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 New York Mets from Sports Illustrated.
The Schedule: 35 games, with 18 home games (see schedule and buy tickets here).
The Field: First Data Field opened in 1988, when the Mets moved from their longtime spring training home of St. Petersburg to Port St. Lucie. The stadium holds 7,160 fans, greeted by a 9/11 memorial that features steel from the World Trade Center. Other nods to New York include Nathan’s hot dogs and knishes on sale at the concession stands.
Inside Baseball: "Losing [Bartolo] Colon will hurt, but not nearly as much as it would have to lose [Yoenis] Cespedes, and probably [Neil] Walker, too. Even with those two back, New York would have been well-served to add some better offensive options to a lineup that ranked 11th in OBP and 12th in runs scored." For more on the Mets, go here at si.com.
Best Beach: For miles of sandy beaches and a chance to see sea turtles and manatees, head out to , a barrier beach just offshore of Port St. Lucie. Chill out with your sandals in the surf or drive scenic A1A all the way from Jensen Beach (the former “Pineapple Capital of the World,” and known for its fine seafood restaurants and water sports) north to Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral.
Family Outings: The in Jensen Beach has a collection of vintage cars and boats, or feed the fishes at the in Fort Pearce, which has a touch tank and the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, a habitat focused on the denizens of the nearby Indian River estuary.
High-end Stay: Keep the sports vibe going and work on you golf game during a stay at the , located two miles from Tradition Field. The PGA Village features the 35-acre PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance and 54 holes of golf to challenge all ability levels. From $190 per night.
Value Stay: Free breakfast and spacious suites make the a smart choice for a family spring training getaway — plus the hotel is just over a mile from the stadium, making walking an option. From $128 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