Sports & Recreation

  • Best Miami Heat Player

    Eddie Jones

    You've got your workhorse Brian Grant, your streak shooter Travis Best, and your rookie phee-nom Caron Butler. But in the murk of the Eastern Conference basement, only one light shines with star power: Eddie Jones. Maybe Jones can't single-handedly lift the Heat into the playoffs or even make the team a consistently scrappy opponent. (Those 30-point losses take their toll.)… More >>
  • Best Boating

    Hillsboro Inlet

    With one of the only working lighthouses in South Florida, easy access to the ocean, and freedom from drawbridges, why take your boat anyplace else? Instead of getting stuck in the rush-hour-thick marine traffic of the Intracoastal, the New River or one of South Florida's narrow canals where the no-wake zones won't let you go past the double digits and… More >>
  • Best Place to Hang with Gators

    Shark Valley

    Tamiami Trail

    Everglades National Park

    When we passed by an alligator baking under the sun in a round puddle that was too small to contain his long tail, the 7-year-old with us observed, "He's in his hot tub." And in a way, he was. You get intimate with the gators out in Shark Valley, where a paved, 15-mile bicycle trail cuts through the heart of… More >>
  • Best Player on the Marlins Payroll

    Mike Hampton

    How can we tell Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria doesn't give a flying fish about winning in this town? Let's just take a look at the ones that got away. Two spring trainings ago, in a salary-dumping move, the team traded its closer, Antonio Alfonseca, and its fifth starter, Matt Clement, for Julian Tavarez and a pitching prospect. What happened? The… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course

    Few places on the island of the rich and famous make outsiders feel more welcome than the Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course. Well, at least they won't look at you funny for being worth less than a million. This city-owned mini-course, at 2,450 yards, is perhaps the island's best deal and affords some of the best views. For $17… More >>
  • Best Pro Athlete

    Jason Taylor

    Miami Dolphins

    Taylor isn't just a player; he's a revolution. Teams around the NFL are now searching the universe for "Jason Taylor-types" -- incredibly fast and sleek defensive ends strong enough to get past offensive linemen and quick enough to bring down Michael Vick. When Taylor came out of college in 1997, nobody thought much of him because of his puny size… More >>
  • Best Tennis Courts

    West Lake Park

    There are four good, hard courts here, and at least one is almost always empty. What more do you need? But the real benefit of playing tennis here is the park, 88 acres of lakes and sanguine pleasure. A huge playground with built-in water for hot summer days is available for the kids. Rather shoot some hoops? There are two… More >>
  • Best Amusement Park

    Lion Country Safari

    Forget hair-raising roller-coaster rides. Try hairy critters slobbering on your windshield. Indeed, the animals that roam Lion Country Safari, which is located west of West Palm Beach, make Orlando's mouse seem rather mundane. Developed in 1967 by a group of British and South African entrepreneurs who wanted to bring the African safari experience stateside, the park is now home to… More >>
  • Best Place to Ride a Bicycle

    From the Deerfield Pier to the Lake Worth Pier

    Readers Choice: Quiet Waters Park

    Face the facts, cyclist dude. It's not just the oxygen bath from the cardio workout conferring that superhuman glow. It's ego too. Your butt may feel like it should be severed from your body and sent to a spa for a three-day cure, but you did it, baby! Forty miles roundtrip! Not bad. Bragging rights are a definite benefit of… More >>
  • Best Place to Hike

    Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area

    Hiking in South Florida can sound about as enticing as swimming in snot. It's hot, it's muggy, it's buggy, and -- let's face it -- those breathtaking vistas are few and far between. But if you pick your spots carefully, you'll discover that the natural wonders of the area extend far beyond the beach. The 747-acre Royal Palm Beach Pines… More >>
  • Best Park in Palm Beach

    John Prince Park

    Junior wants to try his inline skates, Mom hopes to play tennis, and Dad hankers to go fishing. What's the easy solution to this battle of recreation wills? John Prince Park in central Palm Beach County, where virtually every form of recreation or leisure can be accommodated. From a stroll, bike, jog, or skate along the 726-acre park's five miles… More >>
  • Best Florida Panthers Player

    Olli Jokinen

    The Panthers suck. Center Olli Jokinen knows this, and the fact that he isn't afraid to say it should give fans some hope for the future. The team may have a real leader. In March, as the cats wound down a disappointing, losing season and missed the playoffs, Jokinen showed true leadership by doing the simplest thing. He spoke the… More >>
  • Best Place to Paddle

    Whiskey Creek

    The name of this waterway, which cuts through a barrier island, supports the urban legend that the route was used by rumrunners during Prohibition to smuggle liquor into the United States from the Bahamas. The narrow, generally slow-moving creek runs at a nice pace, giving you just enough time to absorb the sprawling mangroves and hammocks that line the route.… More >>
  • Best Swimming Pool

    The Fitness Co.

    Any South Florida resident knows the best swimming pool is the one in his or her own back yard. But that one gets bugs and stuff in it. It needs to be cleaned, chemicalized, and otherwise maintained. A better choice, and one with a scenic view, is the perfectly proportioned body of water atop the AutoNation Building's seventh-floor outdoor terrace.… More >>
  • Best Florida Marlins Player

    Ivan Rodriguez

    All else being equal (i.e., assuming that his back doesn't act up again), this one is no contest. The numbers don't lie: .304 career batting average, nine straight All-Star starts, and a streak of ten consecutive Gold Gloves that began before the Marlins had even played their first game. So head on down to the ol' ballpark and enjoy his… More >>
  • Best Place to Snorkel

    Pompano Drop-Off

    Yeah, you're an outdoors person, fearless and all. So you want to go the rugged independent route? You want to go out on your own and snorkel without a guide or a boat? That's great. Jump in the Atlantic and swim. But if you're hankering for a guaranteed good time, get yourself to South Florida Diving Headquarters. They'll take you… More >>
  • Best Rescued Everglades

    Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

    The 221-square-mile refuge occupies the last of the northern Everglades. The wetlands were once connected with the Loxahatchee River (hence the name) 50 miles away, but the area between the two was dredged and developed long ago. For more than a half-century, the refuge has been kept alive by a series of pumps, canals, and levees. And we're happy to… More >>
  • Best Marlins Prospect

    Josh Beckett

    So this young right-hander is an odd choice. He's barely 23 years old, and he flamed out last season, ending up on the disabled list three times. But Josh Beckett was the second overall pick in the 1999 free-agent draft and boasted a 14-1 record in the minors in 2001. His earned run average that year was a mind-numbing 1.54.… More >>
  • Best Place to Rollerblade

    Fort Lauderdale Beach

    If ever there was a place built for rollerblading, it's Broward County's finest beach, between Las Olas and Sunrise boulevards. There's a wide sidewalk and plenty of challenging obstacles (otherwise known as tourists) to maneuver around. The soothing surf and cool ocean breeze are on one side, and bustling bars and shops are on the other. Both offer particularly good… More >>
  • Best Place to Gamble

    The University of Miami Hurricanes Football Team Dania Jai-Alai

    We got some Canes over here, whoosh, whoosh! Yes, it's a pretty lame cheer, but fans shout it loud and proud on any given Saturday in the Orange Bowl, and for good reason. UM is and has been a perennial football powerhouse since 1983, but gone are the days of the swaggering, trash-talking, fatigues-wearing hooligans who played for Jimmy Johnson.… More >>
  • Best Place to Prepare for Revolution

    Big Al's Gun Range

    It's not the bombs over Baghdad. It's the whole damn world gone crazy. We used to dismiss that little voice; "Firearms," it would whisper. "They'll make you feel safe." Back then, it was serial killers. Anger over not being able to wander freely without fear of rape. Now it's the government that has us thinking about weapons of less-than-mass destruction.… More >>
  • Best Miami Dolphins Player

    Ricky Williams

    The stiff arm. The explosive power. The speed. The moves. The dreads. The personal website. The strangeness. The weird spats with police. The social disorder. This is almost too easy a choice. Williams isn't just a great running back; he's a hell of a complex person. There is an unpredictability about him that makes for great suspense and tension --… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Twisty the Clown (Gary Cardonick)

    This guy is a smorgasbord of tot-inspired talent. For a fee, he offers sno-cones, cotton candy, face-painting, and that nemesis of paranoid parents, a bounce house. To calm adults' jittery nerves, he sometimes even makes frozen margaritas -- though he generally avoids such fare at kiddie shindigs. Gary Cardonick's specialty is balloons. The 36-year-old Coral Springs dweller, who boasts an… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    The path next to the canal in Palm Aire

    There's a great path between water and trees in Pompano that is one of the few places in South Florida where you can run without getting hit by a car. If you like to space out when you move, this strip of concrete is safe. You have to worry most about tripping over one of the walkers or bicycle riders.… More >>
  • Best Park in Broward

    Easterlin Park

    There's not much to do in Easterlin Park, and that's just the point. Unlike busy, high-energy gathering places, Easterlin is a passive, urban wilderness area, much of whose 47 acres are taken up with an honest-to-God cypress forest -- rather amazing, since it's only a stone's throw from the hyperbusy intersection of Oakland Park Boulevard and Powerline Road. All of… More >>
  • Best Playground Best Beach in Palm Beach Best Beach in Broward

    John D. MacArthur Beach State Park Topeekeegee Yugnee Park

    3300 N. Park Rd.

    Hollywood 33021

    954-985-1980 Lake Worth Municipal Beach and Fishing Pier

    10 S. Ocean Blvd.

    Lake Worth 33460

    561-533-7367 Fort Lauderdale Beach

    So what do you want from a picnic spot? A little quiet. A little solitude. A nice view. And, if you have kids, a playground nearby to keep them entertained while you soak up the best Mother Nature has to offer. If that's your criteria, you can't do better than John D. MacArthur State Park. The 336-acre idyll (161 acres… More >>
  • Racheal Wood

    is a Deerfield Beach stay-at-home mother who, at last year's Hawaiian Ironman World Triathlon Championship, won the title for 40- to 44-year-olds. She's a member of the Runner's Depot Elite Racing Team.

    Q: Ever watch reality-TV shows? A: Well, I've seen one that Ford sponsors. A sort of "no boundaries" show. It's kind of hard to remember. They actually go around the world with their teammates. Then they all pick a leader. Then the leader votes off one of the members. Q: You sure? Sounds like a combination of… More >>