Although Miami is known mostly for its pristine white sand beaches and warm weather year-round, baseball fans head to this part of Florida for the Miami Marlins games. As a fairly new team, the Marlins have only been in the league since 1993, but they have made a name for themselves in this short time. At home in Marlins Park, they host more than 37,000 fans per game in the neomodern designed stadium. Even though it is one of the smallest parks in the league, the fans almost always fill it to capacity.
Fans also love the mascot, Billy the Marlin, who is an eight-foot-tall, 250-pound blue marlin in a Marlins jersey. He is known for his fun pranks and awesome performances in the fifth inning at home games. Billy the Marlin also has a kids club called Billy’s Bunch for those 12 years and younger. He even has his own television show.
Marlins fans claim that the food and camaraderie are the best things about Marlins Park. Even though the stadium is small, it has almost 50 eateries with a wide variety of cuisine, including ballpark hot dogs, empanadas, pizza, and chicken. The kids love the ice cream cookie sandwiches, and the adults enjoy the frosty adult beverages. While you cannot camp on-site, there are several excellent campgrounds within a short distance of the park to choose from in the Miami area.
One of the best things about baseball is how inexpensive the tickets are for most games. If it is not a special occasion or post-season play, you can typically get a general seating ticket for a Marlins game for less than $20. Although, if you want special seating like club or VIP seats, or if you choose a bundle, you may pay more initially but get to see more games. Some of the bundles offer tickets to three games for about $50, including an opening day game.
Marlins Park is just off of I-95 to the east, I-75 to the west, US-41 to the south, and I-395 to the north. The park is located conveniently only 10 miles southeast of Miami International Airport and just seven miles from Miami Beach. You may want to take some time and visit this island town where you can see the palm-tree-lined beaches and North Shore Open Space Park. You may also enjoy visiting Oleta River State Park or Hollywood North Beach Park, which are both less than 25 miles up the northeastern coastline.
Although Marlins Park has several parking lots, they never seem to have enough spots, which is why they provide a shuttle service for those coming from the train station and Miami Civic Center. However, if you do want to park your motorhome at the ballpark, Parking Lot 3-West on the corner of the park has special parking for buses and RVs. You can even reserve a spot in advance, but you cannot stay overnight.
The Marlins have their own shuttle route on the Metrorail called Route 55 Marlins Park. Fans can catch the shuttle from several stations, including the Historic Culmer Station or the Lyric Theater Overlook Station. Motorists can park all day at the station at Lyric Theater Overlook Station for a small fee. However, it is best to call and ask about parking a rig over 20 feet before you head out.
An interesting and unique camping bonus at Marlins Park is that there are two days per year that you can camp at Marlins Park. However, these are only for youths on two-day events during July and August. Other than these two days, there is no camping allowed at the ballpark. But you can easily find a campground nearby to accommodate your RV.
Within 30 miles of Marlins Park, you will find at least a dozen campgrounds. Many of these have amenities such as utilities, picnic tables, campfire grills, and restrooms. However, a few are primitive with just vault toilets and no potable water. Be ready to dry camp in your RV campground does not offer hookups.
About 18 miles to the north, you can find the Hollywood KOA with 38 campsites for RVs up to 65 feet. Amenities include utilities, a pet area, laundromat, restrooms with showers, and free Wi-Fi. And 29 miles to the northwest, the Davie / Ft. Lauderdale KOA boasts 100 sites for rigs up to 50 feet with a playground, pool, game room, utilities, and much more.
Trolley service is available for those who need it, but it is mainly for shuttling the fans from the Miami Civic Center and train station because of their limited parking. Since Marlins Park is relatively compact, even if you have to walk, you won’t be walking far no matter whether you are headed to one of the many restrooms or concession stands or back to the parking lot.
Florida tends to be hot and humid no matter where you are, and since most games are in the summer, pack lightly. Shorts, tank tops, and t-shirts are the norm. If you did not bring a t-shirt or jersey, you can grab one with your favorite player’s name and number on it from one of the vendors at the park. And grab a hat while you are at it to keep the sun off your head and show off your Miami team colors.
While clear bags are definitely preferred at Marlins Park, they are not mandatory. No matter what kind of bag you bring, it cannot be over 16 inches and it has to be searched before entering the park. Snacks and factory sealed water bottles are allowed as long as they are not glass and are 20 ounces or less. Don’t forget your wallet with an ID, cash, and debit or credit cards for purchases.
Always bring (and drink) plenty of water while at the game. Even if you are drinking adult beverages like beer or wine, water is necessary to keep you hydrated in the Miami heat. The sun can be dangerous, so bring sunscreen and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. At the campground, you will want to have plenty of bug spray and other critter repellents to keep the mosquitoes and ticks away.
Fans cannot cook anywhere in Marlins Park, so you don’t have to worry about that. No tailgating or camping is allowed. Luckily, the park has plenty of food to keep your appetite at bay during the game. Back at your campsite, you can cook indoors if you have utilities or outdoors on the campfire grill provided by the campground. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with your own camp stove or BBQ pit.
You cannot go wrong eating in Miami. Not only do they have a lot of different places to eat, but there are also many different varieties of food. For example, you can choose from a Nicaraguan restaurant less than a half-mile to the south of the park, a Latin American café about a half-mile to the northwest, or a seafood place about a mile to the southwest. Further out, you will find all kinds of food choices from fine dining to fast food.
There are 32 food and beverage vendors just on the Promenade Level, seven on the Legends Level, seven on the Vista Level, and two in Sections 13 and 37. Marlins fans don’t have to wander far from their seats to find what they want. In fact, most of the common items like beer, water, soft drinks, and even hot dogs can be purchased from a vendor without even leaving the stands. But for the more uncommon items like sushi rolls and bubble waffles, you will need to walk a bit. Grab a concessions map from the park entrance or download one online to help you choose once you arrive.
Security will screen you as you enter the park so be prepared for this ahead of time. Make sure you know what you can and cannot bring, get there early, and do some reading on the Marlins website to learn what to do to keep things going smoothly. You don’t want to miss the first pitch because you had to bring your fireworks or glass bottles back to the car. Miami-Dade police officers will be on hand as well if needed.
It often rains in Miami, especially during the summer months. June and September are the wettest, but you can pretty much expect a shower any day of the week, most often in the afternoons. Temperatures range from the upper 80s to lower 90s for the highs and upper 70s for the lows. Bring an umbrella and maybe a rain poncho as well as some comfortable, cool clothing. To stay updated on the local forecast, download a weather app to your phone and review it when departing for Southern Florida.
Do you need to refill a prescription? Luckily, there is a pharmacy less than a quarter-mile from the park. If you or someone with you gets ill or injured while you are at the Marlins game, there are first-aid stations in Section 306 on the Vista Level and Section 6 on the Promenade Level. There are also several hospitals and urgent care centers within a few miles of the park.