Did you know that 15 major league baseball teams have spring training in Florida? They call it the Grapefruit League, which has been going strong for over 100 years. Every year, more than 1.5 million people make their way to the Sunshine State to enjoy a game or two and the communities around the stadiums. We are lucky to have some stadiums close to our home base in Southwest Florida.
Because of MLB lockouts and the “health event” from the last few years, spring training for many was either canceled or had weird schedules, so attendance was lower than expected. 2023 looks like it will be back to normal, and baseball fans and non-baseball fans who love hot dogs, beer, and sunshine, have plenty to look forward to in Florida’s Grapefruit League.
Spring training games run from February 25th to March 28th. Five teams have spring training on the east coast of Florida; 10 teams play on the west coast.
*For the 2023 season, as noted below, the Tampa Rays will have their games in Orlando and St. Petersburg.
Pro Tip: Check the stadium’s website for ticket prices and discounts. You may be able to save if you attend more than one game, attend as a group, or are active or retired military.
Spring Training in Fort Myers
Downtown Fort Myers, Florida, home to spring training *2023 update, many businesses are rebuilding after Hurricane Ian
Many hotels have reopened, but not all. Some Fort Myers businesses are fully open, and some are still rebuilding. If you are traveling to this part of the state in 2023, there are two ways to find out how your intended destination is doing:
Call them. Check their website and social media, or call/email them directly to get the most up-to-date information. This is especially important for lodging since some remain closed or are in various stages of repair.
Spring Training in Tampa
Tampa is the heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast with dining, events, activities, shopping and more to keep everyone satisfied
One Tampa restaurant to try near George M.Steinbrenner Field:
1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
Take a 3,000-square-foot historic brick warehouse and splash in a little imagination and creativity, and you’ll get Armature Works, an indoor open-air market with something for everyone to love. It’s not a “single” restaurant and has more than 14 local eating experiences, 2 Michelin recommended full-service restaurants, a rooftop bar overlooking the Hillsborough River and downtown Tampa, and an expansive lawn anchors one end of the Tampa Riverwalk so you can enjoy the Florida Sunshine. We enjoyed pre-dinner drinks at Steelbach (with plans to return for dinner!) and dinner at Oak and Ola. I recommend both!
Who Plays in Tampa?
The New York Yankees play at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
St. Petersburg / Opening Game in Orlando – New for 2023
St. Petersburg will host Tampa Bay Rays spring training games for the 2023 season as their home stadium is repaired
One St. Petersburg Restaurant to try near Tropicana Field
661 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
The Lure is “a cool place to hang out with great food.” You’ll find an enticing collection of sushi, tapas, flatbreads, tiki drinks, cocktails, and microbrews. You can go for billiards or drop in for brunch, but you’re bound to stay for the atmosphere and food!
Spring Training in Clearwater
If you haven’t been to Clearwater, Florida, you’re in for a treat! White sandy beaches and a pumping downtown…
One Clearwater Restaurant Near BayCare Ballpark
Located in the Opal Sands Resort
430 S Gulfview Blvd, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
If you’re looking for an upscale culinary experience where you get a view of the Gulf from every table, try Sea-Guini. They are located inside the Opal Sands Resort. The Grouper is a favorite, and the pan-seared hogfish has been on their menu since its opening in 2016; however, you’ll find plenty of Italian and Mediterranean dishes to enjoy. Reservations are recommended.
Who Plays in Clearwater?
The Philadelphia Phillies play at BayCare Ballpark
Spring Training in Dunedin
Funky, comfy, and quaint are often used to describe Dunedin, this Gulf Coast town west of Tampa
Funky, comfy, and quaint are often used to describe this Gulf Coast town west of Tampa. Blessed with two unspoiled beaches on Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island, visitors can’t seem to get enough of the Old Florida beaches. Back in town, Main Street is a favorite stroll, with several microbreweries located within walking distance of each other. You’ll often find people dressed in their workout clothes since the 38-mile Pinellas Trails crosses Main Street, and they may lock up their bikes and grab something to eat or drink in town.
One Dunedin Restaurant to Try near TD Ballpark
Hog Island Fish Camp
900 Broadway Avenue, Dunedin, FL 34698
Located in downtown Dunedin, this chef-owned restaurant focuses on locally sourced seafood which, in turn, supports many local fishermen. That’s a win-win-win! Everything has a southern flare to it, from the shrimp and bacon mac and cheese, to the fresh catch of the day, and everything in between.
Who Plays in Dunedin?
The Toronto Blue Jays play at TD Ballpark
Spring Training in Bradenton
Seeing the downtown sights and Gulf beaches around Bradenton will make you love seeing spring training games here
One Bradenton restaurant to experience near LECOM park:
1418 13th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205
Open Wednesday – Saturday, from 5 pm – 9 pm
Located in the Village of the Arts, this cozy Sicilian restaurant will make you feel like you’re eating at Grandma’s house, provided your grandma was a great Sicilian cook! At any moment, Chef may emerge from the kitchen with a harmonica and play alongside the piano player in the front room. It’s a fun atmosphere, like a family gathering. When we were here, we sat at a two-seat table right by the kitchen to see the bustling kitchen at work. If you would like to take your affection for Sicilian cooking on the road, Chef Gaetano leads culinary tours to Sicily. Learn more about their guided trips.
Who Plays in Bradenton?
The Pittsburgh Pirates play at LECOM Park
Spring Training in Sarasota
Siesta Key’s white crushed quartz beaches are the cherry on top to your spring training trip to Sarasota, FL
One Sarasota restaurant to experience near Ed Smith Stadium is:
Owens Fish Camp
516 Burn’s Lane, Sarasota, FL 34236
Opens each night at 4 pm
Located in Downtown Sarasota, this restaurant honors Sarasota’s history as a sleepy Gulf Coast fishing village. While the thriving and growing city is sleeping no more, you can still enjoy a fun, relaxed atmosphere with great seafood pulled in fresh from the Bay, live music, a tree swing, and a backyard barbecue. We stumbled into this place while strolling through Burns Court and gravitated toward the music spilling out from the wooden-fenced backyard. Inside, you’ll feel like you are in a rustic fishing house. There are no reservations, so you may need to wait on busy nights.
Who plays in Sarasota?
The Baltimore Orioles play at Ed Smith Stadium
Spring Training in North Port
Cool Today Park, spring training home to the Braves, is an easy drive to Venice Beach, Florida
One North Port restaurant to try near Cool Today Park:
Tarpon Point Grill & Marina
121 Playmore Drive, Venice, FL 34293
Getting there may be part of the fun. This former bait and tackle shop, campground, and marina offers a unique riverside dining experience. You can drive up, paddle up, or boat/jet ski up to the restaurant’s ramp, then enjoy casual food locally sourced in an outdoor setting under the shade of large tiki huts. Live entertainment will invite you to linger and enjoy river views, watch for manatees and alligators, and slow down at this little spot tucked away among the trees.
Who Plays in North Port?
The Atlanta Braves play at Cool Today Park
Spring Training in Lakeland
Lakeland Florida has 38 lakes and is known as Swan City
Lakeland is the largest city in Polk County and, true to its name, has 38 lakes to enjoy. It is famous as the home to Florida Southern College, the most extensive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and where Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy was filmed; it is known as Swan City. It’s also where you’ll find spring training for the Tigers.
One Lakeland Restaurant to try near Joker Merchant Park
Chef T’s Garden Grill
1525 E. Gary Road, Lakeland, FL 33801
Chef T’s Garden Grill should be your choice in Lakeland when you want a cozy, classy, home-like atmosphere with top-tier chefs in the kitchen.
Who Plays in Lakeland?
The Detroit Tigers play at Publix Field at Joker Merchant Stadium
Spring Training in West Palm Beach
There are endless possibilities for things to do in West Palm Beach, Florida
One West Palm Beach Restaurant to try near the Ballpark
Food Truck Roll-In at Northwood Village
The Food Truck Roll Event occurs periodically in this Bohemian-styled village just north of downtown WPB. If your trip falls on a date the food trucks are not there, try the:
The Grilled Cheese Gallery
422 Northwood Rd West Palm Beach, FL 33407
This is your place if you’re a grilled cheese/mac n’ cheese connoisseur!
Spring Training in Jupiter
The iconic Jupiter Lighthouse is just one thing to see during spring training in the Florida town
Baseball history in Jupiter goes back to the early 20th century when the Brooklyn Dodgers trained at the old Dubois Park. Florida’s perfect spring weather also brought the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers), and Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) to the area. Today two teams share the stadium in Jupiter and enjoy everything Jupiter offers up, including world-renowned golf courses, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, beaches, and water sports.
One Restaurant in Jupiter to try near Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium
Dune Dog Cafe
775 N. Alt. A1A, Jupiter, FL
For foot-long hot dogs and a Key West Vibe, head to Dune Dog Cafe. If hot dogs aren’t your thing, other family-fun and budget-friendly items are on the menu.
Spring Training in Port St. Lucie
Port St. Lucie-Indian River fishing, Atlantic Coast beaching, and world-class PGA golfing are some things to do here
Florida’s Treasure Coast has something to discover every day of the week! Fishing on the Indian River, beaching on the Atlantic coast, world-class PGA golf courses, touring the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, and more. I enjoyed the SEAL Museum and talking with veterans, learning about the evolution of this elite force, and seeing the actual hardware and vehicles used during operations. The Mets have been playing in Port Lucie since 1988 when they relocated from St. Petersburg to what was then known as Tradition Field.
One Restaurant to try near Clover Park
The Fort Steakhouse
100 South 2nd Street, Fort Pierce, FL 34950
Nearby Fort Pierce along the Indian River is about 15 miles from the park and where you’ll find the “Best Restaurant on the Treasure Coast 2021 and 2022.” I love that they choose natural beef raised with no hormones or antibiotics because you are what you eat, eats, so having clean meat sources is a healthy win! Afterward, stroll the waterfront near downtown Fort Pierce.
Who Plays in St. Lucie?
The New York Mets play at Clover Park