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The first college football game was played by Rutgers and New Jersey on November 6, 1869. A lot has obviously changed since then, but among the constants is tailgating! In fact, tailgaters at that game were enjoying food and beverages from the back of wagon and carriage models, which is what eventually evolved into today’s RVs. Among the great traditions of college football are loyal traveling fan bases that make each road game into a weekend event. If this applies to you, we’ve put together a list of the hot spots so you can properly enjoy a wide variety of RV tailgating on college campuses throughout the country.
Arizona State University Sun Devils – Temple Arizona: Apache Palms RV Park
Kegs may’ve gotten kicked off the lot outside Sun Devil Stadium, but rest assured knowing the tailgate culture at Arizona State is still going strong. Camp close to all the action and throw an RV tailgating party at Apache Palms RV Park. It’s game day ready with free WiFi and cable TV and big RV friendly pull through sites containing full hookups. What it lacks in country wilderness is made up for with easy access to Sun Devil Stadium via the Phoenix area’s fantastic light rail system.
Auburn University Tigers – Auburn Alabama: Auburn RV Park at Leisure Time Campground
Every RV park has its own unique character that sets itself apart from the rest. The Auburn RV Park at Leisure Time Campground is certainly no different. You’re not only close to Jordan-Hare Stadium, but also next to the Auburn Links at Mill Creek, a picturesque 18 hole golf course just over from Chewacla State Park. There are several football fan packages starting a week before the first home game and end a week after the season’s last one. These include WiFi for two devices, cable TV, up to 50 amps of power, dumpster service, and water, sewer, and bath house access.
Boise State University Broncos – Boise, Idaho: Boise Riverside RV Park
The Bronco Athletic Association offers overnight RV permits that include shuttle service to and from Boise State’s Albertson Stadium. If you want more of a camping experience, however, we’d suggest heading to Boise Riverside RV Park in Garden City for some tailgating just 25 minutes away on the Boise River. They have full hookups, cabins, and a large common area with a nice stone grill. You can also take a stroll along the 25 mile Boise River Greenbelt, which borders the park.
Clemson University Tigers – Clemson, South Carolina: Twin Lakes Campground
Clemson has consistently received awards for being among the best tailgate spots in the country. What makes their tailgates so great? Well, for one, your ticket lets you return to the parking lot at halftime and reenter afterward. It’s fair to say that’s a big reason behind such a raucous second half atmosphere others wish they could replicate. From a camping perspective, we’d suggest staying nearby at Twin Lakes Campground where there’s plenty of room to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities.
Florida State University Seminoles – Tallahassee, Florida: Big Oak RV Park
A few years ago, Florida State announced the “Back Porch,” a new area at Doak Campbell Stadium where ticket holders can order beer and snacks. That’s on top of other game day innovations like The Tailgate Guys, a catering service designed to plug Seminole fans into Tallahassee’s food and beverage scene hassle free. You can easily drive or take the bus from Doak Campbell Stadium to Big Oak RV Park, a super convenient campground right next door to the Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park. Also nearby is Ochlockonee River Wildlife Management Area and Apalachicola Wildlife Management Area. You can learn just as much about the land and history of the Seminole people, who have sanctioned Florida State’s use of their tribal name and depictions of Osceola, the mascot and a real life native leader.
Louisiana State University Tigers – Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Cajun Country Campground
Just across the Mississippi River from Tiger Stadium, Cajun Country Campground is popular among snowbirds and football fans alike. It has 135 large sized RV campsites with hookups, seven cabins, a playground, laundromat, game room, and clubhouse. There’s also a concession stand onsite if you happen to find yourself short on food. It’s a very convenient spot to camp, tailgate, and take in a Tigers’ game!
Ohio State University Buckeyes – Columbus, Ohio: Tree Haven Campground
You can’t think about the state of Ohio without Buckeye football. The scarlet and gray playing on football Saturdays throughout the fall began in Columbus in 1890 meaning there’s been a lot of time to perfect tailgating. This is certainly the case for RVers all of which can be booked through Ohio State’s athletic department. If you want to overnight though, the closest you can get your RV is the Ohio Expo Center where there are staff patrols and full and partial hookups just a 30 minute walk from Ohio Stadium. Should you be looking for more of an actual camping experience though, head to Tree Haven Campground just 30 minutes from downtown Columbus in Westerville. It offers nightly, weekly, monthly, and seasonal rates. It’s pet friendly, there’s WiFi available, and in the warmer months, you can enjoy the swimming pool.
Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions – State College, Pennsylvania: Bellefonte / State College KOA
You never know what might happen at a Nittany Lion tailgate with occasional appearances by state troopers on horseback and even a low flying police helicopter. The crowd on game day is over twice the size of State College’s usual population, and few teams inspire quite the level of loyalty as the Nittany Lions. If you don’t want to deal with the crowds in State College proper, head up to Bellefonte / State College KOA. It’s close enough to be convenient and has all the amenities you might expect. Just err on the side of caution if you’re driving an especially large RV as the drive in can be a little tight.
Syracuse University Orange – Syracuse, New York: Green Lakes State Park
Camping and sports go hand in hand at Syracuse where it’s long been a tradition for loyal students to camp out at the Carrier Dome in hopes of securing coveted tickets to games. It’s become such a part of Syracuse culture that prospective students have been invited to camp out at the Carrier Dome to get a taste of what it’s like to be a part of the student section, Otto’s Army. Camping out with a tailgate grill at the Carrier Dome might not be available for the general public, but tailgating is the next best thing. If firing up your own tailgate grill is more for you, park the RV at Green Lakes State Park just on the edge of Syracuse. It’s favored for its RV sites, cabins, camp store, and friendly atmosphere.
Texas A&M University Aggies – College Station, Texas: Lake Bryan Campground
You can get an on campus RV permit for one of several tailgating areas, but as you can imagine especially in a state like Texas, it can be quite competitive to get a spot. That’s why Texas A&M opens the waiting list as early as May and has a points system based on attendance and adherence to check in procedure to determine which permits end up getting renewed. There’s also an RV exchange to help circulate permits and streamline resale of parking spots. It can be much cheaper and more relaxed to camp out at Lake Bryan Campground just outside of College Station. This massive man made lake with surrounding walking, running, and biking trails is managed by the local utility company and popular among boaters and kayakers and has a wide variety of RV campsites to choose from.
University of Alabama Crimson Tide – Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Coaches Corner RV Park
When you travel to Tuscaloosa to watch the Crimson Tide, there are a number of RV lots on and off campus to choose from for game day. If you really want to make your trip worthwhile though, the Coaches Corner RV Park caters especially to Alabama fans with RVs. It offers nightly, weekend, and season passes as well as WiFi, full hookups, a grill at each campsite, concrete pads for RVs, and gravel parking if you have any additional vehicles. The campground also takes reservations. To make your experience even more convenient, you can also arrange to store your RV onsite between games combining great tailgating access with long term parking. Then when you’re not busy tailgating and going to the game, we’d also highly suggest checking out the nearby Talladega National Forest and Holly Springs National Forest.
University of Florida Gators – Gainesville, Florida: Paynes Prairie Reserve State Park
Gainesville is well known for being gator country both to the fans of the football team and giant reptile natives to the Sunshine State. You have a good chance of seeing both at nearby Paynes Prairie Reserve State Park that spans from Gainesville to neighboring Micanopy and even more so during football season. Located not far from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and with the Sweetwater Wetlands State Park in between, you can appreciate the diverse geography and wildlife before, during, and after your RV tailgating.
University of Georgia Bulldogs – Athens, Georgia: Team RV Park
Bulldog fans take tailgating seriously enough that Team RV Park was built not just for campers, but specifically the huge number of RVers showing up to Georgia games. It’s close to a grocery store if you want to stock up, and you can reserve your spot for the whole season. Team RV Park is just two miles from Sanford Stadium, with shuttle transportation provided and additional parking for family and friends. That’s way easier and more cost effective than one of the RV passes from the University of Georgia Tailgate Club, and you don’t have to worry about the restrictions on outdoor stoves, smokers, grills, and fryers.
University of Miami Hurricanes – Coral Cables, Florida: Hollywood KOA
It takes more dedication to tailgate for some games than others. Up north, fans weather cold conditions as we get later into the fall. In south Florida, it’s a different story. Hurricanes fans brave the tropical heat, Florida’s famously sudden rain showers, and a commute from campus to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens to show off their swagger. That dedication shows in their approach to tailgating too with fraternity sponsored cookouts and transportation to the stadium. There’s also no shortage of RV parks in the Miami area, but Hollywood KOA is closest to Hard Rock Stadium and all the game day action. Located just five miles from Hollywood Beach and the Broadwalk, they have a laundry room, small store, showers, restrooms, and a pet friendly policy. Hollywood KOA is hardly the backcountry being only 10 minutes down the turnpike from the stadium in the heart of the downtown area. You can still get a dose of the great outdoors halfway between Hollywood KOA and the heart of Hurricane country at Snake Warrior Island Natural Area, which is popular with birders and hikers.
University of Michigan Wolverines – Ann Arbor, Michigan: Pinckney State Recreation Area
There are plenty of RV tailgating spots throughout Ann Arbor within a short walking distance of the largest sports venue in the country, Michigan Stadium. Friends and family tailgates are just as popular as the big location centric events. Just don’t let any Michiganders catch you eating a buckeye for dessert! When you’re not taking in all the great tailgate food and beverages the Great Lakes State has to offer, we’d suggest camping at the Pinckney State Recreation Area, which offers a 35 mile hiking trail to walk it all off. Whether you brought the RV along for tailgating or need to find postgame accommodations, it has you covered complete with multiple camping opportunities offering a wide variety of styles.
University of Mississippi Rebels – Oxford, Mississippi: Rebel RV Park
Given that the football team are called the Rebels, it’s safe to say their sense of tradition goes way back. This certainly includes taking part in the epic tailgate, food, and beverage setups at the car and RV free lawn of The Grove. No, your RV unfortunately can’t be a part of it. We’re still mentioning it here though because it’s among the absolute best tailgating experiences you’ll ever encounter. You can park your rig at the aptly named Rebel RV Park. It comes equipped with a live in manager, store where you can get camping and RV supplies, grill at each campsite, mini golf, and even a paintball course. There’s the easy access to services that’ll get you down to The Grove leading up to kickoff. Before your weekend is done though, make sure you check out nearby Sardis Lake and Holly Springs National Forest.
University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish – South Bend, Indiana: South Bend / Elkhart North KOA
Camp close to the tailgating action at South Bend / Elkhart North KOA in Granger just eight miles from Notre Dame Stadium. It’s been a long time hub for RV tailgating during football season so be sure to make your reservations well in advance. There are cabins and tailgate ready concessions too. If you have kids, they’ll love the onsite mini golf park, glow stick wagon rides, and movie screenings on Saturday nights.
University of Tennessee Volunteers – Knoxville, Tennessee: Southlake RV Park
The streets of Knoxville on the Tennessee campus run orange, but minutes outside town, you’re back in the peaceful country. To enjoy the best of both worlds, we encourage you to try Southlake RV Park, which is only 15 minutes from Neyland Stadium on the Fort Loudon Reserve and 30 minutes to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition to full hookups and water for RVs, there are also tent sites. You can reserve nightly or by the week, and there are discounts for seniors, veterans, firefighters, and police.
University of Texas Longhorns – Austin, Texas: Pecan Grove RV Park
When you have a live steer for a mascot, the firing of a replica Civil War cannon, the world’s largest Texas flag, and an annual event called The Big Yell, there’s no doubt even college football traditions are more epic in Texas. There are professional, ticketed tailgating events you can take part in, or Longhorn fans can join in on the crews that organize various amateur tailgate parties. There’s also the official tailgate parties organized by the University of Texas for alumni, the University of Texas Club, the Legends Club, and the general public. If you want to hit the town, the Pecan Grove RV Park is within walking distance of all the fun, but make your reservation well in advance. A prime location like this always sells out quickly.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Hokies – Blacksburg, Virginia: Dixie Caverns
Hokie fans have multiple options for RV tailgating near Lane Stadium. There’s the special parking lots for members of the Hokie Club as well as public RV options at the airport, golf course, and Lot 17. There’s arranged rentable space too for fans who want to store their RVs near campus. If tailgating also gives you an appetite for adventure, skip these crowded lots, and enjoy RV tailgates at Dixie Caverns. You’ll have a chance to explore the local caves and can follow up football with a trip to George Washington National Forest and Jefferson National Forest where there are lovely swimming holes and hiking trails.