Majors and Minors: The Ultimate Baseball-Themed Family Road Trip

The following was produced in partnership with Go RVing, because there’s no easier way turn your everyday family road trip into an epic experience than to get behind the wheel of an RV.

There’s nothing quite like a long trip with kids on the divided highway — fresh memories a few miles behind, tantalizing new places ahead, and plenty of scenery and Dairy Queen pit stops along the way. All you need to make it work is the perfect itinerary and the right wheels. For the former, choosing a single destination — the beach; Grandma’s house — misses the point. Not enough road, not enough movement, limited opportunities for adventure. Pick a trip that doesn’t stop, like a baseball tour that bounces from stadium to stadium across the country. Striking out on a road-trip of games — both major and minor league teams — is a way to make that baseball time a memory that will last a lifetime for everyone involved. As for your wheels, we suggest you take this road trip in an RV. When your family is quietly watching the game highlights while you’re crawling through stadium traffic, you’ll thank us. The on-board bathrooms are a nice time-saving bonus, too.

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To help us create a game plan for the ultimate 2018 baseball road trip, we turned to Zack Hample, author of Watching Baseball Smarter, and Ben Hill, a writer for MiLB.com who has visited nearly every minor league stadium in the country. The two agree there’s a stark difference between the major league and minor league experience. “If you’re going to see a crappy team, you can enjoy the fact that tickets will be cheaper, you have a better chance of catching a ball, and the lines for food aren’t as long,” says Hample. “Then, you’ll go to a place like Yankee Stadium or Fenway, and it will be completely packed and you’ll just have a totally different vibe and energy.” Indeed, the games in the big cities are going to have less elbow room, cost more, offer less access to players, and generally are more of a hassle. But in the small towns, you aren’t as likely to get the awestruck feeling or to visit a stadium Babe Ruth once played in.

If you’re stringing together a road trip, timing is everything. Not all teams will be playing at home during the days you want to see them. That’s ok. This trip should be about the experience of hot dogs and announcers, the history of the stadium, and the crowds, united in their love of the game. It’s also all about checking out the countryside and exploring new places — which is why we’ve offered up a number of nearby, but secluded RV-friendly campgrounds into the two sample itineraries below.

Trip #1: Opening the Season in the Mid-Atlantic

April is usually cold, but it’s perfect for people making this northeast baseball trip. You can get a sample of the best of the majors and the minors in under a week. Here’s your game plan.

April 8: Philadelphia
Start this trip with back-to-back Major League games beginning with Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park on opening day, for kids. The afternoon game pitting the Phillies and the Marlins on April 8 is touted as opening day for families, meaning the kids will likely remember the prizes handed out to those under 14 more than the baseball.

Park Your RV Here: West Chester KOA
One hour due West from Citizens Bank Park, you can cook s’mores and canoe in the river at this wooded campground.

April 9: Philadelphia to Baltimore (2 hours)
Take the short drive north to Baltimore to see the Orioles take on the Toronto Blue Jays at the majestic Camden Yards.

April 10-11: Baltimore to Hartford, CT (5 hours)
Drive up to Connecticut to check out the new northeast minor leaguers, the Yard Goats, at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford on April 11. Spend a day in New York City being a tourist on the way, or get straight there to find time to check out the local attractions, like Hartford’s Mark Twain House & Museum.

Park Your RV Here: Seaport RV Resort
Get a round of mini golf and take a dip in the heated pool at this coastal RV resort and campground before heading to the game about one hour inland. 

April 12: Hartford, CT to Wilmington, DE (4 hours)
Make your way back south to Delaware to see the Blue Rocks at home in Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium. Be on the lookout for Mr. Celery.

Park Your RV Here: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park–Elmer
This RV campground and resort has it all — a splash park, pool, and, of course, Yogi and Boo Boo walk the grounds and greet the young ones.

April 13: Wilmington to Allentown, PA (2 hours)
Make your way to Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA, where you can see the IronPigs in action on April 13.

Park Your RV Here: Quakerwoods Campground
Just outside of Allentown, you can set up camp in the park and make day trips to Historic Bethlehem, the Lost River Caverns, or hike along the Monocacy Creek.

April 14: Allentown to Philadelphia (1.5 hours)
Allentown is less than two hours from Philadelphia — so take a hike or enjoy camp in the Poconos before heading back to Philly.

Trip Highlights:

  • Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards was the first, and perhaps still the best, of the new generation of throwback stadiums that opened in the 1990s. While the park fills up with 45,000 fans during big games, it still has an intimate feel that is reminiscent of the stadiums of the 1920s. “As far as the fan experience and having a laid back, beautiful stadium, it’s quite a treat to go there,” Hample says.
  •  The Hartford Yard Goats’ Dunkin’ Donuts Park is one of the newest in the minors, and goats are everywhere. The team even had pre-season goat yoga in its indoor batting cage (with actual goats), and there’s a goat yoga-inspired bobblehead giveaway on June 13.
  • Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium is not anything too exciting from the outside, but it’s a must-visit due to the legendary presence of Blue Rocks hype man Mr. Celery, who comes onto the field and dances to Blur’s “Song #2” when the home team scores a run. Hill explains that the costume was left behind after a long-forgotten “Healthy Eating” promotion. Someone put it on, and the stalk of celery became a thing.
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Trip #2: A New England Summer That Knocks It Out of the Park

There’s no better time to go stadium-hopping than in the beginning of summer. Once school’s out, pack your bags, and get on the road for an epic baseball-filled trip, like this 9-stadium, 1,000-plus-mile journey throughout New England.

June 9: Boston
This time, your trip begins on June 9 in Boston. You’ll see the battle of the Sox, with the home team taking on the White Sox at Fenway Park.

June 10: Boston to Pawtucket, Rhode Island (1 hour)
Cross the border into Rhode Island to see the Pawtucket Red Sox play the Indianapolis Indians at Mcoy Stadium, which once hosted the longest game in baseball history. (In April 1981, the PawSox defeated the Rochester Red Wings 3-2 in the bottom of the 33rd inning. The game spanned two days and lasted over eight hours. Future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. and Wade Boggs went a combined 6-for-25.)

Park Your RV Here: Canoe River Campground
Stop in East Mansfield, Mass. on the way to Rhode Island and park here to explore the Canoe River by boat or take a tour on the campground’s antique fire truck.

June 11-12: Pawtucket to New York City (3.5 hours)
Take June 11 as a travel day and explore New York City before visiting Yankee Stadium on June 12 to see the Washington Nationals play the home team.

Park Your RV Here: Camp Gateway at Floyd Bennett Field
In the heart of Brooklyn, this old airfield is a stone’s throw from the ocean, but also a world to itself, with hangers full of rare planes, dedicated RC car racing lots, and Aviator Sports, New York’s largest sports venue.

June 13: New York City to Lakewood, NJ (1.5 hours)
On June 13, you’ll drive down the Jersey Shore to see the Lakewood BlueClaws play the Hagerstown Suns at FirstEnergy Park.

June 14: Lakewood, NJ to Philadelphia (1.5 hours)
Take time to enjoy the beach before your short drive brings you to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to see the Colorado Rockies play the Phillies on June 14.

Park Your RV Here: Crystal Spring Wilderness Lodge
Just 30 minutes outside of Trenton, Crystal Springs has ample hiking, golfing, and fishing right on the wooded premises.

June 15-17: Philadelphia to Brooklyn (2 hours)
Turn around and head back north to see the Staten Island Yankees face the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park in Coney Island on the opening day of the New York-Penn League season. The next day, the teams play again in Coney Island. On June 17, if you so choose, you can get another taste of the Bronx as the Yankees host Tampa. Another option: Drive to the capital city of New Jersey for the Trenton Thunder against the Erie Seawolves at Arm & Hammer Park.

June 18-19: Brooklyn to Portland, Maine (6 hours)
Take a travel day on June 18, to make your way up the east coast some six hours to Portland, Maine. Hopefully, you’ll have time to stop for pizza in New Haven, Connecticut as well as some lobster rolls on the water at The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, just outside of the city. On June 19, the Sea Dogs host the Reading Phillies at Hadlock Field.

Park Your RV Here: Wassamki Springs Campground
This campground might be just a few minutes from Portland, but it certainly feels out there. Spend some time here fishing, swimming, and looking out for the occasional moose crossing.

June 20: Portland to Boston (2 hours)
The next day, the trip comes to an end after a two-hour drive back to Boston.

Trip Highlights:

  • You’ve seen plenty of Fenway Park on television and in movies, and so you may think you know it. But if you haven’t been there — sat on the seat and took in a real-life game — you don’t. No one should miss the look on their kid’s face when he or she walks through the dank inner concourse and up the ramp along the first base side and sees the field and the intimidating, so-close-you-can-touch-it Green Monster in left field. “Fenway is just so weird and beautiful and has all kinds of places you can wander,” Hample says. Plus, “you can tell the staff there wants you to have a good time.”
  • “There are few things more like summer in New York than a Cyclones game. You can see the roller coaster in left field and smell the ocean air, the ambiance there is more evocative of a time and place that’s gone by,” says Ben Hill. “And Coney Island is usually hoppin’ around that time. Get a hot dog from Nathan’s.”

Planning Tools:

  • Find Games Near You: Check out this composite MLB schedule generator to help you plan your itinerary. You can type in a start date and a number of weeks (example April 5, and two weeks) to see all the MLB teams’ schedules on one page. dailybaseballdata.com
  • Buy Tickets: The MiLB tickets page has an invaluable tool which allows you to select teams based on state, level of competition and affiliation. milb.com
  • Find a Home for Your RV: To find a campsite, RV dealer, or rental near you, check out GoRVing.com.

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