Disclosure: I attended baseball spring training at no cost as part of a press trip to Arizona. All opinions are my own.
I’ve gone to baseball spring training in Arizona for two years in a row, and it’s really one of my favorite family vacation spots. There’s something for everyone in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona, so it’s a great time to not only enjoy baseball but also have fun exploring the city of Phoenix with your family.
Since the month of March is still generally pretty cold here in New England, it’s also a nice break from late winter. Here are some travel tips so that you can enjoy a family trip for baseball spring training in Arizona.
If you aren’t as familiar with spring training, there are a few things to know. Baseball spring training is when the MLB teams practice before the official start of the season. There are two separate training leagues – the Cactus League plays in the Greater Phoenix area, while the Grapefruit League plays in Florida.
The Cactus League includes the following teams:
- The Arizona Diamondbacks
- The Chicago Cubs
- The Chicago White Sox
- The Cincinnati Reds
- The Cleveland Indians
- The Colorado Rockies
- The Kansas City Royals
- The Los Angeles Angels
- The Los Angeles Dodgers
- The Milwaukee Brewers
- The Oakland Athletics
- The San Diego Padres
- The San Francisco Giants
- The Seattle Mariners
- The Texas Rangers
Even if your home team isn’t playing in the league, it’s still fun to watch. These games are generally very affordable, and the stadiums are smaller, so you’ll be closer to the action. They are all within reasonable driving distance of each other – as well as to the family-friendly attractions in the greater Phoenix area.
Dates vary by year, but in general, baseball spring training runs from late February to late March. Despite the name, there are actually only a few games in the actual spring. Make sure you consult the schedule before planning your trip.
Tips for Baseball Spring Training in Arizona
Visit a variety of spring training baseball fields
We are Red Sox fans, so when we go to spring training in Arizona, we don’t have a “home team”. Even if you are do have a home team, then I recommend you visit a variety of fields.
The spring training fields are all so different, and it’s worth checking out a few during your Arizona spring vacation. Explore the fields while you are there – they are all unique and have their own identity. We found that the food and snacks are also great and completely different, so go hungry!
Arrive early for the spring training game you are attending
As you may guess, there tends to be a lot of traffic congestion in the areas around the baseball fields before the games. Arrive early so you get the best parking and don’t have to worry about being late because of traffic.
Because there are usually so many different food options at the game, you can have your lunch at the field, rather than eating first.
Stay in a great family resort in Arizona.
There are a few family resorts I recommend (and have stayed at no cost), like the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, and the Westin Kierland Resort. You’ll also be able to enjoy the pools, the kids’ activities, and the other amenities when you aren’t watching baseball spring training.
We’ve been so impressed with the various resorts we’ve visited in the area. They are all pretty close driving distance to the baseball fields.
Check out some of the Phoenix-area family attractions while you are there.
Even if you are there specifically for baseball spring training, there are so many other options for kid-friendly attractions. I really love the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Gardens, and the Musical Instrument Museum which can be visited over several days. If you are visiting the zoo and botanical gardens, arrive early before it gets too hot.
Check out downtown Phoenix as well. There’s been so much done to Downtown Phoenix in the past few years, and there’s now so much to see. There’s also “Food Truck Friday” which includes many of the popular local trucks. You can see all of our things to do in Phoenix with kids here.
Consider a trip to Tucson, Arizona
Although it’s not as populated as Phoenix, Tucson includes some great kid-friendly attractions, like the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and Trail Dust Town.
My kids are still talking about our trip there. You’ll want to make sure you go to Tucson after or before you go to spring training because you won’t want to commute.
There are several great family-friendly resorts in the area. I recently stayed at the Westin La Paloma and really enjoyed it.
Have you been to baseball spring training in Arizona? What tips would you recommend?