The Florida Grapefruit League has been around for more than 100 years, and catching a game in the warm Florida sunshine is a baseball-lover’s dream. Port St. Lucie, Fort Myers, Tampa, and many more cities house some of the best teams in the MLB during Spring Training. When you’re not watching those future Hall-of-Famers play on the field, consider these places to visit and things to do in Florida.
Explore These 10 Places In Florida During Spring Training
1. Savannas Preserve State Park
Image credit: Matthew Beziat/Flickr CC-BY 2.0
Located in Port St. Lucie, you can visit this state park for fishing, paddle boarding, and canoeing when you’re not catching the New York Mets take on an opponent at Tradition Field. While you’re now allowed to camp here, the park does allow horseback riding and there are many nearby hotels and beach houses for rent. Walk the trails through this 10-mile coastal marsh reserve and get some exercise in before you sit and watch another baseball game.
This city is home to two different MLB teams, the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. What’s even better? West Palm Beach offers some of the finest dining, shopping, and entertainment in Florida. Check out the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium and let the kids enjoy the hand-on exhibits. Dine at the renowned Okeechobee Steakhouse and enjoy a delicious meal before grabbing a nightcap at Copper Blues Rock Pub and Kitchen.
3. Visit Mickey Mouse and Friends
You can’t come to Florida without visiting the Magical Kingdom! Disney World is located in Orlando which is a mid-way point between the stadiums on each of Florida’s coasts. While driving from one field to the other, stop in Orlando and take a ride on Splash Mountain, Expedition Everest, or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Don’t forget to say hi to all the characters in costume and take the kid’s picture with their favorites.
4. Drink Local Brew
Image credit: CK Golf/Flickr CC-BY 2.0
Cigar City Brewing is located in Tampa and serves up some ice cold, local beer. Try their regular releases like the Florida Cracker, a Belgian-style White Ale, or the Invasion, an American Pale Ale. Their special releases include the Guayaber, a Citra Pale Ale, the Marshal Zhukov’s Penultimate Push, an Imperial Stout with Coffee, Cacao Nibs, and Vanilla, and the Good Gourd, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale. You can’t go wrong if you get a tasting flight of a few of these beers and more, so head to Cigar City Brewing and try them for yourself.
5. Visit the Everglades
In the U.S., there isn’t anything quite like the Everglades National Park. In fact, it’s the largest subtropical wilderness in the country! In addition, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and is specially protected under the Cartagena Treaty. This breathtaking, two million-acre wetland ecosystem is known for its marshes, grassland, and Florida panthers, the most endangered species in the Everglades. This incredible national park is a must-visit on your trip to Florida.
Chosen by USA Today readers as one the the 10 Best Florida Beaches, Clearwater Beach sits on the Gulf of Mexico and offers visitors calm, beautiful waters. Spectrum Field, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, is housed in Clearwater, so you won’t have to go too far from the ballpark. Grab a towel, sunscreen, and some beach toys and bring the family to one of the best beaches in the Sunshine State.
7. Grab Your Nine Iron
Florida has the most golf courses of any state, boasting more than 1,000 courses. With that many courses, it can be a tough decision when you’re looking for a place to play a round. Golf Digest ranked Seminole Golf Club as the best golf course in the state, and it’s located just north of West Palm Beach. In Tampa, head to Old Memorial Golf Club, and in Orlando play a round at Bay Hill Club.
If you’re going to Florida for Spring Training, you’ll likely be spending some time in Tampa. It’s the biggest city with the most baseball parks surrounding it, so you may use it as a hub when going to different parks across the state. Check out the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa when you need to cool off from the Florida heat. This place has hands-on exhibits and a gorgeous butterfly garden. The Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts are also great options if you’re seeing air conditioning. If not, there’s always Busch Garnends Tampa, an amusement park offering rides, live entertainment, and a safari experience. There are countless dining and accommodation options in Tampa, so you won’t have trouble finding exactly what you’re looking for during your visit.
Located on the eastern side of Florida, Jupiter sits on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It plays home to the Miami Marlins, so when you’re not watching them play nine innings, take a walk along the water or enjoy since time in a beachfront park. Ocean Cay Park has beach access as well as picnic shelter, playgrounds, and sand volleyball courts. Carlin Park offers 3,000 feet of guarded beach, bocce ball, sand volleyball courts, and, of course, it’s on the beach so you can take a dip in the Atlantic. Check out Jupiter’s beaches and parks for a relaxing day outdoors.
10. Gulf Islands National Seashore
Image credit: faungg's photos/Flickr CC-BY 2.0
While you’re in Pensacola, you’ll want to check out this National Seashore. Rent bikes and take a ride around the Gulf Islands or set out on foot to hike through the trails. Snorkeling is also a popular activity here, as is canoeing. Take a swim in the clear waters or take a nap on the shoreline. If you’re looking for some outdoor activities in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, head to the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
You might also like:
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.