We dug deep into all Opal destinations from Florida, Maine, and New York to build this list of top spring events and seasonal vacation ideas.
What are you looking for in your spring escape? Perhaps some fast-paced Formula One action to balance out your beach time on a trip to Florida? Or diving with sea turtles flocking to the Atlantic Coast this time of year? Or perhaps a chance to chat up some of the biggest stars of the Major Leagues? We dug deep into all Opal destinations to build this list of top events and best spring vacations in Florida and New York.
MLB Spring Training [Florida]
February 23–March 30, 2017
Florida’s Grapefruit League has offered a warm, sunny place for Major League Baseball teams to prep and practice for the regular season since the 1800s. The stadiums are smaller and so is the impact of the games, but the great thing about spring training is that it lets you get a much closer, more personal experience with your favorite players (or your kids’ favorites). Fans of teams, like the Orioles, the Red Sox, the Cardinals, the Marlins, and the Mets, will find their team prepping for the season at stadiums up and down the Florida peninsula. No matter which team you root for, there’s a Grapefruit League game to catch in between plenty of beach and pool time at a nearby Opal hotel. Check out our full guide to the Grapefruit League stadiums, teams, and destinations.
Where to Stay Edgewater Beach Hotel | Opal Sands Resort | Sandpearl Resort | Treasure Island Beach Resort | Lido Beach Resort | The Resort at Longboat Key Club | Zota Beach Resort | Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Diving during Sea Turtle Nesting Season [Palm Beach, FL]
March marks the beginning of turtle nesting season each year in Florida, when scores of leatherback, loggerhead, green, and hawksbill turtles make their way ashore to lay their eggs in the soft sand of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. Palm Beach Country has some of the most densely nested beaches in the country, but the most important thing is that people don’t disturb them! Some outfitters offer evening beach walks to safely see the nests, but we recommend a more active method of observation – a diving trip to see those Goliath beauties in their natural habitat. Large numbers of turtles congregate along the reefs just offshore as they get ready to make their way up on the beaches, meaning you’ll have a perfect opportunity to swim with dozens of these endangered animals at once.
Where to Stay Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg [St. Petersburg, FL]
March 10–12, 2017
Imagine watching Formula One open-wheel race cars navigate a series of twists and turns at breakneck speeds on downtown streets, overlooking the turquoise waters of the gulf. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, one of the most respected motorsports events in North America. Live entertainment, plus interactive games and exhibits round out the event, which also boasts beer gardens, driver autograph sessions, and the Verizon IndyCar Series Fan Village.
Adirondack Maple Weekends [Lake Placid, NY]
March 18–19 & 25–26, 2017
Maple syrup is the liquid gold of the northeast that runs each spring. During these two weekends, visitors to New York’s Adirondacks can get an inside look at how maple syrup is produced. Make a visit to a local sugarhouse, where you can follow tours and demonstrations. There are also family-friendly races and maple tastings at Whiteface Mountain and family programs at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The Adirondack Maple Weekend is, by far, the sweetest spring event in the Adirondacks.
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge
Delray Bacon & Bourbon Festival [Delray Beach, FL]
March 24–26, 2017
This is one food and drink festival that promises to be a decadent affair. With a menu full of bacon-related dishes, including items like the Forever Roasted Bourbon BBQ Pork & Bacon sandwich and bacon ice cream with bourbon and caramel sauce, attendees will find plenty of bacon-inspired menu items developed by local chefs. For those avoiding a bacon-laden diet, the festival also features a selection of bourbons and whiskeys on hand to taste and imbibe. In addition to snacks and sips, the Delray Bacon & Bourbon Fest also features live blues, seminars on the finer points of bourbon distilling, and a Bacon & Bourbon Happy Hour.
April Fool’s Pond Skim [Lake George, NY]
April 1, 2017
Spring skiing has several rites of passages, but none more hilarious than the annual pond skim competition. At Gore Mountain, a 35-minute drive from The Sagamore Resort, the April Fool’s Pond Skim is some serious business, though. Well, maybe it’s not “serious,” but the competition is fierce. The annual spring classic has judging for the Best Costume, Best Splash, Best Skim Distance, and Overall Performance. Categories include Pond Kings & Queens (20+ years old), Pond Princes & Princesses (13–19 years old) and Pond Frogs & Frogettes (12 years and under).
Where to Stay The Sagamore Resort
Sugar & Sand Festival [Clearwater, FL]
April 14–23, 2017
For 10 days each April, Clearwater pays tribute to the two things that have brought it renown: the sugar sand beaches and the sunsets. Pier 60’s Sugar & Sand Festival is a beach-wide celebration that offers free activities for all ages, including a children’s play area, street performers, live music and entertainment, artisans and crafters, and even fireworks. But the main attraction is The Sugar Sand Walk Exhibit. A 21,000-foot tent is filled with sculpted sand art crafted by world-class sculptors, seen only once a year. And if the sand art inspires you, sit in on one of the sand sculpting classes, speed sand demonstrations, or the master sand sculpting competition.
World Circus Day at Ringling [Sarasota, FL]
April 15, 2017
On the third Saturday of each April, World Circus Day celebrates the arts and culture of the big top. Naturally, the Ringling Circus Museum gets in on the action by offering free admission to the Museum and Tibbals Learning Center, both on the campus of The Ringling, the former home of John and Mable Ringling. John was, of course, one of the five brothers who owned and operated the circus known as “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The 20 acres of waterfront property he and wife, Mable, purchased in the early 1900s would go on to become the location of the Circus Museum, the Historic Asolo Theater, and the Ringling Museum of Art, all in tribute to the man behind the show.
USPA US Open Polo Championship [Wellington, FL]
April 23, 2017
From January through April each year, world-renowned polo players and enthusiasts converge on the International Polo Club of Palm Beach for the winter polo season. It all culminates with the annual USPA US Open Polo Championship in April. Sprawled across 250 idyllic acres, the club boasts a sweeping field the size of nine football fields where elite players expertly handle sleep polo ponies. For polo fans, it may be an annual rite of passage; for the rest of us, it’s a fun glimpse and celebration into a sport with plenty of fun pomp and circumstance.
Stuart Sailfish Regatta [Stuart, FL]
May 20–21, 2017
On the northern side of the Stuart Causeway in the spring, the normally placid Atlantic Ocean is suddenly an adrenaline-fueled show of skill and speed for one weekend in May. On a 1.1-mile oval racecourse, hydroplanes, race boats, and powerboats push the throttle as far as it will go in the pursuit of prize money and bragging rights. Sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association, the Stuart Sailfish Regatta features 10 classes of inboard boats, four classes of inboards, and the Powerboat P1 SuperStock Series. Get a stadium view from the Causeway, which is closed for the event, but round out the visit with live music, kid zones, and a swimsuit contest, as well as food and drink.
Where to Stay Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa