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Miami Hot Spots

Everglades National Park
Head over to the Everglades National Park, the country’s largest after Yellowstone, for a taste of pure, unfettered wilderness. About an hour’s drive from Miami, an entrance fee of $10 will get you 7-day access to all the Park has to offer. Unless you are true nature lover, this can all be done in a day. Start out on the Ahninga Trail, a half a mile walk on a wooden boardwalk, where you will see a variety of herons and other birds in addition to a possibility of alligators. Other highlights include the Pa-hay-okee Overlook, which provides a beautiful view of the landscape, and Mahogany Hammock, the largest grove of mahogany trees in the US. Lastly, drive all the way down to Flamingo, where nature really roams wild. Vultures circle freely around the nearby Marina, where crocodile sightings are common as well.

Little Havana Restaurants
While little Havana may evoke memories of Scarface and Al Pacino, this locale, named Calle Ocho, for the street that runs at the heart of the neighborhood, is a wonderful little gem dotted with small cigar shops and ethnic restaurants. Check out Versailles, a budget-priced Cuban diner with lots of flair. While named after Louis XVI’s mirrored chateau in France, this version doesn’t even come close to the original’s grandiosity with a run-down interior of mirrored walls and small chandeliers. But the gritty authenticity of Versailles is part of the establishment’s charm and once you order one of the Cuban sandwiches with chorizo or a dish of yellow rice, pork, and fried plaintains, you will see why this immensely popular restaurant is filled to the brim during peak dining hours. In the morning, try the adjoining Versailles bakery and coffee stand for delicious pastries and café con leche. (Versailles, 3555 S W 8 th St, Miami, 305-444-0240)

Ocean Drive Restaurants
For people-watching in the evening, check out one of the many restaurants that lie along Ocean Drive in SoBe. In terms of cuisine, many of the establishments offer traditional Italian fare with a seafood twist served on outdoor patios that are perfect for al fresco dining on a warm Miami evening. But don’t go if you’re a gourmand – the food quality is most certainly mediocre. Just sit back, indulge in a few mojitos, and enjoy watching the art deco architecture and all of the beautiful people.

November 13, 2007
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