A few years ago, our family took a bucket list Midwest baseball #RoadTripOfDreams. This summer, the #FabFam embarked on another epic baseball road trip. We decided to head out west this time, and set out on a Southwest baseball road trip to see the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Over the last few weeks I’ve been detailing our experience at each game along with our recommendations for the stadiums and the local areas. Today I’m sharing the full Southwest MLB road trip itinerary to help you plan the best baseball road trips of your own. You’ll definitely want to save this MLB road trip planner if a baseball stadium road trip is on your bucket list.
Disclosure: We were provided complimentary tickets to attend some of the baseball games and either complimentary or discounted hotel stays. All opinions are my own.
I’d like to thank my hotel partner, Hilton, for helping coordinate the best places to stay near each of the ballparks on our Southwest MLB stadium road trip. I’m a loyal Hilton Honors member, so Hilton hotels are always my first choice. There is a standard of service, comfort, and cleanliness that we can always expect from Hilton properties. During a road trip after late games or long driving days, it’s more than a comfort to know that we always have a fabulous Hilton nearby with that plush Hilton bed.
Looking for more of the best baseball road trips?
Be sure to bookmark our Ultimate Midwest Baseball Road Trip, too.
Tips for taking kids to Major League Baseball Games
MLB games are inherently family-friendly events with tons of things to keep kids entertained and families having a great time together. Here are some insider tips to get the most out of attending a baseball game with kids (whether part of an ultimate baseball road trip or as a one-time family outing).
Tip for taking kids to Major League Baseball games: Pick up a Game Day Passport book to have officially stamped at each stadium they attend. These Game Day Pass-Port books are an absolute must! Team stores have official stamps to mark your book to certify your visit to the stadium. There’s also space for journaling notes and memories from the visit.
Join the kids clubs in advance. Major League Baseball teams often offer special incentives at the games for kid’s club members (including free seats for kids on certain days, special giveaways, and more), but you need to be registered in advance.
Most stadiums have free interactive kids areas (some are really big!), so seek them out and allow the kiddos to experience the team in a way that’s memorable and accessible to someone their age.
Look for kid-friendly souvenirs to commemorate your trip. We started a tradition during our last baseball road trip (which we continued this time) of getting Sawyer a pack of baseball cards and Grayson a mini brick man of the team at each stadium.
Don’t watch what you eat. One of the funnest ways to experience a ball game is through traditional ballpark food. Let the kids eat hot dogs, ice cream, giant pretzels, and of course, Cracker Jacks.
Don’t forget to fill them in on ball game traditions before your baseball road trip or MLB game with kids. Teach them the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and making sure they knew the various chants and cheers.
Drive from Texas to California for an MLB road trip
While the game portion of this trip was a California-Arizona road trip, we drove it round trip from Texas. If you’re also coming from Texas, here are some of our tried-and-true Texas-California road trip itineraries (full of cool things to do and see on the way):
Where to stay while driving from Texas to California
Hampton Inn Van Horn. Since we do the drive between Texas and California pretty often, we’ve stayed at Hampton Inn Van Horn many times. We always get great service, and like all Hampton Inns, a delicious free, hot breakfast in the morning. Our kids are a fan of this property for the pool and hot tub, which have long hours. It’s a great way to unwind and stretch out after a long day of driving. I always recommend Hampton Inn Van Horn if you’re looking for a comfortable night’s sleep and a clean, friendly hotel in the middle of the long stretch of West Texas.
Baseball Road Trip Game 1: Los Angeles Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium
Southwest MLB Road Trip Start: Los Angeles, CA
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for Los Angeles in our post on Visiting Los Angeles for a Dodgers Game.
Having lived in Los Angeles for 12 years, I’ve been to many Dodgers games, and one thing that always stood out about the experience was the energy. Dodger fans are passionate and fun, so Dodgers games are always a good time. Coming off their World Series win and with the newly renovated and reopened Centerfield Plaza area, it’s a great time to visit Dodger Stadium, the 3rd oldest baseball stadium in the country. The good baseball vibe and stadium energy are still there, plus some beautiful upgrades for fan enjoyment. Click here to see lots more details, including how to get to Dodger Stadium, the best food at Dodger Stadium, Dodgers kids activities, and other recommendations, like where to stay when visiting Los Angeles for a Dodgers game and the best places to eat near Dodger Stadium.
Dodger Stadium is a good time for fans young and old. There are even more good food and kids activities at Dodger Stadium now with the upgraded Centerfield Plaza (along with several interactive elements and photo opps), so plan to spend some time there (and pay homage to the great Jackie Robinson at his statue in the plaza).
We love ballpark food, and try to seek out a mix of classic ballpark fare and the specialty items unique to each stadium when we attend games. In our opinion, here is the best food at Dodger Stadium:
- Garlic Fries (served in a souvenir Brooklyn Dodgers helmet bowl)
- Churro Sundae (served in a souvenir helmet)
- Elote (including the popular Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Elote)
- Dodger Dogs (did you even attend a Dodgers game if you didn’t have one of the famous Dodger Dogs, which is now available with a plant-based option?)
Since we attend the games with our whole family, we made sure to check out the Dodgers kids activities at Dodger Stadium. Centerfield Plaza has playscapes and interactive displays and sculptures for photo opps. Kids ages 5-14 also have the opportunity to run the bases after most Sunday day games! We were lucky enough to attend on a Sunday so we had the chance to do this, and I highly recommend it. Learn more about this opportunity here, and click here to learn about all the gameday experiences for kiddos and Jr. Dodgers. You can also download different games and activities to play on gameday or from home here.
Where to stay when visiting Los Angeles for a Dodgers game
Jamaica Bay Inn. When we decided to visit Los Angeles for a Dodgers game, we knew there were many different options for hotels. You can stay downtown near the stadium, you can stay more central in LA for shopping and tourist attractions, or you can stay coastal to enjoy what SoCal is famous for… beautiful beaches! Since we traveled with our kids, there was really only one option for us, and that was to stay coastal near the beach. We were so happy with our choice of staying at Jamaica Bay Inn in Marina del Rey. This perfect, family-friendly spot is nestled right on Mother’s Beach, and close to everything Marina del Rey has to offer, and near Venice Beach and Santa Monica. It’s a beautiful property with tropical, island-inspired décor, great service, and delicious food at the newly renovated Beachside restaurant (which offers al fresco dining right on the beach). Read our full review here.
Baseball Road Trip Game 2: Los Angeles Angels game at Angel Stadium
Drive from Los Angeles, CA to Anaheim, CA: 45 Minutes
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for Anaheim in our post on Tips for a Trip to Anaheim for an Angels Game.
While my husband and I had each been to Angel Stadium several times when we lived in California, this was the first experience for our kiddos. We had a great time at the Angels game! Angel Stadium is a very family-friendly environment and a great modern ballpark. We were lucky enough to attend the Angels game on a promo day! We each received a souvenir a Angels All-Star poster. Click here to see upcoming Los Angeles Angels promotions, Angels giveaways, and special events at Angel Stadium. Click here for full details on everything you need to know to plan your own trip, including how to get to Angel Stadium, tips for seeing an Angels game, Angel Stadium concessions recommendations, and my review of the best hotel near Angel Stadium.
We loved the food at Angel Stadium, and our on-site concessions reporter, Grayson, gave it all a thumbs up (you can see Grayson’s concessions report on my Instagram Story highlight from the trip). The Angel Dog is recommended for classic ballpark fare, and we also highly recommend the Angel Stadium Helmet Nachos, our favorite of the Angel Stadium concessions offerings. They are not only delicious, but huge and filling (great to share) and come in a souvenir helmet. Click here for full details on Angel Stadium concessions, and if you want to try to recreate the nachos at home, they’ve shared a recipe here.
The best hotel near Angel Stadium
Hilton Anaheim. Just two miles from Angel Stadium, the newly-reopened Hilton Anaheim is not only the perfect central location for seeing the game, it is also the perfect place to stay for visiting Disneyland, as it is literally right next to the park. ART (Anaheim Resort Transportation) has a stop right outside the hotel to make it even easier to get to and from Hilton Anaheim and your favorite resort hot spots. The central location, spacious hotel, comfortable rooms, great service, and fun pool area make Hilton Anaheim an ideal place to stay no matter what brings you to Anaheim. With only one day in Anaheim to see the game, we didn’t have time to visit the park, but our family will definitely be back to stay at Hilton Anaheim when we have more time to visit Disney. They are currently running an Experience the Magic offer, which provides guests a 5% discount on Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® tickets when you book with Hilton Anaheim. Click here to read our full review.
Baseball Road Trip Game 3: San Diego Padres game at Petco Park
Drive from Anaheim, CA to San Diego, CA: 1.5 Hours
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for San Diego in our post on What to do with Kids in San Diego: See a Padres Game at Petco Park.
If I’m being honest, this was the game I was the most excited about on this trip. The Padres were my favorite baseball team growing up in Southern California, and the team that made me fall in love with the game. I was a Junior Padres member, and my family went to games together all the time. One of my most cherished baseball memories is from my 10th birthday. My birthday wish was for Field Level seats and a day at the ballpark. That day I had the chance to get onto the field with some other kids to meet the great Tony Gwynn, who gave me not one, but two autographs (one on my Tony Gwynn baseball card and another on a ball) since it was my birthday. Now I get to add another special memory of taking my own kids to a Padres game and watching them experience the fun for themselves. If you’re wondering what to do with kids in San Diego, seeing a Padres game is an absolute must. Click here for all the details, including what you need to know for attending a Padres game at Petco Park, Petco Park food recommendations, family activities in San Diego, and our recommendation for the best hotels by Petco Park.
The stadium itself has some of the best sightlines of all the MLB stadiums, so there’s really not a bad seat in the house at Petco Park. If you’re visiting San Diego during the hotter summer months, be sure to check out the Petco Park shade map here when picking your seats. When you’re not in your seats, visitors to Petco Park can explore several beautiful sections for hanging out, including Gallagher Square (an on-site park), Tony Gwynn Plaza (a lovely grassy and tree-lined hill), and more. Those that love baseball history will also love Petco Park for their Padres Hall of Fame and the many statues and displays celebrating the Padres greats.
One of the coolest things at Petco Park is the Barkyard, a dog-friendly viewing area at the game. Yes – you can watch the game with your furbabies through a special ticket option that allows for up to four people and two dogs. It’s important to note that these tickets are limited and very popular. Get all the details on the Petco Park Barkyard and ticketing options here.
The food at Petco Park is some of the best ballpark food around. In our opinion, the best food at Petco Park is the Tri-Tip Nachos. Our whole family (even my born-and-bred Texan husband) approved of the tri-tip, which says a lot. I also recommend getting popcorn in a souvenir Padres bucket, and grabbing a classis Friar Dog. You can find more information on Petco Park food here, including a break-down of kid-friendly options, and options for those following vegetarian and gluten-free diets.
The best hotels by Petco Park
Hilton San Diego Bayfront. If you’re searching for San Diego hotels near Petco Park, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront is the PERFECT place to stay, not just for a Padres game, but for a great time in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Check out their Park & Stay offer that includes nightly self-parking for one vehicle along with the guest room. Of all the hotels by Petco Park, Hilton San Diego Bayfront can’t be beaten for the quality of hotel and the location, as it’s just over the pedestrian bridge from the stadium. The ideal location also comes with gorgeous views of the bay. We wholeheartedly recommend this hotel. Between the prime location, the stunning views from our room, the fun pool that overlooks the bay, the great service (as we can always expect from Hilton Hotels and Resorts), and the delicious food at Odysea Restaurant, our days in San Diego were some of the best on our trip. Another nice touch that we loved is the hotel’s complimentary Family Leisure Activity Guide, which is updated weekly with activities and recommendations in and around the hotel geared specifically for families. It made it even easier for us to figure out what to do with kids in San Diego, and we had a blast trying to check off items on the Bayfront Bucket List. Click here to read our full review.
Baseball Road Trip Game 4: Arizona Diamondbacks game at Chase Field
Drive from San Diego, CA to Phoenix, AZ: 5.5 Hours
See full details, hotel and stadium reviews, and travel recommendations for Phoenix in our post on Going to a Diamondbacks Game with Kids.
Our D-backs game experience was a great way to wrap up our baseball road trip. Not only did we see an exciting extra-innings win (and experience our first dome stadium baseball game), but the kids also had a blast at The Sandlot kid’s area, Grayson had the best hot dog of the trip, and there was a fabulous fireworks show after the game. Click here for everything you need to know for visiting Phoenix for a D-backs game, including the best hotel near Chase Field, the Dbacks Kids Club, Chase Field concessions, parking at Chase Field, restaurants nearby, and more.
The Dbacks Kids Club is one of the best we’ve experienced in our ballpark travels. The Kids Club is available to all kids aged 15 and younger and it’s free and easy to join (click here to learn more and signup – make sure to sign-up before attending the game). Highlights of the program:
- Kids receive free tickets to Sunday home games (click here for details).
- Kids receive prizes for each game they attend, starting with their first game! Pick-up your prizes at the Kids Club headquarters at Section 125 or in The Sandlot near Section 332. See the list of prizes here.
- Fun digital badges and point earning opportunities in the Kids Club section on the MLB Ballpark app.
The Dbacks Kids Club isn’t where the fun ends for kids at Chase Field. Once you check out The Sandlot on the Upper Concourse in left field (past Section 332), good luck getting your kids to leave! Sectioned into areas by height (there’s a toddler area, playgrounds for bigger kids, and other size-appropriate activities like a batting cage and Wiffle Ball field), there is so much to keep kids of all ages entertained! At the Futures Field, kids take Wiffle Ball pitches from D-backs Training Centers coaches and get to run the bases of a mini version of Chase Field.
Another reason D-backs games are fun for the whole family is the Chase Field concessions. The Tot Hot Dog from Big Dawgs (Section 126) ranks up there with some of the best ballpark dogs we’ve had, and I highly recommend it. It’s topped with tater tots, chili, cheese sauce, green onion, and sour cream, and it’s just special. Other specialty hot dogs include the Big Jalapeño Popper Dog and dogs topped with mac and cheese. Want something sweet instead? Check out Churro Dog to get a churro on a donut bun and topped with whipped cream, frozen yogurt, and chocolate and caramel sauces. For more, check out the Chase Field Dining Guide here, and get the full list of Chase Field concessions here.
The best hotel near Chase Field
Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Downtown. If you’re looking for hotels near Diamondbacks stadium, you can’t go wrong with Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Downtown. The property is ideally located in walking distance from the stadium and lots of other fun things downtown. We had the best night’s sleep, as we always do with Hampton by Hilton hotels (they tend to be our favorite hotels for comfortable sleep and a great hot breakfast on long road trip days), and friendly customer service. Not just a hotel near Chase Field, Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Downtown is also in walking distance from the Phoenix Convention Center, Childrens Museum of Phoenix, Arizona Science Center, and an easy four miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. In addition to breakfast in the mornings, you can also enjoy a drink or snack in the Lobby Lounge during the evenings. Guests also enjoy free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a business center. Read our full review here.
Our Southwest baseball road trip was another amazing experience. Now that we’ve done a few baseball trips, we would love to do another MLB stadium road trip every few years until we have a chance to visit all the stadiums. I hope this MLB road trip planner was helpful to you in achieving your own bucket list dreams!