Your Spring Training Guide to Florida
Spring training in Florida brings thousands of baseball fans to see their favorite teams play ball. Escaping the cold winds of the north, these teams make up the Grapefruit League.
Fans can watch them train and play games for much lower prices and in less crowded stadiums than during the regular season. It's a win for everyone involved.
If you're planning on making your way down to Florida for spring training, here is what you need to know about each city that hosts a major league team — and what you can do outside the stadiums.
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Stadium: George M. Steinbrenner Field
Team: New York Yankees
Tampa Outside of the Stadium
You don't have to go all the way to New York to watch the Yankees play. Avoid the traffic and the headaches and head to Tampa instead.
When the games are over, you'll still have plenty of fun things to do. Take a day to ride roller coasters in Busch Gardens, which is way more fun than Disney, according to the Floridian writing this. Stop by La Segunda Central Bakery for the best Cuban sandwich in the city — this was, after all, the place that invented them.
At night, head over to historic Ybor City. Developed by workers at Cuban cigar factories, the district has old Florida charm that is only enhanced by the numerous clubs flanking its streets. This unusual contrast makes it one of the best nightlife spots on Florida's Gulf Coast.
Where to stay: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Tampa RJ Stadium
Stadium: BayCare Ballpark
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Clearwater Outside of the Stadium
Boasting one of the best beaches in Florida, Clearwater is a fun spot that hasn't yet fallen prey to overtourism. Most visitors are families or snowbirds, who come to enjoy tranquil white-sand beaches, the lively Pier 60 and beautiful nature trails.
For food, drinks and shopping, no place beats the District. It often seems like the entire city gathers here on weekends to have a good time.
But if you'd rather do something active, you can go on many fun tours that offer kayaking, boating, fishing and more.
Where to stay: Clarion Inn & Suites Central Clearwater Beach
Stadium: TD Ballpark
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Dunedin Outside of the Stadium
Dunedin is a suburb of Clearwater, so you'll have access to many of the same things while getting to see the Toronto Blue Jays play. And definitely make time to catch a game, as this is the best MLB spring training site in the country.
Honeymoon Island State Park is the most popular thing to do, so take a break from baseball for a morning to lie on the soft sand. You can also walk around Hammock Park in Downtown Dunedin. Golfing is a popular activity, as is going to local breweries like 7venth Sun Brewery.
And if you want a random yet wonderful experience, you can't miss the Penny Lane Beatles Museum, which fans of the iconic band can enjoy for free.
Where to stay: Fenway Hotel, Autograph Collection
Stadium: Ed Smith Stadium
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Sarasota Outside of the Stadium
About an hour south of Tampa, Sarasota is a true gem of the Gulf Coast. The city has multiple spots for fun and socializing, like St. Armand's Circle and the restaurant-lined downtown. You'll also find theaters, impressive botanical gardens and a museum dedicated to the Ringling Brothers Circus (which includes a fine art collection with works by Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velázquez, Marcel Duchamp and more).
But Sarasota's biggest jewel is Siesta Key, which our readers absolutely love. You'll have countless dining options, but the one you need to visit is Yoder's. Run by the local Amish community, this restaurant offers home-cooked American fare and pies made from scratch.
Where to stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton Sarasota
Stadium: LECOM Park
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Bradenton Outside the Stadium
Like Dunedin, Bradenton is usually lumped in with Sarasota, but the small city has its own interesting offerings. Besides the chance to see the Pittsburgh Pirates, visiting the Village of the Arts is the best thing to do. Made up of cottages from the 1920s and '30s, this district is filled with boutique shops, restaurants, cocktail bars and artist studios.
The Riverwalk park is a great place to catch a legendary Florida sunset, and the Bishop Planetarium gives you access to the night skies. Of course, you can't skip the beach, so put Ana Maria Island on your list of must-visit places.
Where to stay: Courtyard by Marriott Bradenton Sarasota/Riverfront
Stadiums: JetBlue Park at Fenway South, Hammond Stadium
Teams: Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins
Fort Myers Outside of the Stadium
Fort Myers loves baseball so much they have both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins play here during spring training. Moving from Fenway South to Hammond Stadium is easy and convenient, so you get double the baseball for the same price.
Fort Myers suffered significant damage from Hurricane Ian in 2022, and much of the city is still recovering. Because of this, you won't be able to do as much as in other years. Still, head out into town to support the businesses that are open. The community will very much appreciate it.
Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Fort Myers, an IHG Hotel
Team: Atlanta Braves
North Port Outside of the Stadium
Located within Sarasota County, Nort Port is a city mostly known to Floridians. The Atlanta Braves come to play here every year, so if you're a fan, base yourself here. When you're not watching baseball, you can drive north to Sarasota or Bradenton to do all the aforementioned things.
But if you want to stay in North Port, you can relax the body and mind at the Warm Mineral Springs. Some claim that the water has healing properties that can help with several health and skin issues. While we can't say for sure that's true, a dip here will definitely leave you in a better mood. And that's the cure to many ailments.
Where to stay: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Venice
Stadium: Charlotte Sports Park
Team: Tampa Bay Rays (not in 2023)
Port Charlotte Outside of the Stadium
As with Fort Myers, Hurricane Ian caused great damage to Port Charlotte. And the Charlotte Sports Park, where the Tampa Bay Rays spend spring training, was not spared. Because of this, the stadium will not be hosting the team in 2023. Still, we wanted to include it with the hope that this will soon change.
If you're still interested in visiting, proceed with caution, as many things remain closed while the city recovers. Usually, you can enjoy several nearby state parks, as well as the beautiful Port Charlotte Beach Park, and the scenic Peace River Botanic & Sculpture Gardens in nearby Punta Gorda.
Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites North Port
Stadium: Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Team: Tampa Bay Rays
Orlando Outside of the Stadium
Standing in as the home of the Tampa Bay Rays until Port Charlotte recovers, Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports gives people yet another excuse to visit Orlando.
If you're already here, you might as well make time to go to one of Disney World's four parks. Or, better yet, go to Universal Studios and Island of Adventures. Walking around Disney Springs (which is free) is another fun activity, as is golfing.
Unsurprisingly, the city offers some superb dining options, including Jaleo by celebrity Spanish chef Jose Andres.
Where to stay: Meliá Orlando Celebration
Stadium: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium
Team: Detroit Tigers
Lakeland Outside of the Stadium
Everyone knows Florida for its beaches, but outsiders usually ignore its incredible springs. Lakeland is at the center of several of these springs and lakes, often characterized by clear blue waters that are cool and refreshing. Boating, kayaking and fishing are highly recommended activities.
On dry land, you can stroll around the Munn Park Historic District, known for its early 20th-century architecture. Or admire Lake Mirror at the pretty Hollis Garden.
For the culturally inclined, there is the Polk Museum of Arts, and the Florida Children's Museum will keep the kids entertained while you rest.
Where to stay: Comfort Inn & Suites Lakeland
West Palm Beach
Stadium: FitTeam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
Teams: Houston Astros, Washington Nationals
West Palm Beach Outside the Stadium
Palm Beach may be only for the fabulously wealthy, but West Palm Beach is its cooler and much more accessible sister. While it's still pretty bougie, you won't feel out of place as you enjoy the city's fantastic dining and shopping scene. Not to mention its calm beaches.
As many retirees move here, the city has plenty of cultural and artistic institutions. Visit the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum and the Norton Museum of Art, or catch a show at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
And if this is your last spring training stop, you can extend your vacation by hopping on a Brightline train to Miami.
Where to stay: SpringHill Suites by Marriott West Palm Beach
Port St. Lucie
Stadium: Clover Park
Team: New York Mets
Port St. Lucie Outside of the Stadium
Come for the Mets, stay for the natural beauty. This city on the east coast of Florida is north of the Palm Beaches. But while it's not yet known to outsiders, you can expect some stunning ocean scenery.
Do the Riverwalk Boardwalk to see mangroves, or visit the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens and the North Fork St. Lucie Aquatic Preserve. Horseback riding, golfing and hiking in preserves are all great activities you can do when the Mets aren't playing.
Where to stay: Sheraton PGA Vacation Resort, Port St. Lucie
Stadium: Roger Dean Stadium
Teams: Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals
Jupiter Outside of the Stadium
The Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals come to Jupiter for spring training. In between Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach, this small city is surrounded by the ocean on one side, and numerous state parks and preserves on the other.
The Jonathan Dickinson State Park is the most famous, though wildlife lovers also trip over themselves to visit the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, where they can interact with sea turtles. Water activities include swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and boating.
Where to stay: Courtyard by Marriott Palm Beach Jupiter
Related: Your Spring Training Guide for Arizona’s Cactus League