Over four days in July, the Salinas Sports Complex at 1034 N Main Street, Salinas, comes alive with thousands of spectators and rodeo competitors. The summer rodeo event, which is held in a 17,000-seat stadium, has been a highly anticipated event on this Monterey County municipality’s calendar since 1911.
It’s one of the top 20 season rodeos in the US and brings in over 600 competitors annually. These competitors work hard to win their share of prize money in bull riding, team roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, and more.
While mom and dad are well catered to in terms of rodeo action, so too are the kids. From stick horse races and mutton busting through to chuckwagon races and more, no one will go home having not had the best vacation in Salinas, California.
However, during your RV trip, the rodeo is not all that will leave long-lasting memories. Salinas is also home to several attractions, such as the National Steinbeck Center, Tatum’s Garden, Natividad Creek Park, and Toro Park with over 20 miles of hiking trails.
If you are looking for something to do this summer, dust off the RV and make your way to Salinas for both rodeo entertainment and tourist attractions galore. You’re not likely to want the journey to end.
In the past, ticket pricing for California Rodeo Salinas has been between $7 and $20 daily over the four days. Tickets are available for purchase online generally between one and two months out from the event. You can also buy them from the box office at the Salinas Sports Complex, and by phone. You can purchase tickets for box seats, general admission, and groups at discounted rates. Parking may cost extra.
Salinas, California is ten miles east-southeast of the Salinas River Mouth and eight miles from the Pacific Ocean. It’s a pleasant 106-mile drive from San Francisco and a mere 60-mile drive along US-101 N from San Jose. Driving in summer is unlikely to lend itself to too many problems, but RV-goers are advised to be aware of low-lying fog, known as the marine layer, along the way.
During popular events, such as California Rodeo Salinas, a traffic app such as CHP or California Traffic is an excellent idea. You can then receive updated information on congestion, roadworks, and adverse weather conditions.
When you reach Salinas, the Salinas Sports Complex is on N. Main Street by Sherwood Park and Tatum’s Garden.
In the past, parking has been plentiful but on a first-in, first-served basis, and available for a fee. You can enter the lots from North Main Street or Maryal Drive, both of which are between the arena and softball complex. Sizing limitations may apply, so consider alternative transportation methods if you don’t believe you’ll find a parking spot to suit.
If you weren’t able to find somewhere to park your RV, or you would prefer to leave it at your campsite, then there are other ways to get to California Rodeo Salinas. Private ride service providers are in operation for the duration of the event, with a dedicated pick-up and drop-off point near Sherwood Hall. As it’s a fair hike from the rodeo entrance, you’ll need to wear your comfiest cowboy boots.
Onsite camping is not available for the California Rodeo Salinas, which means RV-goers will need to arrange alternative accommodation in advance. Given the abundance of places to stay in the area, you won’t have too many problems finding somewhere. However, around 50,000 people attend the rodeo, so you will need to book weeks in advance to ensure you get your first pick.
There are plenty of nearby RV resorts and campgrounds for the discerning traveler, but you’ll need to make sure you do your research. Many of the RV accommodation providers in the area cater to long-term guests as opposed to short-term ones. Expand your reach to within 20 miles of the rodeo to find the perfect holiday destination during your stay.
The only way to get around the expansive sports complex is on foot, so you’ll likely need your most comfortable pair of cowboy boots. There is quite a hike from the parking areas and pick-up ride provider services. Fortunately, the stadium is in a grass and gravel setting with plenty of seating to ensure your comfort over the four days.
Cool and moderate temperatures are expected during July in Salinas. Unlike other towns to the north and south of Salinas, the ocean creates a Mediterranean climate that will see a need for you to pack both warm and cool attire. Trousers, long-sleeved shirts, and cowboy hats will all be put to good use during your stay in Salinas. Additional layers may also be required at night.
Given the clear bag policy that Salinas Sports Complex officials have in place, packing light is essential. Bring your wallet with cash and a credit card, but leave your outside food and drinks, noisemakers, laser pointers, coolers, and umbrellas back in your RV. By traveling light, you’re also far more comfortable in your navigation of the grounds, too.
Exposure to the elements is likely to be the biggest battle you face during your visit to California Rodeo Salinas. Rows 21 and up in the grandstands have cover, but shade may be higher or lower, depending on the sun’s position. Pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses just in case. If you are bringing in a first aid kit or prescription medication, make sure it’s in a clearly labeled bag for security.
One of the best things about vacationing in your RV is the opportunity for camp cooking. From hot soups and yummy bread to hot dogs and loaded potatoes, there are so many things to try. While you have free range to use your onboard kitchen appliances, it might pay to check with your host before you light a campfire or charcoal grill. You can then stock up on supplies at one of the many nearby convenience and snack stores within close driving distance of the Salinas Sports Complex.
The central location of the rodeo means you are not going to go hungry during your four-day stay in the area. Even a quick wander over the road from the complex will see you quickly chowing down on burgers, tacos, ice cream, Mexican cuisine, pizza, and more. Allow extra time for service due to the number of people in the area for the rodeo.
If you don’t fancy leaving the complex in case you miss some of the rodeo action, then take your spot in the line for many of the vendor offerings. Bring both cash and a credit card and get your fill of hot dogs, fries, cotton candy, and more. There are plenty of options within a short distance of the grandstands.
In recent years, California Rodeo Salinas has adopted a clear bag policy to ensure their venue is as safe as possible. You can speed up the screening process by ensuring you only bring a small purse, a clear bag, or a one-gallon freezer bag containing your items.
Any backpacks (clear or otherwise), printed bags, fanny packs, oversized totes, or similar, will not be accepted into the venue. If you have any questions or concerns, you may approach a security official. Otherwise, the nearest police station for assistance is within three miles of the sports complex. Always lock your RV and keep your valuable possessions out of sight.
The moderate climate in Salinas means that even in summer, you won’t be battling unbearable temperatures. In July, average highs are low 70s, while it can drop to around the mid-50s overnight. To ensure you pack the right wardrobe, check a weather app before you leave home.
While you can get medical assistance at the first aid site within the sports complex, outside help is not all that far away either. There is a hospital within a two-mile drive of the rodeo, and a pharmacy within half a mile. If you’re short of medical supplies, you’re in the right place.