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 Yankees from Sports Illustrated.
The Schedule: 35 games, with 17 home games (see schedule and buy tickets here).
The Field: The 11,026 , named for the late, legendary Yankees owner, gives a tip of the cap to its Bronx big brother with a copycat roof facade. The Grapefruit League’s largest stadium is located next to Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Inside Baseball: The Yankees' current roster appears to be even further from title contention than the five games that separated them from the AL wild card last season would suggest. But further trades, especially if they are as smart as the ones from last year, could change that in a hurry and accelerate New York's return to the postseason. For more on the Yankees, go here at si.com.
Best Beach: is a home run for Tampa-area beachgoers: a 35-minute drive on I-275 from Steinbrenner Field, the 1,100-acre park is comprised of a cluster of five small keys with lifeguard-protected white-sand beaches, dunes, mangroves, and wetlands. A historic fort, built at the dawn of the 20th century, awaits curious explorers, and you can also tour the island via paved recreation trails and a 2.2-mile canoe trail.
Family Outings: Tampa has two great options for families: the is located downtown and features 170 interactive exhibits in 17 themed areas, including play areas where kids can pretend to work at a supermarket, care for pets at a veterinary clinic, bake a pizza, and imagine adventures on the high seas aboard a pint-sized cruise ship and tugboat. The has shows and acres of exhibits on wetlands, coral reefs and Florida’s aquatic plants and animals, and visitors can also cruise into Tampa Bay for a 75-minute wild dolphin cruise.
Value Stay: The dog-friendly and centrally located is no more than a 20-minute drive from Steinbrenner Field, Busch Gardens Tampa, and the Lowry Park Zoo. The private beach and pool beckon when you’re not on the go. Rates from $144 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