Tailgating is the ultimate American experience, and doing it from your RV only ups the fun and convenience.
So what’s the best way to RV tailgate at sporting events, rallies, and concerts? The answers are all right here in this RV tailgating guide.
Inside, you’ll find all the tips and tricks to make every RV tailgate party the best, including knowing which venues allow RV parking, preparing for possible boondock conditions, and what to expect if it’s your first time.
So, come along to learn everything you need to know about RV tailgating and try out a new way to enjoy concerts, rallies, and college or professional football games like never before!
Reasons to Consider RV Tailgating
Tailgating from the trunk of your car or the bed of your truck is always a good time, but those vehicles lack the amenities a recreational vehicle can provide.
The most significant benefit to RV tailgating is having a convenient bathroom if your camper has one. Instead of walking to the nearest not-so-private or clean port-a-potty, you can step inside to relieve yourself in seconds.
The RV kitchen is also great for providing other prepping and cooking food options instead of relying on outdoor tables and charcoal or propane grills to feed your guests.
An RV also gives tailgating guests a chance to come inside and relax in the living area if they need a break from the party or bugs or excessive heat outdoors make eating difficult.
For tailgating at sporting events, an RV with an outdoor TV and speakers can give guests, even those without entry tickets, a chance to watch the pregame action and the game.
Many motorhomes, fifth wheels, and travel trailers also offer outdoor kitchen options that provide LP hookups for grills or griddles, sinks for washing up, and an extra fridge to keep drinks cold without a trek inside.
Most RVs have awnings that you can open to provide shade or rain protection for your guests and food, and it also helps create a “boundary” to keep random tailgaters away from your party.
Lastly, you can carry all the tables, coolers, chairs, and tailgating supplies in the camper storage bays, so everything stays orderly.
How to Know What Venues Allow RV Tailgating
If you’re a college football fan, you’re in luck. Many colleges or universities have dedicated RV parking areas where you can reserve a spot for a daily fee.
The same goes for professional football team parking lots. Most NFL teams allow RV parking and open up the gates for tailgating about four hours before the game begins and close the gates about two hours after.
However, some teams have auxiliary lots where you can park a day or even two before game day. Rates range from $10-$75 a day for RV parking slots.
The best way to know if your team offers RV tailgating is to visit their website to see what is available for game days. Planning is the only way to ensure a parking spot for your RV.
Oversize parking slots are limited for recreational vehicles and fill up fast, so reserving your spot as soon as possible is the only way to guarantee game day fun.
Calling the venue or visiting the website will also give you detailed information about where to park, fees, whether or not they allow deep fryers or other cooking methods, hours of operation, and general rules to ensure a safe RV tailgating party.
For concerts, music festivals, rallies, or race tracks, you should contact the event organizer or the venue to inquire about RV parking if you don’t see information on their website. Also, ask if hookups, restrooms, or showers are available and if you have the option to arrive the night before or stay the night after the event to avoid traffic.
Multi-day music festivals generally offer RV camping packages. You can pay a premium for a spot close to the venue with full hookups or choose a more budget-friendly dry camping spot in a more distant parking area.
Pro Tips for RV Tailgating Success
Planning is the name of the game when it comes to being an RV tailgating pro, and here are some tips to help you out.
Know Your RV Length (Including Tow Vehicle)
Most stadiums, race tracks, and other venue parking lots have length restrictions on slot sizes, so you’ll need to know if your RV or trailer and tow vehicle combination will fit.
Parking passes for RV tailgating typically fall into two size and price options. The first is an oversized vehicle pass that generally fits RVs 16-24 feet in length. The second is an RV or Bus pass for between 25 and 40 feet long vehicles.
If your RV is longer than 40 feet, you’ll need to double-check with staff that it will fit safely in the slot before bringing it to the venue.
When to Book Your RV Spot
For serious sports fans or music lovers, booking an RV spot to see your favorite teams and bands will take place months, if not a whole year, in advance.
A great tip is to book a spot when they announce dates for the event, even before purchasing your tickets. For events held yearly on or near the same dates, you should be able to reserve a spot for your RV almost immediately after the current event takes place.
Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way that waiting even a week can mean the difference between having a place to park my RV at the event site so I can have fun tailgating or looking for a nearby campground to stay instead.
For professional and college football games, look for online forums where season RV parking pass holders “rent” their passes for games they cannot attend. This is one way to bypass trying to reserve a spot through the venue.
Please note that some stadium RV tailgating parking lots are first-come, first-served. This process means you’ll need to partake in strategic planning to snag a spot before they fill up.
The best tip is to arrive at the gates as early to opening time as possible, but you should still expect a line of RVs waiting to get in. The more you can learn about a specific location, the better.
Ask local RVing team fans about the best methods to get a spot for tailgating.
Should you arrive three hours before gate opening, or are there secondary gates you can use instead of the crowded main entrance?
Since RV parking slots for football tailgating are limited, the more insider information you can gather, the more your chances of putting on a memorable tailgate party will increase.
How to Save Money and Hassles for RV Tailgating Spots
If you intend to tailgate with your RV at all home football games, look into snagging a season parking pass to alleviate the hassle of reserving spots for individual games. Paying for a whole season is typically cheaper than paying for separate daily fees, even if you miss a game or two.
For multi-day festivals, organizers offer camping packages that will include various amenities at different price points. For example, most packages that include any hookups will start at around $500 and rise to $1,200 or more.
Most RVers with experience know how to boondock for a few days and can save a bundle by choosing a dry camping site versus one with hookups. However, if the location or season of the event is hot and you want air conditioning, you need to see if the camping rules allow generator use.
Know When to Arrive and Leave
Most venues want to keep RV traffic from jamming up roadways in and around the area, so they encourage you to remain for the entire event by not allowing you to return if you leave the premises. Keep this in mind when it comes time to pack supplies, as you won’t be able to run to the store because you forgot the hot dog buns for your tailgate party.
To make it easier to park your RV and set up for tailgating (and camping if it will be an overnight stay), arrive at the location as early as the venue allows on the day of the event. Trying to park your RV when the lots are busy will be very frustrating and can lead to fender benders.
The longer you can wait for other recreational vehicles and cars to depart when it comes time to leave, the better. The joy of tailgating in your RV is that you have a cozy place to hang out until traffic clears, and you can leave the venue with less stress.
Pack and Prep Your RV Accordingly
Any RV tailgate party will require plenty of drinks, food, and supplies for entertaining guests, but you’ll also need to have your camper’s essential functions working while at the venue.
Ensure your RV fresh water tank is full and your grey and black water tanks are empty. Fill your propane canisters, and bring along extras if you’re using an LP grill or staying onsite for more than a day.
Check the status of your RV house battery. Of course, you’ll want a full charge if you are boondocking, but always have a backup generator or power station to keep your 12-volt appliances running if the battery dies and you don’t have solar panels to charge it.
If your RV has a manual awning, bring along a couple of full sandbags or cement blocks to hold it in place since you won’t be able to drive stakes into the pavement to tie it down.
Also, make sure you have a working fire extinguisher on hand, as most venues require this for safety.
Don’t Overwork Your RV Facilities
Remember that your RV may be stationary for a full day or several days, which means you’ll need to ration the use of some camper components.
For example, you don’t want to waste your freshwater supply. If the tank runs out, you won’t be able to wash your hands or dishes or flush the toilet. Using a lot of water also quickly fills your waste tanks, which could overflow and make a mess.
Running out of propane can mean losing the ability to use your stovetop or oven to cook food for your tailgate party. Even worse would be not having propane to keep your refrigerator running or not having hot water for a shower at the end of the day.
Don’t Forget to Showcase Your Fandom
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Decorating your RV for tailgating at sporting events and concerts is super entertaining. It lets you show the world how much you love your team, a specific player, or your favorite musical artist or band.
Once you arrive, take some time to hang banners, flags, balloons, streamers, or other decorations outside your RV. Many tailgaters take decorating to the extreme, so it’s fun to join in on this friendly “competition” and to walk about to see what others have put on display.
Decorating your RV for your tailgate party will enhance the experience for everyone around you and be a lot of fun for you!
Be a Courteous RV Tailgater
Just as you follow campground etiquette to ensure everyone around you has a pleasant camping experience, you need to follow the rules of RV tailgating to make sure you don’t run into trouble.
First, don’t infringe on fellow tailgater parking slots with your awning, slides, camp chairs, or games. Don’t walk through or between other parking slots unless they are vacant, and instead, stick to the main roads or lanes when walking.
Never empty waste tanks onto the ground, even greywater. Only use designated dump stations. Don’t run generators if they aren’t allowed.
Don’t throw trash on the ground. Many venues insist you pack your garbage out with you, so you’ll need to bring plenty of bags.
Recycle your plastic and aluminum bottles and cans. Tailgating usually involves plenty of drinking, which means numerous empty water bottles and beer cans.
Don’t toss them in the trash when you can help the environment by recycling them in appropriate receptacles at the venue or on your way home at your local recycling drop-off center.
Lastly, be nice to fellow tailgaters no matter what “team” they favor. The point of tailgating is to have fun supporting your favorite team and enjoying the company of friends and family, not harassing people who support the opposing team or who are making a fuss about things that aren’t your concern.
Venues that Offer Awesome RV Tailgating Experiences
Some venues provide great amenities, friendly guests, and convenient hours that make RV tailgating much more enjoyable.
Here is a list of the top RV tailgating locations to put on your bucket list:
PRO FOOTBALL STADIUMS
- Denver Broncos Sports Authority Field – Mile High, CO
- Chicago Bears Soldier Field – Chicago, IL
- New England Patriots Gillette Stadium – Boston, MA
- San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA
- Buffalo Bills Highmark Stadium – Orchard Park, NY
- Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium – Arlington, TX
COLLEGE FOOTBALL STADIUMS
- Penn State University Beaver Stadium – University Park, PA
- Louisiana State University Tiger Stadium- Baton Rouge, LA
- Notre Dame Stadium – Notre Dame (South Bend), IN
- University of Alabama Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL
- University of Florida Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida
- University of Michigan Stadium – Ann Arbor, MI
- University of Oklahoma Gaylord Family/Oklahoma Memorial Stadium – Norman, OK
- Texas A&M Kyle Field – College Station, Texas
- University of Mississippi Vaught Hemingway Stadium – Oxford, MS
CONCERT and MUSIC FESTIVAL VENUES
Many concerts are at sports stadiums or outdoor arenas with RV parking accommodations, such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Stadium.
Music festivals tend to have designated fields or lots for RVs and camping at or near the event. Here are the best places to enjoy RV tailgating before and after the show:
- Xfinity Center – Mansfield, Massachusetts
- Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN
- Lightning in a Bottle – Bakersfield, CA
- Country Thunder – Florence, AZ
- Rocklahoma – Pryor, OK
- Old Settler’s – Tilman, TX
- Peach Music Festival– Scranton, PA
- Country USA – Oshkosh, WI
- Electric Forest – Rothbury, MI
- Summer Camp – Chillicothe, IL
There are plenty of RV parking options at music venues that offer electric and even water hookups at your site, but these are the first to fill and will cost more than a boondock parking slot.
Tailgating Must-Haves (Video)
RV tailgating is the ultimate in outdoor entertaining, where you can have a small gathering within a massive party and enjoy the energy, food, and fun unlike anywhere else.
RVs allow you to have all the comforts of home during your party, so you don’t have to worry about bathroom breaks or cooking up loads of food.
I hope this guide encourages you to try RV tailgating and see why millions of Americans hit the parking lots to have a blast each year!
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide