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Cactus League Spring Training, a seasonal rite in Greater Phoenix, roars to life in February with the iconic sounds of cracking bats, snapping mitts and happy fans. For baseball lovers, it doesn’t get much better than this: sunny weather, affordable tickets and unparalleled proximity to the best players in the game.

The 2014 Cactus League season features 15 major league teams and more than 220 games from Feb. 26 to March 29. There’s never an off day, afternoon temperatures hover in the 70s, and the longest “road trip” between stadiums is 45 minutes.

It might be tempting to spend the entirety of your spring fling in Greater Phoenix perched in the bleachers of a ballpark or lounging next to a sun-dappled swimming pool. But locals would encourage you to stretch your legs and expand your mind at some of the city’s signature attractions.

Wherever you stay in Greater Phoenix, you’re not far from a park or preserve. Easily accessible trails are found at Echo Canyon, Phoenix Mountains Park, Papago Park and McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Come springtime, these desert playgrounds burst into color as cactuses and wildflowers unfurl yellow and pink blooms. Getting to the mountains can be as easy as walking from your resort lobby to the trailhead; or you might want to hire a professional guide to show you the Sonoran Desert from the seat of a Jeep, the saddle of a horse or the basket of a hot-air balloon.

For a taste of culture away from the ballpark, check out the Native American art and artifacts at Heard Museum, the lush showcase of desert plants at Desert Botanical Garden, the hands-on kid exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, or the 15,000 instruments from around the world at the Musical Instrument Museum.

For more information about planning your spring training trip to Greater Phoenix, visit www.visitphoenix.com.

Watch our video: Take a 1-minute visual tour of Phoenix.

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