By Joanna Citarella

Dunedin Stadium, home of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Credit Florida Sports Foundation)
Dunedin Stadium, home of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Credit Florida Sports Foundation)

The countdown to Major League Baseball Spring Training 2010 is well underway, and it’s a great excuse for last-minute travel to central Florida.

For about two months, 15 MLB teams will start warming up for their seasons in exhibition games. It all begins in late February/early March in stadiums from Lake Buena Vista to Jupiter, and it’s truly your chance to see some of your favorite teams up close. Don’t forget your glove, camera and autograph book — every game is an opportunity to catch a fly ball or take some great photos.

For the majority of spring training games, practice kicks off at 1 p.m. All of the stadiums can seat about 10,000 fans, and every seat is a good one. You also have the option to take advantage of structured baseball tours, which come in a variety of packages and options. Get more information about the Florida Grapefruit League, including teams’ spring training locations, dates and more.

And while you’re planning your Florida vacation for spring training, don’t forget that there are plenty of other activities to keep kids and adults entertained. From baseball to golf to beaches, the possibilities are limitless. Runners may want to try the Spring Training Classic 10K Road Race March 6, where you finish at the home plate of Roger Dean Stadium. There also will be a cops-n-kids fun run and a health/fitness expo, and an opportunity to meet some of the Florida Marlins players.

Osceola County Stadium, home of the Houston Astros (Credit Florida Sports Foundation)
Osceola County Stadium, home of the Houston Astros (Credit Florida Sports Foundation)

The west coast of Florida has some of the nation’s best beaches, and Sarasota, Clearwater and Fort Myers all are gearing up to welcome baseball fans. If your last-minute travel takes you to Tampa to catch the Yankees in spring training, be sure to include a visit to Busch Gardens. This favorite Florida vacation destination offers something for everyone from hair-raising rides to animal exhibits and even an African Safari experience.

The Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros do their spring training in Lake Buena Vista and Kissimmee, so it’s the perfect opportunity to work in some time at the theme parks and turn your last-minute Florida vacation into a memorable Disney vacation.

Whatever your team takes you, a last-minute Florida vacation for spring training is sure to be a winner!

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Joanna Citarella is a market manager for Orbitz Worldwide. She grew up in England and moved to Naples, Fla., nine years ago, favoring the perpetual sunshine over the unpredictable British weather.

Tagged: Beach Vacation, Family time, Florida Vacation, Sports Travel

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