Whether you're the Brian Boytano of the pavement or decked out in more pads than an American Gladiator, this one and a half-mile stretch of beach is the perfect place to strap 'em up and wheel. The ride begins just south of Garfield Street at Hayes Street, where, if you don't own your own wheels, you can rent some at Sun and Fun Cycles and Rollerblades. You are rewarded on this path with a clear, unobstructed view of the sand, water, and sunbathing bodies for added motivation. We suggest first heading into the wind to get the exercise aspect out of the way. The 25-foot-wide path is relatively smooth and gives you plenty of room to stay clear of other bladers and walkers. This particular stretch is an area where wheels of all kinds coexist peacefully. Usually a friendly ring of a bell or an "On your left/right" provides ample warning of other bodies in motion. Groups of tall palm trees scattered along the way fronted by patches of swaying sea oats remind you of why it's great to live in South Florida and why the motels and time-shares on the west side of the pavement are full of tourists admiring your native color. Cool off with a quick dousing of the head under one of the many showers along the way and then make the turn and ride the breeze back. Mother Nature befriends you this time with a gentle push from behind and a smooth return ride. At Garfield Street you can relax with a slice of pizza at Angelo's Corner or get a soft-serve cone to cap off the day.
As you enter keep to the right and wind around the shore of the large lake in the center of the park. If you want, wear earplugs to protect yourself from the roar of jets taking off and landing at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, which is barely a half-mile south. The noise doesn't appear to have scared off much of the animal population, which you'll notice as soon as you depart the pavement and head off into the thicket on the well-marked series of nature trails. You'll see raccoons of all sizes scampering about unconcerned -- probably because so many stupid visitors ignore signs warning against feeding the wildlife. On the lake's north shore, just before the road dead-ends, you'll see a wooden shelter and a sandy volleyball pit. On sunny days this sandy area is home to a butt-load of lumbering iguanas, some small, slender, and bright green and some upward of two feet in length. Depending on their temperament, they'll hang out and eyeball humans suspiciously or they'll noisily turn tail and scamper up the nearest tree. Bring insect repellent, as even the big lizards can't eat all the flying bugs near the lake.
From downtown Fort Lauderdale, take Andrews Avenue south to Davie Boulevard, and park at the gas station on the northeast corner. Or better yet, ride a bike. Proceed east on Rose Drive, and listen for a sound that resembles a cat's meow -- only a lot louder. The sound is coming from four pairs of peacocks that roam the turf near the Broward County Bar Association's verdant grounds and have taken up permanent residence on the lawns and roofs of nearby residents. Arrive when a couple is in the throes of courtship, and you'll witness males sparring over the affections of a female or puffing up their purple plumage in a spectacular display. The peacocks seem quite content and comfortable in these surroundings, and even the neighborhood's roaming felines give the big birds their space and can often be spotted crouching nearby, eyeing the gaudy critters with great interest.
What's the best sight from the highest point in Palm Beach County? We believe it's a drive rocketing off the head of your golf club and sailing over the fairway, all easily seen from the tee high atop the Superdune at Emerald Dunes. It may be only a little more than 50 feet high, but the Superdune is a nice perch from which to launch tee shots that do fly a little bit farther thanks to elevation. It's a man-made hill with boulders and a waterfall, and it sits in the middle of this lush, 18-hole course that's open to the public. The elevated tee is the signature element on a fine course designed by the internationally famous golf architect Tom Fazio. But to us it's the totality of the design that makes this course a pleasure to play. A lot of dirt was moved to carve out the holes and lakes that make this a challenging and well-manicured course. You don't usually see this type of layout in South Florida except in private clubs, which means that the price in winter can be as steep as the Superdune itself. So press your bets against the rest of the foursome on the 18th hole and launch a drive from on high.
When you're six feet, 220 pounds of sculpted muscle with a shiny, shaven head, you should have a nickname suitable to your look. This hometown hunk has been filling up kickboxing and hip-hop aerobic classes in gyms in Broward and Palm Beach to the point where he is known by simply one name, "Silk," as in "smooth as," because his athleticism comes across so effortlessly. Silk's fitness repertoire has grown over the past year thanks to regular appearances on ESPN2's Gotta Sweat with buff babe and former Ms. Olympia Cory Everson, who has personally invited him back to Las Vegas to record more episodes. For now he still belongs to South Florida, where he teaches aerobic classes that are usually filled to capacity, mostly with women looking for top-quality instruction as well as the visual motivation this chiseled instructor provides. Now that motivation can be found on video-store shelves. His new kickboxing aerobics video can be found right next to the reigning champ of fitness videos, Billy Blanks' Tae-Bo, as if the local kid is duking it out with the king of the fitness infomercial to see whose tape packs the most punch. C'mon Billy, this is South Florida. We know our fitness, plus we hear women think our guy is buffer.

Look around and you'll notice we're a wee bit short on mountains round these parts. You'll also gather that the automobile reigns supreme -- otherwise why would we have given so much territory over to it? Tucked in here and there, however, are some very challenging places to get your wheels in the dirt. Markham Park is our favorite. For you weenies, er… novices, Markham offers easy trails with a few hills, a few rocks, and a turn or two. Intermediates get bigger hills, bigger rocks, and some wicked switchbacks. Advanced riders can confront what looks to be hell's own footpath: ruts, logs, loose gravel, and sharp turns. The best part about Markham is that all the trails are accessed off a main trail that winds around ponds and lakes filled with wading birds. If you get in over your head, you're never far from the main trail, where you can take a rest and contemplate the scenery while your buddies are huffing away.
For a place that bills itself as "The Venice of America," there aren't very many good places to paddle a canoe. There's a lot of water around, but on most bodies you'll have to dodge yachts and personal watercraft and deal with their wakes when you decide to hit the water under your own power. Thanks to the low height of the Broward Boulevard bridge, however, motorboats can't make it up this way, which is why this section of the New River offers peace, quiet, and scenery right in the heart of urban South Florida. Launch from little-used Delevoe Park, then head east under I95. Soon you'll find yourself in a lush landscape of pond apple and cypress trees and banks lined with vegetation instead of bulkheads. Between the park and Broward Boulevard are islands galore and channels that wind off the main stream. Check out the old Sweeting Estates, a 22-acre riverfront parcel right in the heart of Sistrunk that used to be home to a revival church but now just nestles quietly in the luxuriant growth. Go west from the park, and the New River turns into a canal, which dead-ends near the Swap Shop in Sunrise. In either case this stretch of river is one of the county's best-kept secrets.
Precious few things in life are as much unbridled fun as go-karts. You may be going only 15 miles per hour, but when you're an inch from the ground, it feels like 60. Driving quickly with so little power requires a certain skill, however; the idea is to cut the corners right at the apex, turning sharply to make a curve into more of a right angle. The Grand Prix course is a tight series of banked and flat turns. It's deceptively long and technically challenging. And there is no better feeling in the world than riding up on the back end of some teenage hotshot who fancies himself a Formula One trainee and stuffing him in a corner. When it comes to carting, age and experience trump youth and enthusiasm every time. We recommend you visit on "Full-Throttle Thursday" for unlimited kart riding from 6 to 10 p.m. You might just get good enough to drive in our league.

Once you've finished this ride, it may be tough to go back to the real world. The path of paved asphalt that stretches along A1A (North Ocean Drive) is lined with so many beautiful houses and beaches that you may just want to turn around and do it again. Beginning at the south end, near Deerfield Beach at the bridge after Camino Real, the trail, which is wide enough for bikes to pass in both directions, goes north along the west side of A1A. To your left you can see boats docked in marinas and cruising along the Intracoastal. To your right, the Atlantic Ocean peeks out from time to time behind the green foliage that lines the road. Along the way are several parks and recreational areas for those adventurers who like to explore. About four miles into the trip, a green, hilly golf course rests on either side of the path, with sparkling blue water as a backdrop. The last three miles are filled with the amazing architecture of seaside villas and homes, most capped with elegant Spanish roof tiles. At this point you can either continue north or take Atlantic Avenue west onto a street full of outside cafés and specialty shops in Delray. On a sunny spring day, this ride is the wheel thing.
The crushed-rock-and-shell roadbed is straight and flat, running for 12 miles atop the L-40 levy, which separates the Everglades from this stretch of southern Palm Beach County. The dike road, which opened to bikers and hikers last October, connects the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in the north to the south entrance of the refuge. A slight promontory in an otherwise flat landscape, the levy service road offers an expansive view of the seemingly endless river of grass, which stretches west to the bright blue horizon unchecked in its green sameness, save for a few stands of tall trees. The path, bordered on the east by thick mangroves, also offers close brushes with nature -- and plenty of bone-jarring abuse on the bumpy road. In the canal that curves along the edge of the Everglades just below the road, white egrets wade on gawky legs and dip their bills into the water as they hunt for food, unconcerned about passing bikers. But if you're cruising along at any decent speed, don't survey the scene for too long. The tight-packed dirt road is rife with washboard ripples and large chunks of rock that poke through the surface. This makes for a rough ride and creates the potential for a wipeout even on this benign-looking trail, which is bordered bucolically on either side by wild grasses and yellow and lavender flowers. With absolutely no shade, the road's white rock and sand glare brightly and amplify the heat of the day. This actually seems to be an attraction for the huge dragonflies that bask on the surface and flutter up as bike tires approach, continually flying into riders. Warning: There is no bathroom or potable water along the way.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of