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 Atlanta Braves from Sports Illustrated.
The Schedule: 33 games, with 19 home games (see schedule and buy tickets here).
The Field: The Braves’ 9,500-seat is located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort. In addition to Braves’s spring training games, the stadium is home to the Rookie-league GCL Braves and has hosted both World Baseball Classic games and regular-season Braves games.
Inside Baseball: The Braves are still at least a year away from contention, but this winter’s additions should help pick up the pace toward that goal, and Atlanta didn’t sacrifice anything but cash and spare parts to get that much closer. This isn’t a playoff team, but with a bolstered rotation and still more prospects on the way to the majors via a loaded farm system, the Braves should be notably better than last year. For more on the Braves, go here at si.com.
Best Beach: Disney’s waterparks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) are loads of fun for families, but when you crave the salt air just follow the Disney Cruise Line buses east on Highway 528. Cocoa Beach (pictured above), home of the famous (it’s the biggest in the world) is about an hour and 15 minutes away from Champion Stadium and has wide sandy beaches, a 800-foot amusement pier, and lots of watersports options, including windsurfing, parasailing, and kiteboarding.
Family Outings: The theme parks of are right at your doorstep, the is about 15 minutes away, and the Orlando area is generally awash in other fun family activities, including the oddities at , the immersive gaming complex, go-karting and thrill rides at , strolling the streets of Old Town, and the old-school charms of .
High-end Stay: With apologies to the Swan and Dolphin, the AAA Five Diamond brings true world-class luxury to Walt Disney World. The resort is 20 minutes from Champion Stadium. Rates from $549 per night.
Value Stay: Sports-loving kids (and mom and dad, too) will love Disney’s , which pays homage to competitive sports with a surfing-themed pool area, a football fan’s dream food court, and a jogging trail and playground to keep everyone active. Rates from $87 per 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