The Grapefruit League hosts Spring Training games across the state from February 25 through March 29. Dogs are only permitted inside stadiums to attend games during special events. For more information, check the official 2022 Spring Training schedule.
Close to pristine beaches and a vibrant downtown scene, Tampa Bay is the epicenter of Spring Training along the Gulf Coast. Furry fans can make a basecamp at the pet-friendly La Quinta Inn Clearwater Central and scout several teams during their visit.
Starting in Clearwater, head to BayCare Ballpark, the Spring Training home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Leashed dogs are allowed to watch practice from the fields located at the Carpenter Complex, the minor league facility adjacent to the stadium. The campus is also only 5 miles from dog-friendly Clearwater North Beach.
Drive 15 miles east to Tampa and the George M. Steinbrenner Field, temporary home of the New York Yankees. Leashed dogs are welcome to bark praise on the practice fields located at the rear of the stadium, but they must remain behind the perimeter fence. For a bite to eat, the nearby Columbia Cafe serves authentic tapas on its dog-friendly terrace overlooking Garrison Channel.
Best seat in the house.Photo by Facebook.com/BradentonMarauders
Nestled on the Manatee River with Tampa to the north, the Bradenton area is home to more Spring Training action. Four-legged buccaneers can catch a glimpse of two-legged “Buccos” at Pirate City, the practice complex of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dine on fresh seafood only 2 miles from the complex at Caddy’s Bradenton, a waterfront tiki-style eatery with dog-friendly outdoor seating.
Next, drive a few miles south to downtown Sarasota to watch the Baltimore Orioles take flight at Ed Smith Stadium. The four practice fields near the stadium allow leashed pups to eyeball the athletes from behind the fences. Fido can put his own athleticism on display at the nearby 17th Street Paw Park, a fully fenced dog park with agility equipment.
Your furry fan’s final stop lies 25 miles east of Tampa in Lakeland, where he can meet up with some feline friends at Tigertown, the Spring Training home of the Detroit Tigers. Both human and canine spectators can take in the action from behind the outfield fences on the practice fields. After watching the professionals shag flies, Fido can shag a few of his own at nearby Crago Dog Park.
It’s a family affair.Photo by @mightymussels
Your last stop on the Gulf Coast is Southwest Florida, which boasts four more Spring Training stops. First up in the city of Venice is CoolToday Park, the Spring Training home of the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. Pups can beg for autographs near the practice fields behind right field. Fido can play hard at Brohard Paw Park, Sarasota County’s only dog beach, complete with pet washing stations and drinking fountains.
Located 5 miles away in Port Charlotte, Charlotte Sports Park hosts Florida’s own Tampa Bay Rays for Spring Training games. Four-legged fanatics can cheer on the team from the practice fields behind the stadium. Feast on traditional Sunshine State cuisine right next door at The Twisted Fork. Dogs are welcome in the covered outdoor seating area.
In Fort Myers, visitors can survey the Minnesota Twins from the covered bleacher section on practice field No. 5 at Hammond Stadium, then check out the Boston Red Sox on the 5 full-sized practice fields at JetBlue Park, located nearby. If you want to get away from the crowds, take Fido for a walk on the John Yarbrough Linear Park Trail. This paved trail runs through lush wetlands along the Ten Mile Canal. Build up an appetite before digging into juicy burgers and craft beer at a dog-friendly outdoor table at Ford’s Garage in downtown Fort Myers. After your fun in the sun, kick back and relax at the Drury Inn & Suites Fort Myers Airport.
“We’re here for the nachos.”Photo by Facebook.com/BallparkPalmBeaches
Not to be outdone, the Atlantic Coast of Florida boasts its own brand of Spring Training mania in three South Florida cities. Port St. Lucie has been the Spring Training residence of the New York Mets since 1988. Dogs are permitted to greet the Mets from behind the fence on field No. 2 at Clover Park. The city is also home to Lyngate Park and Dog Park, a spacious canine recreation area with separate sections for small, medium and large pups, drinking fountains and shade trees.
Zip down I-95 to Jupiter for a double-header of Spring Training goodness. Both the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals tune up for the season at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Each team allows access for two- and four-legged fans on multiple practice fields located behind the stadium. Don’t skip town without gracing the off-leash area at Jupiter Beach, one of the state’s top-rated dog beaches.
West Palm Beach also hosts a pair of teams for Spring Training. The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals share the diamond at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The dozen full-sized practice fields outside the stadium permit leashed hounds to track balls and strikes from behind the perimeter fences. Treat Fido to a spicy dinner on the dog-friendly patio at Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila, located a few miles away in downtown West Palm Beach. After calling it a day, rest those feet and paws in a comfy room at Homewood Suites West Palm Beach.