Fall means different things to different people. For some people in Florida, fall means pumpkin spice and finding excuses to dress like it’s cold. For other people, fall means football. If you are in the latter group, taking in a football game during your stay with Serendipity may be on your agenda. Here are a few ways to do that.
Florida loves college football. Florida State University made 4 trips to the national championship in the BCS era, winning twice. The University of Florida and the University of Miami each made 2 trips, winning twice and once respectively. Plus, a lot of bowl games get played here. There are two NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams that play within driving distance of Anna Maria Island.
The University of South Florida Bulls play their home games in Raymond James Stadium in nearby Tampa. The stadium seats over 69,000 people and is also home to the ReliaQuest Bowl and the Gasparilla Bowl. When compared to older programs like Florida State University and the University of Florida, USF is a relatively young program. The American Athletic Conference team didn’t start football until 1997 and entered the FBS in 2001. USF has played in 10 bowl games and there are 10 current NFL players that played for the Bulls. Visit their website for schedule and ticket information.
A trip down I-4 will let you attend a University of Central Florida Knights football game. UCF has the second largest student body in the US and they play in the 44,000-seat FBC Mortgage stadium. The Knights have quietly enjoyed success on the gridiron. Three Heisman candidates have come from UCF. The school has produced four first-round picks in the NFL Draft, players in 15 Super Bowls, and seven pro-bowlers. Like USF, the Knights play in the American Athletic Conference, but in 2023 they will join the Big 12 Conference. Visit their website for ticket and schedule information.
With three National Football League teams, the Sunshine State has NFL fun near most of the residents. While the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins are Florida teams, they both play home games pretty far from Anna Maria Island.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however, are just across the bay. The two-time Super Bowl Champions play in Raymond James Stadium. The stadium has hosted 3 Super Bowls. The natural turfgrass and the replica pirate ship in the north end zone are ready for family fun. (The ship fires its cannons when the Buccaneers score or enter the other team’s red zone.) There are also pirate-themed songs and activities before and during the game. For information about tickets and schedules, visit the Buccaneers website.
High School Football
Yes, we’re talking about high school football because Anna Maria Island is near a unique boarding school called IMG Academy. IMG is an internationally known preparatory school for student-athletes in many sports. The school also hosts high-level training camps. IMG Academy alumni are often highly sought after for large college programs and often catch the eye of professional teams. You could see tomorrow’s college and NFL stars today at an IMG Academy game. Click here to see their schedule and find out about tickets.
Whatever level of play you are looking for, there is a football program for you to enjoy nearby. Afterward, you can return to your luxury vacation rental and relax. If you need more information, contact us at Serendipity and our local experts can help you plan your stay on Anna Maria Island.
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