John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Turn off your iPhone. Cross the long boardwalk to the beach, and enjoy a rare stretch of sand unblemished by condos or highway traffic. Slip a kayak into the gentle, cool water of the Lake Worth Lagoon. Paddle softly past the mangrove trees, keeping your eyes peeled for the spindly, regal body of a blue heron or an egret hiding in the branches. In the luscious quiet, you can hear the buzzing insects and spot the occasional silver fish jumping out of the water. The trees look prehistoric at low tide. White trunks and branches, wild and tangled, give a glimpse of an era before humans soiled this place.

Riverside Park

A neighborhood park shouldn't be an all-inclusive, Disney-like affair, a city unto itself; it should be a stopping-off point, a quick breath of fresh air in the heart of a community. It should be good for a few hours of reading, some basketball, or as a place to tie your kid's shoe while the dog tries to knock him over. Riverside Park isn't fancy. It's a neatly maintained strip of old trees, a playground, a basketball hoop, and tennis courts encircled by leisurely one-lane roads. Approach via the restored Palm Avenue swing bridge at one corner; all around are residential neighborhoods to explore on foot when the park has served its purpose and it's time to move on.

At Pine Crest, Brandon Knight was one of the most celebrated high school players ever, with two state titles and two Gatorade National Player of the Year awards. But when he chose to attend the winningest college basketball team in the country, nobody could be sure how he would handle the transition. Sure, he had a sweet and simple jump shot and more ways to score than Heinz had ketchup recipes. But sometimes it takes a while to adjust. Not for Knight. He started strong and finished with a magnificent run through March Madness, leading a team as a rookie to the Final Four. His clutch shot to beat the top team in the land, Ohio State, is one for the ages — and it was a heck of a national coming-out party. How could a freshman do this? Well, Knight wasn't a freshman; he was technically a sophomore. Not in basketball but in academics. You see, when Knight is on the bus, his head isn't buried in videogames but in books. He's a scholar — and a prodigy.

Now, perhaps Carl Hiaasen is the easy pick for the finest Miami Herald writer because he's a nationally known novelist who has worked as an investigative journalist and columnist for the paper since 1976. Or perhaps he's the only pick. Here's a guy who has a love-hate relationship with the sleaziest side of the Sunshine State. He isn't afraid to take a hard stance on the sickening flow of oxycodone pills, Gov. Rick Scott's disgusting policies, and the crappy new stadium that awaits the Marlins. But he's also not afraid to profit off all of this muck and turn it into a compelling read. Shrewdly played, Hiaasen. And now you write children's books too?

Is there anything in this world better than a large group of people spontaneously breaking into song and dance? No, there is nothing better. So on the rare occasion that it happens, you better hope there's a camera on. This time, it was during a rain delay last season in the middle of a game against Western Kentucky. Words can't adequately describe all that went on that afternoon, but it involved the FAU Owl baseball team marching in step, to the beat, in a West Side Story kind of way, and ultimately concluded with one shirtless young man standing in the center of a circle of kneeling teammates, Shake Weight in hand, dancing his ass off.

He's big-headed, stubborn, childish, and most certainly a mama's boy. On Pardon the Interruption, an ESPN show he occasionally guest-hosts, he's known as "the hatable Dan Le Batard," and he introduces himself with varying forms of the word bam. But Dan Le Batard can also write like rain, like the purest form of nourishment pouring from the sky. His ideas are often counterintuitive, his notions unorthodox. He cares about the athletes he covers, about the people, and those are the stories he tells. From a Le Batard column about the downfall of Bernie Kosar, the great college and pro quarterback whose success on the field could not prevent failure in every other aspect of life: "The game was fast and muscled. He was neither. He was always the giraffe trying to survive among lions. Still is, really. He has merely traded one cutthroat arena in which people compete for big dollars for another, and today's is a hell of a lot less fun than the one that made him famous. More painful, too, oddly enough."

Trapeze

Half the club is a decadent and delicious buffet, a strobe-lit dance floor, lots of plush seating, and a sprawling bar. The other half is composed of several private rooms, beds, special contraptions, and a sexy, outrageous fuck-fest that is second to none in the state.

Green Room

Recipe for debauchery: 1. Mix equal parts class, decadence, and people dressed too well to stay downstairs at America's Backyard.

2. Sprinkle in some immaculate white VIP couches, glittering chandeliers, and anything-goes stripper poles.

3. Add a pinch of smut.

4. Blend in liberal amounts of champagne, Lady Gaga tunes, and drunken party girls in mile-high heels.

5. Now throw it all on a crowded dance floor and jump directly into the middle. You won't stay sober. Or celibate.

Tealicious Tea Room

The Chinese discovered it. The Japanese made it ceremonial. The Indians made it a latte. And the Brits, well, they took it over and made it seem like their idea. Typical. But it's merry old England we have to thank for afternoon tea as we know it. Probably the most perfect place in the world for a traditional cream tea is the Orangery in Kensington Palace at the west end of Hyde Park in the heart of London. Since that would require an eight-hour plane ride and an updated passport, TeaLicious Tea Room in Delray Beach is the next best thing. Patrons will find themselves in a perfect re-creation of a posh English parlor, free to reenact their favorite scene from a Jane Austen novel. Surrounded by porcelain and silver, vases of roses, and pastries piled three tiers high, diners can choose from a simple repast of tea and scone or a lavish spread of croquettes and finger sandwiches. Brits wouldn't consider getting through the day without stopping for a cuppa, and frankly neither should you. So reread a few chapters of Northanger Abbey, find something floral and flowy to wear, and treat yourself to the great Chinese/Japanese/Indian/British tradition that is tea.

Wine Watch
Tabatha Mudra

A vast selection of varietals, wallet-friendly prices, an informed staff, and delicious catered eats — wine snobs don't expect anything less from a shop. At Wine Watch, proprietor Andrew Lampasone believes "you should have between three and five glasses of wine a day." In that case, we better get sipping. Good thing his shop features more than 3,000 wines, with tastings offered regularly. Sample a great-tasting weekday bottle, then procure a celebratory champagne from a few shelves away. Oh, did we mention that Wine Watch also offers an informative email listserve announcing upcoming winetastings and online shopping? Wine Watch, how helpful.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

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