Few events rival the atmosphere of college football. From tailgating until the final score, you cannot help but feel excited. Even if you’re not rooting for either team, these college football travel destinations are some of the best places to visit in the fall.
You now have an excuse to use your travel miles to make new memories and explore exciting college towns. In some cases, you will be able to visit parts of the United States that normally are not at the top of most people’s travel list.
University of Wisconsin (Madison)
Camp Randall Stadium is the oldest stadium in the Big 10 conference and home to the Wisconsin Badgers. You will want to stay for the entire game. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the crowd goes wild to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” song. The iconic Fifth Quarter marching band performance takes place after every home game.
Around town, you can sightsee at the Wisconsin state capital building or tour the University of Wisconsin campus. The state is also well-known for its quality breweries. Milwaukee is a 90-minute drive and home to several brewery tours, including Miller.
Notre Dame (South Bend)
Even though NBC broadcasts every Notre Dame game, a pilgrimage to South Bend is on many college football fans’ list. Fans can run through the North Tunnel on Fridays and see the insides of Notre Dame Stadium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At around 4 p.m., the band performs inside the historic Golden Dome.
Make sure you allow time to tour the college campus, including The Grotto. Antique car fans may also appreciate visiting the Studebaker National Museum.
Michigan (Ann Arbor)
University of Michigan’s Michigan Stadium (aka “The Big House”) is currently the largest college football stadium. You and 107,600 others can enjoy a top-notch Big 10 football game. Tailgating happens at the nearby University of Michigan golf course.
After the game, take a stroll through downtown Ann Arbor. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and shops. Zingerman’s Roadhouse is a crowd-pleaser with a large variety of traditional food. You might time your visit to see the fall colors in Ann Arbor.
Texas A&M (College Station)
There are a lot of things to like about Texas. One of them is Texas A&M Aggies football in College Station. The Aggies play at Kyle Field, one of the largest college stadiums and home to the “12th Man.” In other words, be ready to hear the 100,000+ crowd roar quite often.
This is one of the most electric atmospheres in college football and especially the SEC West conference.
Getting to College Station can require a little more effort than some of these other college football travel destinations. Nonstop service to College Station’s Easterwood Airport (CLL) is only from Houston and Dallas. You may be better off renting a car from Houston (1 hour 45-minute drive) or Dallas (2 hour 45-minute drive) for some additional sightseeing.
Southern California (Los Angeles)
Los Angeles is home to two college football teams. The University of Southern California Trojans (USC) plays in the L.A. Coliseum. And the UCLA Bruins play at the Rose Bowl in nearby Pasadena. Both stadiums are historic and worth a visit for different reasons.
For USC games, traveling families may enjoy the Trojan Family Game Day Experience in Alumni Park. This gathering opens 4 hours before kickoff and closes 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
As one of America’s most vibrant cities, Los Angeles is easy to reach whether you fly or drive. Plus, the weather is almost always warm and sunny which is why this a perfect destination for a late football season visit. You can easily add a few days to your trip to sightsee, visit Disneyland or lounge on the beach.
Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge)
Maybe you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit New Orleans at another time besides Mardi Gras. The Louisiana State University Tigers (LSU) play in nearby Baton Rouge. Before entering the stadium, you can visit the Mike the Tiger Habitat. This spot is home to LSU’s live tiger mascot. Note that there is also a tiger statue located at a perfect Instagram spot.
LSU Tiger Stadium (aka “Death Valley”) is loud yet exciting. With SEC football being one of the best gameday experiences, it’s hard to match the atmosphere here.
If this is your first trip to the bayou region, you will soak in Louisiana’s Cajun culture. You may find tailgate cuisine here that is uncommon at the other best college football destinations.
A trip to New Orleans is also worth it. The Big Easy is 90 minutes away from Baton Rouge. Take in world-class cuisine and jazz. Famous cultural landmarks include the French Quarter, National World War II Museum and Jackson Square.
Boston College (Boston)
Boston is better known for being a professional sports town. However, Boston College is one of the best teams if you are looking to experience New England college football. If you strategically plan your trip, you may also be able to take in a Boston Red Sox or New England Patriots game.
Alumni Stadium is located 6 miles west of downtown Boston. The stadium itself is relatively small with a seating capacity of 44,500. You won’t get the big stadium experience like the other destinations listed here. But, it can still be a fun time.
The Boston area has lots of things to do. Even if the Red Sox are away, you can tour Fenway Park. You can learn history by walking the Freedom Trail. Nature lovers can go whale watching.
If you want to escape the coming winter cold, Boston currently holds the honor of having the longest U.S. domestic flight. Hawaiian Airlines flies nonstop from Boston to Honolulu for 5,095 miles. This is one of those routes that flying first class on the Airbus A330 fleet is worth doing.
No matter who your favorite team is, the college football travel destinations will make you want to stay for the next home game. College football is the perfect excuse to travel in the fall and visit corners of the U.S. you probably wouldn’t visit otherwise.