Southwest Florida Spring Training Destination Offers Way More Than Baseball

Thursday, December 22, 2016 - by Michelle Tomao

As Spring Training swings into action, millions of fans will be flocking to Florida to see their favorite teams up close in just a few short months. But while all Spring Training sites throughout the state offer great baseball and unique travel destinations, one of the top choices among fans, is southwest Florida’s Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.


For 29 years, Port Charlotte, on Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, has been welcoming baseball fans of all ages to Charlotte Sports Park, spring home of the popular Tampa Bay Rays.

Renovated in 2009, today this modern state-of-the-art facility is recognized as one of the most fan-friendly (and family friendly) stadiums in the Grapefruit League. Named in 2014, the Number 1 Spring Training Destination by readers of USA Today and 10Best, Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte is located at the confluence of beautiful Charlotte Harbor and the scenic Peace River, where a tropical lifestyle and expansive natural settings give fans plenty of warm-weather ways to make lasting memories inside - and outside the ballpark.


It is conveniently located within 30 minutes of the Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), within close proximity to many affordable hotel options, and is home to superb beaches, dining, adventure and more, all making for the perfect action-packed weekend trip for baseball fanatics and non-sports fans alike. Top options include:


Beaches/Boating: Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach is home to several of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Secluded, natural island beaches, some easily accessible and others a little more remote, each with unique attributes offering a thrilling adventure of its own. Along with swimming, shelling, and searching for sharks’ teeth, recreational boating, sailing and fishing are popular pastimes as well. Ranked one of the top 10 places to sail in the U.S. by SAIL Magazine, Charlotte Harbor – Florida’s second largest marine estuary - is a sailor’s dream.


Dining: Fresh and local fares and favorites abound in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, where fans looking to forego ballpark franks for at least one meal can step outside and indulge in a myriad of culinary experiences. Enter into a foodie paradise where an incredible variety of unique (and delicious) independently owned and operated restaurants are plentiful and chain restaurants are slim to none. Here, notable foodie favorites come in the form of an eclectic mix of sidewalk cafes, seafood shacks, waterfront eateries, fine dining locales and sweet spots. From waterfront dives to rooftop showpieces and tucked-away surprises, there’s something to satisfy every craving.


Outside Recreation; The Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach area takes pride in offering over more than 70 parks, preserves and recreational areas dedicated to public use for hiking, biking, swimming, playing and picnicking. Many parks are found throughout the destination, some with spectacular views of Charlotte Harbor and others dog-friendly. Fans and their families can experience the natural wonders of almost 60 different Blueway Trails as they canoe, kayak, or paddle along the nearly 200 miles of coastline. And with an entrance to Tippecanoe Environmental Park right at the back of the stadium’s parking field, baseball game goers can easily park and explore the flatlands before the game.


These are just a few of the activities visiting families can expect to enjoy throughout Spring Training in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, where Our Best Side, Is Outside. With plenty to do within 30 minutes distance of Port Charlotte Sports Park, it’s the perfect getaway for fans of all ages. Please let me know if you are interested in working together on a story to highlight the area for sports fans considering planning a weekend trip around Spring Training.

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