Everglades National Park Wade in the water

The best way to see the Everglades is by kayak or canoe, with which you can paddle your way through swampland while eying the unending labyrinth of mangroves, cypress trees and sawgrass marshes.

The national park and UNESCO site comprises the entire southern tip of the Sunshine State—nearly 1.5 million acres—and is home to vast amount of wildlife, making it a birdwatchers oasis and “The Crocodile Hunter” fans giddy with excitement over the abundance of sharp-toothed reptiles.

As the largest subtropical wilderness in America, the Everglades are a serious testament to natures elements: maintained through intense rain and equally intense drought and fire, the park’s play on balance can keep you hiking for hours.

Locust Projects A plague upon your gallery

Unsure as to the distinction between a gallery and a project space? In a nutshell: Galleries try and sell what they show, project spaces are in it solely for art. Not-for-profit Locust is of the latter ilk, and is all about power to the people. And free entry.

By their own admission they’re dedicated to (proceed with caution, abstract buzzphrase alert) ‘providing contemporary visual artists’ with ‘the freedom to experiment with new ideas’. Translation: They’re giving young artistic guns the chance to throw some crazier-than-usual shit at the walls and see what sticks. The results, while occasionally bemusing, tend to be pretty exciting.

Past throwers have included LA-based Karl Haendel, who created a cacophony of flitting city structures on the walls with automatically advancing slide projectors, and Jillian Mayer, who set up playpark swings in front of a giant cinematic projection. If you’re game for a visit, try and rock up on an exhibition opening night — the drinks flow, there’s live music, and plenty of peacocking more-cultured-than-thou types to poke fun at.

Azul The total package

Azul is Miami’s answer to the entire spectrum of fine dining from business to romance. Because it’s located in the Mandarin Oriental, service is top-tier, and its views of Biscayne Bay and the skyline especially at night, are damn near magical.

The cuisine holds its own too. Young chef William Crandall has moved up the ranks quickly and debuted a new French-based menu with Asian influences. Highlights include Foie Gras with beets, hisbiscus and apples, Smoked Lettuce with applewood bacon dressing, trout roe and crispy fresh vegetables, and a fromage bomb of a ‘Coach Farms Risotto’ — with three artisanal cheeses. Splurge on the tasting menu with wine pairings, it’s worth it.

The Freehand Oxymoronic brilliance featured

Boasting the title of the first high-end hostel (no longer an oxymoron) in the USA, The Freehand isn’t so much raising the bar for hostels as it is taking that bar, training it to be an astronaut and firing it into space – lock, stock and bleedin’ barrel. Located inside the classic Art Deco India Creek hotel building and with interiors designed by Roman & Williams, this premium grade hostel hybrid has got all bases covered: handcrafted interiors, swimming pool, jungle courtyard, bocce courts, bike rental—the list is endless. They’ve even got themselves a perma-pop-up cocktail lounge, The Broken Shaker, which uses fresh ingredients from the on-site garden, and has rapidly earned a rep for being one of the best beverage-suppin’ spots in the city.

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