All 30 major league baseball teams have now descended on one of two US states. In warm, dry weather, the teams will practice and prepare for a marathon 162 game season to start April 5. For Spring Training, teams in Florida are part of the Grapefruit League and Arizona teams comprise the Cactus League. The facilities are very different from the giant ballparks they play in during the regular season. The ambiance is much more minor league than the flashiness of giant stadiums. Perhaps that’s what makes them so appealing to baseball fans as vacation spots.
View Spring Training Stadiums in a full screen map
Practicing in warm locales is a baseball tradition that goes back to its early days, 125 years ago. Originally, the teams chose their own spots and likely didn’t play exhibition games due to the distance between facilities. Now they’re close enough that visitors can usually see two games at two different stadiums on the same day.
A glance at the map shows that the Cactus League of Arizona is much closer together, with 15 teams sharing 10 facilities. All Cactus League stadiums are located in the greater Phoenix metro area. The furthest distance you’ll drive for Arizona Spring Training is about an hour between HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa (to the southeast) and Surprise Stadium in Surprise (to the northwest).
If you want to visit, the Cactus League has a nice trip planner that allows you to select the teams you want to see. You’ll need to use the Grapefruit League’s full schedule and manually filter the teams on your own.
Travel can play a big role in how many teams you can see in Florida. At the longest, it takes three hours to drive between Space Coast Stadium near the beach east of Orlando to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers (to the southwest). Google even suggests a 50 minute flight as a viable travel option. In fact, that might be the easiest way to catch a Washington Nationals day game followed by a Red Sox or Twins night game.
One thing true in Florida that can’t be said of Arizona: you’ll always be a short drive to the water. All but three of the Grapefruit League teams are along the coasts. Even the inland teams are surrounded by lakes, with the Tigers playing in a city named Lakeland.
No matter which spring training region you choose to visit, you’ll find warm weather. Phoenix averages in the mid to high 70s fahrenheit during the month of March. Florida is typically a little higher. So break out your shorts and enjoy some baseball.