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Florida Guide > Other Activities

Florida Sporting Events

I know the main things to visit Florida for are the fantastic sunshine, the beautiful villas, Disneyworld and the holiday of a lifetime, but don’t forget the local sports teams and events. American sports are so different to the norm (they have their own world series in Baseball – without inviting the rest of the world to compete!) but are worth considering when the theme parks have worn you out!

There are a fair few professional teams in the locality for each main sport. In American Football these include the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002 Champions) and Jacksonville Jaguars. These games are like events, taking four hours or so to complete the game. Tickets are really tough to get hold of, so if you are unlucky consider a trunk party. The car parks around the stadiums are packed with people drinking, BBQ’ing and having fun, getting the atmosphere they crave.

Basketball teams include the Miami Heat, who boast “Shaq” in their line-up. Baseball has the Devil Rays which play their games in St Petersburg, just over an hour from Orlando.

There is also the option of watching the local college teams competing. You are still likely to have thousands of people watching these games. College teams have almost as much status as the professional teams, as well as a huge range of merchandise. Florida State University boast the number 2 team in the country, and regularly pull in crowds of 80000!!

The University of Central Florida is located close to Orlando and has an array of sporting events for you to watch. As well as the usual suspects they have sports you only normally associate with the Olympics!! I can highly recommend the women’s volleyball. The atmospheres in the arenas are electric. Everybody mingles together, all are in good spirits, and all applaud good play. The Americans have never heard of the word “hooligan”.

If dog racing is your thing, Florida offers several tracks for your enjoyment. There is a difference though. Expect to see 8 dogs running instead of 6. You still wager the same, but it is a little tougher (as if it’s not hard enough in the UK!) to predict the winner. Visit Bonita Springs on the Gulf Coast, Jacksonville’s Orange County track, Flagler, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Sarasota, and Sanford, just north of Orlando, all have their own stadiums.

I know that on your first visit to Orlando that you will probably be unable to visit any of these places, but just bear them in mind on your second visit, because after visiting the once, you will definitely be back!!

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Page added on: 8 September 2004
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