If you’re chomping at the bit to take your motorhome or camper somewhere exciting, then the Grand National Rodeo in Daly City, California, could be it. Experience agricultural history at its finest while being a part of one of the largest rodeos in the United States.
The Grand National Rodeo, which is also a horse and livestock show, is held at the Cow Palace Arena & Event Center at 2600 Geneva Avenue. It doubles as a county agricultural fair and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across the United States and further afield.
Full English and Western horse shows form an integral part of this event, as do the livestock judging events, country and western musical performances, carnival, and even the Miss Grand National beauty pageant. The rodeo action kicks off at the beginning of the event over two days, then ends it with another two days.
Such is the caliber of Grand National Rodeo that it was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2008. You’ll have to see it for yourself by taking an RV trip to Daly City, California.
While you’re in the area, there are plenty of other things to see, do, and experience. One of the best state parks to visit is San Bruno Mountain with hiking opportunities and city views, while Thornton State Beach boasts a beautiful nature park with photo-taking opportunities.
If RV camping, a national rodeo, and new attractions sound like your cup of tea, then pack up your campervan and hit the road for the Grand National Rodeo.
Tickets for Daly City’s Grand National Rodeo are available from the venue’s website, the local box office, or via phone. Whichever purchasing method you use, make sure you don’t wait. Tickets sell out fast, and the sooner you buy them, the quicker you can get onto arranging the other parts of your RV adventure.
Daly City, California, lies directly south of San Francisco and is bordered by this city as well as Pacifica, Brisbane, and the small town of Colma. To access this beautiful place, you can drive over the Oakland Bay Bridge from Oakland or the Golden Gate Bridge from the direction of San Rafael. Alternatively, wide, open roads on I-280 lead you directly from San Jose.
Before you set off, it may pay to tune into a traffic app such as California Highway Patrol to receive live information on traffic, construction, and any delays you may face.
Due to the popularity of Grand National Rodeo, it’s advised to hit the road early in your motorhome to arrive with plenty of time to spare. The venue is accessible from Interstate 280 north or south, US 101 north or south, or south on CA-1.
Parking lots at the Grand National Rodeo are both spacious and well-organized. All parking areas are clearly outlined in your admission tickets, with your pass needing to match the lot in which you have parked. There are also dedicated spaces for RVs, buses, and limousines. If your vehicle is over 20 feet long, a parking attendant might direct you to the RV parking lot where some lot space charges may apply.
If you’d prefer to avoid all the hassle of designated parking, then there is no shortage of public transportation options to get you to and from the rodeo daily.
Daly City is among the cities with the highest transit ridership in the country. Therefore, you may not have any hassle arranging a transportation method if you’d prefer not to use your RV. Many of the available public transportation options are within a short walking distance of The Cow Palace Arena’s main entrance.
There is a rideshare and taxi drop-off point under the Video Marquee, and bus lines within walking distance. Light rail and trains are within a two-mile distance as well.
After purchasing your Grand National Rodeo tickets, it’s time to find the best place for RV camping in Daly City. While there are no onsite camping options, the expansive city delivers on nearby opportunities that are accessible with a large RV or small campervan. Take a look around and see what you can find.
Whether you’re looking for primitive RV camping opportunities or the best campsite in Daly City, you’re going to have little trouble finding somewhere to suit. Many of the best RV campgrounds near Cow Palace Arena are proximate to all life’s necessities and provide a quick access route to the rodeo action. There are also many on the outer edges of San Francisco Bay, and some as close as three miles from the Grand National Rodeo.
There are ample public transportation options to get you to Cow Palace Arena, but your feet may be your best mobility option once you arrive on site. The main arena is nestled between the south and north halls, which means you can take a break in a seating area before you check out the next area of entertainment. There is also a bar, picnic tables, and plenty of convenient guest services central in the arena. Everything is well-appointed for easy navigation on foot.
Temperatures start to drop towards the end of September, which means you’re going to want to pack a mixture of attire to suit the conditions. Warm layers will be necessary once night falls, but you can get away with light, breathable layers during the day. Don’t forget to pack your best cowboy gear and hat so you can fit right into the experience.
When you attend an event of this caliber, you have to put a lot of thought into what you bring with you. There are bound to be strict regulations, which means it’s best to pack light. Bring a small bag of organizer-recommended dimensions and refrain from bringing any hard containers, coolers, cans, bottles, food or drink, drugs, weapons, cameras, inflatable toys, or noisemakers.
Travel with your camping and cooking equipment, but leave it, and much of your gear, in your secure RV for convenience. You will, however, need cash and a credit card to make onsite purchases.
While you’re busy having fun with all the rodeo and livestock entertainment at the Grand National Rodeo, it’s essential to think of your health and safety at all times. Wash your hands after touching livestock, and remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water. There are also restrooms dotted around the facility for your convenience. Pop a first aid kit in your RV just in case.
Being able to cook on the road is one of the many highlights of RV camping. You can park, use your onboard kitchen appliances, and feed the family with relative ease. If you are staying at a campground, make sure you’re familiar with the RV camping rules. You may not be able to light campfires or use charcoal grills.
If you’re low on supplies, you can stock up at one of the many markets near Cow Palace Arena & Event Center. Many of these are along public transport routes for convenience.
Once you’ve enjoyed a day of rodeo action, you can then make your way into the heart of Daly City and dine at one of the many standout establishments. Even within proximity to RV campground locations and the event site, there is plenty on offer.
From bar and grill style and hearty American cuisine, through to pastries, pizza, and barbequed meats, this city has it all. Allow extra time for service in this well-populated region.
Even though you can’t bring food or beverages into the Grand National Rodeo, you’re not going to go hungry. Every year, a BBQ attracts dozens of diners to the south hall over the weekend of the event. There are also concession stands with beer, snacks, and food, and specialty food at the south concourse. Fancy traditional fare? An old western bar at the north concourse is open for business for the duration of the rodeo. Bring both cash and a credit card, as not all vendors accept card payments.
Aside from the recommendation to lock up your RV or vehicle at the Cow Palace Arena, officials have other security measures in place to keep you and your possessions safe. They request that you bring in only a small backpack and leave any unnecessary items at home or in your motorhome.
There will be screening and checks at the door, and any security official can request further checks at any time. Don’t forget to offer security a friendly smile to show your appreciation for keeping all spectators and competitors safe.
If you have any questions or concerns, approach a rodeo representative. Alternatively, head to the Bayview Police Station within a three-mile journey of Cow Palace Arena & Event Center.
If you’re familiar with San Francisco’s climate, then you can expect the same conditions in Daly City. Fall is mild with some fog in the morning, and it’s seldom overly chilly or wet. However, nighttime temperatures can drop into the 50s, and daily temperatures in Daly City in fall are often around 70 degrees-Fahrenheit.
If you require medical assistance at any time, there is a first aid area in the Guest Services Office of the main lobby. Approach any venue or event representative for assistance. If you have an emergency, make your way to the nearest hospital around three miles away, or dial 9-11. You can also pick up additional medical supplies at one of the many pharmacies within a ten-mile radius of the rodeo.