Football season is here, and that means it’s time to start planning your college football tailgating fun!
Honestly, college football tailgating can be fun no matter where you go. That said, visiting some of the top tailgating colleges in the country will make it even more exciting, and doing so in an RV will ensure you have an awesome time in complete comfort.
Not sure where the best college football tailgating experiences can be found? Lucky for you, we know exactly where you should go. Read on to learn about our absolute favorite places to experience a college football tailgate.
— East Coast Colleges —
We love tailgating on the east coast, especially when you’re far enough north that you can enjoy the gorgeous fall colors and crisp fall weather that comes along with football season.
Penn State University
One of our favorite east coast college football tailgating destinations is Penn State University, and considering it’s one of the top destinations for RVshare renters, we’d say a lot of people agree. Despite the fact that this stadium is hours away from any major city, an entire city seems to emerge from nothing each game day, and the energy is electric.
Hoping to do more than just party and watch the game? Some of our favorite things to do in the area include strolling the Arboretum at Penn State and exploring the Palmer Art Museum.
— West Coast Colleges —
Tailgating on the west coast is also super fun. We appreciate the chilly weather offered by the northwestern states and the sunshine found in southern California. Of course, we also love the dedication of the fans at each university and the parties those fans put together.
University of Washington
Want a totally unique tailgating experience? Why not try “sailgating”? Buy a seat on a boat, grab a plate of seafood, and get ready for one of the most unique tailgating experiences of your life. When you’re finished being out on the water, head back to your RV to get ready for the game in complete comfort.
Of course, you will want to take advantage of your time in Seattle by visiting the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. More great Seattle suggestions can be found in our local guide for the city.
University of Southern California
It’s not unusual for celebrities to show up for game day at this college. This means you might run into the likes of Will Ferrell or Miranda Cosgrove while you enjoy good food and great fun as you wait for the game to begin. We also appreciate that the weather is warm and sunny even late in the season at this stadium!
Obviously, the Los Angeles area is chock-full of things to do, so make sure you do some of them. Some favorites include Disneyland, Universal Studios, The Getty, and the Griffith Observatory. More ideas are listed in our LA local guide.
University of Oregon
Want some awesome scenery with your tailgating experience? The University of Oregon is situated right in the middle of one of the most beautiful places on earth. Mountains and sparkling waterways are the backdrop for tailgating at one of these games, and the food choices at these events are some of the most diverse in the world of college football.
Eugene is full of amazing things to see and do, so you will definitely want to make sure you leave time for sightseeing. Our favorite attractions include the Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House.
University of California, Berkeley
Tailgating on Charter Hill outside of Cal’s Memorial Stadium is an amazing experience. The hill rises a full 100 feet above the stadium, offering the perfect view of the game and meaning fans can tailgate before, during, and after the game. To top it all off, the California Victory Cannon is located on the hill and is set off after every score, adding to the excitement of it all.
Looking for more to do in Berkeley? The Lawrence Hall of Science is a great choice, as is the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. See more awesome options in our road trip guide for the Bay Area.
— Southern Colleges —
The folks in the southern states are very serious about their college football. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that these people have some incredible college football tailgating celebrations. Visit one of the universities below if you’re looking for a fun party like no other.
One of the best tailgating experiences in the southern states can be found at South Carolina’s Clemson University. Tigers fans are diehard, something that is apparent as you get within a mile or two of the stadium on game day. Tiger paws and orange colors are everywhere you look.
Best of all, the tailgating experience doesn’t have to end once you enter the stadium, as Clemson allows passouts, meaning you can come and go as you please.
While visiting, be sure to explore Clemson a bit. Some of our favorite things to do include the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Fort Hill Plantation.
Louisiana State University
Are you a fan of good food? If so, a game at LSU is a must. The food at these events is out of this world and always includes local options such as jambalaya, crawfish, and gumbo. In fact, food is such a big part of any LSU football event that fans have developed the cheer, “Hot boudin, cold couche-couche, come on Tigers, push, push, push!”
While in Baton Rouge, make sure you stop by the Louisiana State Capitol and the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. Want more ideas? Check out our local guide for Baton Rouge.
University of Tennessee
Because the University of Tennessee’s stadium sits right by the Tennessee River, people actually dock their boats and have their parties onboard. Yep, this is another instance of the aforementioned “sailgating,” and we love it! Hop from boat to boat to check out what’s going on at each, and then head back to your RV to relax.
Besides the games, Knoxville offers tons of things to see and do. Some of our favorites include Zoo Knoxville and the Ijams Nature Center. Our Knoxville local guide has a lot more suggestions as well!
University of South Carolina
Gamecock fans are some of the most loyal around, and their tailgating events are definitely worth attending. At these tailgating gatherings you can expect to see the usual tents, stocked coolers, and pickup trucks loaded with everything one might need. However, these fans add something new and interesting to the mix: abandoned cabooses referred to as “Cockabooses.”
While in Columbia you will want to make sure to do some sightseeing. Some of the best things to do include Congaree National Park and Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Other options are listed in our Columbia local guide.
University of Mississippi
Located at the center of the University of Mississippi campus, The Grove is a gathering place for thousands of loyal Rebels fans. Before any given game, this spot plays host to hundreds of tents and one of the most incredible parties you can imagine. It’s hard to beat a tailgating experience like the ones at Ole Miss.
After the game, make sure you leave some extra time to do some sightseeing. We especially love touring Rowan Oak and wandering the Southside Gallery.
— Midwest Colleges —
Like the southerners, midwesterners really like their college football. There are a huge number of excellent tailgating stadiums in this region, and we had a tough time choosing only a few. We did narrow down our options though, and our top picks are listed below.
Ohio State University
Ohio State RV tailgating is definitely some of the best in the midwest. Some fans begin setting up as early as Thursday evening for a Saturday game, meaning there are two entire days of fun leading up to the big event. On top of that, the hospitality of Buckeyes fans is amazing, even for opposing fans.
While you’re in the area, be sure to see some of what Columbus has to offer. We especially love the Columbus Zoo and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). For more suggestions, check out our local guide for the area.
University of Nebraska
University of Nebraska is another great option. This stadium is located near downtown Lincoln, meaning it’s easy to bar-hop and enjoy the buzz in the air before the game. This experience attracts so many visitors that the city becomes the third largest in the state on game days!
Of course, it’s always good to do a bit of exploring when visiting someplace new. For this reason, we highly recommend taking the time to see some of the sights—such as the Sheldon Museum of Art and Lincoln Children’s Zoo—while you’re in town. Our local guide for the city offers even more great suggestions.
University of Iowa
Planning to be in Iowa this football season? Be sure to make time to catch the tailgating fun at University of Iowa. The Hawkeyes really know how to celebrate, and their recent tradition of waving to the patients at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital at the end of each quarter is heartwarming and makes games at this stadium even more of a draw.
While you’re in town, be sure to visit the Pedestrian Mall. Other Iowa City attractions include the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and Amana Colonies, and our Iowa City local guide has even more recommendations.
University of Michigan
When it comes to Michigan State RV tailgating, we have to recommend attending a tailgating event at the University of Michigan. The stadium at this college can hold an enormous 115,109 fans—more than any other college stadium in the country. This makes for some enormous tailgating parties, which often take place at the beautiful Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club fairways.
Looking for more to do in Ann Arbor? The Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum is a great place to spend some time, and those with kids will adore the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.
— Northeast Colleges —
Both Harvard and Yale are found in the northeastern part of the country, and the long-held rivalry between the two means that the Harvard-Yale game offers one of the most intense tailgating experiences out there.
The highly anticipated match between Yale and Harvard is set to take place on November 20th, 2021 at the Yale Stadium. The tailgate is sure to include all kinds of amazing food and fun, as well as some excitement as the rival teams play to see who will win “The Game” this year.
In addition to hanging out at this incredible tailgate, we also recommend checking out what there is to do around town. We really like the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, as well as the Yale University Art Gallery. Check out our local guide for more suggestions.
Ready for some amazing tailgating? Pick one of these awesome destinations, book a rental RV, make sure you have access to DISH (and be sure to use the RVshare promo linked), and pack your bags. You’re in for a truly exciting experience you won’t soon forget!