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Friends of Big Cypress National Preserve


(MIAMI) - The world's most famous fun in the sun playground, Greater Miami, lures visitors year round with perfect weather and award-winning beaches, whimsical architecture and a celebrity-driven nightlife scene that grooves to an only-in-Miami beat. On any given day, however, many visitors to this urban tropical resort are far more interested in where the fish are hiding out than in J Lo's purported whereabouts. In perfect synch with all of its other charms, Miami is a sought after international recreation destination by virtue of its mild climate and unrivaled water access.

Ranked the #1 Healthiest City in America by Natural Health Magazine in 2002, and the #3 Fittest City by Self Magazine in 2005, Miami caters to action-oriented visitors from around the globe with some of the world's top golf, tennis and sporting facilities. Add sparkling waters that are a magnet for boating enthusiasts, fishermen, divers and water sports aficionados to the equation and it is easy to see why Miami is a number one choice for active travelers of all ages and skill levels.

Flanked by the mighty Atlantic and the beautiful azure waters of Biscayne Bay, and warmed by yearly average temperatures in the 70s, visitors who want to get their feet wet never need look far to organize a day on the bay. Meanwhile, landlubbers have plenty of onshore activities from which to choose. In the mood for afternoon tee? Courses created by the world's top designers make Miami a golfer's paradise. Tennis more your racket? The Crandon Tennis Center hosts the Sony Ericsson Open each March, while the rest of the year its immaculate courts are open to the public, along with innumerable other well-kept facilities throughout Miami. Bicycle and jogging trails, beachfront yoga classes, even ultra-light airplane rides beckon the playful child within.

Water, Water Everywhere

Whether it is from the deck of a 50-foot luxury yacht out for a pleasure cruise on Biscayne Bay or astride a rented waverunner, Miami looks magnificent from the water. Opportunities to experience this privileged vantage abound, with multitudes of marinas and waterfront concessions offering visitors dozens of different ways to experience the calm, tranquil waters of Biscayne Bay and the ocean beyond.

If you have a passion for fishing, Haulover Beach Marina, home to the largest charter/drift fishing fleet in South Florida is probably on your vacation agenda. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Intercoastal Waterway in Sunny Isles Beach, the 180-acre Haulover Beach Park also houses a popular kite rental concession, bicycle rentals, a 9-hole golf course and tennis courts, with an underground walkway leading directly to world-renowned Haulover Beach. Those who want to pilot their own course through the waters will find plenty of choices at Miami's many marinas that dot the coastal landscape. Here, knowledgeable old salts are quick to advise where the breezes are blowing and the fish are hiding. Black Point Marina in Homestead provides access to Biscayne National Park's treasure trove of wildlife, while Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove and the idyllic Matheson Hammock in Coral Gables have popular cityside access and amenities.

Want instant gratification? Rent a motorboat for a few hours and zip around Biscayne Bay, exploring uninhabited islands and communing with local wildlife, including dolphins, sea turtles and sea birds. Looking for a more long-term commitment? Stop by the Miami Beach Marina and charter a sailboat, complete with captain and provisions if you prefer, and set course for the Florida Keys or Bahamas. A very special community is served by Shake-A-Leg Miami, South Florida's only adaptive sailing program. Adults and youths with disabilities and at risk youth, enjoy sailing programs, while events like the World Blind Sailing Championships event bring international attention to this important non-profit organization.

Perhaps the greatest testament to the city's love affair with the waters that surround it is the yearly Miami International Boat Show. Taking place at the Miami Beach Convention Center and other locations for over 60 years, the show brings together more than 2,300 of the world's leading marine industry manufacturers to display the newest powerboats, engines and accessories. The latest in sailboats and related accessories are on display at Strictly-Sail Miami, the sail-only portion of the show.

Parasailing is a great way to see the city from above, while Key Biscayne's Hobie Beach gets its name from the proliferation of Hobie catamarans and other multi-hull sailboats that push off daily from the popular beachside launch. Thrill seekers have many avenues for adventure: surfers catch waves at South Pointe Park at the tip of South Beach and points further north, while kitesailing, a relatively new sport is catching on like wildfire all over Miami. Requiring equal parts balance, skill and nerve, kitesailing is the Gen X version of windsurfing. Kite boarders are pulled through the surf and sky, riding the wind and manipulating a massive kite in to skim the water's surface at high speed. One moment the board is on the water's surface, and the next moment the boarder is aloft, hang-gliding over boats. Instruction and equipment rentals for both windsurfing and kitesailing are available at locations throughout Miami.

Divers and snorkelers are spoiled with the choice of a plethora of natural reefs, as well as one of the largest artificial-reef programs in the world. Fish flock to more than 30 ships, tanks, concrete, limestone and other structures have been sunk over the past 20 years off Miami's coast, as far south as Florida City and north to Sunny Isles Beach. Most are located just a few miles offshore, in less than 130 feet of water, providing great diving for all levels. One of the most popular routes is the Wreck Trek, located off Miami Beach, just north of the Art Deco District. Here, divers can explore the 85-foot tug Patricia, the 100-foot steel fishing vessel Miss Karline, and an old radio antenna welded into 19 pyramids. In shallow waters off of Key Biscayne, the Half Moon and Germania form a fabulous underwater archeological preserve. Natural reefs are also found off Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, Surfside and Sunny Isles Beach. For more information on wreck and reef diving, check out www.MiamiWreckDiving.com.

Kayaking is another great way to navigate the waters of Biscayne Bay and Miami's inland waterways. The Miami Dade Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of naturalist-led eco-adventures. Key Biscayne is the setting for a wide range of tours -- with hammock walks, kayak, snorkel and canoe trips, and bike trips for all age groups and skill levels. Canoe trips are popular -- and there seems to be one for every conceivable interest -- along the Coral Gables Waterway, at sunrise, sunset or by moonlight, along the historic Oleta River and through hidden waterways of Key Biscayne. For more information visit www.MiamiDade.gov/parks/ecoadventures.asp. For those with time to venture further from the city there's the option of traveling along Everglade National Park's 99-mile Wilderness Waterway. Adventurers can paddle all day without seeing another soul, and spend the night camping out on remote chickees -- raised platform campsites accessible only by water.

Tee Time

Golfers from all four corners of the globe are making a beeline for Miami Beach, eager to check out the Miami Beach Golf Club, which completed a $10 million facelift in 2002. Designed by Arthur Hills, one of America's foremost golf course designers, the course features papsalum turf, the perfect ecological answer to Miami Beach's sand-and-salt-heavy topsoil. The challenging course features plenty of hazards, however the wide fairways, groomed roughs and gentle breezes make a trip to these links memorable.

Golf is the main event at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. The 650-acre resort offers five 18-hole championship golf courses that can cater to golfers at every skill level. The renowned Blue Monster, host to the PGA Tour since 1962, is considered one of the most difficult courses in the world. The Greg Norman-designed "Great White" opened for play in 2000, features the only triple green in South Florida -- holes 11, 13 and 17 share a putting surface of 25,000 square feet. The Silver, Gold and Red (host to LPGA event) Courses complete the equation, while professional instruction provided by the Jim McLean Golf School is considered among the tops in the nation.

Fisher Island, a private residential and resort community just a half mile south of Miami Beach, is one of Miami's most exclusive environments, accessible only by boat, helicopter, seaplane or auto ferry. Here, golfers can luxuriate at The Links at The Fisher Island Club on a par-35, nine-hole golf course, designed by architect P. B. Dye. Don Shula's Hotel & Golf Club in Miami Lakes boasts two tree-lined courses complemented by native plants and wildlife that are accessible to all levels of golfers. The landmark Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables has its own 18-hole, par-71 course, which first opened in 1925 and has since been redesigned by renowned golf architect Donald Ross. In Aventura, the 300-acre Turnberry Isle Resort and Club is a world onto itself. Golfers can choose from two Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed courses, notable for graceful fairways and deceitfully tranquil hazards and traps.

Miami Dade Parks and Recreation Department operates several top-notch public golf courses, including the beautiful water view Crandon Park Golf Course. The course is considered one of the most beautiful and difficult par-72 courses in the state and has been rated in the top 10 courses by Golfweek and one of America's top 75 upscale courses by Golf Digest. Other public courses include International Links and Miccosukee Golf Club in South Dade and Greynolds and Haulover, further north.

Tennis Anyone?

Tennis ranks with golf as a top recreational pursuit in Miami. Indeed, many of the world's top ranked players got their starts early through youth tennis programs at the many fine public facilities throughout the county. Foremost among them, the Crandon Park Tennis Center is home to the U.S. Tennis Association's Player Development Program and the National Junior Tennis Team. The Sony Ericsson Open, the world's fifth largest professional tennis tournament draws thousands of visitors when it plays host to the world's top players every March.

Over 50 locations operated by the Miami Dade Parks Department offer more than 200 courts to serve every corner of the county with amenities that encompass private and group lessons, courts lit for night time play and pro shops offering equipment rentals and sales. Persons with disabilities can also enjoy playing wheelchair tennis at various locations.

For visitors who stay at one of Miami's luxury resorts, there is no need to leave the premises to enjoy top-notch tennis facilities and instruction. Among the many upscale properties that make scheduling court time as easy as ordering room service: Grove Isle Resort in Coconut Grove, the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne and Miami Beach's famed Fontainebleau Resort.

For information, visit www.MiamiAndBeaches.com. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau is an independent not-for-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for leisure, business and conventions. For a vacation guide, visit our website or call toll-free at 888-76-MIAMI (US/Canada only) or call 305-447-7777. To contact the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau offices call 305-539-3000.

### Updated: February 2006
Contact: Media Relations, 305-539-3084, 800-955-3646 (U.S./Canada)
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

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