Best Of 2013

Best Summer Pastime

Florida Collegiate Summer League

This Central Florida-based collegiate wood-bat baseball league is considered a breeding ground for major league hopefuls: This year alone, 27 current and former Florida League players were taken in the 2013 MLB draft. And for Orlando baseball fans looking to catch a game at the ballpark, every summer the Florida League offers more than 100 games per season, with six teams playing all around the area – from DeLand to Leesburg to Sanford to College Park. The full roster of evening games sees to it that the grown-ups enjoy the game with cold beer in hand while the kiddies go wild with on-field activities. Plus the tickets are only $5, so you might also consider it the best bet for watching future major leaguers in action.

Best Theme Park
1. Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort, 6000 Universal Blvd., 407-363-8000,
2. Universal Studios, Universal Orlando Resort, 6000 Universal Blvd., 407-363-8000,
3. Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, 407-939-6244,

1. New Smyrna Beach
2. Cocoa Beach
3. Playalinda Beach

Best Bike Rentals

West Orange Trail Bikes &Blades Co.

17914 State Road 438, Winter Garden

We’d consider the West Orange Trail one of our top Central Florida cycling destinations for a couple of reasons: The trail has both great distance (22 miles in total) for the hard-core cyclists, and for the cruisers, safe and scenic routes through historic downtown Winter Garden. For those who don’t own their own bicycle, we suggest heading to Mile Zero of the trail and renting one from West Orange Trail Bikes & Blades, a full-service bike shop offering hourly rentals ($6-$10) and daylong rates, some of which include delivery to your hotel and guided rides. Ride for as long as you like, but the further away you travel, keep in mind: 1) The trail sees more hilly terrain toward the Apopka area; and 2) You have to turn around and ride back.

1. Sportstown Billiards, 2414 E. Robinson St., 407-894-6258,
2. Backstage Billiards, 8516 Palm Parkway, 407-465-0123,
3. Trick Shots Billiards, multiple locations,

1. Colonial Lanes, 400 N. Primrose Drive, 407-894-0361,
2. Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center, 10749 E. Colonial Drive, 407-384-0003,
3. Splitsville, Downtown Disney West Side, 1494 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, 407-938-7467,

1. Lake Eola Park, 195 N. Rosalind Ave., 407-246-4485,
2. Central Park, 251 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-599-3334,
3. Dickson Azalea Park, 100 Rosearden Drive, 407-246-2283,

Denning Park Community Playground

255 S. Denning Drive, Winter Park

Climbing is hard in flat-as-a-pancake Orlando – children resort to bookshelves, countertops, grandparents. Of all the playground equipment around the city, Denning Park’s Community Playground offers a grandly huge, labyrinthine wooden contraption on soft, non-ouchy mulch. It’s custom-designed, rather than a brand-name prefab made of ugly plastic and sizzling-hot steel tubes, and has a shaggy, premodern appearance (though the city of Winter Park has sanded down the splinters and edges). Sheltered by marvelous shady oaks, parents can lounge at picnic tables while the city’s youngest adventurers explore a fascinating, sometimes tunnel-like, three-dimensional space. Best part: It’s free.

1. Fleet Peeples Park, 2000 S. Lakemont Ave., Winter Park, 407-599-3334,
2. Paw Park, 427 French Ave., Sanford,
3. Dr. P. Phillips Community Park, 8249 Buenavista Woods Blvd., 407-254-9045,

1. YMCA, multiple locations,
2. Planet Fitness, multiple locations,
3. LA Fitness, multiple locations,

1. Lake Conway, two public boat ramps: Fern Creek and Waterwitch Drive; Randolph Street and Hoffner Avenue
2. Lake Butler/Butler Chain of Lakes, public access at R.D. Keene Park and Boat Ramp, 10900 Chase Road, Windermere, 407-836-6200,
3. Lake Ivanhoe Park, 57 S. Ivanhoe Blvd., 407-246-2283,