Peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and Good Times: The Florida Towns That Host Spring Training Teams
A Guide to Florida Cities and the Spring Training Teams They Claim
If you know our company (or have ever read one of our blog posts), you know that we’re already on board with the idea of you adopting that snowbird lifestyle, packing up your life, and heading down to Florida to enjoy warmer, more pleasant winter months.
There are endless draws to Florida that reel people in – the tropical climate, the beautiful beaches, the endless entertainment, the food, the lifestyle.
You probably already knew all of that, but did you know that Major League Baseball is also a huge draw to Florida?
That’s right, we said Major League Baseball – we’re talking teams like the Cardinals, the Tigers, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Twins, The Pirates, and more!
How is all this possible? Two words, friends:
Florida is a total hotspot for Spring Training – it draws some of the biggest teams in the United States to its warm, pleasant climate for a mini-pre-season session in February and March to help them prepare for the upcoming season. (Fun fact, spring training also occurs in Arizona around this time, too!)
If you’re already considering Florida for your Snowbird destination, allow us to entice you further with a little info about spring training, the towns that participate, and even more details about these Florida cities that host 15 teams during this spring training period!
No. 1: Bradenton, Florida
Argh, matey – okay, admittedly that’s not a great pirate impression, but it is a pretty solid hint at which team calls Bradenton, Florida its home during Spring Training Season. The Pittsburg Pirates! From February 23 through March 27, you can catch the Pittsburg Pirates in Bradenton, Florida (when they’re not traveling to other Florida cities for preseason games!
While the Pirates are a huge draw, it’s important to point out that Bradenton itself is a great city to make your temporary home (even if the Pirates weren’t around for Spring Training). Located on the East side of Tampa Bay and the Manatee River, Bradenton features easy access to the Gulf, modern galleries, shops, and restaurants, and an amazing Riverwalk Park that stretches beautifully across the water. This Florida city features about 54,000 people (as of a 2016 census) and is known for its famed Village of the Arts, a renovated, uniquely-zoned neighborhood that encourages small business owners, gallery curators, and other creatives to live and work from their homes.
No. 2: Clearwater, Florida
The Philadelphia Phillies are lucky enough to call this beautiful, tropical, Gulf-side paradise their spring training home! Located in gorgeous Pinellas County, this city (packed with about 107,000 people) is a waterside haven that’s big on entertainment, beaches, and tourist attractions.
Sandwiched between several lush, award-winning beaches, Clearwater tries to offer more than just sand and salt – there are several museums, luxury hotels, a famous aquarium, and more all stretching along the 3-mile stretch of white sands! The Phillies call Clearwater’s Spectrum Field their home field during their Spring Training period – and you can, too!
No. 3: Dunedin, Florida
This one should hit you right in the heart – our beloved Toronto Blue Jays find solace in Florida, too! Specifically, in the gorgeous, tiny, quaint, and waterside town of Dunedin, Florida.
This unique city is located smack-dab on the Florida Gulf Coast, but it’s known for more than just sand and salt – there are also gorgeous pine forests, ospreys, and famed landmarks like Honeymoon Island State Park (linked back to the mainland by the Dunedin Causeway). The Dunedin downtown is packed with colorful bars, delicious mom-and-pop restaurants, and of course, plenty of unique boutiques. With only about 35,000 people, Dunedin is a quaint town characterized by gorgeous sunsets, tropical lifestyles, and the colorful people who inhabit it. Join the Toronto Blue Jays for their Spring season at the Dunedin Stadium.
No. 4: Fort Myers, Florida
Tropical lifestyles, posh attractions, gorgeous sunsets, and best of all, home to two baseball teams during the spring training season! That’s right, Fort Myers hosts both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins during the action-packed months of February and March!
Fort Myers is a notable hot spot in South Florida — it’s grown rapidly in the last six years and now has over 80,000 in its population! Between the amazing, award-winning beaches, its proximity to other visit-worthy Florida cities, and exciting attractions like nature centers, museums, waterfront downtown districts, and more, it’s an ideal spot to claim your half-a-year home!
Check out the Boston Red Sox at the JetBlue Park Stadium and the Minnesota Twins at the CenturyLink Sports Complex!
No. 5: Jupiter, Florida
Looking to hit the East Coast of Florida to enjoy the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean? Then we’ve got good news – you can reap the benefits of this gorgeous ocean and still enjoy the spring training season. Just like Fort Myers, Jupiter hosts two baseball teams for spring training – the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins! These two teams work on a split-squad schedule (called an ss) and share the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. In other words, Jupiter is an obvious hotspot for spring training fans!
But Jupiter is more than just good spring training baseball – situated on the Loxahatchee River and the Atlantic Ocean, Jupiter is a salty, tropical paradise for folks looking to live a real, beachside Florida lifestyle. Jupiter is ideal for folks who are looking for a metropolis – with over 6,000,000 people, it’s certainly not a quaint, little town. But if you seek tropical paradise, plenty to do, and an urban, beachy city, you’ve found it in Jupiter!
No. 6: Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Baseball and Disney – need we say more? Although Lake Buena Vista is mostly known for being the mailing address for Walt Disney World, it’s also famous for hosting the Atlanta Braves during Spring Training season!
Before we dive into the obvious driving factor of Lake Buena Vista (hint: he’s a cartoon mouse with a ton of fun theme park activities!), let’s get into some of the need-to-know facts, first. Lake Buena Vista doesn’t technically house all of the Disney facilities, but it is within spitting distance of the parks, resorts, and more! Lake Buena Vista is one of two Florida municipalities controlled entirely by the Walt Disney company.
The coolest part about this spring training schedule? It’s – of course – hosted right in the middle of Walt Disney World! Catch the Brave’s spring training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports!
No. 7: Lakeland, Florida
This central Florida city is equipped with lots of artistic style, gorgeous lakes, and cute accommodations, but best of all, it’s the spring training home base for the Detroit Tigers! With about 100,000 people living in town, it’s populated, but not overly-populated for its size. Lakeland is known for its quaint downtown, its prehistoric district, and the beautiful Florida Southern College.
No. 8: Port Charlotte, Florida
A quaint town situated right on the Gasparilla Sound Harbor, Port Charlotte is a metropolitan area just mere miles away from the Gulf of Mexico. Even better, though? Port Charlotte is home-base for the Tampa Bay Rays! Although the Rays are a Tampa-team, they spend their spring training in beautiful Port Charlotte.
This city is great for folks who want waterway access (it has over 165 miles of waterways), beautiful views, and lots of natural shoreline! Though considered urban, there is an abundance of hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and more at the Tippecanoe Environmental Park!
Make sure you check out the Charlotte Sports Park to see the Rays during their Spring training!
No. 9: Port St. Lucie, Florida
This beachside town (which is often referred to as PSL) is the Spring season home for the New York Mets! Located northwest of major cities like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, PSL is a heavily populated city with a beachy lifestyle, tropical climate, and an impressive Riverwalk Boardwalk that weaves through gorgeous mangroves.
In PSL, you can get a taste of all kinds of Florida wildlife – from the saltwater creatures that live in the Atlantic to the famed alligators that line the swamps.
You can catch the Mets playing at First Data Field in PSL!
No. 10: Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota, Florida houses the Baltimore Orioles during the pre-season Spring Training!
Sarasota is a beachy, tropical paradise that caters more toward snowbirds and people in their golden years! With award-winning beaches everywhere you look (Siesta Key Beach, Lido Key, and more!), Sarasota is truly a tropical haven. But Sarasota is also well known for it’s cultural and economic amenities, encouraging arts, theater, and more!
Check out an Orioles game at the Ed Smith Stadium!
No. 11: Tampa, Florida
Normally, if you think baseball in Tampa, Florida, you think the Tampa Bay Rays (the permanent baseball team of Tampa Bay who has a home field in neighboring St. Petersburg, Florida), but when it comes to spring training, the baseball fields belong to the New York Yankees!
Tampa is a populated, urban metropolis that is situated on the Hillsborough River and Tampa Bay – just mere miles away from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s known for theme parks, cultural offerings, historic cities (like Ybor), and a hub for major business offerings.
No. 12: West Palm Beach, Florida
At West Palm Beach, you get twice the spring training action! West Palm Beach hosts both the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals during this pre-season preparation term.
West Palm Beach is an east coast city that’s separated from neighboring cities by the famed Lake Worth Lagoon. It’s notable for districts filled with shopping, art, restaurants, and bars. It’s highly regarded as a fun, retirement community that offers its residents plenty of beachside entertainment along with the finer things in life!