Man with blue framed glasses and a trimmed beard wearing a striped shirt against a neutral background.

May 22, 2024

4 min. read

For baseball fans, the beginning of April marks a new year of its own. The start of the major league season brings fresh faces and fresh hope. Brooklyn Dodgers fans used to chant, “Wait till next year.” In April, “next year” arrives.

But dedicated baseball fans don’t have to wait that long. Whether you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles or any of 15 teams in major league baseball, a trip to Florida in March can give you a headstart on seeing your favourite teams, the sport’s superstars, and the most exciting prospects before anyone else knows who they are.

Blue Jays Red Sox

Where to go

Fifteen major-league teams call Florida home in 12 different cities. Five teams play in three locations along Florida’s Atlantic coast, making the area a good option for visitors who want to fly into Miami for March break or a winter vacation. But for hardball diehards, the Gulf Coast is the place to be. Ten teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, set up shop within a 215 km range. On any given day, no matter where you’re staying, you only have to travel an hour or less to find a game featuring major league stars and the top players of the future.

The Blue Jays’ home in Dunedin is the northernmost location for Grapefruit League teams, but it’s also ideally situated close to some of Florida’s best beaches. Plus, it’s only 20 minutes away from Clearwater, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. In fact, the two towns are so close by, the sports bars hang Blue Jays and Phillies banners together.

Ryan Leitch

How to meet the players

With seating capacities anywhere from six to 9,000, spring training ballparks are intimate, friendly, flush with character and offer accessibility to players that you can’t get at major league stadiums.

If you go during the first couple of weeks of spring training, before the exhibition games start, you can get into most ballparks to watch the major leaguers practice. This is a great opportunity to meet your favourite players, get autographs and, if you’re lucky, score a piece of memorabilia.

Jays fans t the game

What about the games?

The exhibition games start in early March, and seeing your favourite players in the wild gets a little more complicated. But fear not, because soon afterwards, minor-league camp opens and even more of the games top prospects arrive in town. These players are tomorrow’s superstars, and in spring training, they’re surprisingly accessible. Some teams hold minor-league camp in a separate facility in town where fans can just walk in, sit down on the bleachers and watch the future stars goes through drills, simulated games and intrasquad games. In other locations, like Clearwater, the minor leaguers share the facility with the major leagues, so the best time to see them is on days when the major team is playing in a different town.

Where to stay

Some teams play in established tourist environments like Sarasota, Tampa or West Palm Beach. Most of the Grapefruit League teams are rooted in smaller locales like Lakeland, Port St. Lucie or Bradenton, so making your travel plans requires a deft touch to make sure you can find accommodations that fit your vacation plans. Your CAA travel agent can help you plan the ultimate Spring Training road trip.

Share this article: