Jacksonville Tailgating at the TaxSlayer Bowl
The bowl season saw Georgia Tech, and the RV Tailgate Life, visiting Jacksonville, Florida, to participate in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Or what you probably refer to as the Gator Bowl. New Years Eve with a bunch of friends in a place where we can drive and thus take the RVs? Count us in! You had us at Jacksonville tailgating.
One thing that I do know – 11:00 AM kickoffs are for the birds. As an Eastern Time Zone fan, it is not normally something that we have to deal with. It totally kills the pre-game tailgating atmosphere. People are doing good to get there and into the stadium before kickoff. Forget making and eating a big meal before the game! Or even getting a good buzz going.
Props to the Kentucky fans for making the trip. From our vantage point, the Kentucky fans filled the lower sections on their side and a lot of seats on the Georgia Tech side too. Although boo to the Kentucky fans on the GT side that just wanted to start a fight, trying all game to get the Tech fans to rise to the bait they were spewing. Sorry, but when your team is behind all game long, don’t be calling the other team weak or trash. It doesn’t look good for you.
The TaxSlayer Bowl is held at Everbank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. EverBank Field is on the site of the historic Gator Bowl Stadium and even incorporated some of the old stadium in its design and construction.
I’m still not sure how I would like to be swimming, or at least lounging, in a pool, while watching the game, and end up on the big screen TV. The pools were part of the stadium’s $63 million overhaul by new Jaguars team owner Shad Khan. On New Years Eve, it seemed to be mostly kids hanging out in the pool. It was pretty chilly and they tell me that the pools are not heated. Guess kids were the only ones crazy enough to go swimming.
With an 11 am game and no time for pre-game tailgating meals, you have to eat in the stadium. The food was pretty good. At $12 a basket, the seafood trio was more than enough food. Depending on how hungry, there was probably enough for two. But instead, we got two and left almost all the fries and even some of the seafood. Of course, the $14 beers were your typical NFL stadium overpriced affairs.
Jacksonville Tailgating Parking
Both Georgia Tech and Kentucky RV owners parked at Tailgaters Parking. Probably because it was a matchup between teams that don’t normally play each other and aren’t rivals, there were no issues that we saw between the Georgia Tech and Kentucky fans. But I could see how things could get ugly during say a Georgia-Florida weekend if you weren’t careful with your parking arrangements.
Pros for Tailgaters Parking
- At $175 for two night parking, the price wasn’t too bad. We’ve definitely paid more for weekend parking at various schools and bowl games.
- The lot is level, and the grass was in relatively good shape for parking. I didn’t put my RV jacks down, but I did see that many other RVers did.
- They let you park however you want in the spaces. So if you are traveling with other RVers from your team, you can park so that your awnings face each other, providing a courtyard feel.
- The lot is about three blocks away from the stadium. And being that it is Jacksonville, no hills.
- For those that need it, you can get the Tailgaters Parking golf cart to take you to the stadium. The golf cart was also available to take people to the Jacksonville Landing the days we were there.
- They also have a dump station for the way out. Great for RVers that don’t want to carry all the waste home when every little pound counts for MPG.
- Genturi or other RV exhaust systems are required gear for generator use at Tailgaters Parking.
Cons for Tailgaters Parking
- Small spaces. If you put out your awnings, you were “this close” to touching your neighbor.
- No hookups. You have to arrive with full water tanks and take normal conservation efforts to make your water last the weekend. And while they have the dump station, it is outside the gate – don’t expect for it to be easy to dump during the weekend.
- The lot is grass and not paved. During rainy periods, the grass could become mud and make your RV a mess. We may be a little spoiled parking in paved lots in Atlanta, but oh well.
Overall, the cons are what you would expect for a weekend tailgating spot and you are probably used to them anyways.
In talking to the friendly golf cart driver, he said that Tailgaters Parking is booked for the 2017 Georgia-Florida game. So hope you already have your reservations if you are planning on going to that game in 2017.
Driving Tip: use the address on the parking pass for your GPS. If you try to put in the company name, you are likely to end up in other lots not suitable for your RV. Also, there lot is at the dead end of Bryan Street and Duval Street. No turns needed, despite what the GPS will try to tell you.
Other Jacksonville Stadium Parking
If you aren’t taking your RV to a game at EverBank Field, there are lots of surrounding parking lots that aren’t Tailgaters Parking. For TaxSlayer Bowl purposes, there were plenty. But for Georgia-Florida, these lots would be full. Plan accordingly.
Jacksonville Lighted Boat Parade
The Jacksonville Lighted Boat Parade was historically held Thanksgiving weekend, but they moved it this year to coincide with the TaxSlayer Bowl. The Boat Parade features local boat owners that decorate their boats in holiday spirit for a night time cruise around the Landing area. You can watch from either side of the St. John’s River.
If you are planning on eating before, during or after this event, you will definitely need reservations. All the area restaurants were full or had 90 plus minute waits. We know because we tried to get tables for immediately after the parade. Oops! Back to the RVs for burgers!
The Parade concludes with a fireworks display – so yep, we got to see fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights!
How was your bowl game tailgating? Discuss!
Did you enjoy your bowl game tailgating experience? Regardless of what happens on the field, you can always win the tailgate!