California State University, Fresno, also known as Fresno State, is home to the Fresno State Bulldogs, who are something of a football powerhouse in the west. The Bulldogs call Jim Sweeney Field at Bulldog Stadium their home. The stadium, referred to by most as Bulldog Stadium, is a 40,000-seat venue that’s been open since 1980.
When it first opened, Bulldog Stadium only seated 30,000 people but several renovations since then have expanded the seating capacity. At home games, you’ll see Victor E. Bulldog, the team’s live bulldog mascot, patrolling the sidelines and rooting for his team.
Fresno State, whose football team has been competing since the 1920s, is a relatively new team in the Mountain West Conference (MWC), though they’ve already proved themselves to be a worthy contender. After leaving the Big West Conference after the 2011 season, the Bulldogs joined the MWC and immediately won the conference championship in 2012, which was their first year in the conference.
The year after, the conference held its first-ever championship game that pitted the two division champions against each other in the post-season. It was the Bulldogs who emerged victorious in their bout against Utah State. The team has attended multiple championship games in the MWC and won a few as well, and they have appeared in a handful of bowl games since 2010. There’s no doubt that the Bulldogs football team is formidable, but the school also competes in a total of 22 varsity sports.
Load up your Sprinter or campervan and head to Fresno, California, a great docking area for a myriad of great vacation stops in the heart of Central California.
If you want to see Fresno State in action at Bulldog Stadium, you’re in luck. Based on ticket prices from previous seasons, fans can expect to pay between $30 to $45 per ticket, but they can sometimes be found for less for some games. Typically, games against big-name opponents or rivals tend to be more expensive. If you’re a huge fan of the bulldogs, you may want to consider purchasing season tickets, which are reasonably priced.
Fresno, located in Central California, is the home of the California State University. The university is between Los Angeles and Sacramento, and it is also very close to several federally protected public lands such as Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Forest.
Look out for traffic operators when driving around campus, and ask for directions if you need help finding your parking lot.
Though Fresno State has several parking lots and does allow tailgating in some of them, there has not been a designated RV parking space in the past. The Save Mart Center, Fresno State’s indoor arena, usually opens its parking lot on game days and has been known to accept RVs for about $30, but there is no tailgating allowed. However, there are tailgating areas where you can join in on the fun.
To get around the city, you can ride on the Fresno Area Express (FAX) which operates more than a dozen routes throughout the city. There are a handful of bus routes that pass through the campus. If you drive your tow vehicle to the stadium, you can park at a Green Lot, which is open to the public, and use the school’s shuttle service. The Green Lot shuttle typically begins its route three hours before the game starts.
Even if you could park your RV at a stadium lot, guests are asked to leave two hours after the game ends. You don’t need to worry about where to spend the night, though, since there are definitely some California RV campgrounds are plentiful. With so many public lands and campgrounds in the area, finding a place to stay for the night should be no trouble near Fresno.
Fresno is home to lots of campgrounds, with many of them being near the Fresno State campus, but, if you’re looking for a more comfortable stay, book a few nights at the Visalia / Sequoia National Park KOA. This campground is equipped with electricity hookups, Wi-Fi, a pool, and a dog park. If nature is more of your thing, you can stay at Sierra National Forest which offers RV parking spaces up to 25' and camping is primitive. However, you may not mind once you see the views and smell the pines.
The Green Lot is far enough from the stadium that you may wish to take the shuttle. Though strollers are very beneficial when traveling with children, you may want to leave yours behind because it’s not allowed inside the stadium. If you do plan on walking, wear comfortable walking shoes and be ready to wave at fellow fans along the way.
With high temperatures leading the start of the football season, it’s recommended that you pack clothing that is breathable, comfortable, and Fresno State-oriented. Pack your favorite Bulldogs gear and wear the cardinal red and blue colors with pride. Care to take a hike at Millerton State Recreation Area? Trails here have been known to offer views of bald eagles, deer, mountain lions, and many other curious outdoor creatures.
Since RV tailgating is not generally allowed on campus, you may want to play your big tailgate meal at your campsite where your items are already in place. If you do plan to join Bulldog tailgating activities elsewhere, there are some items you may want to consider bringing such as an external battery, a cooler backpack to keep your drinks cold, and maybe a camera to document your adventures.
Remember to keep a first-aid kit in your RV or on your person in case of minor accidents. If you are walking from the parking lot to the stadium, make sure to watch for traffic operators en route, especially if you’re with children.
Hiking trails in the area can be remote or populated, so check your routes in advance and take a few emergency items with you like a flashlight, water, and at least some food.
While cooking at the tailgate may not be an option, you can still enjoy a meal cooked outdoors at your campground. Do make sure to stop by the supermarket first to pick up groceries and stock up on supplies. There’s something special about cooking in the open air near the crisp Sierra Mountains, so take time to enjoy the setting. Ensure that your fuel and water tanks are full before arrival, and plan for emptying gray and black water tanks when the time comes.
Fresno has some exciting restaurant options if you’re looking to fuel up before or after the game. Fresno offers no shortage of Mexican restaurants, but you’ll also find Chinese, Japanese, and Mediterranean cuisine. Consider charcuterie boards, sandwiches, and Italian dishes in your time away from Bulldog Stadium.
Something about the excitement of a football game always gets the tummy rumbling, so head to the nearest concession stand inside the stadium to satisfy your appetite. Fans may find nachos, burritos, BBQ sandwiches, corndogs, and many more options. Look for concession stands in almost every section, but you may have to walk around a bit to find what you’re favorite selections at Fresno State games.
Like most stadiums, Bulldog Stadium prohibits backpacks and other large, non-clear bags. Umbrellas are also a banned item, so bring a poncho or raincoat if the sky is overcast. Other banned items include video cameras, weapons, tobacco, laser pointers, and noisemakers among others. If help is required outside of the stadium or university grounds, a local police station is less than five miles from campus.
Weather in Fresno can be very hot during the summer, and the average high temperature in the summer months runs over 90 degrees. When the season opens, temperatures may still be fairly warm. Winters, on the other hand, are much milder and somewhat pleasant. With so many forests near Fresno, the threat of wildfires is real so remember to monitor local stations during your travels.
Look for the first-aid station inside the stadium if you need assistance, or ask an usher for directions. If you have a condition that requires medication, keep it in the original packaging. For serious medical issues, call 911 or head to the nearest hospital which is a 12-minute drive from the stadium.