off A1A, has just put up brand-new nets on nine volleyball courts in the sand. Some of the more serious players there swear that the park has the best volleyball courts not only in South Florida but also in… More >>
  • Best Public Park/Palm Beach

    John Prince Park

    Lake Osborne composes almost half of John Prince Park's 726 acres and contributes to its bucolic character. Knotted ficus trees -- bent trunks supported by spindly fingers, aerial roots brushing the hair of visitors below -- evoke visions of J.R.R. Tolkien's gnomelike hobbits. A five-mile bicycle path winds around the park and over the lake, 20 Fit-Trail stations have diagrams… More >>
  • Best Place To Ice-Skate

    Incredible Ice

    For all its stifling summer heat and lack of any real winter, South Florida isn't a difficult place at all for those seeking a spot of ice. There are ice-skating rinks in Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Pompano Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens, to name several. But one clearly freezes out all the others in terms of quality: Incredible Ice, the two-year-old,… More >>
  • Best Public Park/Broward

    Markham Park

    Spread across 666 acres at the edge of the Everglades, Markham is a park apart from the congestion and development of Broward County. Labradors bound up grassy slopes, solitary fishermen patiently eye their poles, families gather on wooded campsites. The impressive list of facilities includes a target range, astronomical observatory, model-airplane field, boat ramps and rentals, and mountain bike and… More >>
  • Best Place To Canoe

    Loxahatchee River

    Not only is the Loxahatchee Florida's only designated Wild and Scenic River, it's actually two rivers rolled into one. Or at least two distinctly different paddling experiences. After debarking from Riverbend Park (canoe rentals and packages including return transportation are available from nearby Canoe Outfitters, 561-746-7053) for the nearly eight-mile trip to Jonathan Dickinson State Park, canoeists first encounter a… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    North Beach Park

    Since this is the land of sea, sand, and sunshine, when we're in the mood for dining al fresco we like to pack our basket of goodies -- a bottle of wine, some cold chicken, crusty French bread, a wheel of Brie -- and head to the beach. Of course we're not too fond of sand in our food. But… More >>
  • Best Place To Rollerblade

    Pompano Beach Air Park

    It seems like almost everyone in Broward County has a pair of in-line skates, and all of them would like to be able to skate in a safe, stress-free environment. It's difficult to do it on the beach or along Las Olas Boulevard, where it's crowded and the pavement is too uneven, and besides, those places are for people who… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Gold Crown Family Billiards and Lounge

    Ignore the "Family" in the name. If you're seeking a friendly, comfortable environment to take the kids, try Hollywood Billiards or Kiss Shot Billiards in Jupiter. Gold Crown is an uninviting, dimly lit decades-old pool hall west of Young Circle that just happens to attract some of the meanest shooters ever to chalk up a pool cue. On any given… More >>
  • Best Gym

    Gold's Gym of Pembroke Pines

    If your daily vocabulary includes words like reps, sets, grams, cardio, and pounds, it should also include one more, Gold's. The self-proclaimed "Mecca of Bodybuilding" sprouted up in July 1990, thanks to partners Ed Benson and Bob DeLuca. Over the last ten years, Benson (now sole owner) has turned the original 10,000-square-foot facility into an elite exercise environment. The purchase… More >>
  • Best Place To Enjoy The Everglades

    Lopez River

    Wake up at first light, close camp and load the canoe, and take off down the Lopez River at dawn. Put the paddle in the heavy, calm water, and start your way upriver, toward Sunday Bay. Don't look up. Look into the water. The Lopez River, in the early morning, provides a stunning reflection of the banks and the trees… More >>
  • Best Drill-Sergeant Workout

    Muscle Beach Gym

    Ali Witherspoon carries an American flag. His head is draped in camouflage. His biceps are bigger than grapefruits. He is big and mean and scowling. You will listen to him if you know what's good for you. He knows what's good for you, and that's running, crunching, squatting, bending up and down, and running down the beach and back again… More >>
  • Best Place To Ride A Bike/Broward

    Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and A1A

    This ride that encompasses the best of Florida's two worlds: a trek through a canopy of trees and a ride along the beach with its glitzy view of the sea. Start by taking the easy, two-mile ride through the park and roll by the Australian pines and banyan trees that make this a great little urban park, complete with sea… More >>
  • Best Place To Drink, Smoke, And Bet On A Sport That Few People Understand

    Dania Jai-Alai

    It's Tuesday night at the fronton. The elaborately costumed players -- with names like Andonegui, Lertxundi, and, our favorite, Homero -- parade out to center stage and wave their cestas to the crowd, signaling the commencement of the evening's matches. We're parked in the front row with a cigarette and a $2.95, 16-plus-ounce Budweiser wondering how we ended up at… More >>
  • Best Place To Ride A Bike/Palm Beach

    Lake Trail

    Theirs is a life much different from ours, and it resides in those mansions occupied by the monied class of Palm Beach. The overly wealthy buy these big, showy homes by the water, then put up hedges and fences to keep us, the riffraff, from getting good, close-up looks at them at their leisure. This ride along the eastern edge… More >>
  • Best Place To Drink, Smoke, And Bet On A Sport That Anybody Can Understand

    Hollywood Greyhound Track

    Simplicity. This is the beauty of the dog track. Six to eight dogs run in each race. They chase a white mechanical bunny around a track. They almost never pass each other. They almost never bump into one another or fall down or throw their jockeys. (Of course there are none to throw.) Basically whichever dog jumps out in front… More >>
  • Best Yoga

    Yoga Warehouse

    What does a newspaper editor know about balancing upright on the crest of one's skull? What could a newspaper editor possibly know about an ancient Indian practice that steadies the mind and flattens the stomach? Plenty, it seems. Last year Stuart Purdy, a former editor turned yoga guru, opened a tiny yoga studio in a warehouse space near the railroad… More >>
  • Best Airboat Ride

    Buffalo Tiger's Airboat Tours

    When it comes to airboat rides, forget the painted, commercialized boats and the uniformed tour guides. They're all too predictable and sanitized. For adventure and education, Buffalo Tiger's outfit is the place. Tiger is an old, worn former Miccosukee Indian chief whose dark eyes still twinkle. And he has a great retirement gig -- running an airboat company off Tamiami… More >>
  • Best Integrated Playground

    Anniversary Park

    Bells ring overhead, prompted by the pull of a handle. Plastic rings with polka dots circle bent bars of galvanized steel. A volleyball seesaws along a metal channel from one basket to another. Guiding these movements with wonder and wide grins are children usually excluded from playground activities, children whose physical and mental disabilities prevent them from swinging or sliding… More >>
  • Best Place To Bird-Watch

    Wakodahatchee Wetlands

    South Florida is thick with amateur ornithologists -- you can't swing a booby around here without taking out a couple bird watchers. It seems that no matter what park you're in, someone is whipping out his Peterson to identify a particularly hot piece of plumage. Local hot spots include Tree Tops Park, West Lake Park, Loxahatchee Nature Preserve -- rewarding… More >>
  • Best Freshwater Fishing

    Everglades Holiday Park

    Fishing superstar and television personality Rolan Martin can take a camera crew wherever he wants to shoot one of his segments for cable fishing shows, and when he's taping one on bass fishing, he heads to the Everglades. He knows something many savvy South Florida fisherman do, and it might not seem fair: When the South Florida Water Management District… More >>
  • Best Saltwater Fishing

    Anglin's Fishing Pier

    The best place to fish for whopper saltwater species like marlin is from a boat -- way offshore in deep water. But if you don't own a boat and don't want to pay a charter fee, the next best bet for snagging saltwater fish is a pier. And from the back door of the bait shop at water's edge, Anglin's… More >>

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