Now for the

Stories straight from the field show it’s always a winning play to book the sports facilities on Florida’s Sports Coast

There’s a reason Pasco County is known as Florida’s Sports Coast: With numerous world-class sports facilities spread throughout the region, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect state-of-the-art sports complex to host your next big tournament. While these snippets only highlight a handful of the events at some of the area’s sports venues, you can be sure there are plenty more for you to experience yourself.

Center Ice

The whip and kachink of blades carving and careening off ice … ahh. It takes me back to my childhood doing figure eights on my neighborhood pond.

Fast-forward 25 years. We’re escaping the heat and feeling the chill on our cheeks, whipping around on an actual Olympic-size rink. The whole family loves it. The kids are taking their newfound ice love to the next level. Guess who’s asking to play hockey? Not my son. He loves figure skating.

Both are free to choose whichever sport fires them up. AdventHealth Center Ice gets this. There’s hockey and ice skating, lessons and team play, for kids ages 5–17 regardless of skill level. It helps that the coaches are super-chill and know how to break the ice (no pun intended!). They make each student feel welcome and encouraged. I gotta say: Watching the kiddos learn to fall without getting hurt can be a nail-biter at first, but the coaches are pros and always put me at ease.

My other half and I are renting out the center and inviting other parents for a day out. We’ll be bobbing and weaving to ’80s and ’90s hits. The next plan is to persuade the boss to rent out the rink for an annual corporate event. Since the Center Ice mini rink can fit up to 50 of my coworkers, who will bow to the ice-shredder.

When Center Ice isn’t hosting families like mine, pro athletes and prestigious ice-centered events like USA Hockey Championships take to the ice. On those days, it’s a thrill to grab dinner and a drink at the Top Shelf Sports Lounge overlooking two of the rinks to see all the action.

Cecilia is a mother of two in Tampa, Florida, who likes to stay active and stay social.

Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County

Chin-deep in the fourth period of the girls’ big game, Morgan’s about to have her big moment, sneakers squealing against the court’s floor in a loud rubber symphony. Gasps are audible from the bleachers. A ball is relayed a minute before the buzzer. She shoots. She scores! The girls win their first invitational playoff in one of the biggest U.S. tournaments.

Having as little stress as possible and the impressive feel of the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County (WRSCPC) takes a load off of me and the players. We’re impressed with the next-level feel of the sports campus. Eight basketball courts in one facility! It’s bigger and more deluxe than any gym or campus we’ve ever played. The girls’ jaws dropped the moment they entered the 98,000 sq. ft. facility. With this much space, the campus can host a variety of sports—gymnastics, cheer, volleyball, basketball, just to name a few. And that’s not even mentioning the multipurpose fields outside!

Finding the perfect hotel was a no-brainer. The Residence Inn by Marriott is right on-site and offers spacious luxury for the players and their families, with only a short walk to the Sports Campus’ front doors. Plus, we get to celebrate our victory with dinner—and maybe a drink for coach—at Skybox Rooftop Bar.

Tony is a high school basketball coach in Macon, Georgia, who advocates for more accessibility in sports.

Starkey Ranch District Park

My mom reminds me to grab my helmet. She knows my friends and I aren’t messing around. We’re riding the 12 miles of paved trails around the Starkey Ranch District Park, which is a great way to explore this new area.

Pedaling around the park, we learn that District Park is part of a 150-acre site owned by Pasco County and the School District with plenty of spaces for kids to stay active. We passed by a Little League baseball/softball field, three multi-purpose fields for soccer, football or lacrosse, and plenty of space for more to come—one of my friends said they plan to add four more baseball and softball fields and six more multi-purpose fields!

The system of trails around the neighborhood is also growing, and soon they will connect to the amazing nature trails in the Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Preserve, and then my friends and I will be able to go on real off-road adventures.

As soon as I got home, I told my mom about all the cool things at the park. I’m excited to join one of the leagues that play on a team there!

Caden is a student who recently moved to Odessa, Florida, and loves to explore the outdoors.

The Beach at Bishop

I can’t believe they didn’t return my serve. The taste of victory just gets sweeter at the amazing Beach at Bishop volleyball court. My mom cheers louder than the other parents seated on the two viewing decks for friends, family and fans.

The Beach at Bishop is truly a state-of-the-art beach volleyball facility with courts that are three-feet deep. Powdery white sand soothes your feet; I hear it was brought in from the Bahamas.

Be sure to tell your school’s coach that this is the perfect place to host your next big beach volleyball game. With a total of 10 courts, including two stadium courts, I’m excited to see and play in the games filling them. Plus, there’s plenty of parking and a new concession stand with bathrooms. Oh, and a gym for rainy days. Ice machines are in different spots on the campus, and they’ve got 70 beach volleyballs for use. We were especially amped by their sound system.

After the game, Bishop’s showers felt so ahhhh-some. We’re getting Insta-ready post game pics with our parents.

Nikki is a student in Orlando, Florida, who enjoys reading and writing when she’s off the court.

Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center

I’m at SVB Tennis & Wellness Center with a friend to work on my backspin. Little did I know, I’d stick around twice as long as expected.

Each time I enter the sleek Art Nouveau-inspired reception area, I feel like I am transported to Monte Carlo. Elegant with a Deco-retro twist, the building was designed by Ranelid de La Cour.

Back to reality. After our brisk game, I peek in on the wellness services at the Center. I can feel the stress drain from my body during a professional massage that worked out all of the kinks.

The world-class tennis and wellness facility in Zephyrhills also has courts for a variety of racket-and-net-centric sports. Besides tennis, the Center has pickleball and padel, which is like an open-air racquetball court, plus fitness, beach volleyball and beach tennis.

Feeling refreshed, I book a session of SVB’s cryotherapy, a freezing-cold-temperature treatment that athletic doctors recommend for chronic pain and rejuvenation. I am also considering their salt therapy. Sports counseling, Replenish IV and physical therapy solutions round out all an athlete’s needs. Hungry? SVB’s on-site cafe, Vesh, serves cuisine prepared with fresh local and domestic ingredients.

Kids through seniors can enjoy recreation options galore. I’m planning to rope my mom and my daughter into going with me next time and making it the ultimate ladies’ day. While this is an event venue, locals can take advantage of memberships to help develop their own winning tennis games. Memberships come in different tiers, from Bronze to Silver to Gold, Platinum and Lifetime. Lifetime? Not a bad idea.

Rhonda is a financial analyst in Lakeland, Florida, who plays as hard as she works.

Make the Winning Play