My first spring training experience occurred during Spring Break the year we moved to Pompano Beach. The Washington Senators drew huge crowds anxious to see the Cy Young award winning pitcher, Denny McLain, and the team’s coach, the legendary Ted Williams.
Then as a high school student at Pompano Beach High School, it wasn’t unusual to return to the student parking lot after lunch to find no available spaces. Our student parking lot was across the street from Pompano Municipal Stadium, the spring home of the Texas Rangers. And despite the fact students purchased parking passes, our lot was too tempting to baseball fans anxious to watch their teams in action. From February until the first pitch of opening day, Spring Training was a way of life.
With two weeks remaining in the MLB spring training season, there’s a lot of baseball on the calendar. Fifteen teams will be competing in cities from Kissimmee to Clearwater to Jupiter to Ft. Myers…but no longer in Pompano. In the final thirteen days of the Grapefruit League season, 83 games will be played (click here for the schedule), so there’s plenty of time to see a couple of the teams in action.
For complete details on Florida Grapefruit League games at your fingertips, you can download the app which includes detailed information about teams including the daily schedule.
Check the schedule and catch a game! After all, in Florida, Spring Break = Spring Training.
For the first time in more than fifty years the words Spring Break don’t have the same meaning. Since 1964, I’ve either been a student or a teacher looking forward to the days away from school, not only a well deserved and needed break from the routine of academic activities, but also as a time to enjoy doing something outdoors.
I don’t remember being disappointed during Spring Break as a student. In middle school anything outside and with friends seemed absolutely perfect. In high school, living less than two miles from Pompano Beach guaranteed a good time and returning to South Florida with friends during college was the definition of Spring Break.
However while the time off was appreciated, as a teacher the week rarely lived up to the anticipation. This may be because we frequently planned camping trips in the Panhandle or farther north only to be faced with cool or cold or rainy weather and not enough time in the sunshine outside. Even when we vowed to only head south we were frequently disappointed with rainy and windy and sometimes cold weather after spending too much on high priced accomodations in popular south Florida locales.
Now that any week can serve as Spring Break, the answer to the Spring Break getaway seems simple. Relax. Don’t over plan. Don’t spend a lot of money. Living in Florida, the options are numerous. Spring Break is the perfect time for day trips especially to our state’s springs.
Make and eat pancakes at Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Gridlehouse and then take a swim in the spring or drive a few miles down the road to Orange Springs and visit Blue Springs State Park and look for manatee.
Snorkle in Alexander Springs, part of the Ocala National Forest. Since it’s a spring, the water temperature is 72° year round so it’s nearly perfect. This is also a great place for a cookout either before or after you get in the water.
Bike from Gemini Springs to Green Springs and enjoy the parks. Swimming is not permitted in either spring but they’re both beautiful bodies of water and there are trails to walk and a picnic area at Gemini Springs. The length of the Spring to Spring Trail is 17 miles, but the section that connects these two parks is less than 5 miles one way.
Visit the spring head and then go tubing down the Rainbow River. Tubers are not permitted to enter the headsprings, but canoes and kayaks can be rented in the park and swimming is allowed in the spring as well. Tube rentals are available at K.P Hole. Click here for more information on tubing the Rainbow River.
Located in the Ocala National Forest, the 7.3 mile run at Juniper Springs is not recommended for beginners, but it is not a difficult paddle since you’re moving with the current. The most difficult part of the trip is navigating around low lying trees and brush. Pick up is included with the cost of a canoe rental. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks since the trip may take up to 4 hours.
Manatee are the stars at Homosassa Springs since they swim around the people in the park’s fish bowl underwater observatory or should that be people bowl? There are three manatee shows daily and the park’s home to a number of Florida species, and don’t forget to take a ride on the boat tour…it’s included in the price of admission. There’s even an egg hunt on Saturday, March 26th at 8:00.