Water is the very essence of Miami, and it is the ease and sensuality of it that defines the city. To properly explore its offshore wonderlands, rent a motorboat from Club Nautico (305/673-2502; www.clubnauticousa.com) at the Miami Beach Marina. Boats with and without captains are available, and you don't need a license to drive. Pick up a picnic lunch at the nearby Epicure Gourmet Market (1656 Alton Road; 305/672-1861; www.epicure-market.com), then explore the canals of Miami Beach, lined with opulent homes, before heading out to one of the tropical islands in Biscayne Bay to frolic in the shallows along the beaches.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.