A Baseball Fan's Fantasy Weekend
America’s pastime has a home in Southwest Florida. Since the early 90s, fans have flocked to Fort Myers to catch a preseason preview of their favorite sport: baseball. The city hosts spring training for two Major League Baseball teams: the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. While The Grapefruit League provides plenty of preseason excitement, it’s the unbeatable spring weather and world-class beaches that turn a weekend getaway into a true vacation for superfans of all ages.Read on to see our lineup for a home run day on and off the field.
Time to check in to your hotel and unpack your baseball glove. The only question is, where do you want to call home base? With just a 35-minute drive to JetBlue Park and Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers Beach is a natural choice to get the full Southwest Florida experience in one trip – sand, surf and stadium turf. Choose the Outrigger Beach Resort or the upscale DiamondHead Beach Resort for a casual beachfront stay. Both are steps away from Fort Myers Beach. If you would rather stay close to the field for easy access, choose the Courtyard by Marriott or the Candlewood Suites in Fort Myers.
Before you head inland, grab a snack that’s straight out of the ballpark at the Doghouse, a food stand on Fort Myers Beach that serves everything from fish tacos to Cuban sandwiches to – of course – hot dogs. Munch on made-from-scratch twists on traditional-style dogs like the Southpaw, served with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and fresh slaw. Just steps away, you can stroll the beachfront, soak in the sun and sea-salt air, and dip your toes in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Time to head to the stadium! Since the Twins and Red Sox play nearly every day during spring training – usually around one in the afternoon – you can often buy tickets when you arrive. If you want to plan ahead, ticket prices and game schedules are released in mid-November, and ticket sales begin in December or January. Remember, schedules change every year so make sure to double-check your team’s game times. After you’ve snagged tickets, head to your seat and get ready to chase a fly ball or two!
For a post-game sweet treat, head to Love Boat Ice Cream in Fort Myers. This homegrown ice cream shop opened in 1967 and has over 50 flavors of ice cream to try, including classics like Cookie Dough and Grasshopper, and more adventurous flavors like Orange Creamsicle and Key Lime Pie. Locals swear by the Gator Tracks, a Floridian twist on Moose Tracks with vanilla ice cream, fudge swirls and chocolate-covered caramel cups. Be sure to grab a seat at one of the picnic tables on the patio, and enjoy a double-scoop of deliciousness.
Now that you've spent a day at the ballfield – with a Southwest Florida twist – it’s time to head back to the hotel—but that doesn’t mean your trip is over! Explore other ways to enjoy the Gulf coast – cruise the shoreline, explore the vibrant wildlife or just spend the weekend soaking in the southern sun.