Best Weather For a Baseball Road Trip
How would you find the best weather for a baseball road trip? Last year, I noted the proliferation of year-round travelers who choose to relocate every few weeks. For some, this periodic migration is facilitated by RV ownership and has the goal of following ideal weather conditions throughout the year. With the intent of finding normal monthly temperatures near 70 degrees, one would spend January and part of February in Florida and then move northward with the onset of spring, reaching the Northern Plains in early summer. The return of fans at baseball games in 2021 and seeing this 50-state baseball tour article inspired me to combine the concepts of ideal temperatures with some great baseball sites.
Following the 70-degree vacation as a baseball fan, the itinerary would move north slightly ahead of the progression of early season baseball from spring training to regular season openers. The most active weeks for attending games would be from April through early June when many professional games (including minor leagues) would be found within a short drive of your prescribed route. Add in college baseball, for which the season begins in mid-February, and you have another six weeks of action ahead of the major league opening day. The month of March has NCAA baseball in full swing throughout the Southeast with dozens of colleges and universities vying for conference championships. Two of the largest conferences, each with 14 teams, are the SEC (Southeast) and ACC (Atlantic Coast) with rosters containing some of the most highly-regarded young players. Here’s a great resource listing all of the college baseball conferences and their member teams!
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By early summer the flight from hot weather would take you well north of where most major league teams are located. So let’s add some other baseball-themed attractions to our list. These include birthplaces and burial sites of Hall of Fame players, baseball fields that were used for well-known motion pictures, or locations of feats by legendary players. Month by month, let’s see what treasures we can uncover. While spending the first few weeks of the year in Florida, you’d want to make time to visit the site of Babe Ruth’s longest home run. A plaque on the University of Tampa campus marks the landing spot of that ball. The temperature-sensitive traveler is located in Georgia for the month of March, and a stop in Atlanta features the famous center field Magnolia Tree, the only remnant of historic Ponce de Leon Park. As with our Tampa stop, this Atlanta location also has a connection to Babe Ruth. The slugger once hit the tree (located 462 feet from home plate) on the fly with a home run.
To keep up with the 70-degree weather, it’s necessary to move northward more quickly during the spring into early summer. During April, Asheville, NC is the favored location. In years past the minor league baseball season opened at McCormick Field during the first week of the month, but this season opening day was delayed a month, a scheduling feature which may or may not continue for the High-A leagues in 2022. On the way to the Carolina mountains, longtime fans of the Yankees or Oakland A’s may want to take a route along the outer banks to the Catfish Hunter Memorial in Hertford which is to the east of the state capital of Raleigh.
During the month of May, Kansas City can have periods of delightful spring and summerlike weather and this is the climatologically recommended stop. On the way west, you might plan your journey to allow for a visit to Busch Stadium for a Cardinals game. Kansas City’s increasingly famous Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is an essential stop for those who love history or just want to learn more about great players and teams from baseball’s past. All of the minor leagues are underway during May and within three hours drive of Kansas City are two AAA teams (at Omaha and Des Moines) and two AA teams (in Wichita, KS and Springfield, MO).
For June, the Black Hills of South Dakota offer respite from summer heat by virtue of their higher elevation and semi-arid climate. On your way north, you might pass through Omaha in time for the College World Series, or take in an Omaha Royals game. You will also find independent baseball teams from the American Association playing in Sioux City, IA and Sioux Falls, SD.
I’ll be completing the remaining months of this tour in an upcoming article. In the meantime I wish you all the best weather for your own baseball road trip!