Tag Archives: florida

Pick 5: The Best Places to Watch Spring Training

Baseball season is almost here! Before the official opening on March 31, you can catch your favorite teams in Florida (the Grapefruit League) and Arizona (the Cactus League) throughout March. Spring Training’s biggest appeal is that it gives spectators a chance to enjoy the game in a more intimate environment. Most stadiums seat 5,500-11,000 fans, and many feature grassy areas to relax, picnic, and enjoy low humidity and sunny skies prevalent in both states in the winter. If you’re planning a Spring Training getaway, skip the hassle of luggage shipping – use our Bags VIP luggage delivery service and head to the ballpark the moment you land.

If you're planning a Spring Training getaway, skip the hassle of luggage shipping - use our Bags VIP luggage delivery service and head to the ballpark the moment you land.

Glendale’s Camelback Ranch. Image courtesy Bryce Edwards via Flickr.

1. Camelback Ranch | Glendale, AZ
Glendale’s Camelback Ranch, which opened in 2009 and is one of the newest spring training facilities in the Cactus League, is also one of the most beautiful. The complex is features walking trails, landscaped grounds and an orange grove. Home to both the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the two teams share the stadium, whose colors reflect the Sonoran Desert and mountains that rise in the distance. Seating is elevated 12 feet above grade to provide unobstructed sightlines for great game watching. >> Find out more about Camelback Ranch

If you're planning a Spring Training getaway, skip the hassle of luggage shipping - use our Bags VIP luggage delivery service and head to the ballpark the moment you land.

Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida. Image courtesy civilengtiger via Flickr.

2. Bright House Field | Clearwater, FL
Bright House Field in Clearater, Florida, is known for its cleanliness and fun, family-friendly atmosphere. The somewhat new stadium was completed in 2004, but the Philadelphia Phillies have had Spring Training in Clearwater since 1947. The outfield stands’ tiki bar is a hands-down fan favorite, but there are plenty of restaurants nearby you can visit after the game. Bring your own chair and enjoy the grassy berm seating. >> Find out more about Bright House Field

If you're planning a Spring Training getaway, skip the hassle of luggage shipping - use our Bags VIP luggage delivery service and head to the ballpark the moment you land.

Cubs Park in Mesa, Arizona. Image courtesy Al Yellon and BleedCubbieBlue.com.

3. Cubs Park | Mesa, AZ
The Chicago Cubs’ new stadium, Cubs Park, in Mesa, Arizona, is aleady receiving rave reviews. Fans can see the game from everywhere, even while in line for hot dogs and burgers. A steep berm provides great sightlines and a grassy perch behind the outfield. You can even watch Cubs pitchers warm up during the game with views down into the bullpen. >> Find out more about Cubs Park

If you're planning a Spring Training getaway, skip the hassle of luggage shipping - use our Bags VIP luggage delivery service and head to the ballpark the moment you land.

Champion Stadium at Walt Disney World® Resort. Image courtesy Debbie Summers via Flickr.

4. Champion Stadium | Lake Buena Vista, FL
Champion Stadium is a 9500-seat baseball stadium located at ESPN Wide World of Sports in the Walt Disney World® Resort. The stadium, built in 1997, is the Spring Training home of the Atlanta Braves. The facility is top-notch and parking is free, but the real draw is the theme parks. Fans can attend a game and then visit a park, all without leaving Disney property. >> Find out more about Champion Stadium

If you're planning a Spring Training getaway, skip the hassle of luggage shipping - use our Bags VIP luggage delivery service and head to the ballpark the moment you land.

Kids run the bases at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. Image courtesy Dave Nakayama via Flickr.

5. Peoria Sports Complex | Peoria, AZ
Peoria Sports Complex is home to the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners. Fans love this Arizona Spring Training stadium because the players are accessible, every seat in the house feels close to the action, and grass seating is ample. Beverage offerings include more than a dozen beers on tap. Too tired to walk back to your car? Hop on the free golf cart shuttle! >> Find out more about Peoria Sports Complex

If you're planning a Spring Training getaway, skip the hassle of luggage shipping - use our Bags VIP luggage delivery service and head to the ballpark the moment you land.

Historic McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida. Image courtesy Jamie Wisner via Flickr.

Bonus pick: McKechnie Field | Bradenton, FL
McKechnie Field is the oldest stadium used for Spring Training. Opened in 1923, the park is a fan favorite, especially of baseball traditionalists. Considered Florida’s version of Fenway Park, it is often coined the best overall Spring Training park. White stucco grandstands and covered bleachers over the reserved seating section provide shade on sunny days. The Spanish Mission-style architecture nods to a bygone era. Visitors flock to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play here year after year. >> Find out more about McKechnie Field

Which Spring Training stadium is your favorite?

Pick 5 | Scenic Convertible Drives

Scenic Convertible DrivesIt’s cold out there! Since more than half the country is stuck under a blanket of snow and ice, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up to your computer and start planning a warm-weather vacation. Nothing says sunny weather like renting a convertible and exploring local towns on a mini-road trip. Here are our five picks that will thaw out your toes and get you dreaming.

1. Miami, FL → Key West, FL
161 miles
There’s a reason the trip from Miami to Key West is on many a bucket list. The trip takes more than three hours because of the small towns you’ll pass along the way, but that’s part of the fun. The highlight is Seven Mile Bridge connecting Marathon to Little Duck Key.

The route from Miami to Key West.

The route from Miami to Key West.

Image courtesy Flickr user Serge Mashtakoff.

Image courtesy Flickr user Serge Mashtakoff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Wickenburg, AZ → Sedona, AZ
127 miles
Wickenburg was once considered the Dude Ranch Capital of the World and some remain open to this day. The historic town with its well-preserved downtown is a great start to your mountainous trip to Sedona. The drive passes through Prescott National Forest, 1.25 million acres of camping, hiking, fishing, and gorgeous vistas. End your drive at Sedona’s red sandstone formations that seemingly glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the sun.

The route from Wickenburg to Sedona, Arizona.

The route from Wickenburg to Sedona.

Image courtesy Flickr user Anita Ritenour.

Image courtesy Flickr user Anita Ritenour.

Image courtesy Flickr user psyberartist.

Image courtesy Flickr user psyberartist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. San Diego, CA → Oceanside, CA
54 miles
Start your tour at Cabrillo National Monument, which provides great views of the ocean to the west and the San Diego skyline to the east. Heading north, you’ll eventually end up on Coast Highway, passing through hilly beachside towns La Jolla, Del Mar, Cardiff and Oceanside. Torrey Pines State Reserve provides a leafy change of scenery, but still offers miles and miles of sandy shoreline and the blue Pacific. Once you get to Camp Pendleton, venture west on San Luis Rey Mission Expressway toward the historic landmark, established in 1798, that inspired its name.

The route from San Diego to Oceanside.

The route from San Diego to Oceanside.

Image courtesy Flickr user Andrew Magill.

Image courtesy Flickr user Andrew Magill.

Image courtesy Flickr user Dayna Sigl.

Image courtesy Flickr user Dayna Sigl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Terra Ceia, FL → Clearwater Beach, FL
39 miles
Terra Ceia is a small, unincorporated island where I-75 meets I-275 South of Tampa. It is also the starting point of the Sunshine Skyway, a 4.1-mile bridge to St. Petersburg. Once across, head west on Pinellas Bayway past the exquisite pink façade of Loews Don CeSar Resort. Drive through sleepy coastal communities St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, and Indian Beach, and cross over John’s Pass. Stop in peaceful Sand Key Park before heading over the bridge to Clearwater Beach, where you’ll find public beaches, outdoor restaurants and souvenir shops.

Exploring Florida's Gulf Coast.

Exploring Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Image courtesy Flickr user Robert Neff.

Image courtesy Flickr user Robert Neff.

Image courtesy Flickr user Robert Neff.

Image courtesy Flickr user Robert Neff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Kahului, Hawaii → Hāna, Hawaii
62 miles
The Hāna Highway is arguably Hawaii’s most scenic drive, stretching from Kahului through Hāna and on to Kīpahulu on the island of Maui. Along the way, you’ll drive over 59 bridges, more than half of which are one lane, and many of which were built over a century ago. The road twists, turns and bends through the rainforest, providing breathtaking views. The highway, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ends near Haleakala National Park, home to Oheo Gulch, a series of tiered pools fed by waterfalls and perfect for swimming.

Maui's Hāna Highway.

Maui’s Hāna Highway.

Image courtesy Flickr user Josh Berglund.

Image courtesy Flickr user Josh Berglund.

Image courtesy Flickr user Eric Chan.

Image courtesy Flickr user Eric Chan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get out the sunscreen and put the top down. There are spots out there that are warm and sunny…what are you waiting for? Tell us what memorable drives have you taken!