Searching for that elusive Big O, only to be stopped cold by a 40-foot dike? Or maybe you've tried to take a gander at Lake Okeechobee, the second-largest freshwater lake fully in the United States (the Great Lakes are half in Canada, eh), only to gaze upon marshy islands or grassy shoals instead of the open water of the 730-square-mile inland sea. The earthen levee built to protect us from floodwater makes it impossible to see the lake from the road that circles it, and the southern and western sides provide few vantage points to see it at its best. The eastern shore is far better, and Port Mayaca (about two miles north of the Palm Beach County line on Highway 441) offers the best view of the entire "liquid heart of the Everglades." Drive to the top of the dike and hike down to the water's edge, where you'll certainly see wading birds, alligators, and maybe a manatee or two. If your timing is good, you'll see a variety of small boats pass through the lock system that connects the lake to the St. Lucie Canal and into the ocean. Bring a fishing rod and you'll probably snare a load of bass too.

Remember when the downtown skyline of Broward County's largest city was just a scattered handful of high-rise office buildings? If you've lived in South Florida for more than a few years, of course you do. And if you go back more than two decades, you'll remember a skyline distinguished largely by the edifice widely known as "that big brown building with the neon that looks vaguely like an outline of the state of Florida." No more. The accelerating construction boom has led to an increasingly dense mass of big buildings downtown, including a surprising number of residential towers. One of those, the unfinished 42-floor River House, is already the tallest building in the greater metropolitan area. Now, when you approach downtown Fort Lauderdale from almost any direction, the looming skyline provokes roughly the same reaction you get heading into Miami -- this is a real city. Best view: from the sweeping arc of the flyover from eastbound I-595 to I-95 north. You probably don't want to be down there driving in it -- the construction and all it entails continues -- but it's great to look at from afar.
Craving hot buns? How about a big, fat sausage? The Publix at Five Points can satisfy just about all your needs. Sure, it's got food, but it's also got men -- gay men -- and lots of them. Just about every Tom, Dick, and Harry cruises the aisles at "The Gay Publix," conveniently located in the heart of Gayville (that would be Wilton Manors, as if you didn't know). If you're tired of the bar scene or just shopping for a taste of something new, you can't do much better than this place. Strike up an innocent conversation with that hunk on the way home from the gym and see where it leads. Quick snack? Romantic dinner? Buffet? Maybe even a lifetime of good nutrition. We all gotta eat, right?

La Bare
So "Harley" is revving his motor in your face, and you don't know whether to laugh or laugh. For a not-so-small fee ($10 for ladies age 21 and older; $15 for ladies 18 to 20), you can witness a crowd of strictly women hootin' and hollerin'. Why is it that men sit at titty bars in dumbfounded silence while women -- when they visit their own version of the clubs -- fall off their chairs laughing at the teabag-o-rama? It's because, to women, places like La Bare are hilarious and not that sexy; sure, Dirk's got those dreamy eyes, and you can't keep your eyes off Paolo's huge... pecs. But these joints are filled with single and/or married women who are really wondering what it would be like to make out with another chick. Hooray for the converting power of the penis! La Bare is open Wednesday to Sunday, but Friday and Saturday nights are best.

Best Place to Meet Members of the Opposite Sex

PetSet

People say that you find love when you're not looking for it. But most people are idealistic morons who blow every chance at love by using other people to validate their narcissistic delusions. So, who cares what they think? The peeps at the nonprofit Humane Society of Broward County started a young professionals social group called PetSet, which puts the desire to be partnered to good use: raising awareness about responsible pet ownership and money to help abandoned animals. A yearly membership of $25 gets you discounted admission to monthly socials at the area's most exclusive bars and restaurants, like the River House and Johnny V's, and invitations to yearly events like the Halloween Masquerade Ball and Pajama Jam. These parties are packed with well-dressed, confident people looking to meet a furless friend like you.

Back in October of 2003, ten friends in West Palm Beach met in the back room of an Irish pub in the hope of organizing the city's growing community of young professionals. The group they formed -- including lawyers, teachers, and even a few politicians -- became West Palm 100. It holds regular happy-hour parties and organizes monthly volunteer work, including helping out on Habitat for Humanity houses or simply painting homes for those who can't do it themselves. In just a few months, the club attracted more than 160 members, who receive e-mails about upcoming events. Some day, West Palm 100 may become an official charity and have a membership list, dues, and even a phone number. But for now, it's simply a loose-knit collective, says Michelle McGovern, one of the founders and an employee of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Says McGovern: "We really have big dreams for this."

This midrange strip club in suburban Sunrise has everything a hard-working gentleman needs: two computer terminals with high-speed Internet connections where you can take a break from lap dances and leering to check your e-mail and stock prices. Or you can just send a nice note home to the old ball and chain: "Hi, honey. I'm swamped at work! Be home in two hours. I think I'll stop by the gym to take a shower. Kiss, kiss." The computers are free with the club's $10 cover charge. Everything else will cost you a pretty penny for a pretty lassie.

Instead of bustin' your hump for The Man, you could be the man humping a bust for a livin'. Or a woman. You'll find work aplenty for both sexes posted on www.adultstaffing.com. The help-wanted postings are conveniently listed in categories such as bartenders, dancers, sex video performers, escorts, sales/marketing, and webmasters. And judging by some recent help-wanted ads, South Florida is certainly a land of sex-for-cash opportunity. One SoFla auteur wrote that he "needs girls who can handle taking an extreme blow job (throat fucking, gagging, etc.)" A Fort Lauderdale adult video production company was "looking for hot, fun, kinky girls for video-only shoots. High pay per shoot, 30 minutes of work (approx 5-7 mins. of actual anal intercourse.)" If you're not willing to wait around for the right job, you can post your own résumé highlights, such as that by a flowing-haired blond who recently offered her services for "girl-on-girl video work" as a "lactating model." How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm now?

Just north of the island of Palm Beach, smack dab in the middle of the Lake Worth Lagoon, sits a 169-year-old cabin plucked from the shores of Cape Cod. Just looking at it will sober you up. The cabin arrives every winter from its former home up north thanks to Capt. Pete Mason, who dropped the building onto a catamaran platform three years ago. Now, Mason rents out the monstrosity to party planners looking for a location that seems, well, barely afloat. The two-story structure looks straight out of Mark Twain, like a hunting lodge made of long-leaf yellow pine. A pilot house upstairs looks pulled out of a tugboat. The gregarious Mason says it's the perfect spot for a soon-to-be groom to usher in his vows, although it isn't cheap, at $1,800 for an eight-hour bash. "They bring the food and girls," he says, "and I provide the platform." A recent bachelor party, outfitted with six dancers, lasted till nearly sunrise. "That was a bit too long," Mason says. "But I didn't have the heart to kick 'em off."

Sunsport Gardens Family Nudist Resort
Given South Florida's subtropical climate, it's summer nearly 11 months out of the year. And about seven of those are so hot and muggy that your T-shirt is soaked with sweat the minute you walk outside. So it's no surprise that it's not the most popular destination for camping trips. But that doesn't mean our region is unsuitable for the practice; it's just that all the naysayers are going about it the wrong way. There's no need to fret about the heat. Just grin and bare it. That's right, take it off! After all, isn't camping supposed to be about freedom? And there's no better place than Sunsport Gardens Family Nudist Resort to release your inner Adam or Eve. The place is appropriately situated in the rural Loxahatchee Groves and includes all the amenities you need for a refreshing night of clothes-free camping. Wanna play some nude volleyball? No problem. The approximately 40-acre resort offers plenty of recreation, from tennis and fishing to a nature trail to even a spa and sauna. To quell your appetite, Sunsport Gardens has its own full-service restaurant for meat-eaters and veggies alike. So, if you're gonna spend the night with Mother Nature, there's no need to do it half-assed; do it bare-assed.

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