Best Place to Jog - 2000
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
What makes this rectangle of tropical lushness with a paved loop exceptional? Its prominent location facing Fort Lauderdale's beach and its relative obscurity for a park in a city. (You can bet some green space-hating developer sees lost millions every time he looks at it.) Pull in off Sunrise Boulevard and park for $3.25, or walk in for $1. The 1.9-mile loop offers a quiet, frequently shady refuge from heavy traffic. The park is sandwiched between the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway, and the loop sports a long view of big boats and homes on the inland shore. Beautiful people frequently work out on the loop, so the scenery is humanly as well as naturally appealing. You can Rollerblade or bicycle, and dogs on leashes are welcome too. You'll find trails to hike, picnic tables in quiet places, and a canoe-rental service for those who want to paddle the lake. Got a sedentary wastrel in your party who wants to do nothing? Stick him or her on the shore of the inland waterway under a tree and let him or her sleep. For runners who care, the loop is hill-free, and after the workout you can walk out on the beach for a swim and a shower.