Last Updated on July 21, 2023 by Christina
Even though summer is coming to an end, the transition to fall doesn’t mean your RV needs to go into storage immediately. Fall is one of the best times to go camping! Think of chilly mornings warming up around a campfire, hiking in comfy sweaters and scenic drives through miles of fall foliage. And there are many other ways to enjoy your RV this season, too. Like tailgating at sporting events! Football season is just kicking off and NASCAR is still running strong. Tailgating is a great way to bring friends and family together to cheer on your favorite teams.
There are a lot of things to consider and ways to prepare for tailgating in your RV. This article can help give insight into the rules and other things to know before setting up for game day. Plus, we’ve included activity ideas and even tasty recipes to enjoy for your next tailgate!
Before You Tailgate in your RV, Here are Some Things to Know
Stadium Rules and Regulations for Tailgating in an RV
Before we can get to the exciting stuff of tailgating with an RV, we have to talk about the rules stadiums have for RVers. Every location has various rules that apply to tailgating, from restrictions on the size of the motorhome to what you can bring. It’s best to do your research before game day to avoid being turned away at the gate. Parking also varies at each stadium, so make sure you know where you need to go, whether or not you need a reservation and the earliest time you are allowed to park.
For example, the University of Michigan’s Big House has three RV parking locations; two of the three are reserve-ahead locations. The Pioneer High School parking lot is for reserved RV parking only and allows a designated space of 36 feet by 18 feet, which is perfect for most small-to-mid-sized RVs.
Pro football stadiums also have different rules than college stadiums. The TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars in Florida, offers tailgating through their partner Tailgaters Parking. Tailgaters Parking has ample space for RV parking and allows overnight parking for added convenience. Parking spots for RVs are 40 feet long and 18 feet wide, so you’ll have plenty of room to set up your tailgating party here. The TIAA Bank Field opens four hours before kickoff.
Arrive Early to Park Your RV & Plan Your Exit to Avoid Headaches
If you’re new to RV tailgating or still getting used to driving your motorhome, we recommend getting to the stadium as soon as the gates open. This means you’ll be able to park your RV without having to worry about crowds of people watching or maneuvering around lots of other RVs.
While it might seem like a small thing, being able to set up your tailgate party prior to game time gives you a big advantage. This is especially true if you bring a lot of gear to unpack and set up (like canopy tents or tables and chairs) or plan to prepare food once you’re on site. Arriving earlier gives you time to knock out these tasks before the kickoff, so you won’t miss a play or feel left out of the tailgating experience.
Lastly, make a plan for after the game. Some stadiums allow overnight parking for RVers, but others only allow tailgaters to stay for a few hours, so check the rules beforehand. If you’re planning to enjoy adult beverages during your tailgate party, make sure you have a designated driver so everyone gets home safely. Being mindful of these things can help make your tailgating parties go more smoothly.
Tips for Using Your RV without Hookups (aka Dry Camping)
Picture this. It’s game day. You’re at the stadium, parked in your reserved spot and are ready to start the party. You look around for an outlet to plug in your RV and there’s none to be found.
Most stadiums do not offer any sort of hookups for RVers. Some stadiums offer limited hookups or electrical-only hookups, but you’ll most likely be dry camping during tailgating events so make sure you are prepared.
You will certainly need your freshwater tank filled if you are preparing meals and washing your hands throughout the day. If you plan on using the bathroom in your RV –and let’s be honest, a private bathroom is much more appealing than a public port-a-potty – you’ll need to empty your black and grey water tanks, too. You will not have a place to fill or dump these tanks at the stadium. And if you leave the tailgate, odds are that you will not be able to get into another spot again to continue the festivities since these events are so packed.
If you’re planning to tailgate for the entire game (or longer), you don’t want to lose power to your TV or refrigerator. Generator or solar power options can solve your electricity needs when dry camping. Just be mindful of your exhaust vent if you’re using a generator and be sure to bring enough fuel for your needs.
Check out this blog post for more dry camping info and tips!
Other Ways to Prepare for RV Tailgating
Pack the Right Gear
We already discussed the importance of planning where to park for your tailgate party, but you’ll also want to be prepared in case your parking spot isn’t ideal. You may encounter unpaved or uneven parking spots. It’s always best to be prepared to park in various conditions. Bring standard leveling equipment like leveling blocks, wheel chocks and jack pads just in case. These are essential tools for any RV owner and provide added peace of mind.
Check the Weather
You may already have weather essentials like sunscreen, bug spray, blankets and rain jackets in your RV, but it is always best to double check before leaving home and prepare for the unexpected. If you do not have an awning on your RV, bring a pop up tent! This is a great alternative for keeping rain or even too much sun from ruining your tailgating experience.
Even if you need to go inside to escape the elements, you can still enjoy the tailgate. Most RVs have heating and cooling systems, a kitchen and TV inside so you can enjoy the game no matter the weather.
Feeding the Fans
Another great thing about owning an RV is that you have a kitchen everywhere you go! A lot of travel trailers and motorhomes have exterior kitchens so you can prepare food while still being part of the party. If you’re planning to host lots of family or friends at your tailgate, consider how much table space you’ll need. You may want additional folding tables for serving or seating. If you have an RV with plenty of storage space, it’s easy to pack extra folding tables and other essentials. Just make sure what you bring in is easy to take out (avoid heavy or bulky furniture).
It’s good practice to double check your meal prep plans before leaving home. Make a list of game day essentials like propane, charcoal, snacks, beverages and ice so no one has to make a run at half time. A lot of your favorite cooking tools for the perfect patty or hot dog are probably already in your camper, so utilize those to step up your tailgating party, too.
Another great tip from experienced tailgaters: Prep all the food that you can the night prior or in the morning before you leave for the tailgate. Marinate your meat and prepare some of the hardier snacks like homemade dips and sweet treats before you leave. Even though cooking is half the fun (for some people) at the tailgate, you don’t want to cook all day.
Best Foods for Tailgating
You’re in an RV with a kitchen, so why not use it! The best part of tailgating with an RV is that it’s your home on wheels and all the necessities are right at your fingertips for the perfect party. RV tailgating gives you the perfect excuse for making an endless variety of tasty eats.
Since you are at a tailgate, handheld foods are better for meals and snacks. They also cut down on the number of plates and utensils you’ll need. Hamburgers and hotdogs are always a game day favorite, but take a look at some of these other easy recipes perfect for tailgating. Pigs in a blanket or brisket are some other popular game day foods. On chillier days, fill a slow cooker with soups or your favorite chili to warm you up and keep the festivities going. On hot game days, ice cream and other chilled treats help beat the heat.
Other Activities to Do While Tailgating
One of the best reasons to tailgate is to hang out with other fans and celebrate your favorite sports teams. But you might want some other activities to fill the hours before and after the game with family and friends, like playing outdoor games. Yard games like cornhole, ladder ball and frisbee are extremely popular at any tailgating event. Just be mindful of how much space you need with your outdoor games so you don’t disturb your neighbors. If you plan on bringing kids, simple toys like sidewalk chalk, water guns and card games are great to keep them busy.
Best Types of RVs for Tailgating:
Space for you, family and friends is important if you plan to go tailgating in your RV. Features like a big living room or kitchen with tons of counter space will likely be at the top of your wish list. Additionally, RVs with big awnings and exterior kitchens plus entertainment centers make great tailgating RVs. Fortunately, you can find amenities like these in most types of RVs!
Travel trailers are great for single families or small groups of friends. There are so many floorplan options for a spacious living room and big kitchen for tailgating activities. A lot of travel trailers also have exterior kitchens and entertainment areas, making them a great option for any tailgating party.
The bigger the RV, the bigger the party! With a fifth wheel, it’s easy to fit all your friends and family comfortably for game day shenanigans. Fifth wheels feature plenty of sleeping space and a large kitchen area for overnight tailgating events. A lot of fifth wheels also offer great options for exterior kitchens and entertainment centers for game day festivities. Fifth wheels also tend to have bigger awnings, so you have more covered space to keep out of the weather.
Whether you choose a towable toy hauler or a motorhome toy hauler, these RVs are perfect for tailgating. Because of the build-in garage that gives them their name, toy haulers provide plenty of space for any party. Some toy haulers even have a back or side patio with an awning, making outdoor entertaining easy. Several models also have exterior kitchens and entertainment centers to keep the party going outside.
Class C motorhome
A Class C RV makes tailgating with another couple or friends easy and convenient. Class C motorhomes are smaller in size compared to Class A motorhomes, while still offering all the essentials one needs for tailgating. One added benefit of owning a motorhome is that you don’t need to worry about unhitching your vehicle which makes for easier setup.
Class A motorhome
As the largest type of RV, Class A motorhomes have plenty of space to fit all your friends and family. Most come with exterior kitchens and entertainment centers that are perfect for tailgating. Class A motorhomes are the ultimate tailgating RV because of their size and amenities. From spacious bathrooms to large kitchens, you will find that these motorhomes will fit everything you need to tailgate like a pro.
Before you start your RV search, check the size limits or parking restrictions of your favorite stadiums first to make sure you’ll be able to tailgate without a problem.