Florida is a state rich with sports history. Numerous championships have been won at both the professional and collegiate levels, and across multiple sports. Finding a sporting event to watch live in the state isn’t difficult. However, finding ones to attend via boat can require a little creativity. Fall in Florida offers some of the best boating weather of the year, and the remaining four months also provide ample opportunities to plan a route that includes one or more sporting events.
September in Florida brings the start of football season, but it also delivers the end of Major League Baseball’s regular season. This year, the Tampa Bay Rays are battling for a playoff spot and from September 20-23 they play a four game series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg against another team in the playoff hunt, the Baltimore Orioles. Boaters wanting to see the Rays possibly dueling it out for a Wild Card spot can find accommodations at the City of St. Petersburg Marina or at the Harborage Marina at Bayboro. Each is approximately two miles away from Tropicana Field.
To make it an even more memorable sports trip, head east to Tampa and check out a pre-season hockey game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers on September 21 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Then, stay over a few days to catch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 29 when they take on the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium. Marinas in the area include the Tampa Marriott Waterside Resort & Marina, Rick's on the River and Marjorie Park Yacht Basin.
October kicks off boat show season with the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show from October 31-November 4, but a few days before, on October 29, the Miami Heat square off against the Chicago Bulls at American Airlines Arena. Boaters wishing to attend can find dockage at Miamarina at Bayside or Sea Isle Marina. Adventurous types can arrive a few days earlier and make plans for some college football action as the Florida International Golden Panthers play Louisiana Tech on October 26. Though, the stadium is about 15 miles from downtown Miami.
After taking in the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, cruise up the east coast of Florida to Jacksonville and start November with the Florida-Georgia game. This classic college football rivalry is set for November 2 at EverBank Field, and features two teams, the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs, that finished last season ranked in the top 10. Attendees should be able to find dockage at Metropolitan Park Marina, River City Marina or Arlington Marina.
December can bring colder temperatures to Florida, but the average high for the month in Fort Myers is 77 degrees and that’s where you’ll find the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles playing college basketball. They take on the Samford Bulldogs on December 14 at Alico Arena, which is roughly 15 miles away from the nearest marinas with transient dockage. While getting to the arena might take some planning, staying on the water offers the opportunity to view the 35th Annual Cape Coral Holiday Boat-Along on December 15. Visitors looking for a slip should check out Ft. Myers Boat Club, Gulf Harbour Marina or Cape Coral (Godman) Yacht Basin.
From September through December, there’s a great mix of sporting events for fans to attend via boat. Some are certainly more accessible than others, but with a little planning any boater should be able to find at least one sporting event to take in this fall in Florida.