Have a baseball-and-beach family vacation of a lifetime, with this Grapefruit League guide to ballparks, best beaches and hotels, family outing ideas, and even the latest pre-season inside baseball on the Toronto Blue Jays from Sports Illustrated.
The Schedule: 35 games, with 18 home games (see schedule and buy tickets here)
The Field: The first Blue Jays game ever played was in Dunedin, back in 1977, and the team’s long association with the Gulf Coast town continues at 5,509-seat . The Dunedin Blue Jays of the Class A Florida State League and even the Dunedin High School Falcons play here, as well.
Inside Baseball: If anything, the Blue Jays took a step back this off-season. Losing Edwin Encarnacion creates a hole in the middle of the lineup that Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce can only paper over. There are still quality hitters—Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki still form an imposing middle of the order—but there will be a decline from the smash-and-bash ways of the past few years. Whether the Jays can keep slugging their way to the playoffs is in serious doubt. For more on the Toronto Blue Jays, go here at si.com.
Best Beach: is accessible via the Dunedin Causeway. In addition to being good for swimming, fishing, and snorkeling, the park has nature trails with good bird watching. For a special expedition, is accessible by private boat or ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park; good for swimming and beachcombing, the park also offers fishing, a three-mile nature trail for hiking, and a three-mile kayak trail.
Family Outings: The is a 15-foot-wide, 47-mile-long path for walkers, skaters, and bikers. The trail, a greenway developed from a former railroad line, runs through downtown Dunedin but also has wilder sections, with connections to a number of other parks along the coast and inland.
High End Stay: Wade out of the zero-entry lagoon pool and right onto the sand of Clearwater Beach, where guests can enjoy evening bonfires and fine dining at the four-star Caretta on the Gulf restaurant. Rates from $273 per night.
Value Stay: Dunedin’s resort is sun-kissed every evening, when spectacular sunset light up the resort’s pier. The view includes Honeymoon Beach and Caladesi Beach, two of Florida’s best strands. Rates start at $150/night.
More Teams and Locations: To find more fun baseball and vacation information on each of Florida’s Grapefruit League teams, click on the links below:
Atlanta Braves: Lake Buena Vista
Baltimore Orioles: Sarasota
Boston Red Sox: Fort Myers
Detroit Tigers: Lakeland
Houston Astros: West Palm Beach
Miami Marlins: Jupiter
Minnesota Twins: Fort Myers
New York Mets: Port St. Lucie
New York Yankees: Tampa
Philadelphia Phillies: Clearwater
Pittsburgh Pirates: Bradenton
St. Louis Cardinals: Jupiter
Tampa Bay Rays: Port Charlotte
Toronto Blue Jays: Dunedin
Washington Nationals: West Palm Beach