The University of Clemson Tigers play at Memorial Stadium, which is located in Clemson, South Carolina. The stadium is a monument to the sport of football, and its loyal followers make the trek on Saturdays to see the Tigers play their Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponents.
On game days, the fans in the stands blend into an ocean of orange, and their loyal mascots, The Tiger and The Cub, are there to cheer the team on at Clemson University. With the capacity to hold 81,000 screaming fans, Memorial Stadium is a behemoth, dwarfing some NFL stadiums.
When fans are seated and the stadium trembles in anticipation, Clemson’s players gather atop the famous hill on the east side of the stadium. In perhaps what is the best entrance in college football, players touch "Howard’s Rock" and run down the hill towards the field. The rock was given to the then-Clemson head coach, Frank Howard, in the 60s. When he told players, “Give me 110% or keep your filthy hands off my rock,” touching the rock became a tradition.
The rock comes from Death Valley, which, incidentally, is the stadium’s nickname. Not to be confused with LSU’s Death Valley, which is a point of contention amongst the two teams. However, many believe Clemson’s Death Valley to be the original. Regardless, it’s worth visiting Death Valley in Clemson to witness players touch the rock and run downhill. The rock, after being vandalized, is now under a protective case.
With so much history and a football team that is consistently ranked, Clemson tickets tend to sell out fast and can get expensive. Small children under the age of three are allowed inside the stadium without a ticket, but older children need a valid ticket to enter. On average, tickets might sell for $115 but can often be found for less. Games against rival opponents are typically more expensive. Men’s basketball is also quite popular, and tickets have often sold for $40 to $50. Women’s basketball tickets usually start around $10.
Clemson can be found in the northwest corner of South Carolina and rests about 20 minutes from I-85. The City of Atlanta, Georgia is to the southwest; Chattanooga, Tennessee to the northwest; Charlotte, North Carolina to the northeast. The flow of traffic changes on game days and certain areas are blocked off for non-IPTAY Collegiate Club members.
If you want to park your RV to tailgate, you’ll have to be a member of IPTAY (I Pay Ten Dollars A Year) in order to purchase an RV parking pass, which means a seasonal RV parking pass is required. If you choose not to go that route, consider parking at Clemson RV Park at The Grove, which is not officially affiliated with the school. The Grove is less than 10 miles from Tigers Stadium.
Non-ADA shuttles are not available on game day. With the purchase of a handicap parking pass, you’ll be given wrist bands that will grant access to Clemson’s ADA shuttle system. Two wristbands are included with the purchase of a parking pass, one for the person with mobility challenges, and one for the person assisting. The shuttle begins its service three hours before kickoff.
Overnight stays are only possible if you have an RV parking pass, which requires you to be an IPTAY member. Even then, parking passes are not guaranteed and sell out fast. While RV parking spaces may be available for purchase, amenities are not included. However, that's not a big issue. RV parks near Clemson have all you need for a comfortable stay.
If you will need to fill tanks or desire hookups for your motorhome, consider finding a nearby campground, of which there are a handful near Clemson, including Clemson RV Park at The Grove. Less than 20 miles away, Anderson/Lake Hartwell KOA is particularly beautiful, with scenic views of the lake. It’s worth mentioning that this place fills up fast on weekends when the Tigers are playing.
Guests who require assistance to the stadium may ride on the shuttle if they have purchased an ADA-accessible parking space, but they may also ride on Clemson’s special assistance golf carts, which pick up passengers at several ADA pickup locations near the stadium.
When cheering on the Tigers at Death Valley, you have to look the part, so pack as much orange and Clemson-branded clothing as you can. The official school colors are Clemson Orange and Regalia, which is a sort of deep purple. If visiting the team in the fall, dress for cool weather; a simple windbreaker, cardigan, or sweater should do the trick.
If you’re tailgating with your RV, one of the most important things you’ll need is a snorkel or chimney for your RV’s generator exhaust system. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use your generator during quiet hours. If you’re tailgating, you’re going to need a grill, cups and plates, a table, chairs, and maybe even a tent. Also, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
It can get hot in the summer months, but football season tends to be cooler. If it is hot, drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. To prepare for any medical issues, pack a first aid kit. With the lake in such close proximity, pack a few lifejackets if you plan on participating in any water-related activities near Clemson.
You can’t go wrong with grilling at a tailgate in South Carolina, especially at Clemson. Grill up some burgers, hot dogs, and a couple of steaks, and you’ll be in business. Apart from entrees, you may want to make some simple side dishes and appetizers such as queso or other kinds of dips. Keep it simple, have fun, and people will be lining up for your tailgate party.
Dining out in Tiger Country is a great way for fans to enjoy the community together. Orange and Regalia enthusiasts will have a selection of local restaurants with great food. The cuisine varies in Clemson, and although you can find southern-style food, you can also dine on seafood, Mexican, and Italian cuisine.
If you hear a rumbling coming from your belly as the game starts, head to one of the many concession stands in the stadium. Have your pick of pretzels, ice cream, sandwiches, and something called Tiger Bites, which is an appetizing mac and cheese dish.
Smoking or the use of any tobacco product is prohibited on the University of Clemson's campus and at Memorial Stadium, and electronic cigarettes are not an exception. Finally, non-clear bags are not allowed. Remember to stay within your allotted camping or tailgating space. Permission to enter the grounds may change with different game times.
Extreme weather is not common in Clemson, but it can get cold as winter sets into Tiger Country. The average low from December to February is in the low 30s, and football season takes place between September and December. Bring a jacket and warm clothing if watching the game later in the season.
There are multiple first-aid locations throughout the stadium, and there are trained nurses at every station to help with any medical emergency. Clemson encourages its guests to speak with an usher if they require the attention of a doctor. For immediate help, dial 911, or make your way to the nearest hospital, which is 1.5 miles away.