Don't strike out. Take a Spring Training getaway on a Trailways charter bus
It’s time to plan your spring vacation. Where are you hoping to go? If you’re a baseball fan, why not head to Florida or Arizona to enjoy a baseball-themed vacation at Spring Training? Most likely, your destination will be determined by your favorite team but both destinations offer warm weather and plenty of entertainment.
Spring Training vacations might not be your top choice when deciding where to go, but don’t discredit them too fast – even those who dislike baseball can enjoy a Spring Training vacation. Baseball fans can enjoy watching games, getting autographs from their favorite players and getting a first glance at the upcoming season.
The more intimate, laid back setting of Spring Training makes it ideal for families with most ballparks offering kid-friendly areas and packages. Plus, a lot of the destinations are loved by kids. Finally, even those who despise baseball will enjoy Spring Training vacations thanks to the warm weather destinations with plenty of entertainment options.
What teams play where?
If your team is training in Arizona, you’ll be watching the Cactus League that consists of the Royals, Rangers, Giants, Rockies, Padres, Mariners, Dodgers, Brewers, Athletics, Indians, Diamondbacks, Cubs, White Sox, Angels and Reds. One of the perks of the Cactus League: Almost all of the training facilities are within an hour of Phoenix so you can enjoy watching the entire league throughout your vacation while enjoying one of Arizona’s top tourist destinations.
If your team is in Florida, you’ll be watching the Grapefruit League that consists of the Tigers, Braves, Astros, Nationals, Mets, Cardinals, Marlins, Twins, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Pirates, Phillies, Blue Jays and Yankees. Unlike the Cactus League where the teams are all in close proximity, the Grapefruit League is spread out across the state of Florida, so traveling to different facilities isn’t convenient. However, since there are multiple destinations, you have a variety of entertainment and tourism options – from Disney World attractions to boating on Lake Okeechobee.
What is unique about certain ballparks?
As you compare the different ballparks used in Spring Training, you’ll see many similarities with things like grassy berms and outdoor bars in the majority of ballparks. Kid zones are fairly common with things like playgrounds and baseball-themed activities. But, do any of the ballparks have an attraction within the gates?
During the breaks at Cincinnati Reds games at Goodyear Ballpark, fans are given multiple ways to win prizes – everything from trivia to sumo wrestling. Yes, you can sumo wrestle during Spring Training when you’re a fan of the Reds.
For thrills and chills, head to Tradition Field to enjoy the St. Lucie Bat House – a bat habitat housing over 10,000 bats. When the ballpark was built, bats infested the stadium so the habitat was created to appease the creatures and keep them out of everyone’s hair.
Fans of the Colorado Rockies are treated to some of the best food – and margarita – options in baseball. Not only did these fans hit the foodie jackpot, they also hit the ecofriendly jackpot with Recycle Rally, an initiative to recover 90 percent of waste from the stadium through recycling.
What can you do outside of Spring Training in the destination?
Every Spring Training destination offers tourists something to do outside of the ballparks – some more than others. Of course, the entertainment will depend on which city you are traveling to, but since most destinations are determined by your favorite team, you aren’t choosing the destination based on what the city has to offer.
Enjoy the Southwest with the Cactus League
Let’s start with those headed to watch the Cactus League. Most of these travelers will be headed to the Phoenix area so not only are you in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S., you’re going to be surrounded by a crowd of other baseball enthusiasts – just watch out for rival fans!
Even though you aren’t near the ocean, you can still swim with dolphins while in Arizona at Dolphinaris. Not only do you get to watch and interact with the dolphins, you are educated about the species and their environment. You might even get a kiss from a friendly dolphin.
The Desert Botanical Garden is another destination suited for the whole family. As you stroll through the gardens, you’ll experience and enjoy the beauty of the desert – and if you’re there at the right time, you can enjoy the Spring Plant Sale so you can bring a little of the desert home with you. The Desert Botanical Garden is host to Music in the Garden that runs throughout the spring showcasing local bands and performers. And for the first time, they are hosting Flutterfest – an event dedicated to everything butterfly – a can’t miss for those with young children.
If you’re up for the challenge of hiking one of the most difficult trails, head to Camelback Mountain to enjoy the scenery and the adventure. Camelback Mountain is only recommended for experienced hikers, but novices don’t give up. There are more trails and outdoor activities in Phoenix than you’d know what to do with so head to any one of the area trails to enjoy a hike.
Ever wanted to visit a castle? Well, in the middle of the Arizona Desert, you can do just that. Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is a castle built in the 1920s, and during the early stages of development, a cactus garden was added. A castle in the middle of the desert, landscaped with cacti and other desert botanicals – it might not be the castle from fairy tales, but it’s a site to see.
It’s fun in the sun with the Grapefruit League
Unlike those headed to the Cactus League, those in the Grapefruit League are headed all over Florida depending on your team. From visiting Disney World theme parks to enjoying the outdoors on Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s Grapefruit League offers a variety of entertainment options.
For Braves and Astros fans headed to Spring Training, you will have too many options while you are on vacation. Both teams ballparks are located within close proximity to Disney World and all of the other attractions that Orlando and Kissimmee offer. If you get bored, there’s a problem.
For Blue Jay fans headed to Dunedin, prepare for an enjoyable weekend away from the crowds of the more popular tourist destinations, like Miami and Destin. But just because you’re missing out on the crowds, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the sandy beaches or memorable dining experiences. For nature lovers, Dunedin and Honeymoon Island State Park are right up your alley. You’ll spot unique birds and endangered plant life – and the island offers some of the best shelling around thanks to the Gulf currents. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the Big Cat Rescue is a can’t-miss stop.
Headed to Sarasota to support the Orioles? Whether your 1 or 100 years old, you won’t get bored in this Florida town. In Sarasota, you’ll enjoy an array of water activities and sports, like fishing, kayaking and more.
For those traveling with children, don’t miss Sarasota Jungle Gardens where you’ll spot over 200 native or exotic creatures. While you’re there, you might get to see a pink flamingo up close – close enough for you to hand-feed. Another outdoor activity involves an extensive ropes course and ziplines hidden in the trees at TreeUmph!
Finally, classic car enthusiasts, don’t miss the Sarasota Classic Car Museum, the second oldest continuously operating antique car museum in the country.
How accommodating is Spring Training for groups?
Group vacations can be tricky since everyone has different likes and dislikes, plus accommodating a large group can be difficult or even impossible for some places. Since Spring Training takes place in larger tourist cities across Florida and Arizona, there are entertainment options to please every like and dislike.
One of the biggest challenges with group vacations is finding activities that can accommodate the entire group – so many times, the groups disperse upon arrival. However, Spring Training has the opposite effect. Since the vacation revolves around Spring Training, the ballpark will be where you spend most of your time and what better way to cheer on your team than as a group?
During your Spring Training vacation, you can expect to receive discounts and benefits when attending as a group. The Goodyear Ballpark, for example, offers Reds’ fans some of the best group perks, including a scoreboard welcome message and personalized service. In addition, Goodyear Ballpark has several group party areas that range from the casual party patio to luxury suites with private bartenders.
Now that you’ve got Spring Training fever, it’s time to start planning. Determine the location of your team’s Spring Training ballpark, book your hotel and then start packing – and don’t forget the sunscreen and your baseball gloves.
When you’re ready to book transportation, contact First Class Trailways (Florida) or VIA Trailways (Arizona) to reserve your charter bus so you can sit back and relax on the journey. Trailways will take the hassle out of your Spring Training travel.