Combining Sporting Events and Beach Vacations
Combining Sporting Events and Beach Vacations? You’re probably wondering, is that really a thing? Combining sporting events and beach vacations might not be something you’ve ever thought of before; but, it can be done! Furthermore, sporting events and beach vacations makes for one amazing trip! So, let AMI Locals show you how to do it right!
The Tampa Bay Buccanneers
Since the NFL Season is right around the corner, let’s start with a look at our local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This season, the Bucs have some great home games to play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
First and foremost, lets take a look at the schedule:
Now, look over these games, and figure out which sporting event works best with your beach vacation plans. Then, contact AMI Locals to help to plan your getaway around it!
Traveling to Anna Maria Island
So, who’s your home team? Are they listed above? If they’re headed this way when it’s snowy and cold at home why don’t you be the ultimate football fan and travel along? Getting here is easy, and you have tons of options. Either drive down, or fly into the Sarasota or Tampa airport and rent a car. Or, get fancy and hire a car or limo to take you between your destinations.
For example, if you’re a Carolina Panthers’ fan, you can fly from Charlotte, North Carolina to Tampa on December 1st, 2018 roundtrip for about $230. Then, add on a week’s stay at one of our lovely 2-3 bedroom Anna Maria Luxury Vacation Rentals such as Island Time East for about $2,450. Combine it all, and boom, you have a fantastic sporting event and beach vacation planned for just under $3,000.
How to Get to the Buccaneers Stadium from Anna Maria Island
Here’s your game plan for game day when you’re combining sporting events and beach vacations! How do you get from here to there? Tampa is about 35 miles north of Anna Maria Island. An easy 1 hour drive, and it’s very scenic! Especially if you take the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
First, you will need to take one of the bridges to the mainland, SR-64, or Cortez Road. From there you’ll hop on to I-275 N to cross the beautiful Sunshine Skyway bridge. Then, continue through St. Petersburg and then on to Tampa. The highways are easy to navigate and the exits to the stadium are clearly marked.
Parking and Tailgating at the Stadium
Parking is plentiful around the stadium, with 14 official parking lots just outside of the stadium. Furthermore, there are other parking facilities within easy walking distance. Remember to bring some cash to pay for parking! Most parking lots average around $25 per vehicle. With most people driving to the games, tailgating around the stadium is always fun. Because of that, make sure you bring some snacks and a favorite beverage or two. As a result, you’ll hang out and engage in some friendly rival team banter with the locals. After the tailgate, you’ll head into Raymond James Stadium for kickoff and the big game. Remember to #vacationlikealocal and take photos by the pirate ship, mate! Tag us @amilocals!
Other Professional and College Teams
Maybe NFL Football isn’t your thing. That’s fine, there are more options for comining sporting events and beach vacations. Instead, maybe MLB Baseball, College Football, NHL Hockey, or NBA Basketball is more your speed. Well, you’re in luck!
Within 45 minutes to 3 hours of Anna Maria Island, we have everything you need! Located 45 minutes away, we have the Tampa Bay Rays, with a season running from March-October. Also, there are some great NCAA College Football teams within 1-3 hours of Anna Maria Island. Those teams include the USF Bulls in Tampa, the UCF Knights in Orlando, and the Florida Gators in Gainesville. The NCAA College Football season runs from September until late November. The Tampa Bay Lightning are about an hour away in Tampa. Their season runs from September – April each season. Finally, the Orlando Magic, are located about 2 hours away from Anna Maria Island. This NBA team offers a great sporting event to attend from October – April each season.
Why it’s the Best Option
When you’re combining sporting events and beach vacations you become the smartest fan in any stadium. Taking that one step further, when you’re combining sporting events and beach vacations on Anna Maria Island you become one of the smartest fans in the world. The convenience of our island, and it’s fantastic proximity to so many great sport events and venues, makes this the ideal vacation for all sports fans.
Tampa has hosted the NFL Superbowl, NCAA College Basketball Tournament for Men and Women; and, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, all have NCAA Football Bowl Games including the Orange Bowl. There is so much here, within a short drive away. Skip the crowds of the big city, and commute in for the event only. Spend the rest of your time relaxing at the beach.
Plus, most sports occur during the Fall and Winter months. Fall on Anna Maria Island is an absolutely wonderful time of year to visit. Check out our recent AMI Locals blog post, FALL in love with Anna Maria, to get a little more insight into how we locals feel about the autumn months here on the Island. Spoiler alert: we love it!
Just remember to wash off your game face paint before applying your sunscreen!