Weston, FL


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Initially conceived as a planned community, Weston, Florida, features areas of distinctive terrain, causing streets to wind leisurely around small lakes, houses to perch on canals and main roads to curve along waterways. With the Everglades bordering the city's northern and western edges, Weston seems like an extension of that nature-filled expanse, while still boasting plenty of urban luxuries.

Although the city demographic conveys a sense of casual elegance and affluence, many residents are outdoor enthusiasts—from players in the community-run adult baseball league to golfers who take advantage of Weston's two 18-hole courses. With that outdoorsy vibe, it may seem natural to kick off a tour of Weston via one of its many bicycle paths. Fifty-one miles of marked bike lanes encourage exploration of the city through a day or two of leisurely pedaling. Bicycle rental is available from Z's Bike & Fitness, in the city's northeastern corner.

More adrenaline-fueled riding takes place just north of Weston in nearby Markham Park, where novices and experts can cycle off-road. This scenic option offers 10 miles of mountain bike trails of varying difficulty, with aptly named routes like Bermuda Triangle, Washing Machine and Alligator Alley. Markham is also known for its airfield for model planes and helicopters, complete with small paved runway, and for Fox Observatory, where the public can stargaze until midnight every Saturday.

Another local spot for nature tours near Weston, Sawgrass Recreation Park, boasts airboat rides through the Everglades. Skimming across the shallow wetland habitat, visitors are likely to spot wildlife such as ospreys and snakes. For bold animal lovers, the park's popular Gator Nights tours afford glimpses of nocturnal alligator activity.

Downshifting to more sedate, relaxing pursuits, Weston attractions include a number of spas where recreationists can melt away any soreness from mountain biking or other adventures. In the northern part of Weston, Bonaventure Resort and Spa provides a purifying mud wrap, mineral marine bath or seasonal body scrub. Closer to the city's central point, Applewoods Wellness and Beauty Sanctuary offers a treatment of Reiki, a Japanese technique used to reduce body and mind stress.

Extend that mood elevation with an afternoon of shopping therapy in Weston's Town Center area. Decorated in bright colors that appear confectionary, shops range from jewelry to apparel to home décor. At Royal Art Gallery, artists pride themselves on being able to fashion any type of chandelier, and the store's antique knickknacks are always worth browsing.

After a day of exploring boutiques, shoppers linger in Town Center for dinner at an array of Weston restaurants. The menu at chic, Tuscan-inspired Il Toscano revels in classics like fettuccine alfredo, while lively East City Grill showcases steak, seafood and signature martinis. More casual fare abounds as well, at joints like DelVecchio's Pizzeria, or handmade ice cream purveyor Udder Sweets.

With its blend of stately homes, palm-lined roadways and lively downtown, Weston combines upscale attractions with natural vistas. Travelers can find plenty to do indoors and out in this civilized Everglades outpost.