JETBLUE PARK AT FENWAY SOUTH
|Dimensions||304L, 379LC, 420C, 380RC, 302R|
|Local Airport||Fort Myers|
|Tickets on Sale||Saturday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m.|
|Ticket Web Site||ticketmaster.com|
|Address||11581 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers, FL 33913|
|Directions||Daniels Parkway runs east/west through south Fort Myers and is also marked as County Rd. 876. The ballpark is on the eastern side of the city, north of the Fort Myers Airport. From Fort Myers: Take Daniels Parkway east past I-75; the ballpark will be on your left past the airport turnoff. From I-75: Take exit 131 and head east. The ballpark will be on your left past the airport turnoff. The entrance is also marked at Fenway South Dr., but that address has not yet caught on with all GPS systems. One thing to watch out for: there is heavy traffic before and after games, particularly if you’re turning against traffic.|
Boston Red Sox Spring Training: If You Go …
Fort Myers is in southwestern Florida, far away from the madding crowds of Tampa or Orlando. In fact, it’s 125 miles up the coast to Tampa/St. Pete and slightly less than that to Bradenton (spring-training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) or Sarasota (spring-training home of the Cincinnati Reds), so you’re quite a ways down the coast. You could also hit the spring-training camps of the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays, who both train in the greater Fort Myers/Port Charlotte area.
We would recommend doing what many spring-training fans end up doing: filling the day with baseball and spend the rest of the time relaxing, Indeed, it’s the relative isolation and scenic lakeshore stressed by the tourism types that make spring training on the Gulf Coast such a delight. It’s a tropical area, with relatively unspoiled beaches on the Gulf Coast.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands are known for their long expanses of white beaches and mangrove forests, with many biking and hiking trails. Over half of the islands are preserved as wildlife sanctuaries. You could do worse than spending the afternoon at a Boston Red Sox or Minnesota Twins home game and then heading to Sanibel Island for cocktails and a lovely seafood dinner. Yes, there’s a toll for Sanibel Island and you’ll need to make it back to the mainland before bridge access is closed, but there’s a lot to be said for partaking in the Sanibel Island lifestyle, if only for a day.
Fort Myers is also known as the former winter home of both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Their estates are preserved and available for viewing.
You should also make a pilgrimage to Terry Park Stadium, which is possibly the oldest surviving spring-training location in Florida. It’s just east of Fort Myers and still heavily used by amateur and college teams. It hasn’t been used for major league spring training since 1987 (when the Kansas City Royals trained in Fort Myers); it was built originally as the spring-training home of the Philadelphia Athletics, owned and managed by Connie Mack. The old grandstand there was rebuilt several years ago, but the main field is still the same as it was when pro ball was played there.
Where to Stay: JetBlue Park is on the other side of the freeway in Fort Myers, so any hotel advertised as an airport hotel will work. Several are within two miles of the ballpark, including Comfort Inn and Suites Airport, Springhill Suites and La Quinta.
Flying In: Fort Myers is home to South Florida International Airport and is served by most major airlines, including Air Canada, AirTran, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United Airlines, US Airways and WestJet.
You may also want to consider flying into Tampa or Sarasota and then driving to Fort Myers if the fare to Tampa is significantly cheaper. The drive from Tampa is 125 miles, but as Tampa is home to several other spring-training facilities, you can combine several visits.