Florida Roundups

MLB Spring Training 2016: Campgrounds, beaches and cool things to do nearby

2016 Florida Spring Training Guide

florida spring training~ Our annual Grapefruit League Spring Training Guide is a great resource for the best campgrounds and things to do near Florida’s 14 spring-training camps.

Our annual guide separates teams into three regions:  Central Florida, Southwest Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast

For each team, you will find useful links to Florida Rambler articles about campgrounds, lodging and things to do near each training camp, as well as reporting dates, home openers and useful links to full schedules and tickets.

To further round out your Spring Training visit, be sure to visit Florida Rambler’s 2016 Seafood Festival Calendar for February and March events near your favorite team.

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Central (I-4 Corridor)

New York Yankees – Tampa

Originally called Legends Field, George M. Steinbrenner Field has the same dimensions as Yankee Stadium, down to the inch. It was insisted to be so by the Boss, who, as the story goes, phoned the Bronx from Tampa during construction and had an employee go to the outfield wall with a tape measure during a storm, just to be sure the measurements were correct.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers report February 18 with a first workout on February 19. Position players report February 24 and the first full squad workout is Feb. 25, 2016.

Home Opener: 03/02 1:05 p.m. vs. TIGERS.

Resource links and things to do:

Directions to the ballpark: Take I-275 to North Dale Mabry (US Highway 92), exit 41B (old 23). Proceed north approximately 3 miles. George M. Steinbrenner Field will be on your left.

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Philadelphia Phillies – Clearwater

Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training

Phillies Spring Training

Built in 2004, BrightHouse Field is one of the newer ballparks in the Grapefruit League.  A replica of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Phillies fans should feel right at home. 

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers report on February 17 with a first workout February 18. Position players report February 22, and the first full squad workout will be February 23.

Home Opener: 03/01 1:05 p.m. vs. BLUE JAYS.

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 467-4457

Directions: Highway 60 (Courtney Campbell Causeway) West. Cross over Highway 19 and go to the next stoplight (Old Coachman Road). Turn right (North) at Old Coachman Road. Go North through the Drew Street intersection. Stadium will be on right. 601 N. Old Coachman Road.

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Toronto Blue Jays – Dunedin

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium has been the Blue Jays’ Spring Training camp since it was built in 1990. The 5,509-seat ballpark includes air-conditioned skyboxes and three picnic areas. Dunedin has hosted the Blue Jays since their inaugural year in 1977.  It has been ranked as one of the top five places to watch a spring training game by Sports Illustrated.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers report February 18 with a first workout on February 19. Position players report on February 23 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 24.

Home Opener: 03/02 1:07 p.m. vs. PHILLIES

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, FL 34698

Direction to stadium from Sarasota (about 57 miles, 92 km): I-275 North to Exit 15 (State Road 694 – Gandy/Park Blvd.). Left (West) on 694 for 1.5 miles to US 19. Right (north) on US 19 for 11 miles to Sunset Point Road. Left (west) on Sunset Pt. Rd. for 3.5 miles to Douglas Ave. Right (north) on Douglas Ave. for one mile – stadium will be on right.

Direction to stadium from Orlando(about 109 miles, 175 km): I-4 west to I-275 South. I-275 South to Tampa Airport/State Road 60 Exit. State Road 60 Across Courtney Campbell Causeway to Clearwater. State Road 60 to US 19. Right (north) on US 19 to Sunset Pt. Road (3rd traffic light). Left (west) on Sunset Pt. road for 3.5 miles to Douglas Ave. Right (north) on Douglas Ave. for one mile – stadium will be on right.

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Detroit Tigers – Lakeland

Joker Marchant Stadium, home of the Tigers since it opened in 1966, is the second-oldest ballpark in the Grapefruit League.  No team has called one city its spring training home as long as the Tigers, who began going to Lakeland in 1934, and with the exception of a few years in Evansville, Ind., during World War II, have been in Lakeland every year since.  Remodeled and made to look like Comerica Park in Detroit, this is a tradition-rich ballpark to watch baseball.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers report on February 19 with a first workout on February 20. Position players report on February 23, and the first full squad workout is Feb. 24.

Home Opener: 03/02 1:07 p.m. vs. PHILLIES

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Joker Marchant Stadium, 2301 Lakeland Hills Boulevard, Lakeland, FL 33805 (866-66-TIGER)

Directions:Take I-4 to the CR-582 exit, EXIT 33, onto CR-582 S/N. Socrum Loop Road. Go under the overpass and veer to the right, turning onto SR-33, also known as Lakeland Hills Blvd. Joker Marchant Stadium is located approximately 2 miles on the left hand side of the street.

Atlanta Braves – Disney World

Champion Stadium has been the Braves’ Spring Training home since 1998. Located within minutes of each of Walt Disney World’s many attractions, the stadium is the centerpiece of ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex. The 9,500-seat stadium includes four luxury boxes, multiple open-air suites and many of the same amenities found during the regular season at Major League ballparks.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 19 with a first workout on February 20. Position players set to report on February 24 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 25.

Home Opener: 03/01 1:05 p.m. vs. ORIOLES

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Champion Stadium, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, 700 S. Victory Way, Lake Buena Vista, FL 34747 (407) 839-3900  Nearest Major Airport: Orlando International

Directions:Take Interstate 4 to Hwy 192 West and follow signs to Magic Kingdom/Wide World of Sports, right onto Victory Way. Directions at Disney World are clear and plentiful, but there’s no signage that points the direction to the ballpark. Instead, follow the signs to Wide World of Sports.

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Houston Astros – Kissimmee

  A short drive from Disney World are the Astros, who have been playing spring games in Kissimmee at Osceola County Stadium, the smallest ballpark in the circuit with a capacity of 5,300, since 1984.

This is likely the last year the Astros will be playing in Kissimmee. Their spring training camp is scheduled to move to West Palm Beach for the 2017 pre-season at a shared facility with the Washington Nationals, placing them in the same area where the New York Mets, Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals train.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 18 with a first workout on Feb. 19. Position players set to report on February 22 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 23.

Home Opener: 03/04 1:05 p.m. vs. CARDINALS

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Osceola County Stadium, 631 Heritage Park Way, Kissimmee, FL 34744 (321) 697-3200  Nearest Major Airport: Orlando International

Directions: Interstate 4 East to US 192, US 192 east to Bill Beck Blvd. Turn left on Bill Beck Blvd., 7/10 mile turn left into parking lot.

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Gulf Coast (I-75 Corridor)

Pittsburg Pirates – Bradenton

 McKechnie Field, originally built in 1923 and renovated in 1991-93, is named for Hall of Fame manager Bill McKechnie, a Pittsburgh native and former Bradenton resident.  The Bucs have trained and played their spring games at this site since 1969. Although undergoing a complete facelift in 2008, McKechnie Field retains all the charm of its history.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 18 with a first workout on February 19. Position players report on February 23 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 24.

Home Opener: 03/02 1:05 p.m. vs. TIGERS

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: McKechnie Field, 1611 9th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205 (941) 747-3031 Nearest Major Airport: Tampa International or Sarasota

Directions: From Interstate 75: Exit I-75 at S.R. 64 West (exit 220 if traveling south, exit 220B if traveling north). Go west on Route 64 to 9th Street West and turn left to the ballpark.

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Baltimore Orioles – Sarasota

The crown jewel of the Grapefruit League, Ed Smith Stadium was in need of an extreme makeover and got one after the spring season of 2010, the Orioles’ first after leaving their previous spring home in Fort Lauderdale.  The revamped ballpark, which features Spanish-style architecture, has refurbished seats from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  The park also features 100 high-definition televisions and a high-definition LED video board in the outfield.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 18 with a first workout on February 19. Position players set to report on February 23 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 24.

Home Opener: 03/02 1:05 p.m. vs. BRAVES

Resource links and things to do:

Directions:  Take I-75 to exit 213 (University Parkway) Head west on University to Tuttle Avenue Turn left onto Tuttle Avenue and head south. Stadium is on the right at the intersection of 12th Street and Tuttle.

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Tampa Bay Rays – Port Charlotte

 Among the interesting features of Charlotte Sports Park, built in 1998, is the seating, which affords several options, including 5,000 fixed seats and two berm areas. And in left-center field is a full liquor tiki bar that has a seating capacity for up to 69 fans at a time.  For families with children, the “Kid’s Clubhouse,” located behind the berm seating in the right-field area, features a playground area.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers report on February 21 with a first workout on February 22. Position players report February 25, and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 26.

Home Opener: 03/02 1:05 p.m. vs. NATIONALS

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte, FL 33948 Nearest Airport: Southwest Florida International (Fort Myers)

Directions: Take I-75 to Exit 164. Follow US-17 South to US-41 (Tamiami Trail) North. Turn left onto El Jobean Rd., and Charlotte Sports Park will be on the left.

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Boston Red Sox – Fort Myers

JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers

New spring home for the Red Sox: JetBlue Park in Fort Myers

 Boston’s spring training home — JetBlue Park at Fenway South — opened two years ago to wide acclaim.  Inside it resembles Fenway Park, complete with a Green Monster wall in left field where fans can sit, just as they can in Boston. The rest of the outfield is constructed to resemble Fenway as well.  Tradition is everywhere, including a Ted Williams statue just outside the ballpark, and glossy photos inside the main concourse that chronicle the greatest moments in Red Sox history.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 18 with a first workout on February 19. Position players set to report on February 23 and the first full squad workout will be 24.

Home Opener: 03/02 1:05 p.m. vs. TWINS

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: JetBlue Park at Fenway South, Daniels Parkway, east of I-75, adjacent to Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, FL   Nearest Airport: Southwest Florida International

Directions:Take I-75 to Daniels Parkway (Exit 131) and go east.  The new jetBlue Park at Fensway South is on the north side of Daniels.

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Minnesota Twins – Fort Myers

 Built in 1991, Hammond Stadium is located in the Lee County Sports Complex. The exterior of the ballpark, which has a capacity of 7,500, is modeled after Churchill Downs, the famous Louisville racetrack, complete with a fountain and rows of parking that are named after former Twins greats, such as Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Kaat, Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 21 with a first workout on February 22. Position players set to report on February 26 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 27.

Home Opener: 03/03 7:05 p.m. vs. RED SOX

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Hammond Stadium, 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers, FL 33912  Nearest Airport: Southwest Florida International (Fort Myers)

Directions: Take I-75 to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway). Go West two miles to Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Travel south for 1/2 mile. Training complex and stadium are on the right.

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The gift of a getaway

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Atlantic Coast (I-95 Corridor)

Washington Nationals — Viera/Melbourne

Space Coast Stadium was built in 1993 for newcomers the Florida Marlins and is located in Viera, just off I-95 between Melbourne and Cocoa Beach  It was named in honor of this region’s space industry, and the theme is echoed in every corner of the ballpark. Space Coast Stadium seats up to 8,100 fans, with every seat providing a great view of the field.

This is really nice stadium, but it’s likely the last year the Nats will play here because there are no other teams nearby. Their spring training camp is scheduled to move to West Palm Beach for the 2017 pre-season at a shared facility with the Houston Astros, placing them in proximity to the New York Mets, Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals training camps.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 20 with a first workout on February 21. Position players set to report on February 25 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 26.

Home Opener: 03/03 1:05 p.m. vs. METS

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Space Coast Stadium, 5800 Stadium Parkway, Viera, FL 32940  (This is the former Marlins training complex.) Capacity 8,100. Nearest Major Airport: Orlando International or Melbourne

Directions: Exit I-95 at Exit 191. Go west on Wickham Road to the traffic circle. Turn right (north) on Lake Andrew Drive. Follow Lake Andrew Drive north and west through the Brevard County Government Complex until Stadium Parkway (four way stop). Turn right (north) on Stadium Parkway; Space Coast Stadium is 1/2 mile on left.

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New York Mets – Port St. Lucie

 Digital Domain Park has been the home of the Mets since it opened in 1988. It’s a replica of Shea Stadium, the team’s former home in New York. No visit is complete without sampling a Taco-In-A-Helmet, the stadium’s unique take on Mexican fare. A recent addition to the park is a party deck in right field, giving fans an option in addition to the tiki bar down the left-field line.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 17 with a first workout on February 18. Position players set to report on February 24 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 25.

Home Opener: 03/04 1:10 p.m. vs. MARLINS

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Digital Domain Park, 525 NW Peacock Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34986 (877) 538-6282. Capacity 7,800.  Nearest Major Airport: Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach

Directions:Get off I-95 at Exit 121, St. Lucie West Blvd. Go east and make a left/north on Peacock Blvd. Stadium is one mile ahead on right.

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Miami Marlins – Jupiter

Built in 1998, Roger Dean Stadium is the only shared ballpark in the Grapefruit League.  It features field boxes, loge boxes, bleachers, a grass berm, and luxury skybox seating and seats approximately 6,600. Another 200 fans can spread out on a blanket on the grass berm in right field. The stadium is located in a bustling shopping complex featuring restaurants and sports bars filled with fans throughout Grapefruit League season.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 19 with a first workout on February 19. Position players set to report on February 22 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 22.

Home Opener: 03/03 1:05 p.m. vs. CARDINALS

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Roger Dean Stadium, 4751 Main Street, Jupiter, FL 33458 (561) 775-1818 Capacity 6,700, plus 300 on berms. Nearest Major Airport: Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach

Directions: Take I-95 to Donald Ross Road, Exit 83, and travel east one mile to Central Boulevard. At the light, make a left and follow Central to Frederick Small. Make a left onto Frederick Small and the stadium will be on your left.

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St. Louis Cardinals – Jupiter

 This is the 18th Spring Training in Jupiter after the Cardinals trained in St. Petersburg for many years.

Reporting Dates: Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 17 with a first workout on February 18. Position players set to report on February 22 and the first full squad workout will be Feb. 23.

Home Opener: 03/03 1:05 p.m. vs. MARLINS

Resource links and things to do:

Stadium: Roger Dean Stadium, 4751 Main Street, Jupiter, FL 33458 (561) 775-1818. Capacity 6,700, plus 300 on berms. Nearest Major Airport: Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach

Directions: Take I-95 to Donald Ross Road, Exit 83, and travel east one mile to Central Boulevard. At the light, make a left and follow Central to Frederick Small. Make a left onto Frederick Small and the stadium will be on your left.

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