Remember the good ole days when you and your friends packed up the grill – and the cooler – before heading to the stadium? Maybe you had a few too much to drink or bet a few too many dollars on the game. Man that was fun! Fast-forward a few years to spouses, children and accountability. Are those days over? Absolutely not. Family time and tailgating time are not always polar opposites. There are myriad options to still get your tailgate action on with the family in tow. Check out these family-friendly hot spots next time that tailgating bug bites.
KOA Campgrounds are around every corner. There are more than 475 locations in the United States. Each offers its own options and amenities, but all are family oriented and safe for the kids. They offer RV, tent and cabin camping and some even offer teepees, iconic Airstream trailers, tree houses or a caboose for your camping stay. Many even are within easy access of stadiums. Check the KOA Web Site the next time you plan to hit the road.
The Pit, formerly the Blue Lot at the University of West Virginia in Morgantown, is the best place for Mountaineers fans to bring the family on a tailgating adventure. The parking is spacious which leaves lots of room for larger tailgate get-togethers and impromptu football games, or other activities. Tailgating is a big deal at West Virginia, and is something much of Morgantown embraces. There are plenty of varied attractions for kid. The Pennsylvania and Maryland stateliness are close, offering additional post-game sightseeing.
Boating families can combine their two favorite activities and ‘boatgate” at Washington Huskies games. Lake Washington is only a few blocks from Husky Stadium and is often filled with more than 12,000 folks out on the water on football weekends. Families and friends all pile on the boats for fishing, swimming, grilling and gearing up for the game. It is a local tradition that happens each year and is popular with fans from all over the country. Boats are carefully maneuvered to make a flotilla while members of the university’s rowing team ferry partiers to shore for the game.
Kansas City Chiefs fans have lots of opportunities for family fun at Arrowhead Stadium. The place is really spacious. so there is plenty of room for pregame activities like throwing around a football or Frisbee. Campus staff and police are readily available, and there is a Fans First station for emergencies and helpful advice. The parking lot opens 3.5 hours before kickoff and can fit nearly 26,000 vehicles.
Family tailgaters especially love the Quad for University of Alabama Crimson Tide games. There are special attractions just for kids and plenty of food vendors and souvenir booths, as well as on-site security. The Quad on game day is a long-standing tradition for Tide fans. You can even reserve your tailgating spot here up to a year in advance. Once those spots are gone it’s a first-come, first-served
Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN is a great spot for families. There is a designated family camping area, Kidz Jam and hands-on programs just for children. The festival site is gigantic, and there are plenty of restrooms with showers, first aid stations, water fountains and hand-washing stations throughout the area. Each camping area is staffed with an ambassador to answer any questions visitors might have. Bonnaroo also is close to Old Stone Fort State Park and its mysterious Indian mounds and the Arrowhead and Aerospace Museum.
At 364 acres, Cedar Point in northwestern Ohio along the banks of Lake Erie is billed as the world’s largest amusement park. Not only is the park huge, but it also is historic. Originally opened in 1870, Cedar Point is the country’s oldest continuously working park. It also is home to some of the country’s most thrilling roller coasters, including Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force. There also are children’s rides, musical shows, arcades and water attractions. The beach of Lake Erie can be accessed from the park, so there is plenty of sand and sun to be enjoyed.
This family-friendly site in West Creek, N.J., is located on the Jersey Shore and offers cabins that run from rustic to luxurious. There are a variety of family friendly activities throughout the year such as a chili cook-off, sock hop, car show, crab festival and more.
Indian Rock is moments away from Princeton University in New Jersey. It also is just minutes from Six Flags Great Adventure Theme Park. Pop your tailgate at one of the camping sites, or sit around the kid-friendly, Olympic-size swimming pool. Basic campsites are $45 per night, with more extravagant cabins running $85 per night.
The World’s Largest Family Tailgate event takes place each year at University of Pittsburgh games. The family-friendly event includes live music events, food vendors, giant inflatables, pregame broadcasts on an extra-large video screen and a parade. Kids will rave over the balloon artists and the Junior. Panthers Den.
No matter which family tailgating experience suits you, there are a few things to remember. Tailgating with children means a little extra preparation. Basic extras such as disposable hand wipes, bottled water, sippy cups and a first-aid kit are must-haves, as are insect repellent and sun block. Making a list to ensure you have included all of the essentials will help make your next tailgate a success for the entire family.